Terry McAuliffe's Conversation with Virginians

Causes and candidates supported by Heidi Li

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September 06, 2008


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For me, the word "progressive" has become associated with the rot that infects the Democratic party. How about trying to reclaim the word "Liberal".


Too much negative connotation to "liberal." I wouldn't be concerned at this point with what the movement is called, as long as it "moves."

I very much look forward to following (and maybe participating in) the conversation. These efforts are heartening. Thank you, Heidi Li!


"Too much negative connotation to "liberal." "

You are just annoys me that I have been defined by "Rush" and wing-nut radio. I think that after Nov 4, however, the word "progressive" will be in worse shape, thanks to the "progressive blogs".


I don't have a problem with populist or liberal. I'm more concerned with the negative connotation of "progressive", courtesy of the infantile set of bloggers who used to care about things like justice, the Constitution, democratic values, and other such old-fashioned words.

Heidi, as part of your series, I'd like you to address, if you would, two issues that I think have been hurting the foreward movement of democracy, IMO:

1) The disdain of learning that seems to have overtaken the populace. Since democracy depends on an educated society, the mindlessness of people who no longer understand politics, history or geography means that Democrats--who tend to run on issues rather than personality--are always behind the campaign curve.

2) The inability to converse with neighbors in a language or at a level that allows meaningful discourse.


Heidi Li Feldman wrote:
"The centrality of autonomous individuals receiving decent treatment from their political leaders and political institutions, as well as from powerful corporate actors."

I would go a step beyond requiring "decent treatment from their political leaders" to requiring that political leaders put the interests and rights of the autonomous individuals, whom they are elected to represent, ahead of their own. Elected officials have a duty to the electorate, which is implied in the concept of representative government.

Heidi Li Feldman wrote:
"The need to transcend the idea that in a vibrant democracy total unanimity on every point is a prerequisite for a movement toward a more humane, decent, civilized and classically liberal political and social climate."

Broad acceptance of political correctness has lead to the false belief that lack of divergent discourse represents a higher and more pure form of human interaction. Not only does this mindset stifle freedom of speech, but it creates an environment where new ideas cannot take root and flourish. New ideas are necessary because the long-term survival of any civilization depends upon its ability to evolve and meet the challenges of an eternally changing world.

Heidi Li Feldman wrote:
"The importance of an educated, engaged electorate remaining focused on politics in their cities and towns, states, and their nation and the world at large.

The significance of science and the humanities in coming to understand how our world (natural and social) works and how we can make it better."

Many cultural barriers exist to achieving this goal. Ours is an anti-intellectual society where superficiality is valued more than essence. Knowledge and reason play a limited role in modern society, which changes the meaning and goal of "education" for most people. Perhaps, this is why so few Americans understand the necessity of facts and reason to properly comprehend the world around us. How these barriers can be overcome is unclear, but certainly worth considering.

Heidi Li Feldman wrote:
"The need to embrace debate and disagreement as hallmarks of a healthy body politic, while at the same time coming together on the issues that most affect human welfare."

Even after the most heated debate, it is always possible to find common ground. On that common ground we can plant the seeds of cooperation and collaboration, despite our differences.

Heidi Li Feldman wrote:
"Whether we end up with a third party or a reincarnation of the Democratic Party (or a virtually total reinvention of the Republican Party) will flow from which politicians prove themselves, by word and deed, to be genuinely progressive and to be willing to fight for the ideals, values, and immediate goals of populist progressivism."

In my view, electing progressive politicians should be a short-term goal and part of a broader long-term strategy comprised of cultural, educational, societal, and governmental changes, all designed to ensure full and equal rights and enhance the quality of life of each and every member of society.

Heidi Li Feldman wrote:
"This is the beginning of a conversation."

Indeed, it is.


I am asking myself whether a 2 party system would still be adequate in our multi faceted society: this tendency to opose each other, the practise of perpetual generalisation of contributions from either side may unduly inhibit cooperation and the necessary constant renewal by having become a closed system?

Would additional parties open the system? Surely there would be coalescing, but before there would have to be negociations, which again could bring new ways of thinking into the system. It might empower more the grass root by the sheer variety, by being less monopolized and the misuse of power could be easier balanced because of diversity?


By the way:
the adequate label (progresive, liberal or others) to pop up, in my experience, in the course of the process. Not to worry at the beginning of a conversation.

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