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Progressive Values Stories Rescue: Howard Dean on Values

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 It is easier to exemplify values than teach them.  Theodore M. Hesburgh

Conservatives have done a good job of articulating their values and have dominated the national discussion of  values. Progressives are now playing catch up and  are working to reclaim the values debate. At the 2007 YearlyKos convention, Howard Dean addressed  this values topic in his speech. He described the problem and laid out his suggestions for the most important Progressive Values.    He suggested Fairness, Responsibility and Toughness as his progressive values.

However, progressives are not like conservatives, in that they don't just take the handed down directives from the leadership.  We want to hear personally from each person about what they feel are the most important progressive values to them.  This is our contribution to the effort with our daily Progressive Values Stories.   This post is a recap of the last couple of weeks of Progressive Values Stories. There's many more to come. Edwin Rutsch

"Education without values, as useful as it is, seems rather to make man a more clever devil."  C. S. Lewis

Progressive Values Stories: Howard Dean on Fairness, Responsibility, and Strength.

  A Call For A Progressive Values Summit
   A Call For A Progressive Values Summit: Whose Values will Prevail in 2008? This article is a call for progressives to get together and hold a Progressive Values Summit to confront the Conservative Values Voters Summit head on.

 Progressive Values Stories: Jeremy on Responsibility
 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.

 Progressive Values Stories: Ahjamu Makalani on Justice

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 Ahjamu Makalani is Vice Chair for the California Democratic Party Progressive Caucus. I asked him about the whole progressive values discussion and how he compares progressive and conservative values. For Ahjamu, justice is personally the most important progressive value.

 Progressive Values Stories: John on Equality

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 I interviewed John at his house in Oakland, California. John says progressives are looking for equality, for fairness and for justice and that these are the same values that most Americans have. He went to Berkeley schools in the 60's and 70's, and was excited about the overall cultural search at that time of really trying to understand what equality might be.

Progressive Values Stories: Drew & Carol on Openness v Secrecy 
 I met Drew at an Obama event in Oakland, California and Carol Hanelberg at a convention in Los Angeles. They both had in common a value of openness. Drew is disturbed about the secrecy in government and feels Barack Obama will bring transparency. Carol talked about openness starting at home and extending out to family, friends and society.

Progressive Values Stories: Attica on Caring

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 I met Attica at a house party in Oakland, California. Attica talked about the progressive value of caring about our friends, our communities, our families, our country, the world. I enjoyed hearing her childhood 'funny moment' story of learning about caring from her grand

Progressive Values Stories: Chris Young on Opportunity
vstill-YvJH-TRHLws  I attended an Obama house party in Oakland, California and met Chris Young. Chris is a lawyer who gave up his high paying corporate job to work on the Obama campaign. When I asked him what are progressive values, he talked about the importance of opportunity. He told the story of his African-American father who was in Folsom prison and how some opportunities opened up for him.

Progressive Values Stories: Stephanie Leaf on Open Mindedness
 I met Stephanie Leaf at a Wellstone training workshop in Sacramento California. She told me her progressive value of tolerance for ambiguity and open mindedness, but also shared her frustration at how being open minded, puts progressives at a disadvantage when talking to closed minded conservatives.

Progressive Values Stories: David Sirota On Values and Fairness

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  I attended and video taped a talk by David Sirota at the Wellstone Club in Oakland, California. David mentioned economic fairness as being the major progressive value. 

Progressive Values Stories: Joe Brewer on Empathy
 I ran into Joe Brewer who was cleaning the streets of Oakland on Earth Day. Joe works as a fellow at the Rockridge Institute in Berkeley, California. He says empathy is the basic progressive value and tells a personal story about his experiences growing up in a small town and his visit to the squalor of India.

Progressive Values Stories: Loni Hancock on Empathy and Caring
 This interview is with Loni Hancock, California Assembly member representing the 14th Assembly District: Serving Berkeley, Oakland, etc. Loni says that empathy and caring are the most important progressive values to her. She tells a childhood story about empathy and her visit to the zoo.

Progressive Values Stories; Dotty LeMieux on Personal Liberties and Collective Responsibility
  I am working on a documentary to answer the question, What are Progressive Values? So far, I have interviewed over 100 progressives and have placed over 350 video clips on YouTube with the various replies. I will begin to post some of the transcribed interviews along with direct links to the video taped interviews on

More About Values


 - beliefs of a person or social group in which they have an emotional investment (either for or against something)
  Example: "he has very conservatives values"

Personal values
Personal values evolves from circumstances with the external world and can change over time.
Integrity in the application of values refers to its continuity; persons have integrity if they apply their values appropriately regardless of arguments or negative reinforcement from others. Values are applied appropriately when they are applied in the right area. For example, it would be appropriate to apply religious values in times of happiness as well as in times of despair.

Cultural values
Groups, societies, or cultures have values that are largely shared by their members. The values identify those objects, conditions or characteristics that members of the society consider important; that is, valuable. In the United States, for example, values might include material comfort, wealth, competition, individualism or religiosity. The values of a society can often be identified by noting which people receive honor or respect. In the US, for example, professional athletes are more highly honored than college professors, in part because the society values physical activity and competitiveness more than mental activity and education. Surveys show that voters in the United States would be reluctant to elect an atheist as a president, suggesting that belief in God is a value.

General Questions:

  How would you improve these Progressive Values Stories?

 -  How would you define the word "Values" and "Principles"?
 -  How are "Values" and "Principles" different?

-  What is personally the most important progressive value to you?
-  Do you have a personal story or anecdote of how you learned some insight into this value?
-  How does this progressive value differ from conservative values?

-   How have conservative values failed?

More Progressive Values Stories:
I am working on a documentary to answer the question, What are Progressive Values? So far, I have interviewed over
100 progressives and have placed over 350 video clips on YouTube with the various replies.  This is part of a continuing series of interviews of progressives telling their personal stories about their progressive values.  More Stories at:

Edwin Rutsch
What Are Progressive Values? Documentary Project
and Study Group

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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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