Motley Moose – Archive

Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics

Late night open thread

This song pretty much sums it all up for me. The message in this song and the feelings it invokes are at the heart of my political beliefs.

Last night, in the wee, dark hours, I was doing what all good liberals do – examining my beliefs. I came to what I thought was an interesting insight about my political beliefs.

Almost every political discussion in this country eventually refers to the Founders. They left us a lot of wisdom. It would be foolish to ignore that wisdom or the history they left us. That’s where I started my search.

Part of that wisdom can be found in the Declaration of Independence. They wrote, “We hold these truths to be self-evident”. The first and foremost of those truths is that  “all men are created equal”.

The more I thought about it, the more I realized that this one truth is the foundation for everything that comes after. A democracy couldn’t exist without this one belief at its core.

This may seem a strange claim when countless examples of democracies have existed that have had obvious inequalities. The United States had slavery and eventually declared that Africans were 3/5ths of a white man. Doesn’t that relegate that truth to being a nice idea whose time is yet to come?

It is true that, in the beginning, that truth came with a lot of qualifiers, but it was the sole justification for freedom from monarchy. Why have a democracy if all men aren’t equal? Why not have a monarchy and fuedalism?

At first, this truth was only true in theory. Over the years, our ancestors continuously expanded the scope of equality. Some of this country’s greatest achievements have come from the effort to make this truth true in deed as well as in thought.

This truth is the reason I support GLBT rights. This is why I support public education. This one belief is why I am a social liberal.

This is also why I am a reluctant warrior. War inevitably leads to the demonization of the enemy. They are no longer our equals. This is a denial of that foundational truth.

Each generation in this world seems to move closer and closer to realizing this ideal. That’s progress. The kind of progress that progressives seek.

So, anyway, hope you enjoyed the song.


  1. I couldn’t agree more, this has been the driving fundamental of my life.  From my earliest recollection in the late sixties the message of equality has been ever present and inescapable.   If you really believe it then everything is effected.

    Even the point when I was forced to consider the motivations of my childhood bullies was an exercise in getting inside other peoples’ heads, understanding that despite outward appearances they were essentially exactly like me.  You can prove it by figuring out why they think what they do, seeing what would change your own actions if you thought that way, and experimenting by doing or saying those things to them.  This brings the simultaneous realization that you can change who you are intentionally and overtly manipulate others – which is frightening as hell to a ten year old and still sobering to a 44 year old.

    Realizing the equality of others brings great freedom and great responsibility.  

    o  The limits of possibility evaporate when you really understand that everyone – no matter what you think of them – is capable of doing and understanding anything that you can, then the shackles of cynicism and defeat drop away.  Anything you can imagine yourself being capable of, everyone else is capable of, too.

    o  And when you fully accept that “but for the grace of god” – and circumstances – you could have been the person you despise it is both impossible to demonize them.  You could be the bigoted redneck if your life had paralleled his, he could have been the militant black man.  It also becomes clear that it is irresponsible to forgive others in the condescending “they can’t help being that way” manner – you wouldn’t say the same about your own failings (unless you are lying to yourself).  Others aren’t evil, they are simply wrong.  Others aren’t incapable, they are simply failing.  Both those can be worked with.

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