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Progressing Towards What?
Jonathan Pait
December 10, 2003

Fox News recently reported on a Gallup Organization study that found Americans under 32 years of age are more supportive of allowing prayer during school sponsored activities and legal restrictions on abortion. All of the conservatives stand up and cheer! However, near the end of the report the Fox New writer reports, "And not everything has changed: The same studies show teens are still more liberal than adults on issues like same-sex marriage and the environment." All of the liberals stand up and cheer!

The article also pushed me off on one of my favorite rabbit trails. When describing the reaction to the report, the writer states, "The findings mark a departure from the perception of teens as more progressive and liberal than adults, especially during the protest-filled decades like the 1960s and ‘70s." There it is again, that favorite new label of liberals: progressive.

There goes another good word down the tubes. You run into this more often than you imagine if you read your children fairy stories that were published before Queer Eye for the Straight Guy and the other multitude of homosexual propaganda started to appear. It provides an interesting situation when you tell your child that the prince was "young and gay." I digress . . . that is a whole different rabbit trail.

The article does make a mistake in attempting to draw a distinction between progressive and liberal. There is no difference. The term progressive is simply a new label put on an old, slow moving product in need of an image makeover. Take a look at the Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Thesaurus it will list as the synonym for progressive; liberal. Take some time to look at the issues championed by self-proclaimed progressives and you will find the same tired liberal ideas.

Don’t get me wrong. I want progressive elected officials. I want my Congressman and Senator to promote or favor progress toward better conditions or new policies, ideas, or methods. What I take exception with is the liberals’ (and their supporting media’s) assumption that they have ownership of the term. The liberals will run around touting their "progressive" approach, which is basically, nothing more than a reaction against conservative positions. In other words, they are dynamic, enlightened, enterprising, and forward-looking simply because, in their eyes, conservatives are stagnant, backward, digressive and reactionary.

The bottom line is that all of political parties – as well as the Democratic and Republican parties -- consider themselves to be "progressive." Progressive has two definitions, the idea of advancing and the political idea that government has a role to play in social improvement. It seems to me that both sides have right to claim the term progressive. The question simply becomes toward what vision for our community is each group progressing?

Is progress for progress sake a good thing? Two men were working hard to paddle their canoe to the other side of the river. They fixed their eyes on the targeted landing zone and set out into the current. After many long minutes they noticed they had not made much headway. The craft seemed hardly to move at all. This started a discussion between the two. For a moment they stopped their labor to decide what to do.

Neither wanted to go back for night was approaching and the best camping spot was on the opposite shore. One canoeist, seeing that they had made some (though slow) headway, wanted to keep paddling. The second man, tired of the labor, wanted to find an alternative. Suddenly, they were aware of the swift movement of the canoe. Ah, and there they were somewhat closer to the other shore!

Gone was the original targeted camp area, but surely another opportune area would present itself. Hey, they were making progress! How that canoe was moving. Best of all, the men did not have to work that hard. They relaxed and watched the sun glisten off the ripples. After a short time, they noticed the shore was no longer getting closer. They appeared to be just as far from one shore as the other. Even so, the canoe was gliding along at its quickest rate yet.

It was then that they heard a thundering sound around the next bend. Too late they realized they were caught in a current that would soon send them over a waterfall. They grabbed their paddles and fought with all their might against the deadly pull. Once again, they made their way toward the opposite shore. No longer did they desire a nice camping place. No, any spot along the shore would do! They fought against the current while each time they glanced over their shoulders the white water of the falls grew larger and larger.

So, which was the conservative canoeist and which was the liberal? I won’t pass judgement here. The point is, progress is not the important thing. The goal to which we are progressing is. We are all progressive. None of us want to go back to the original shore.

Let go of the word, my liberal friends. While you are at it, can we have back "gay" too?

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My first reaction is to say that Republicans assume they own the term "conservative." This party of big business and big government is really lying when they call themselves conservatives. They agenda is a federal take over of state's civil justice systems; huge deficits; rolling back of civil liberties; and creation of perhaps the biggest entitlement of them all (prescription drugs).

Your article uses terms "liberal" and "conservative" as if you owned those terms but then objects when someone wants "progressive" to mean something different than it means to you. . . .

Read the rest.

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