There is much talk about the Democratic party being a big tent capable of accepting people with diverse views, and that's a good thing. Nevertheless, I've always been under the impression that what that means is that those diverse views fall within the spectrum of liberalism and/or progressivism.
In other words, I can't see a rabid racist or homophobe as being able to fit within that spectrum.
I'm writing this to encourage discussion on the issue of what it means to be a Democrat, and a progressive...
I'll start the discussion by sharing my understanding about what it is to be a Democrat and a progressive. Of course, I welcome any dissenting voices who disagree with that understanding and if their views are backed up convincing arguments, I'll be glad to reassess mine accordingly.
Money and politics: We view this as the root cause of political corruption and co-option. It basically means that wealthy interests (individuals and corporate cartels) buy off politicians through a system of legalized bribery (campaign donations and lucrative revolving door jobs) in order to influence them into adopting policies/legislation that ends up exploiting and oppressing the population, and destroying our natural environment.
Therefore, we seek to understand exactly how this process is taking place, and to expose it, and oppose it. We seek to expose the corruption, the questionable relationships, and the hypocrisy--of politicians saying one thing in order to be elected, and doing something else (to the benefit of their paymasters) when they are in office (hoping to cash in with lucrative revolving door jobs when they leave).
We understand that during the last several years Wall Street engaged in massive criminal activity, looting the country's (and citizen's) coffers, and that it appears that government functionaries may have shielded them from accountability.
Civil And Constitutional Rights: We value our freedoms and our constitutional rights. We value privacy rights, workers' rights, women's rights. We believe in the rights of workers to unionize. We object to corporate-influenced national security apparatus being used as a tool of oppression against the citizenry, and thus we do not accept the premise that government and corporate spy networks have the right to collect data on us indiscriminately, to build massive dossiers on millions of citizens, and to target individuals and organizations in order to disrupt their constitutionally-protected rights as activists.
We reject, oppose, and unite in solidarity against government abuses of power, including the detention of people without charge, war crimes like extra-judicial assassinations of American citizens, the killing of thousands of innocent people as the result of unmanned drone attacks.
We oppose the privatization of prisons (and horrendous abuses of undocumented immigrants, including beatings, rape, inadequate health care), and public schools.
We advocate for LGBT rights, voting rights, women's rights, worker's rights, environmental protection.
Military Industrial Complex: We oppose and reject the military industrial complex insofar as it is used for the benefit of war profiteers who have an incentive to manufacture conflicts around the world. We've seen this happened in recent history, in Iraq, for example.
We reject the massive amount of jingoistic propaganda every time the MIC tries to hoodwink the population into another misadventure for which the public ends up paying the highest price.
Politics: We understand that by adhering to the basic principles of what it means to be a progressive and a Democrat, and by speaking truth to power without fear, we are actually helping the party... Because we understand that those who stand for nothing, will fall for anything.
Again, this is my understanding of what it means to be a Democrat and a Progressive. Am I missing something? Do you have a different understanding? If so, please share it for the sake of (respectful and fruitful) discussion.