There are Many Types of Progressives


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I recently read a Slant piece about “Brogressives,” and I have to say that the subject being discussed basically sounded like a douchebag. The author paints a picture of a young man at a progressive conference who basically couldn’t give a damn less about any issue that doesn’t impact him. I’ve met a few of the types she describes in the piece, young men who are hyper ambitious, but lack serious values that drive why they are in politics. It leaves them basically like this guy, where he seems absolutely clueless about the values that make progressives actually be progressive. He has not feeling for the people with whom he doesn’t identify, and hasn’t even taken the time to learn about the issues of people different than himself.

My initial reaction to the piece though wasn’t entirely positive. I agree on the point of the piece, but pieces like this worry me. There are more than one or two types of progressives in America, and if we start forcing people into boxes, I don’t think it will go well. Yes, there are social justice progressives, feminists, civil rights activists, and plenty of other socially minded forms of liberal. There’s also people who come to the progressive end of the spectrum because of religious faith, belief in the right to organize and form unions, Environmentalists, and plenty of other folks who don’t start out in progressive politics giving a damn about other issues. It’s very easy to demean that, and say these aren’t real progressives, and in some cases they won’t end up being, but it’s still better to let people in the tent, and eventually hope they come around to causes beyond their own. While conservatives are naturally linked by paranoia and fear of change that drives their ideology, progressives don’t necessarily have a natural link in their ideological views. There’s no reason that someone who’s initial passion is climate change would be pro-choice. We hope that over time, they understand why most of us in the progressive world feel that way, but there’s no reason to believe that from the outset.

None of my fears apply to this “brogressive” in the article though. There are some people who just aren’t progressives. My point is that we should keep the tent open to the extent we can, and shouldn’t have a “natural” suspicion of some people. That doesn’t help win progressive victories.

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