I’m going to be as forthcoming as I can be in explaining the foundation of my political and social beliefs. I am a self-proclaimed ‘progressive.’ My beliefs and ideas all stem from the notion that government can progress society.
Undeniably, there are a variety of agendas and methods behind the progression of society.
Some believe that society must progress in a moral fashion, others see economic development as pivotal and others stress the need for a just society.
Everyone has an idea of how life could be better and there is a sea of rhetoric to wade through in searching for the unattainable answer.
To me, ‘progressive’ deals with certain key themes: critical approach to the status quo, an emphasis on participation in our liberal democracy and governmental policies which improve the welfare of its citizens.
Now, on the matter of parties, though neither party is as focused on the idea of progressivism as much as I’d like, there is a certain party that I find myself more ideologically in tune with.
After the elections, I can see many of our peers disappointed, perhaps even downright depressed, by the outcome. And I see many of my peers openly critical about America’s voting habits.
Yes, I too am disappointed by the outcome. But I believe it is a grave mistake to simply write off the American electorate as mindless lemmings. People make decisions based on some sort of rational basis and, for whatever reason, people chose conservative.
But what did happen? How did liberals lose touch with America? Or how did the conservatives win such a critical election?
Perhaps this is where the idea of progressivism comes into play. In all honesty, regardless of who won the election, there are many things about our government that need improvement.
And while certain administrations would create a more hospitable atmosphere for change, there are some issues that need to be pushed by all citizens.
If you are angry about the elections, look at the way the elections are managed. In this country, we claim that 60 percent of eligible voters turning out to the polls is an outstanding figure. Yet there are very simple things we, as a nation, can pressure our government to do in order to raise this internationally low figure.
We could push for a national election day, or even go as far as compulsory voting (hey, it works in Australia). We could ask our federal or state government for a national holiday. Hell, we should start at home by asking our own school’s administration.
Students and university employees are among the nation’s busiest people; we could set an example for the country to follow. If public universities will not strive for voter’s rights, then who will?
As a progressive, I realize that social change never occur simply from within the government. The Civil Rights era, women’s suffrage, public education and all changes to our way of life came from external pressure.
Grassroots campaigning and everyday people struggling to improve our world brought change.
Many people believe the social undercurrents of the 1960s and activism are long gone. Yet as we saw at the outbreak of the current Iraq War, protests erupted that outnumbered the protests of the Vietnam era.
Bottom line, times are always changing. There is always work to be done. I encourage all students out there