Monday, April 10, 2006

Most of the time I consider myself a progressive when it comes to many of the issues facing people in the world today. I may not be fully informed on a lot of these issues, but I feel that if we refuse to take action toward creating a better world (or simply decide to remain where we are because it appears that we are safe) is just as destructive as consciously trying to destroy the world. I often try to sum up the difference between conservatives and progressives in this way, "conservatives don't want things to get worse and progressives want things to get better."

Which one is right?

That's the type of question each person must answer for themselves. I can never be a conservative because I truly believe that life is an ever-constant-changing-process that we are always facing. Things will never stay the same.

One of the periodicals that we've been reading for the past few years is "The Sun" magazine. It's a collection of memoirs, poetry, short stories, reader's perspectives and quotes. Everything in it can help you look at the world differently, which as human beings (and as progressives) is one of our constant challenges. "The Sun" always begins with an intervew with an inportant progressive voice in the world today. These interviews always give me new insight into the diversity of the world that we live in and opens my eyes to the hope that humanity can live together peacefully regardless of borders, culture, religion or language.

--"There is an emerging progressive Muslim voice in the U.S. that is trying to remind American society of the foundation on which this country was built. The task of all progressives in America-not just Muslim progressives-is to ask: Are we living up to those values? Or are we instead abusing the rhetoric of freedom, insisting merely that other people be more like us? Progressives must refuse to give in to the lack of will and imagination among dominant conservative groups. They have to create solidarity across religious and political divides. In all societies, progressives will always be a minority; their role is to be the culture's conscience."

In the current issue, there is an interview with a prominent Muslim scholar here in the U.S. and it is very enlightening; a clear perspective about American policies in the Middle east that isn't coming from a so-called fundamentalist. In our society, where it is very easy to fall into media-fueled prejudices it is refreshing to hear a different voice, one that is filled with understanding and clarity.

--"The regimes we support in Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Egypt invite fundamentalism because they leave no room for rational political discourse, for voicing one's opinion through elections, for working within the system to remove people from power. Citizens come to see violence as the only option."

We tend to forget that all the terrorists that we are currently fighting are coming from countries where brutal dictators are being supported by the U.S. As the War on Terror continues and questions regarding the causes of it begin to be revealed, the U.S. will not be looking so morally divine.

--"The irony is that most Americans think they are moral yet remain unconcerned about the immoral way their government exercises power. That's what I find hardest to understand; the level of self-delusion that Americans allow themselves. Then again, I suppose that if Americans really thought about what their government is doing, they might go crazy."

Thus...conservatives are born!

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