We are the Moral Highground

Democrats and other progressives have the upper moral hand on most issues. We oppose oppression, we support rule of law and human rights, we seek restraint on the use of military force, we value truthfulness in civic life. We have traditionally opposed the death penalty, supported the expansion of rights and liberties to all, and seek an end to perils of poverty. We are called "bleeding hearts" because of our love and concern for all. We're champions of children - children's rights, children's schooling, children's health care. We generally find war repulsive, and seek to restrict war only to when it is the only resort. Pain, death, killing, injustice are forces we seek to overcome. We are driven by our values. Progressive values are the values of ordinary Americans: trust, hard work, care for neighbors, equal opportunity, fairness and compassion.

Our political opposites have a less compelling moral agenda. Expediency before principle is an accepted logic of the right wing - the neoconservatives and their Republican allies. Care and compassion for the poor is often mocked. Goals are shrouded in rhetorical lies. Oppression and war are called freedom and peace. Income transfers from the poor to the rich are called fiscal responsibility. Fear and terrorism are exploited for political and economic gains. Torture is committed in the name of spreading democracy. Life is ended in the name of ideology. And all of these immoral and horrific acts are done in the name of liberty, freedom, democracy, justice and peace. Liberalism, the foundation of our republic and society, is openly scorned while democratic institutions of government are head-on attacked. Our political opponents exploit the moral good of the American people to carry out great acts of evil.


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Values of the Moral Left

I use the term "Moral Left" to make a distinction between the Old Left of interest and patron-based politics and the New Left of value-based politics.  In truth, the Moral Left is not so much new as it is more being revived.  We have a history of moral leadership, and it's time that we renew our work on moral, and not interest-based, politics.  

Here are the ten values that I think define the Moral Left.

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On Being Leadership

How I define leadership largely stems from the writings of Paulo Friere and bell hooks. Friere was a Brazilian educator who developed adult literacy programs to reading in the context of liberation. Friere was a political organizer and a highly regarded academic as well. His education and political theories center on love and intentionality. Bell hooks is an American academic and writer who has expanded on much of Friere's work, placing the work within an American context. Bell's work addresses the cultural and political realities of women and people of color in the United States, as well as the realities of the poor in general.

Defining leadership
Leadership is living intentionally within a community and influencing others.

The central themes of leadership are:

    * Life
    * Intentionality
    * Community
    * Influence

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