Whenever I use the word Progressive, I have some people agree with me, and others looking confused or frustrated. It's easy to understand why. Progressive is a very subjective word, with multiple meanings coming from individuals and situations. Wikipedia has this definition:
"Progressivism is a philosophy based on the Idea of Progress, which asserts that advancement in science, technology, economic development, and social organization are vital to improve the human condition."
I've been reading about and participating in progressive politics for a few decades now, both in and out of the Democratic Party. This is my framing and it consists of four parts.
Grassroots, People-Powered Democracy
If a decision is being made on any level of government that affects you, your voice should be heard on that issue. What we need in this country and around the world is a way for people to get directly involved in the way our government operates. Many opportunities exist now, but they are hidden behind a wall of secrecy and only the hard-core activists seem to be able to break through. We have to make the process of electoral, issue based and identity based politics transparent and open so everyone can get involved, however that works for the individual.
The Concept of WE
The Earth is a single environment. Everything that affects individuals affects groups, and the larger the subject, the larger the group that is affected. I'm tired of hearing people describe the world in terms of 'us versus them'. We're all on this planet together, and the more we understand that, the better we will be able to create a world that works for everyone. How can we get a better understanding of how everyone is linked together, and that something affecting one affects us all?
Understanding the Past
Where do our problems come from? How do they relate to each other? If we search for an understanding of our past mistakes, we gain a better understanding of how not to repeat them. Maybe we can even solve two problems with the same action. Critical Thinking requires that we have an understanding of the foundations we stand on before we start building.
Looking to the Future
It's not enough anymore to think and act for the moment. In the big picture, we are creating the world of the future by our actions today. I'm concerned about how my children are growing up, but I'm just as concerned about the kind of world their grandchildren will be living in. We should grant them the power to turn that world into whatever they wish it to be, with clean air and water, energy resources to explore their dreams, a peaceful world where people talk instead of fight with each other. What can we do now, either big decisions or small actions, that can help to create that world of opportunity?
What is your definition? What is your framing?