Progressive and Proud

by Christopher Stone

Whenever someone asks me to describe my politics, I answer, “Somewhere to the left of Jane Fonda.”

Yes. I am unabashedly Progressive and Proud.

My late parents were, too.

Although he disparaged the cursing, Dad frequently named Bill Maher’s Real Time as his all-time favorite TV series. Mom would watch “this or that” aged Republican speaking on TV against Planned Parenthood or gay marriage. She would shake a threatening fist at the screen and ask the spokesperson, “How can you have lived so long and still be so ignorant?”

But Phil and Elsie did not pass down my leftist ways. Nor did Elizabeth Warren bite me during infancy. And I did not feel the Bern of socialism during my Wonder years.

I came by my Progressive and Proud thinking the old-fashioned way: I earned them; they were byproducts of powerful personal beliefs.

One example: I am Progressive and Proud because I believe in science, even when it does not support my political ideology. To me, facts are real, and they matter. I sometimes write fiction, but I live in line with provable truths – the same verities that are accepted by most of the civilized world – if not by one of our two major political parties.

I am Progressive and Proud because Creation’s strongest impetus is progress and not regress. I choose to go with, and not against, the very rhythm of life.

I believe in gun control. And while I don’t want to abolish the Second Amendment, as Conservatives erroneously claim, I, at least, want to refine and reshape it in line with the amendment’s literal phrasing that usage should be “well-regulated.”

I am Progressive and Proud because I believe healthcare is a right, and not simply a privilege for the rich. Health care, I think, should not be a “for profit” industry.

Most of the industrialized world has long ago reached this conclusion. To my chagrin, my beloved country has missed the call of “All aboard!” for the Universal Health Care train

As for Social Security and Medicare: Quite simply, they are not entitlements, unrealistic expectations of the “taker class,” as Mitt Romney would say. They are earned benefits: we pay into both of these social programs.

Call me Progressive and Proud because I believe strongly that men and women have the right to choose what to do with their own body. From a spiritual, rather than from a religious, perspective, the anti-abortion argument is just plain wrong.

A spiritual understanding reveals that life never exists in matter. So-called “physical life” is an imitation of life, one achieved only after a spiritual personality (read “soul”) animates an inherently lifeless material body.

But if one insists on dragging the spiritual wonders of Creation down to the faulty physical level, then please, Conservative America, simply follow your conscience, and allow others with contradictory beliefs to follow theirs. It’s called “live and let live.” Try it, some time.

Along similar lines: If you believe that gay marriage is wrong, then don’t wed a same sex partner, but please let those with contradictory beliefs follow their own consciences. Remember when we used to take peacock-like pride in dubbing ourselves, “a free country?”

As for abortions: Largely I don’t recommend them. But I know that when abortion is someone’s choice, only a lifeless physical organism perishes. The energy personality, or soul, that would have animated the physical form will simply activate another fetus: one that will enter space and time. No one dies.

Conservatives carp endlessly about desiring small government, but that desire ends with things sexual. When the conversation turns to carnality, conservatives want to legislate what is done in the bedroom, how it is done, and to whom.

And how about the conservative economic agenda? Many, many failed attempts have proven that you cannot create abundance for all by giving rich people more money. Our history has proven over and again that when we throw more money at people who already have way too much, debt and misery are the only things that trickle down to the working class.

And I am Progressive and Proud because I believe the cliché that “No man is an island; no man stands alone.” It is inherently right to help one another; if not with a handout, then with a strong hand-up. Looking out for those who already have too much is wrong – not to mention antithetically unchristian.

Jesus spent his life helping the needy and poor, and not further lining the pockets of the moneychangers. So how can a movement that claims to reflect “Christian values” continually cut funding for every program that helps the needy and poor?

And why would any American political movement even want to reflect Christian values? If the Founding Fathers had wanted America to be a Christian Nation, then why do the words “Christian” and “Christianity” not even once appear in the Constitution? Just saying.

And while I’m at it: I can be “all in” with ‘one nation under God,’ but for the Christ’s sake, shouldn’t we revise what follows to read: “With liberty, justice, and equality for all.”

I am Progressive and Proud because in our recent Presidential election the totality of Hillary’s boring emails, alleged Benghazi missteps, and Clinton Foundation molehills, dwarfed in comparison to Conservative America’s Mountains of Hypocrisy.

I am Progressive and Proud because I will never support candidates who must spend most of today explaining the meaning of what they said yesterday.

I am Progressive and Proud because I believe that voting must be aggressively encouraged, and not suppressed, nor rigged by gerrymandering. As for those who feel otherwise: If your party cannot win without cheating, then maybe your ideology should align itself with that of We the People.

I am Progressive and Proud because I believe in putting People before Profit, and I inherently understand the rightness of protecting the most vulnerable among us, rather than shunning them in favor of making the strong even more powerful.

I am Progressive and Proud because I know that education should be far more of a priority than warfare.

I am Progressive and Proud because Conservatives will never get their country back by lowering taxes on the rich – not when what they want back is post-WWII America – a time when the country’s unequaled development and growth were fueled by demand, but also powered and paid for by a ninety-one percent tax rate on individuals making $200.000, or more, and on couples earning $400,00, or more.

Conservatives are loath to admit this truth: Wall Street has always fared better with a Democrat in the White House. But that is nothing more than a pesky fact – and Conservatives raise their middle fingers to them.

Conservatives like to say that they, and they alone, are fiscally responsible. And yet Dwight D. Eisenhower – White House Years, 1952-1960 – was the last Republican president to balance the budget.

And they prefer to forget that B movie actor turned President, the “sainted” Ronald Reagan quadrupled the national debt during his eight White House years. It’s just another pesky fact.

I am not naïve. In no way do I suggest that Progressives and the candidates who represent them are pristine and unflawed. Conservatives mistake their candidates for being perfect ideological gods. I do not. At their very best, all political candidates are angels with dirty wings. I understand this.

Perfection is not an option when the game is politics. So grow up. Don’t ask me to explain away the reckless foibles of your, or my own party’s, wrongdoers. I can’t. They are indefensible and unexplainable.

Even so, I will joyfully cast my vote for the Imperfect Progressive who does not want to control women’s bodies and everyone else’s sex life. I could never stand beside the good old boy who pines for the days when human rights in America were the exclusive domain of white males.

And I’ll lovingly forgive countless Progressive missteps long before I’ll abandon the worlds of facts and science for the fact and science-free Conservative Bubble. And I’m beside those who would rather build bridges to embrace others than build walls to keep them out.

I understand that sick, twisted people, and not guns, kill people. But I also know that guns are clearly the weapons of choice for those sick, twisted killers. Humanity’s dregs must never be allowed to possess lethal weapons.

My Progressive views were molded early.

I was but a child when my maternal grandfather sighed, rubbed his chin stubble, and told me, “The Republicans only care about the rich people.”

I wish it were otherwise, but for me, nothing I have learned subsequently contradicts Grandpa’s shrewd observation from days gone by.