Trust The Progress… er, I Mean “Process”

Ben's Journal, Moderate Proposals, Politics

I have often stated that I am a Progressive. I see a problem, I solve it in a simple way. I repeat. #Progress!

You have often stated that I was an insanely successful juggernaut on the pre-American landscape (I am, of course, paraphrasing…). So, how did I become so successful a Progressive? It came down to two fundamental principles.

Firstly, walk into every room and ask yourself, “how can I make it better?”. This is the staple mentality for any successful Progressive. It implies a concern for the standards of quality in regards to all elements within your vicinity that affect the livelihood of society; both people and environment alike. It also implies a motivation to ensure that those standards are met. It’s not just concern. It’s action.

The other fundamental principle to success is to move with a confidence that borderlines on arrogance. This is the fuel which energizes you. It’s not a comparative, “I’m better than you” mentality. Rather, it’s an understanding that “I am great because I’m trying to improve the lives of all of those around me”. Walk tall because, regardless of how successful your attempt is, you are on the RIGHT SIDE OF HISTORY.

“Right Side” of History

That concept, “the right side of history” is not addressed often enough in discourse. It is a nifty mindset that can help you dictate your long-term legacy in the court of public opinion. Any student of history has the ability to predict which side of a conflict will be memorialized because it follows simple guidelines:

  • It tears down an oppressive barrier to a group of people
  • It ensures positive long-term economic effects that benefit the masses, not just a certain group of people
  • It promotes equality amongst the population

Figures throughout history are revered because of their Progressive challenges to oppressive, conservative status-quos:

  • Thomas Jefferson for stating “all men are created equal” and establishing the foundation arguments for separation of church and state
  • George Washington for surrendering his office of Presidency
  • Abraham Lincoln for abolishing slavery
  • Franklin Roosevelt for supporting the working-class
  • Ghandi for fighting British imperialism
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. for challenging segregation

These men are remembered for their moves that would be considered “Progressive” in their time period. They challenged policies and institutions that had been based off of previous rationale and argument. They altered the course of history for humanity. They opened up opportunities for groups that had once been denied those “inalienable rights of Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness”. They are the ones who are taught about in schools. They are regarded as heroes and are quoted and emulated from people on both sides of political ideology. They are remembered because of their PROGRESSIVISM.

Now, I hope reading this list has raised an eye-brow. That is good, because that means that you can identify the irony…

  • The first two men owned hundreds of slaves
  • The middle two men were racist
  • The last two men were misogynistic

These men were not Gods. Not even Demi-Gods. They were flawed. They had prejudices and biases that prevented them from doing more to ensure equality for all. Often, they were at the forefront of one cause, but disappeared into the mob of contemporary public opinion for other issues. As fair as we think it might be to hope for someone who could push the oppressive boundaries in all directions, this concept is, unfortunately, just not realistic. But all it took was to be on the forefront of one cause, to challenge one indoctrinated evil (and then to prevail) for them to move forward the advancement of society. Did they do something exceptional? Yes. Did they do enough? Probably not. But that’s how change in society occurs…

Societal Evolution

Society is always evolving for the better. The progress sometimes can be rapid. Sometimes it can feel like it is crawling at a snail’s pace. But it’s still progressing. It is a valuable reminder for Progressives. Because progress implies change, it is going to run into resistance each step of the way. Reactionaries, out of fear or anger, will fight back to sabotage progress, either through hindrance or outright reversal. This is the nature of humans! Depending on the conflict, the level of resistance will fluctuate, but it is always guaranteed. That is why any type of progress is still good.

Progress is not easy. It will never provide a clear path. I heard a great story from Daniel Day Lewis, as he played Abraham Lincoln, and it has always resonated with me:

A compass I learnt when I was surveying, it’ll… it’ll point you true north from where your standing, but it’s got no advice about the swamps, deserts and chasms that you’ll encounter along the way. If in pursuit of your destination, you plunge ahead heedless of obstacles, and achieve nothing more than to sink in a swamp, what’s the use of knowing true north?

(Lincoln, 2012)

Compromise

I am a big supporter of COMPROMISE. Throughout negotiations, you will often have to reach compromise. It makes everyone angry. But it also provides a substantial foundation to build upon. You may not be able to fully open the door that shuts you out. However, if you have compromised to get a foot in the door, then it will become less difficult for the next person to come along and provide the effort to open it further.

