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“You are the heirs of one of the country’s great traditions — the progressive movement that started late in the l9th century and remade the American experience piece by piece until it peaked in the last third of the 20th century…Its aim was to keep blood pumping through the veins of democracy when others were ready to call in the mortician…While the social dislocations and meanness that galvanized progressives in the 19th century are resurgent, so is the vision of justice, fairness, and equality. That’s a powerful combination if only there are people around to fight for it. The battle to renew democracy has enormous resources to call upon – and great precedents for inspiration.”

By way of a friend of mine, Bill Moyers recounts the Progressive Story of America. The whole thing’s worth a read…and I for one think it’s great to hear the Progressives get their due. (Along the same lines, this month’s Prospect has a special report entitled “A New Progressive Era?”, with contributions from, among others, Sean Wilentz, James MacGregor Burns, and John Podesta.) Progressives take a lot of flak in the Academy, some justified (they were silent on lynching and generally really lousy on race), some not (ridiculous amounts of ink has been spilled lambasting them for being middle-class, bureaucratic, and/or unSocialist.)

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