“…For progressives, a crucial guiding principle in regard to public policy is to secure the common good while protecting individual liberty to the fullest extent possible. The progressive understanding of the “common good” is based on the conviction that not only is each individual endowed with human dignity, purpose, and worth, but also that human society as a whole should reflect these characteristics. Therefore, human beings together should strive to realize social relations based on these universal values…” excerpt from The Progressive Conscience in Action by Rev. Dr. Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite, Center for American Progress, April 6, 2009
Progressive Vision and Principles from From Don’t Think of an Elephant by George Lakoff
The basic progressive vision is of community. • Caring and responsibility, carried out with strength • Protection, fulfillment in life, fairness • Freedom, opportunity, prosperity • Community, service, cooperation • Trust, honesty, open communications
Progressive Principles • Equity • Equality • Democracy • Government for a better future • Ethical business • Values-based foreign policy
The Charter for Compassion - The best idea humanity has ever had — The Charter for Compassion is a document that transcends religious, ideological, and national differences. Supported by leading thinkers from many traditions, the Charter activates the Golden Rule around the world. The principle of compassion lies at the heart of all religious, ethical and spiritual traditions, calling us always to treat all others as we wish to be treated ourselves. Compassion impels us to work tirelessly to alleviate the suffering of our fellow creatures, to dethrone ourselves from the centre of our world and put another there, and to honour the inviolable sanctity of every single human being, treating everybody, without exception, with absolute justice, equity and respect.
Statement of Principles — Unitarian Universalist
We, the member congregations of the Unitarian Universalist Association, covenant to affirm and promote
· The inherent worth and dignity of every person;
· Justice, equity and compassion in human relations;
· Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations;
· A free and responsible search for truth and meaning;
· The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large;
· The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all;
· Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.
The living tradition which we share draws from many sources:
· Direct experience of that transcending mystery and wonder, affirmed in all cultures, which moves us to a renewal of the spirit and an openness to the forces which create and uphold life;
· Words and deeds of prophetic women and men which challenge us to confront powers and structures of evil with justice, compassion, and the transforming power of love;
· Wisdom from the world’s religions which inspires us in our ethical and spiritual life;
· Jewish and Christian teachings which call us to respond to God’s love by loving our neighbors as ourselves;
· Humanist teachings which counsel us to heed the guidance of reason and the results of science, and warn us against idolatries of the mind and spirit.
· Spiritual teachings of earth-centered traditions which celebrate the sacred circle of life and instruct us to live in harmony with the rhythms of nature.
Prophetic Justice Principles for America by The Rev. Dr. James A. Forbes, Jr. — The Riverside Church in the City of New York - We the members of faith communities in the United States, inspired by the Hebrew prophets, lift up the following questions to test public policy against the principles of righteousness and justice in our society. We ask the citizens and leaders of America to bear the following issues in mind as they seek to restore the spiritual, moral, and democratic values upon which our nation was built.
1. Does the policy represent the common good of society rather than the interest of an elite few?
2. Is the policy based on a true analysis and does it disclose its true intention? How likely is the outcome to achieve its proposed purpose?
3. Does the policy hold the prospect of reducing the polarization and fragmentation of the society due to race, religion, class, gender, sexual orientation or national origin?
4. Does the policy have the capacity to be good news for the poor? Does it reverse the trend toward widening the gap between rich and poor?
5. Is the policy good for children, the elderly, and the disadvantaged? Does it show sensitivity to the spirit of the golden rule?
6. Does the policy refrain from the arrogant assumption that the powerful have the right to ignore the interests and subsistence needs of the less advantaged segment of the society?
7. Does the policy provide for free press, free discussion, and the expansion of dissent along with fair and just methods of participation in the democratic process?
8. Does the policy encourage respect for persons and nations other than our own? Does it respect the right of self-determination of other nation-states?
9. Is the policy based on commitment to a global vision of cooperation and mutuality of respect rather than relying on unilateral military actions for empire-building and domination strategies? Does it use diplomacy as a valued instrument of statecraft in resolving international conflicts?
10. Is the policy supportive of strong measures to insure ecological responsibility and sustainability?
The Cry for Democratic Moral Leadership and Effective Communication by George Lakoff, Truthout.org, September 2, 2010 - Excerpt …Morality is behind everything in politics — and progressives and conservatives have different moral systems.
In the conservative moral system, the highest value is preserving and extending the moral system itself.…Their moral system requires non-cooperation. That is a major thing the Obama administration has not understood…The attacks on government are seen as moral attacks, with government seen as taking money out of working people’s pockets and giving it to people who don’t deserve it…There is no one center. Instead, a considerable number of Americans (perhaps as many as 15 to 20 percent) are conservative in some respects and progressive in other respects.…
it is language — moral language, not policy language, heard over and over — that strengthens one political moral system over the other and determines how people vote. The Democrats need to reach the swing thinkers — the people who are moral conservatives on some issues and moral progressives on others — and strengthen their progressive moral views. The kitchen table arguments must become moral arguments as well — arguments about freedom, life, fairness and the most central of American values…
America is, and has always been, fundamentally about Americans caring about each other and acting responsibly on that care. Empathy, which he proclaimed over and over was the most important thing his mother taught him and is the basis of our form of government. Responsibility is both personal and social…
Offense not defense. Argue for your values. Frame all issues in terms of your values. Avoid their language, even in arguing against them…Don’t move to the right in your discourse or action. That will just strengthen the conservative moral system in the brains of swing thinkers. Frame your arguments from your moral position…
Democrats need a truly effective communication system. They need unified morally-based framing of issues. They need to train spokespeople all over the country in using such framing and avoiding mistakes. They need to organize those spokespeople. And they need to book them, as conservatives do, on radio, TV, in civic and religious groups, in schools and universities. This is doable, but this late, it will take resolve from the top.
Winning this election will require the right policies and actions, but it will also require moral leadership with honest, morally-based messaging and a communications that will not just blog and knock on doors, but will be there in the districts with the crucial swing thinkers 24/7 day and night.The Democrats cannot take their base for granted. Only moral leadership backed by actions and communicated effectively can excite the Obama base once more. Without that excitement, the Democrats will lose big.
Obama Returns to His Moral Vision: Democrats Read Carefully! by George Lakoff,
April 17, 2011 — Excerpt - The policy topic happened to be the budget, but he called it “The Country We Believe In” for a reason. The real topic was how the progressive moral system defines the democratic ideals America was founded on, and how those ideals apply to specific issues. Obama’s moral vision, which he applied to the budget, is more general: it applies to every issue.
All politics is moral. Political leaders put forth proposals on the assumption that their proposals are the right things to do, not the wrong things to do. But progressives and radical conservatives have very different ideas of right and wrong.
The basic idea is this: Democracy is based on empathy, that is, on citizens caring about each other and acting on that care, taking responsibility not just for themselves but for their families, communities, and their nation. The role of government is to carry out this principle in two ways: protection and empowerment…