What is a Progressive?

I wrote this article for the Urban News back in December.

In November 2016, it is time for us to reassess who we are. What do we believe in? Since Hillary Clinton’s devastating loss earlier this month, I have heard a lot of … well, crazy talk. “Let us move to Canada.” “Let us impeach the president elect.” “Let us move to California and secede from the union.” And there have been hundreds of others.

Does this sound very similar to the garbage that conservatives were spewing when Barack Obama won in 2008? We laughed at that rhetoric then and we called it crazy talk. We scolded conservatives and asked them if they truly love this country. Now, we need to look in the mirror and decide if we truly love the United States of America. Our talk about resistance and overthrow is, for the most part, wrong. It is treasonous.

So, as a progressive, what do you believe in? Now, I cannot speak for everyone, but I can tell you that I believe in a society in which the individual is given an opportunity to reach his or her fullest potential, no matter what side of the tracks they grow up on.

This means that I believe in public education. Not vouchers. Not charter schools. I want our public schools to be the best in the world.

We need to teach our children how to think critically. This doesn’t mean teaching our kids who to pass a winner-take-all test.

I believe that America is strongest when we make stuff, here, in the United States. This means that we need a climate in which manufacturing is profitable for the manufacturer.
At the same time, I believe that employees should be able to band together and negotiate for higher wages. The government must protect the employees’ rights to band together.

I believe that every American should be able to walk into the emergency room and get high quality, cost-effective healthcare. Every American should be able to get the healthcare that they need without going broke, and this includes dental care and access to mental health.

Just the other day, in Oakland, California, a popular nightclub went up in smoke: thirty-six people died. This should not happen in America. In America, we have laws, rules and regulations in order to prevent tragic deaths like these. This old warehouse was not equipped with sprinklers. All buildings that are going to be occupied with people need to have adequate safety precautions which include sprinkler systems. And that requires that terrible phrase, “government regulations.”

I believe in a government that protects its citizens from meaningless deaths. If we can afford to spend $339 million for every F-22 Stealth Raptor keep us safe, we can afford to spend a couple thousand dollars for sprinkler system to keep us safe. As a progressive, I believe in a government that keeps us safe both here and abroad. Safety does not only include fighting terrorism but also includes simple preventive measures like seat belts, safety glass in cars, and sprinkler systems in old and new buildings.

As a progressive, I believe that our government and law enforcement should treat all citizens as citizens of the greatest nation on earth. I know that the United States of America is not perfect. I know that we have a long way to go before everyone is treated the same. Just imagine, if you will, a white man in his vehicle and surrounded by police. The police asked him to get out of the car, which he does. For some reason, the man does not respond to multiple shouted commands. The man’s wife can be heard shouting in the background, “He has a traumatic brain injury.” The man is shot dead by police. Can you imagine this? No, of course not. But, this did happen to Keith Scott, a black man. In my world, a progressive world, all men and women are created equal and therefore, somehow, someway, the police figure out a way not to shoot Keith Scott. This is what we should be working towards.

President-elect Donald Trump has my complete support. He is the President-elect of the United States. I know that the majority of his policies will make my stomach turn. He will appoint people for cabinet positions that are … frankly, awful.

I will continue to fight for a government that works to help, protect, and raise up the average, hard-working American. I will support progressive policies. My goal is not to make Trump a success or failure. My goal is to make sure that America continues to be a success.

We need a government that works for the people. We need to focus on how we can move America forward. Let’s start with Universal Healthcare and free college tuition for any American who wants to go to school. Let’s work to make America even better.

And, finally, I want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and Happy Holidays!!