What it Means to Be Progressive Today

Shaheera Khan   Contributing Writer

In today’s political climate, the term progressive gets thrown around very casually. Everyone has an opinion about what it means to be a progressive. Personally, I associate the word progressive with democrat and liberal. I also associate the term with certain political figures, such as Bernie Sander, Kamala Harris, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. I have a pretty clear idea in my head about what it means to be a progressive and I also identify myself as one.

A progressive in a traditional sense reminds me of someone who fiscally believes the United States would benefit from a bottom-up government instead of the “trickle-down” government. Fiscally this looks like instituting universal health care, investing federal funding into programs that benefit low-income communities, taxing the wealthy at a higher percentage than the poor, and other improvements in society by reform. The people who I have mentioned above have been huge advocates for trying to implement these policies. Bernie Sanders had a very socialist approach when running for president, for example, he pushed for free college for all students. Kamala Harris has been a powerful advocate for Medicare for all. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is also very vocal about her beliefs in holding the country’s wealthiest individuals accountable and having them give back by taxing them more.

When it comes to the social aspect, I see progressives as people that believe and demand social equality and equity. They are supporters of more rights for the LGBTQ+ community, women, and minorities as a whole. I also see them as people who are vocal about racism in the U.S. and abroad, and willing to address the wrong that has been done to people of color.

As a whole, progressives are quite open-minded and liberal. Although one should understand that liberal and progressive are not the exact same thing—the same way one should know that being a democrat does not mean you’re liberal— their social and political ideologies certainly overlap.

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