“And you call yourself a “Progressive?”
“Yeah, I do!”
“But you own guns and hunt and like being in the wilderness. You actually kill animals and eat them. How can you possibly fit into the mold of a Progressive?”
“Not only do I own ‘guns’ I also carry one.”
“Oh My God – you carry a gun.”
“Yeah – you got a problem with that.”
“No, no I would never tell you I have a problem with that, you might shoot me.”
Okay, those of you who have the ability to read and think are probably way ahead of me. You are right if you have figured out that I am reacting to a societal need to put people in easily definable groups. Compartmentalization strips us of uniqueness and the right to exist as an individual. That is perhaps my biggest issue with Marxist Socialism. His construct was dependent upon reducing the individual to a part of the whole in character and purpose.
So how can I say that I am a Progressive? Well, let me start with this statement – I think therefore I am. To carry that point further – I question therefore I am. To be a progressive has meant many things for many people and for many years. For some, the term refers to favoring or advocating progress, change, improvement, or reform, as opposed to wishing to maintain things as they are, especially in political matters.
All of those issues I can support. For some, the term has a more active sense, as in making progress toward better conditions, employing or advocating more enlightened or liberal ideas, new or experimental methods. A more active meaning for the term is also something I have no problem with.
So, as I seek to understand the particular bias that concludes without much investigation that a Gun Owner, a Hunter [and fisherman, that owns numerous fishing tackle], a Legally Licensed to Carry Concealed individual can not appropriately be deserving of inclusion within a “self proclaimed” progressive company of fellow human beings.
Oh my goodness, I forgot another interest that is certainly not acceptable within the rank and file of “progressives.” I built, drove and enjoyed “hot rod’ Mustangs. I enjoy NASCAR. I once belonged to the NHRA – National Hot Rod Association. I currently belong to the NRA. Kinda feel like that auto insurance commercial where the guy fades away as the years go by. Can it be that who I am and what I enjoy can really disqualify me from something that I feel needs support and effort – namely the improvement of living conditions for the multitudes of less fortunate people in this Nation.
As for belonging to the NRA – I do. I do not support much of the extreme agenda and dislike the constant attempts to raise money. My only reason for belonging is to have a voice in the vitriolic and toxic arena that some call “Gun Control.” This in my opinion is a misnomer. Gun Control is what I do with my weapon. The correct label is Gun Ownership Control.” However, that is an entirely different topic for another time.
A very short look at history might be useful. The Progressive Movement began in the late 19th and early 20th centuries in cities with settlement workers and reformers who were interested in helping those facing harsh conditions at home and at work. The reformers spoke out about the need for laws regulating tenement housing and child labor. They also called for better working conditions for women.
I am who I am – I have never pretended to be anything but who I am. Yet, I know that there are people who enjoy the feeling they give themselves when they can look at an individual and somehow feel they are more entitled to being included because they are “truly” progressive in every aspect of belief.
I want to suggest that the forgoing opinion points to a harsh reality in our midst. This is how the religious right and many conservatives deal with the non religious, irreligious, progressive, Democrat and “left” of center members of the human race.
If you or I do not fit into a preconceived notion of how to think, what to do, etc. then we are not considered worthy of calling ourselves citizens.
This is not a reaction to any specific issue that I have been confronted with. It is factual and I am “that guy”. In a civilized world, society, town or local group – it is my firmly held conviction that it is the character of the person which carries the day.
I do call myself a progressive. I do hope that confuses certain people. I do not intend to march in lock step with the rest of the sheep. As Albert Einstein observed “He who joyfully marches in rank and file has already earned my contempt. He has been given a large brain by mistake, sense for him the spinal cord would suffice.” Einstein again, “Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning.”
Can you paddle the boat when I get tired? Can you help carry the word when I am silenced? Will you march with me and know me as I will come to know you?