I find myself in an odd position starting a blog from a progressive point of view. Why is that? Well, for a good amount of time I was a conservative blogger. In fact, back in 2004 I was even featured in the San Diego Tribune supporting Bush.
For liveblogger Nick Queen, the point is mainly to record immediate, pre-spin impressions so they’re preserved for readers to weigh later.
“Mostly I expect my regular visitors to watch the debate and visit my blog afterward (as well as) several others to see what we thought and caught,” says Queen, a college student and Bush supporter in Wheeling, W.Va.
His site, Patriot Paradox (patriotparadox.mu.nu), is billed as “a conservative Christian weblog on life, liberty and politics.”
For a blogger mostly focused on after-the-fact readers, Queen was startlingly quick with some fact-checking during Wednesday’s debate.
Within minutes of Kerry’s mention of some tax statistics, Queen had posted links to Kerry’s own Web site and the Yahoo Tax Center to rebut the argument.
Now, over ten years later I can say that life experiences and more knowledge of politics and policy have brought me to where I am today. I am definitely not a conservative. I am also not a liberal. As my blog title itself suggests, I am now a progressive. What exactly does this mean? ThinkProgress quoted “Progressive Thinking: A Synthesis of Progressive Values, Beliefs, and Positions in What it Means to Be Progressive: A Manifesto, saying:
Our approach is simple to summarize and is built upon the ideas of generations of progressives from Theodore Roosevelt and Franklin Roosevelt to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Barack Obama: everyone gets a fair shot, everyone does his or her fair share, and everyone plays by the same rules. As progressives, we believe that everyone deserves a fair shot at a decent, fulfilling, and economically secure life. We believe that everyone should do his or her fair share to build this life through education and hard work and through active participation in public life. And we believe that everyone should play by the same set of rules with no special privileges for the well-connected or wealthy.
In today’s political climate this is a more important idea than ever before. Wealth inequality is at an all-time high. Poverty is spreading like an epidemic and there are no signs of it ending anytime soon. But, how did I get to where I am today?
Well, back in 2004 I was a college student working toward a bachelor in secondary education. I graduated in 2009 with a Bachelor of Arts in Secondary Education in English and Social Science. In my last semester I realized I disliked teaching. I went into the labor market looking for something, anything that would allow me to help others but also I would enjoy. I started working at a community mental health agency in Wheeling, WV. It was an eye-opening experience.
Up to that point I knew there was poverty in the United States. It is one thing to know something, but another thing to see it. Heck, i wasn’t exactly rolling in money. I was living in section 8 housing but overall was doing OK. Some of the places I went working this job were bleak. People living lives with no hope and you could just see it in their eyes.
My first job at this community mental health center was working with children and their families. I soon transitioned into working at a crisis stabilization unit. In this job, I worked closely with the homeless, substance abusers, clients experiencing psychotic breaks and everything in between. It was an interesting job and I learned a lot.
First and foremost, I saw the effects of bad policy. I realized that my belief system up to that point was not one that would effectively fix the problems I witnessed. While working this job, I made the decision to go for my Master degree in Social Work. In 2011, I entered West Virginia University to start working toward this degree. In 2012, I began working with child protective services in West Virginia. This continued educating me on the perils of drug use, poverty and bad policy.
When I say bad policy I am discussing many things. First and foremost, how this nation addresses homeless and poverty. At times, the cards are stacked against people to get out of poverty. Conservatives will point toward people who work hard and crawl out of the gutter by the skin of their teeth. It’s commendable, but there are some who are unable to do this. Some are suffering from mental illnesses that prevent them from accessing work. Others are in situations where life is stacked against them. Single mothers who have to choose work or taking care of their children. People who need medication to survive but have no way of paying for it. People who could not afford to even access healthcare.
Affordable Care Act helped some but also increased prices for others. Even then, the process to sign up for it was arduous. Some made enough money that they would not get it for paid for, and then had to take money from a paycheck that was already too small and have to choose to pay or be penalized.
All of this is stuff we can get into later. The fact is that the conservative values that I long held did little for them.
Now some would argue that one should still stick with the Republicans or conservative to protect the innocent babies the liberals want to kill by millions. These same conservatives wish to also cut funding to food stamps, housing and medical care for those same children. I have seen this happen.
I still struggle with abortion issues. I understand both sides of the argument and honestly don’t feel the need to argue it. I will argue this, though. You cannot protect the rights of unborn babies but then allow them to be born into poverty, be willing to cut their resources and still say you support their rights. You don’t. You are fine with them being born but deprive them of the necessary essentials to live that life.
As such, in 2016 I find myself supporting Bernie Sanders. On a larger scale, I find myself a progressive and one that will support these views to improve my nation and the lives of those here regardless of the amount of wealth they have. All should have the chance to live fulfilled lives.