Progressive Ponderings: Giving thanks
Have we ever really given thanks to our predecessor progressives who made our current life the most comfortable in the history of humankind? We need to recognize our founding fathers for the progressives that they were. We can claim them as our own. Conservatives would like to deny this, but just ask the English king and his royalty if those American upstarts were not radicals. You can’t get much more radical than rebelling against your king. The main thing that happened, the most progressive, the most radical, was changing the rule of man(king) to the rule of law. Dissent against unjust rule became a virtue. How is dissent treated in the U.S. currently?
Thanks to Thomas Jefferson who, once he and his fellow mutineers achieved power, never forgot that dissent was important to a free people.
Thanks to Abraham Lincoln who held the nation together and suffered the ultimate rejection – death. This great Republican progressive faced the anger of wealth and did the right thing. Progressives usually take the side of people over property rights.
Thanks to those early union organizers. Many of them suffered severe hardship and even death in advancing the radical idea that human beings should be treated in a fair manner. The struggle was long and hard. And now it looks like it will have to be fought once again.
Thanks to Susan B. Anthony and the many others who took on patriarchy and its prejudicial rules. Add to them the women of the 1960s and 1970s who pushed equality even farther.
Thanks to Rosa Parks and Dr. Martin Luther King for helping us to recognize race as only a God-given diversity. Their work needs to continue.
Thanks to Hubert Humphrey, Eugene McCarthy, Walter Mondale, and Paul Wellstone for leading the way. Minnesota has been blessed with a progressive tradition because of them as well as many others.
Thanks to Gandhi and Nelson Mandela for showing us the way to achieve the peaceful overthrow of injustice. Prison was their reward but also their strength.
Thanks to the storytellers and prophets, Tolstoy, George B. Shaw, Twain, Chief Seattle amongst thousands of others, who allowed us to experience our inhumanity to humanity over the years and around the globe.
Thanks to those spiritual leaders who through the centuries kept reminding us that each is made in the image of God. Many of these, too, suffered death for their stand against power.
Thanks to all those liberals, radicals, progressives who have gone before us to light the way. Let their courage and leadership be the beacon we need in these troubled times. But most of all let’s hope that we can worthily take up their unfinished causes so that eventually more of humankind may experience justice.