Earlier this month, on May 8th, I gritted my teeth to do what I do less and less anymore-- switched to Fox News to check out the "enemy." Bill O'Reilly was on, interviewing John Lovitz, who'd recently been critical of Obama. During the ten minutes I tolerated watching the Faux network, O'Reilly said, literally, "I despise progressives." He then went on to say something, and this in not necessarily the literal quote, "but liberals are okay."
That really struck me, especially in light of Chris Hedges book, Death of the Liberal Class, which I discussed with him in an interview on my radio show about 18 months ago (podcast here: Chris Hedges; Death of the Liberal Class and a Call For Rebellion )
The truth is some people consider the words liberal and progressive interchangeable. Others see progressives as different. In polls I commissioned by the Zogby organization in 2006, I found that progressives considered themselves left of liberal. That's my take and I think the take of Hedges and others.
O'Reilly's stark remark got me thinking. Why would he be okay with liberals but despise progressives? Me, I tend to lump liberals with Obama Democrats-- who have been lulled, like boiling frogs, to accept more and more evil through the lesser of two-evilism that they keep embracing as they've accepted Democratic leaders who look more and more like Republicans. Hell, I think Obama is, outside of women's rights, to the right of Reagan and Nixon.
But I wanted to get an idea how other progressives thought about O'Reilly's remarks. So I wrote to some of the people I think of as progressive leaders-- but only people I thought might reply. Here's what I wrote to the first ones;
yesterday Bill O'Reilly said he "despises progressives"
But he's okay with liberals.
Any thoughts on this? I'm working on an article in response to it. Would love a sentence or paragraph from you.
Once I got started, I began thinking of other progressive leaders, and then I thought, "who really are the progressive leaders. What do I know? I call my radio show bottom up radio, and try to walk the bottom up talk, so I put the question to my readers at Opednews.com, with an article, Who are the Leading, Top Progressives? Commenters added some great suggestions-- some people I didn't have contact information for and some I did. I emailed the ones I thought would respond.
Here are the responses that came in.
Glen Ford, Black Agenda Report,
A progressive seeks change that radically transforms power relationships in society, with the goal of eliminating, to the greatest extent possible, material and other socially-produced disparities among human beings. Progressives will argue about what is possible, but not about the goal: a truly democratic human polity.
Ray MGovern, former CIA Intelligence Analyst
Rob, I'm actually a progressive conservative. You are no doubt aware of JFK's great quote on liberals, cited below:
John F. Kennedy said this about liberals: If by a "Liberal" they mean someone who looks ahead and not behind, someone who welcomes new ideas without rigid reactions, someone who cares about the welfare of the people -- their health, their housing, their schools, their jobs, their civil rights, and their civil liberties -- someone who believes we can break through the stalemate and suspicions that grip us in our policies abroad, if that is what they mean by a "Liberal," then I'm proud to say I'm a "Liberal."