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Progressive Values Stories: Jeremy on Responsibility

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Message Edwin Rutsch
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 I met Jeremy at a Wellstone training in Sacramento, California. He feels that responsibility is the most important progressive value and that conservatives have falsely  defined democrats, liberals, and progressives as "tax and spend." He feels it's good that progressives are now speaking out about their values and that they actually are about fiscal responsibility.

Responsibility, n.  A detachable burden easily shifted to the shoulders of God, Fate, Fortune, Luck or one's neighbor.  In the days of astrology it was customary to unload it upon a star.  The Devil's   Dictionary

Liberty means responsibility. That is why most men dread it.  George Bernard Shaw

Progressive Values Stories: Jeremy on Responsibility


My name is Jeremy.  I’m a progressive.

Edwin:  Can you tell me what you feel progressive values are?

Answer:  I think progressive values have been shaped by awhile by the opposite side, of what we are not.  Now it’s starting to become more of what we are.  And I think progressive values are now expanding to include even things that are considered to be conservative values.  Like fiscal responsibility.  Using finances in a way that actually invests in our future and doesn’t waste money, like on wars that do nothing for us.  On wasted projects – pork spending and what not. 

I think progressive is about using the resources we have as a country, and using them for good causes, to build a future and to reach out to people in general.

Edwin:  So it sounds like your saying it’s responsibility.  Can you boil it down to responsibility?

Answer:  Yes.  Responsibility is what progressivism is about. Responsibility and respect. Responsibility is the key to having a successful relationship with people who are important to you in your life, and is the key to a relationship with everyone.  And your larger community, your small community, your family.  It’s natural.  It makes sense.  You want people around you to be happy, and that helps you too.  It’s natural, so Responsibility and respect are definitely part of who I am and an important part of looking at things. 

And I think it’s important to look forward and see something to strive to, to become better people, to make a better community.  And I think that’s important for us to look at in our own lives, and important for us to look at as we as a people, as a community, as a political entity, as people who are just trying to live and run a community and a government. 

Republicans will define Democrat, they’ll define liberals, and the left, and progressives, and lump them all into this big bag of like “tax and spend” and “reckless”, and “getting rid of important conservative values”, “the things that make our country great”, “anti-patriotic.”

And I don’t think that’s true in any of those categories.  I think it’s very patriotic to be progressive, to explore ideas of building a community, of looking at what’s best for a community, of looking toward a brighter future, which I think is the essence of what it means to be progressive, to be responsible, to be respectful in those ways. 

I find it sad that that sort of stigma sticks so strongly.  I think it’s good that progressives are now speaking out, embracing a lot of ideas , and giving their values support and not being held back by what the Right, the Republican machine has labeled them.  And I think when people really start to see that, a lot more people will find that they define themselves in that way too. 

But progressive do embrace ideas of fiscal responsibility and real community building things, and strong family, but different types of family too, and being welcoming, and environment.  I think more people would find that to be a good message, and good values on its own.

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Founder of the Center for Building a Culture of Empathy. The Culture of Empathy website is a growing portal for resources and information about the values of empathy and compassion. It contains articles, conferences, (more...)
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