Being a “Progressive”

What does it mean to identify as a “progressive”, politically speaking? I have an idea what it would mean, and the label is considered in opposition of the label “conservative”. Do they have to be in opposition with each other? Can someone be a progressive conservative? At some degree I think these labels are irrespective to core values and just a label for “not the other side”.

Define Progressive

Let’s look up the definition and see what progressive means:

PROGRESS’IVEadjective Moving forward; proceeding onward; advancing; as progressive motion or course; opposed to retrograde.

1. Improving. The arts are in a progressive state.

Webster’s Dictionary 1828

So the assumption is progressives are trying to move forward and advance our social environment, on a political level? That in itself doesn’t sound bad to me. But when you look at how they are doing it, that’s where I don’t see eye to eye with the political progressive. To advance, or have forward motion, you have to recognize where you came from to get where you are; so you know where forward is. If you throw away the previous advancements of a structure you don’t have much to move forward on. This is where the conservative minded person digs their heals into the ground.

CONSERVATIVE, adjective Preservative; having power to preserve in a safe or entire state, or from loss, waste or injury.

Webster’s Dictionary 1828

A Noble Cause

The conservative wants to preserve their understanding of what the founders of the Constitution set out to accomplish. They want to protect the ideals our founding fathers had in mind when our nation was established. A noble cause, but should things stay stagnant and not be improved upon? Is there no room for innovation and opportunity to progress our nation?

Their Identity

Let’s revisit core values again. Our founding fathers did believe in a set of core values, and wanted our new government be limited in power so it could not touch those core values. Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness (or pursuit of land). With the change in culture I can see there’s a lot more differing things people pursue now days. They generally fall in these 3 categories, but there is a new cherished item that people value. Their identity.

Differences, You Better Recognize

There is a seemingly endless list of how people want to be identified now days. This need to be recognized for our differences is causing waves among different people groups. By virtue of being different, and wanting to be recognized for those differences, we are tearing apart relationships and warding off opportunities to be a unified culture.

United We Stand, Divided We Fall

If we allow this schism in culture to continue, and don’t find common ground, the United States will fall. We must focus on principle foundations of relationship building. We have allowed our individualism to progress beyond a healthy point. We need to rally our common interests and resist our need to be different. We all must make sacrifices, but not with our pursuit of life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness. We must sacrifice our need to be recognized for how we self identify.

“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Self Identity vs The Content of Our Character

King understood that it is the content of our character that should be celebrated, not our politics, appearance, preferences, pronouns, heritage, culture, or the color of our skin. We should have been progressive about this idea. Instead we have regressed to adding more labels of identity, and even dug up old wounds to focus on the unjust crimes prior the Civil war. Unfortunately, I believe the politics of the progressive left have failed their party. I see so many opportunities for strife and conflict around all the new identity labels.

Will you be my neighbor?

The conservative in me recognizes a classic label, “neighbor”. Regardless of culture, gender, or color you can always see another person as your neighbor. The Bible teaches us to “love your neighbor”, a tried and true approach to building a relationship and unifying people groups. Seeking commonalities is the solution, meeting people at where our lives intersect and building on that should be the progressive approach.