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PROGRESSIVE PODIUM #1 — by Mike McCorkle, PDC Chair

Over these past few months, the PDC leadership team has been working together to establish the Initiative as an effective vehicle for organizing and mobilizing the progressive community in every single part of our state. We understand that the Progressive Dems initiative is in many ways like those D-Day beaches in World War II Normandy – the landing ground for the host of progressive organizations and activists on their way to liberate the Democratic Party from corporate capture and neoliberal nonsense. We are committed to holding this piece of the Democratic Party for our people and using it to open the way for all those who would join us in this progressive political revolution.

Over the past few years, the word “progressive” has undergone a great change in the Democratic Party. Back in 2016, many of us were told that if we called ourselves progressives, we weren’t really Democrats. I heard that myself personally several times, all the way to the floor of the Democratic National Convention. Now, just a few short years later, just about any Democrat you ask will claim to be a progressive – even some who we all know are nothing of the sort. Democrats who shill for oil and gas are not progressives. Democrats who care for the wellbeing of health insurers and pharmaceutical companies more than they do for the thousands of Coloradans left without healthcare in this for-profit dystopia are not progressives. Democrats who have nothing to say for themselves except they’re not as bad as Republicans are not progressives. No matter how many times they say it, the old-guard of conservative Democrats have no right to the name progressive, and we’re not going to let them steal its meaning from us.

Being a progressive doesn’t just mean that you’d be alright with a little bit of progress if it somehow happened spontaneously nearby you. Progressive means you hunger for justice and thirst for equality. Progressives remember FDR’s Four Freedoms, and we understand that no one is really politically free if they’re not also free from want and free from fear. Doing nothing to address the economic insecurity that has festered in America for decades has left too many people in a state of crazed desperation, grasping at straws, and prepared to vote for anyone who promises a better future – no matter how racist, no matter how sexist, no matter how incompetent, no matter how corrupt. Trump’s America is undoubtedly mostly a result of Republicans’ radical efforts to bring back the Dark Ages, but we might not have gotten here if so many Democrats had not been content to go along, doing nothing, standing for as little as possible, fundraising off of a deliberately cultivated state of perpetual outrage about Republicans, while campaigning every couple of years as nothing more than the lesser of two evils. That’s not progressive; it’s not even close.

Progressives are determined to challenge our corrupt political system and fix our rigged and broken economy, even if that means taking on the power of big money in our Party. Progressives know that progress isn’t just desirable; it’s indispensable. It’s vital. People are counting on us. Lives are on the line. Progressives know that real progress will require us to take on powerful interests who like things just the way they are, and part of how we’re fighting them is by taking back this working-people’s party and making it a real force for a better, more just and prosperous future.  Progressives like us believe that we can do better, and because we can do better, we must do better. Join us, and let’s get to work.

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