“Moral values” has become the hot-button phrase since November 2. To counter the implication that progressives have no “morals” or “values,” In These Times conducted an informal survey of its online audience to determine how progressives define themselves and their principles. The survey, Progressive Priorities, also asked readers to identify the top issues and strategies progressives should focus on during the next four years.
Of the more than 450 people who responded to the survey, 75 percent agreed progressives should be concerned with “moral values.” But the conservatives’ frame for “moral values” — abortion, gay marriage, and prayer in the schools — weren’t at the top of progressives’ list. Below are our readers’ responses, including selected quotes.
What are the top five key issues for progressives in the next four years?
What three tactics should progressives focus on?
What values do progressives have in common?
“The economy is here for our benefit, not vice versa.”
“ We are stewards of our planet, not stockholders.”
“Empathy: other people’s suffering matters.”
“Injustice is repugnant.”
“The belief that the system should eliminate barriers and create opportunities so that everyone has the possibility to go as far as their skills will allow.”
“We think that there should be a level playing field for educational and economic opportunities; we respect diversity; we believe in a clear distinction between government and religion; we believe that we are responsible for protecting the environment.”
“Progressives try to avoid ‘faith based’ arguments.”
“Peace and justice, good public education system, fair trade, independent media, environmental protection, election reform and reversing corporate control of our government.”
“Building on the values expressed in the Constitution, particularly in the Bill of Rights.”
“Community. We do our part in the family community, the local community, and the global community.”
“The well-established but now threatened social and economic web of job and labor protection; social security; the need for better healthcare and cheaper drugs; the rollback of the tax cuts for the rich; safeguarding clean air and water.”
“We want equality, meaning fairness for all regardless of family backgrounds or bank statements.”
“Human rights and the environment are top priorities. Corporate greed and power is the cause of many injustices in the nation and the world. Education and public access to truth and honest media are essential for a democracy.”
How do you define your personal principles and values?
“I’m an envirocommupacifist …”
“My personal principles and values stem from a deep respect for individual rights and liberties balanced by an understanding that in the interest in the well being of society I must accept the limiting of certain of my freedoms.”
“John F. Kennedy spoke my mind in 1960 when he said: ‘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.’ “
“If your actions impact other members of the world, your actions are subject to review from the members of society.”
“I am pro-women, pro-choice, pro-environment, pro-reason, pro-social justice, pro-economic justice, against corporate personhood, for the rights of people over profits and giving every person the opportunity to fulfill his or her potential instead of denying those opportunities and blaming them for their failures.”
“It is my responsibility to keep myself informed about what is going on in the world, and to refrain from contributing to the established system of injustice as much as possible.”
“People matter more than principles, that is, do what’s right and damn the consequences.”
“It is important to treat people equally and fairly. It is also important to work hard and make a contribution to society.”
“I have a personal set of moral values that are mine alone. I can’t expect others to live by them because they have not shared my unique experience.”
“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
“I feel that all people have the right to health care, a living wage, freedom to express how one feels without persecution of any sort. Also, a clean and healthy environment so many generations will have one to enjoy.”
“Modern, fair, tough, honest, realistic, open-minded, logical and analytical… with an eye on the long-term.”
“Always tell the truth.”
“As a progressive Catholic, my personal principles and values represent those presented by Jesus.”
“I care about the welfare of everyone, not just me. Health care is a right, not a privilege. I believe in the Bill of Rights (as written, not interpreted by Conservatives) and the right to privacy is high on the list.”
Start your own discussion of progressive values below.