Which of These Progressive Positions Are Extreme Left?

01/21/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

The word is that Obama is a pragmatist, that he won't pander to the far, extreme left of his party. Instead, he will hew to the center.

The word is that the progressives on the left are expecting too much, that their positions, issues and stands are too extreme.

Are they?

Is it extreme left to see as immoral the USA's health care system -- the only one among developed world countries to not provide health care to every citizen, so people die for failure to seek diagnosis, treatment or medication, or they go bankrupt and lose their homes?

Is it extreme left to want to protect the environment for future generations, and to prefer a cleaner environment to favoring corporations?

Is it extreme to want to make sure that workers here in the USA are treated fairly and given living wages, even if it means a few dozen transnational corporations wouldn't make as much money as they would if cancelled our participation in global trade agreements like the WTO, NAFTA and CAFTA?

Is it extreme to expect equal justice for all colors and creeds, genders and kinds of people?

Is it extreme to expect elections to be completely honest and transparent, verifiable and recountable, instead of electronic experiments that mock true democracy?

Is it extreme to expect reasonable regulations that prevent the kinds of unbridled greed and irresponsible experimentation with the economy we have seen recently?

Is it extreme to want to trust the Judiciary system and all the other government departments to be free from partisan corruption?

Is it extreme to want our legislators to lead and guide the nation's industries to develop technologies that reduce our dependence upon foreign oil-- a dependence that hurts our economy and drastically makes us a less secure nation.

Is it extreme to see our military industrial complex-- the one Republican president Dwight Eisenhower warned us about-- as an out of control cancer on our economy that has grown so big, so unresponsive to oversight and regulation that TRILLIONS of dollars have disappeared without being accounted for? Is it extreme to want to rein it in and make if fully accountable?

Is it extreme to want to see our democracy represent all the people and not just the wealthy lobbyists who can give huge amounts of money to help doddering incumbent legislators stay in office? Is it extreme to want to see a change in congress so that the odds of someone defeating an incumbent are not twenty to one?

Is it extreme to want to have laws and regulations that protect workers so they can work in safe environments and are treated fairly?

Is it extreme to want the media to give voice to the full range of the political spectrum, not just the range from extremist right wingers to centrist and moderate democrats? There are greens and others further left, even socialists (like Senator Bernie Sanders) and communists who deserve at least an occasional voice on mainstream media.

Is it extreme to believe that our food supply should be safe-- not just from viruses and bacterial problems, but also from genetic experimentation and manipulations that we don't really know the long term effects of? And why should a handful of companies be allowed to eliminate lower costs natural seeds and food crops so they can control the market for growing food just like some companies have attempted to privatize water in third world nations?

Is it extreme to oppose mining companies, land developers and timber and paper mills having priority over the biodiversity on this planet, so they are allowed to drive living things to extinction?

Is it extreme to feel outrage when legislators hand credit card companies usurious interest rates and de-regulation so they can lure consumers into debts with interest rates over 25% when the fed makes money almost free to banks?

Is it extreme left to believe that the constitution is a precious document-- that people who violate it's laws, even presidents a vice-presidents should be, at the least, investigated, that hearings be held?

Is it extreme to expect elected officials to do their jobs and prosecute political criminals, even if it is uncomfortable and may put some candidates at risk? The truth is that the opposite may be true. Doing the right thing could dramatically improve election odds.

Is it extreme to finally believe that there has been enough hate, bigotry and intolerance in the world and it is time for it to end?

Is it extreme to expect that liars and frauds who led us into a war that we should never have entered should be held accountable?

Is it extreme to believe that no company should be allowed to become so big that it can't be allowed to fail?

Is it extreme to believe that local media are important and huge media conglomerates that gobble up local newspapers and television stations are a big part of the reason that our mainstream media have failed us again and again in recent years and are now endangered?

Is it extreme to believe that government is a good thing for most people-- schools, police, roads, fire departments, social security, the Veterans Administration? Just imagine if privatizing of Social security had led to millions putting their social security funds into the IRAs, 401Ks and mutual funds that have been reduced so brutally by the ongoing economic crisis.

Is it extreme to expect legislators to lead and do the job of regulating rogue corporations or industries that engage in practices and policies that severely damage our economy, our international relations or put any aspect of our future at risk?

Is it extreme left to want Obama to appoint people who were not part of the problem, who didn't support the war or enable the economic crisis as central players in the diseased system?

Is it extreme left to want to see the best and brightest appointed?

Which of these progressive ideas is too far left?

The left may disagree with the Christian right on birth control, abortion and gay marriage. But there are so many areas it's hard to imagine Christians opposing. In this past election, the majority of people whose incomes exceeded $200,000 voted for Obama. So even the wealthy chose his vision and message over lower taxes.

The corporatists and neocons are the only ones who would seem likely to oppose the issues raised above. There are so few of them. It's time for Americans of all parties to identify the areas we can agree on. It's time we tell the mainstream pundits and anchors who do what they can to keep us apart to shut up. It's time we tell the managers who run the mainstream media their companies are on the line-- that they have a responsibility to democracy and honest journalism to not only tell some of the truth but all of the truth, and that means opening the media up to voices that have long been silenced.

I think the above list is not left at all. It's moderate, centrist, and in no way extreme. The problem is, the opponents to these ideas have gone so far off the extreme right wing deep end, they THINK these are extreme, and the mainstream media have let them get away with it. So have the centrist Democratic pundits who emerged from the Clinton Administration, the same ones who apologized for the failure of Bill Clinton (after all, it was he who appointed Hillary) to get universal health care for our nation.

It's time for progressives to start talking to moderates and asking them the questions I've asked. What parts of these progressive values, issues and positions do you disagree with? Because almost all of them are opposed by right wingers. Maybe it's time progressives started working at finding common ground with the 70 some percent of evangelicals, the 40 some percent of union workers, the 60 some percent of military and their families, the 50 some percent of parents who have voted against all these ideas-- ideas which are better for them. Perhaps the new progressive position is dead center in the middle.

Crossposted from