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“An almost chosen people, we demonstrate our greatness not by force of might or by virtue of our economic dominance, but through rigorous moral endeavor, ever striving to remake ourselves in the image of our ideals. When we have approached true greatness, we have been great not because we were strong but because we were good. Fidelity to our national creed remains challenging, but it invests our nation with spiritual purpose and – if we honor its precepts – a moral destiny” - Abraham Lincoln

T wo things are most important in forming my political beliefs. First, regarding morality issues, it is far more important to make sure that our personal religious beliefs do not overshadow the laws of our land. Making sure of that also protects all of our rights to worship (or not) as we see fit in our homes. For many Christians in our nation, the thought that God AS THEY KNOW IT represents the way all people should live is part of their faith. It's why they witness and try to spread their Gospel. But our government was founded on the principle that matters of faith are private and separate from government. It's fine for those in government to be informed by their personal faith and live by that faith, but not to the point that their beliefs overshadow the rights of all Americans as defined by the constitution. Imagine that you live in a country where the Taliban is the religious authority and represents the majority of citizens. Wouldn't you prefer and understand the importance of making sure that religious views stay out of government legislation, and that the rights of religious minorities (even Atheists) are protected? Sometimes simply putting ourselves into the place of the least protected and poorest minority person, and imagining how the law effects them and gives them the same protections that it gives the richest and most powerful majority will help us to understand how laws need to be framed. One of the things that makes our country great is its idea that all are equal under the law and have the same protections.

Secondly, regarding "liberal" versus "conservative" views, from what I have read on the subject, liberal views are consistently more compassionate towards the greatest number of people. I am part of a racial minority, I grew up in a low income and a single parent home, I have been a beneficiary of the food stamp program. I never lived in extreme poverty, and I was fortunate to be able to attend college partly because of "liberal" support of those who have less in our country. Of course these are complex issues, but when I look at Congressional and Senate voting records I have seen consistently that Democrats vote in ways that represent my values in far more of the cases than Republicans do.

There are many different kinds of welfare. Many people are blind to the millions of dollars in corporate welfare that benefits the wealthiest, while at the same time they are angered by programs that help the poorest and neediest people in our country, often considering these programs a free ride for lazy people who deserve their misfortune. Many conservatives take the view that society should penalize those families for making bad choices, and avoid any appearance of handouts to the poor. I believe the lucky few who are born into priviledge will always have advantages that no social program that benefits the poor will take away. Many of our wealthiest families have benifitted greatly from generations of businesses practices that depend on profitting at the expense of many: both through unfair labor practices and indescrinimate use and polluting our environment. The former sucks the life out of the poorest laborers and the latter is stolen from us and our children and many generations to come.

Once again, let's imagine the poorest, most ignorant parents in a crime infested low income neighborhood and put ourselves in the place of a child born into that home. All of our society benefits in making sure that the poorest families have adequate food, nutrition and the support that can make a difference between a life of living in the margins and a pathway out of poverty, even if the benefit is just knowing that you are living in a compassionate way. I am especially angered that our current tax code favors those with the greatest wealth and lays much larger burdens on those whose income is stretched to meet necessities. The percentage of Federal money that is directed towards social programs is a very small part of our Federal budget. The widening gap between the rich and the poor and the ever growing numbers of poor and struggling families point to inequities in our system that need to be addressed. This is not to say that government should rob the rich and give it to the poor, but there are far more equitable ways to share the wealth of our nation, which the privileged among us have benefited from for generations, often at the expense of the poorest.

I'd like to be proud of our country and know that we support a standard of living that reflects our nations wealth and doesn't come at the cost of poverty around the world. Lately I've seen corporations that make the rules as they see fit, steal our nations' resources, pollute those they leave behind, take huge profits, pay few taxes, and squeeze their workers for as many hours at as little pay as they can. Many businesses pay their corporate officers exorbitant salaries and bonuses while most of their employees lack health care and struggle to make ends meet. I'd like to see our political administration force corporations to be responsible entities and take away the concessions that give them powers beyond those of the individuaks and communities that they operate among. And I want our government to help even the least of our citizens a fighting chance to live a life of quality before it supports corporate welfare.

Progressive Economics: A Field Guide
(Note: if you have come directly to this page from the internet, please click here for the complete resource.)
Is there such a thing as a distinctively Progressive economics? We believe so — just as there is also a distinctively corporate economics.
For example, in the lens of corporate economics, people are just one more resource to be exploited. Labor is just one more expense, its cost to be minimized to the maximum extent possible, or eliminated outright. In a Progressive perspective, meaningful work is among the prerequisites of a good life. Progressives believe that most of the value that derives from the work of the individual should benefit that individual, not "shareholders," not CEOs (who are no more, and no less, than one more employee). In the lens of corporate economics, the environment is simply a source of profits to be reaped, and environmental costs to be shirked. In a Progressive perspective, the environment is finite, the source of some of the most rewarding and enjoyable experiences a human being can have, and a resource to be protected for the generations yet to come. In a corporate perspective, communities count for nothing, and business siting is purely a matter of finding the lowest possible costs and greatest opportunity to pollute. In a Progressive perspective, communities have intrinsic human value, and corporations who derive their very lifeblood from them also have obligations toward them. In a corporatist perspective, the corporation has no responsibility to community of any kind (and, indeed, no purpose of any kind whatsoever, other than the generation of profit for shareholders and corporate officers), and therefore, if costs can be offloaded to the community, they should be.

I was able to find a lot of non-partisan information about the issues affecting our nation on a website called The American Voice 2004 From their website: American Voice 2004 was launched to fill a need, the need for reasoned debate. The bedrock of good government is an informed citizenry. An informed citizenry comes from hearing both sides of the issue. American Voice 2004 intends to be a place which cultivates good citizenship. The American Voice 2004 is a project of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance. What is the Institute for Local Self-Reliance? The Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR) is a 30 year old non profit, non-partisan organization based in Washington, D.C. and Minneapolis, Minnesota. Its mission is to strengthen geographical communities. To fulfill that mission ILSR offers research, technical assistance and a library of "rules" that foster local self-reliance. Strong communities depend on an active and involved population. The American Voice 2004 strives to nurture such a population by providing substantive and reasoned information regarding national issues.

For a breakdown of votes by Republicans and Democrats on many issues, click here.

Want to read more about Progressive Political Thinking? Click Here

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