What are Progressive Values?

Progressive Values?

Howard Dean – Fairness, Responsibility …


What does the Democratic Party stand for?

Howard Dean lists these “Core Values” of the Democratic Party

1) Fairness and Equal Rights for all

2) Strength and Toughness

3) Fiscal Responsibility

These are demonstrated by providing Health Care for all.

Dean stresses the urgent need for us to express these values, on an emotional level, and not just in Policy Statements.

“People vote on their Values — NOT on Position Papers!”

Howard Dean (with the help of people like George Lakoff) have found the importance of the need for progressives to articulate their values. And just what are they?

Progressive core values are:

* Caring and responsibility, carried out with strength

* Protection, fulfillment in life, fairness

* Freedom, opportunity, prosperity

* Community, service, cooperation

* Trust, honesty, open communication

These fall in line behind the progressive principles of equity, equality, Democracy, Government for a better future, ethical business practices and a foreign policy that reflects our values.


Here’s a Real Progressive making “emotional connections” with other Middle Class people, so that they might Vote for him, because “they know what he values …”

So that those he would Represent, would know what he stands for.

A Message from Al Franken


After hearing that, most People will know that, Al will fight for them …

Al will “Represent” their Struggles — he’s been there!

Struggles, like those embodied by NJNU Union’s platform for a …

Workers Bill of Rights

Workers are entitled to certain fundamental rights in the course of earning a living. These include:

  1. The right to organize and form a union, engage in collective bargaining, exercise full freedom of association and designate representative of their own choosing for the purpose of negotiating the terms and conditions of their employment;

  2. The right to engage in a lawful strike without being permanently replaced or losing their jobs;

  3. The right to maintain an equitable standard of living derived from compensation for their labor;

  4. The right to job training, other services and education that will empower them to maximize their earnings, improve their occupational skills and enhance the productivity of the Nation;

  5. The right to be assured safe and healthful working conditions and to receive from their employers a conscientious effort to reduce the number of occupational safety and health hazards at their places of employment;

  6. The right to health care for wage earners and their families;

  7. The right to earn their living in an environment free from all forms of discrimination;

  8. The right to a livable and economically secure retirement;

  9. The right to engage in the political process as guaranteed under the First Amendment to the Constitution, which would include voluntary participation in the union’s political action committee and the use of union dues money as currently provided under state and federal law.

NJNU: New Jersey Nurses’ Union

Al Franken referred to another great Minnesota Progressive, in who’s steps he hopes to follow, Paul Wellstone.

Paul Wellstone – “Represent”


Paul Wellstone knew how to “connect” … his picture should be put in the Dictionary, right next to the word “Authentic”

A Tribute to Paul Wellstone


Our friends at Wellstone Action detailed

the qualities that make a successful progressive candidate:


   Past elections and polling data show that voters like candidates that convey real authenticity and are willing to stand up for their beliefs. …Successful candidates develop the right narrative that both tells who they are and also speaks to the concerns of voters.

   Clear message

   Developing a winning message for a campaign requires strategic planning and an understanding of what’s on voters’ minds. This is not just about “framing,” it is about coming up with a compelling argument for a candidate and finding mulitple ways to communicate it clearly and concisely.

   A strong, mobilized base

   The best candidates are those grounded in communities and constituencies. …There is a tendency in many campaigns to take the base for granted and to focus on the “swing” voters. This is a big mistake, because base-building and appealing to swing voters are complimentary, not contradictory, activities. Having a compelling message that excites and motivates a base to action will help create a large, well-organized campaign infrastructure driven by committed volunteers.

   The resources to do this work right

   Successful progressive candidates realize that campaigns cost money and they work hard to raise it. There is a right way to raise funds: by reaching out to a broad base of supporters and connecting fund-raising and grassroots organizing.


In addition to Core Values, Progressives need real Objective Goals to work towards, in order to bring about that “better world”, we would all like to see in our lifetimes.  

Here is a Progressive group, progressive2008.org, which has issued such a “Target List”

Progressive Challenge 2008

 1) End Imperial Foreign Policy, Redirect Funding

 2) Healthcare for All

 3) Economic Justice

 4) Stop Global Warming

 5) Reproductive Freedom/Civil Rights & Liberties

 6) Clean, Fair, Transparent Elections

 7) Media Reform


SO What are Progressive Values?

Where did the label “Progressive” come from?

Let’s look at a “historical perspective”, based on the values of the original Progressive Movement. In that era, the People managed to “banish” the “corporate ‘robber barrons'” of the late 19th Century, preventing them from destroying the Middle Class the 20th Century (Progressive Platform of 1912).

A modern day group is still pursuing those Principles of the original Progressive Movement. It is the Progressive Party of Washington [State]:

Statement of Principles

Jobs and Labor Rights: People cannot survive without jobs which pay enough to enable the laborer to live comfortably. Workers need a safe work environment, the right to bargain collectively and to organize.

Trust Busting: No corporation has the right to bypass the law, endanger the people, wreck the environment or refuse to pay their fair share of taxes.

Public Health: Full funding for health care for everyone is the ideal. A return to the original version of the Basic Health Care Law is a good first step. Alternative health care methods should be treated with respect.

Your Vote Should Count: Any method of vote counting which has been shown to be open to fraud should not be used. Voters should be able to verify their votes with a paper ballot. Instant runoff voting should be made the law to enable the people to choose their own candidates in the freest and most effective way. Any candidate for public office, regardless of party affiliation has a right to equal ballot access, so the voters have a choice

The Bill of Rights: The rights enumerated in the Bill of Rights should not be abridged at any level of government.

Respect for All of Humanity: Human rights and dignity should be respected. Schools should teach history as it happened and include all participants in the events that shaped our world. Laws should be evenly enforced.

People Before Money: Politicians are there to serve the people, not big donors. Clean money laws should be passed and enforced immediately. All parties and Independent candidates should be rewarded for running clean money campaigns

Problem Solving Without Force: Children and adults need to learn to solve problems without using force. This does not preclude self-defense.

Conservation: We need to be smart about how we use our resources-working first with renewable resources produced locally. The use of poisons which enter our waterways, water table, air and soil should be sharply reduced. Recycling is to be encouraged and overuse of limited resources to be discouraged.


SO What are Progressive Values, anyways?

And What does “being a Progressive”, mean to you?

And who will end up, being its standard-bearer?

Any Wellstone patriots out there, still?



Skip to comment form

    • jamess on June 12, 2009 at 02:12

    The root word of Progressive

    — is Progress.

  1. What does “being a Progressive”, mean to you?

    It means lot of different things, but I will only mention a few.

    One thing it means is not dehumanizing or demonizing others.  That’s a big one for me.  I’m not perfect on this, God knows, but we need to be aware that demonizing our political opponents or speaking of them as if they are less than human is most certainly NOT progressive.

    Another thing that it means, or should mean, is being open-minded even to views coming from people who we see as a political opponent.  This helps us to avoid group-think or a “pack mentality.”

    Anyways, terrific diary.  Thanks.

  2. is a progresive value for me.

       I hate it when the helpless get pounded on. Children caught in a war zone-any war zone-are a major issue for me. Children-world-wide-are a major issue for me.

       Surely, humanity can do a better job than this? And it’s time for humanity to DO a better job than this. Those that “Talk the talk-need to walk the walk.”

    Small lives depend on it. Big-big issue for me.


Comments have been disabled.