By Alberto Pupo
Roots Camp 2013 has come and gone, during this time the Progressives have found a way to fix the “healthcare crisis in America”. Once again instead of focusing on all the positive and good that comes from a mass gathering of Progressive Organizers and leadership, thefocus is shifted to the healthcare issue. Not only do conservatives and mainstream media sources miss the point of Roots Camp completely, but it seems like there is an overall misunderstanding of what it means to be Progressive in the first place.
The Roots Camp experience was an awe-inspiring sight to a first time roots camper. 2,000 Progressives fighting the good fight. The opening even featured an impromptu unannounced speech by Senator Elizabeth Warren, it was short yet powerful (and terribly Presidential). Yet during this two-day camp there was something that was not discussed, there was a part of the “agenda” that was given the “cold shoulder”. This lack of agenda was brought up in a piece in Slate magazine by am I left or right? Slate Contributor David Weigel.
The issue with healthcare brought up with David Weigel falls into a typical trap. One, which connects President Obama with the term Progressive. It seems that the right wing does not care to understand what true Progressivism is. In this article he wonders why a “progressive event” is not going on record to defend the Affordable Healthcare Act. This is a problem in American politics is the incorrect definition of Progressivism. While the Obama Campaign utilized Progressive rhetoric such as Hope and Change in governance the Obama Administration stayed true to its Clintonian Centrist Democrat roots.” The Obama candidacy though brought back the use of the term Progressive into the mainstream.
When one analyzes Progressivism you see a philosophy which is based on Social Freedom and equality regardless of race, color, ethnicity, gender religion. While at the same time a Government that helps promote justice on the economic realm. For all intents and purposes American Progressivism is nothing more than Socialism American style!
Socialism, a dirty, filthy word, forever connected to the horrors of Communism; Progressives are always looking to run away from the term because Socialism is often presented as an evil system that oppresses and represses. Yet the Progressive movement believes in the power of government as a force of good.
Government especially becomes a useful tool to rein in an attempt to control the Capitalist Robber Barons from shifting our Nation into an unfettered “ free market of horror. The problem is that Socialism because of the Red Scare and the spirit of Mccarthy which still permeates American society has been declared a pariah even though Progressivism in its heart is closer to the spirit of Socialism except while it accepts government, the Progressive movement is also about the power of the individual being able to effect and work for change.
The Affordable Healthcare Act does not quite meet the standard for a Progressive Movement. This is because instead of opting for Universal Healthcare in an effort to please Conservatives, the President simply went halfway towards healthcare reform rather than full reform. So yes Mr. Weigel your brethren have caused the healthcare crisis in America. Roots Camp is more about the power of organizing from the bottom up. It is about how to maintain a movement as Progressive try to fight the powers of unfettered Capitalism any other interpretation is simply a failure to understand the concept of Progressivism.