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Progressive Insights

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Progressive Insights

By James A. Haught

"If your workplace is safe; if your children go to school rather than being forced into labor; if you are paid a living wage, including overtime; if you enjoy a 40-hour week and you are allowed to join a union to protect your rights -- you can thank liberals. If your food is not poisoned and your water is drinkable -- you can thank liberals. If your parents are eligible for Medicare and Social Security, so they can grow old in dignity without bankrupting your family -- you can thank liberals. If our rivers are getting cleaner and our air isn't black with pollution; if our wilderness is protected and our countryside is still green -- you can thank liberals. If people of all races can share the same public facilities; if everyone has the right to vote; if couples fall in love and marry regardless of race; if we have finally begun to transcend a segregated society -- you can thank liberals. Progressive innovations like those and so many others were achieved by long, difficult struggles against entrenched power. What defined conservatism, and conservatives, was their opposition to every one of those advances. The country we know and love today was built by those victories for liberalism, with the support of the American people." -- journalist Joe Conason

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"Being a liberal is the best thing on earth you can be. You are welcoming to everyone when you're a liberal. You do not have a small mind... I'm total, total, total liberal and proud of it. I'm a total Democrat. I'm anti-Republican. And it's only fair that you know it. I'm liberal -- the 'L' word!" -- actress Lauren Bacall (1924-2014)

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"A liberal is a man or woman or a child who looks forward to a better day, a more tranquil night, and a bright, infinite future." -- conductor-composer Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990)

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"Without liberals we wouldn't have unions. We wouldn't have environmental protections. We wouldn't have seat belts or birth control or the ACLU! Any of those things!" -- Janeane Garofalo, actress, comedienne and political activist.

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"Trying to get today's Republican to accept basic facts is like trying to get your dog to take a pill. You have to feed them the truth wrapped in a piece of boloney, hold their snout shut, and stroke their throats. And even then, just when you think they've swallowed it, they spit it out on the linoleum." -- comedian-iconoclast Bill Maher

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"If racism is not the whole of the Tea Party, it is in its heart, along with blind hatred, a total disinterest in the welfare of others, and a full-flowered self-rationalizing refusal to accept the outcomes of elections, or the reality of democracy, or the narrowness of their minds and the equal narrowness of their public support." -- left-wing commentator Keith Olbermann

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James A. Haught is editor emeritus of West Virginia's largest newspaper, The Charleston Gazette-Mail.  Mr. Haught has won two dozen national news writing awards. He has written 12 books and hundreds of magazine essays and blog posts. Around 450 of his essays are online. He is a senior editor of Free Inquiry magazine, a weekly blogger at Daylight Atheism, (more...)
 

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