For example, the Affordable Care Act. It enforces the Progressive belief that all Americans should be protected in affordable healthcare. It did a lot of good in providing accessible healthcare for approximately 20 million people who couldn’t afford it before. However, there are issues with the bill. Because of the process for a bill to become a law, the ACA was altered and changed to cater to hundreds of members of Congress. Some wanted the ACA to go farther to ensure free healthcare. Most wanted it to do waaaaaay less. The end result was a compromised bill that was complicated and inefficient in many ways. Does it need to be revised? Absolutely. However, it finally ensured that Federal government was going to ensure that poor people had access to healthcare… THAT’S PROGRESS! Down the line, it will hopefully become more efficient. But in the meantime, it is a huge accomplishment for Progressives.

This is not to say that you should settle for minimal progress. It is a constant struggle that will always leave you desiring for more to be done. Humanity will provide you with the most stubborn of opponents in your crusade… always. So you must understand that it is a process. As Progressives, you need to TRUST THE PROCESS, and keep fighting for your desired goals.

America’s Team: The 76ers

Ben's Journal, Moderate Proposals

I understand the natural inclination to have one professional sports franchise transcend all others, and represent the ideas of our country.

Sooo why are the Dallas Cowboys the ones who earn the title “America’s Team”? How!?

Well, with excellent marketing and sustained success on the field, they have become the most recognizable franchise in the sport, with the infamous “ Silver Star” serving as their beacon. Yes, they played for Dallas, but they represented the entire state of Texas. Sure, that makes sense. One could also argue that they became the top team that attracted disgruntled and casual fans from around the country. (I have no factual statistics to back this statement up… its just a hunch)

But does that earn them the label, “America’s Team”? HELLLLLLLLL NO. You see, America, your loyalties already lie somewhere else.

The real “America’s Team” is the PHILADELPHIA 76ERS… and here’s why:

America’s Hometown

Note: For this exercise, we’re going to pretend that America as an entity thinks like a person (after all, corporations can be…)

When I consider the mantle “America’s Team”, I define it as “the team America supports”. LOGIC tells me that there are two ways to determine your loyalties:

  1. Your hometown/family tradition
  2. The successful/attractive team you see on television while you are growing up.

Considering America was born before any of these sports were created, it didn’t watch any sports growing up. So the second option is off the table. Besides, it is petty, superficial, shallow, and treacherous to abandon your own hometown team because another team is more successful. America wouldn’t do that.

So therefore, America would support Philadelphia in all of its sports because, God Dammit, America is loyal! Hell, the city knows what it truly represents! It doesn’t shy away from the connections. Three out of the five major sport teams have names relating to the United States. Look at the naming of its teams:

  • The most popular sport in America, football, has a Philadelphia team named “The Eagles”. While it’s naming stems from the logo of Franklin Roosevelt’s American Recovery Act, the name still strongly connects to the American symbol, the eagle.
  • The most popular sport in the world, soccer, has a Philadelphia team named “The Union”. This stems from the creation of one country from multiple states… you know, America…

Considering football is the most popular sport in the country, the Eagles would seem to be the Philly team to argue in favor of as the American symbol. However, the NFL is going through a really big image problem right now. Ratings are low. Also, America’s image is struggling at home and abroad. We are going through some growing pains (that happens when you take progressive steps forward).

With a duel image crisis happening, maybe it’s time to rethink who “America’s Team should really be. America, I’d like to introduce you to the 76ers.

Think about the marketing!

Basketball is the fastest growing sport in the world. If we are trying to reassert our popularity image, basketball should be the sport. Think about the popularity of the U.S. Men’s Basketball team at the Olympics in any city… Every other athlete wants to get pictures with them. We win fans of America through this.

Now consider the Sixers: a young and exciting team with rich – but not too rich – history. There is lots of room for growth in our popularity. But what we lack in fans, we also lack in haters. No one hates the 76ers. For most of the team’s existence, it has remained irrelevant. So we can always evolve our image to take on new responsibilities.

Is it that much of a stretch to remake the American Team with the Sixers?

Obviously, the Philadelphia 76ers get their name from the year 1776… the birth year of our country. That number will always connect us with the Founding Fathers – the men who we love to credit with creating the values and philosophies that shaped our country’s identity. We, the Founders, are more representative of the “American image” than a stupid fluffing “Cowboy”…

Use Common Sense. If I’m going to pick one team to truly be America’s team, I’m going to follow a logical formula:

  1. America’s hometown is Philadelphia
  2. Basketball is the fastest growing sport in popularity in the world
  3. Philadelphia’s basketball team is the Philadelphia 76ers
  4. The 76ers = the Founding Fathers
  5. The Founding Fathers established the values and principles of “America”

Therefore…

  1. America’s Team is the Philadelphia 76ers

It’s just Common Sense.