Proud to be a Progressive



Recently I found myself discussing politics with some associates and colleagues. A member of the group eventually asked all of us to categorize our views politically. I was excited when it became my time to speak as I proudly stated, I can be categorized as a “progressive”.

By definition, the word progressive means, “moving forward: happening or developing gradually over a period of time: using or interested in new and modern ideas especially in politics and education.”

The word progressive also means, “favoring or advocating progress, improvement and implementing social reform, as opposed to wishing things as they are, especially in political matters.”

Being a progressive living in South Carolina, Laurens County and my hometown, Clinton, can sometimes be challenging and at odds with political directions.

In fact, United States Senator Bernie Sanders agrees with me. He spoke about South Carolina progressives in his new book, Our Revolution. He noted, “ In South Carolina and other southern conservative states, it is very different (from being a progressive elsewhere). In South Carolina, there are two Republican Senators, a Republican Governor, and a very Republican state legislature. In fact, in 2014, because of a resignation, two U. S. Senate seats in the state were up for election. Unbelievably, the Democrats were unable to put up one serious candidate. To be a progressive in South Carolina and other southern states means to be in the minority, sometimes a weak minority. It takes a lot of courage to maintain progressive views in that kind of political climate, and I applaud those who do”.

Senator Sanders is correct and I agree with him.

I have made note of one organization that promotes a progressive agenda - The Public Leadership Institute. It defines itself as, “a non-profit, nonpartisan policy and leadership center organized to raise public awareness on key issues of equity and justice and to develop public leaders who will improve the economic conditions of all Americans.

The institute states it will promote the following agenda - raise the minimum wage, provide sick leave and bargaining rights for workers, implement a living wage, legalize same-sex marriage, protect immigrants from harassment, prohibit racial profiling, protect privacy rights, address climate change, encourage solar energy, discourage smoking, promote reproductive health, cut tax giveaways to the rich, and enact a wide variety of election reforms.

This agenda appears progressive to me. These are progressive ideas and positions that when implemented will improve the economic and social conditions of all Americans.

Proud to be a progressive.


(Lumus Byrd is a retired businessman and lives in Clinton.)

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