Progressive Agenda identifies the pillars upon which
healthy social structures can be built. Each pillar
is designed to improve, even rescue, the lives of
vulnerable populations. From financial traps, to failing
schools, to jobs, to methods for strengthening families
and communities—each pillar of support enhances the
lives of the poor and middle class—which in turn benefits
the whole society.
The solutions are not mysterious, not unknown; nor
are the means by which to achieve them. We know what
they are and how to apply them. There is simply, and
too often, no will to organize and enact the agenda.
But indifference and inaction stops here. With Mayor
de Blasio's insistence and foresight along with the
dedication and passion of serious progressives, vital
changes in our cities and towns will surface.
Remember when we used to be called 'citizens'? There
were levels of citizenship, certainly, but we were
citizens none-the-less. "I am an American citizen"
was our proud boast. Then, following World War Two,
the prosperous decades began and we were called 'consumers.'
The American consumer wants; the American consumer
needs—and consume we did. Items that were once luxuries
became necessities and, unlike our great grandparents,
we were ashamed to have only one pair of shoes or
one 'Sunday' dress. Being a consumer is not without
pleasure or comfort. Yet now we are identified by
a brand new label—one that floods political speech,
pundit themes, and media headlines. Taxpayer. It seems
that definition is all we are. The difference between
understanding oneself as a citizen or as a taxpayer
is not merely wide; it is antagonistic. A citizen
thinks primarily about his/her community, is preoccupied
with the safety of the neighborhood, the health of
the elderly and disabled, the nurture and well-being
of the young.
A taxpayer thinks mostly about his or herself, about
who or what is taxing, that is to say 'taking', his
hard-earned money to give to some undeserving body
or some other distant, wasteful thing.
The Progressive Agenda seeks to return us to citizenship,
the happily adult responsibility of citizens to each
other: how to ensure a livable wage for all of us;
how to improve schools in all our neighborhoods; how
to protect working class jobs and pensions from predators
who rely on exploitation and selfish behavior; how
to welcome the immigrant, the "huddled masses" we
ALL [except for Native Americans and slaves] once
This new Progressive Agenda re-imagines citizenship
and is far, far more than worthy; it is crucial.