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Seeking positive changes at the grassroots level

Group formed for liberals and progressives

Published: Wednesday, June 5, 2013 1:15 a.m. CDT

What do we believe? Do we want clean air and water, good schools, benefits for our veterans, a safe food supply, disaster relief, women’s rights, affordable health care, gay and voting rights? More important, are we willing to work for those values?

If we are, we fall into the liberal progressive column. For those are some of the values that most of us as liberals believe are important principles. 

Webster defines liberal as open-minded, tolerant, favoring civil and political liberties and democratic reform. Progressive is defined as moving forward, favoring progress, and working toward better conditions. Webster defines conservative as favoring traditional style, views and values, and tending to oppose change. 

I believe we are the government. We must work to improve and support it, not dismantle it. We must be a watchdog, not a destroyer.

Many times I have heard right-wing extremists and tea-party supporters vow to do away with the Department of Energy, Department of Education and the EPA, and to privatize Social Security. In other words, dismantle the federal government and give more power to the states. 

We need our federal government. Without it, we would not have our national park system (T. Roosevelt), Social Security (FDR), our interstate highway system (Eisenhower), Civil Fights Act and Medicare (L. Johnson), just to name a few.

Now we need to fix our crumbling infrastructure, work toward clean energy, and fund critical research and development, putting Americans back to work.

Those critical issues have been sadly neglected by our obstructionist Congress, who didn’t come to govern, just obstruct and oppose our president. Congress’ claim to fame is trying to repeal the Affordable Health Care Act 37 times; legislation originally proposed by Republicans and the Heritage Foundation (an ultraconservative think tank). Once this plan was embraced by President Obama, it became toxic and evil to most Republicans. 

The world is shrinking, and global warming is upon us, like it or not. The Constitution is a great document, given its time and place. However, it’s been amended 27 times to meet new challenges. As originally ratified, it gave rights only to white male property owners.

Do we really want to return to those times? As a woman, I could not have voted prior to 1920 (19th amendment), own property, or receive a proper education. 

So, who do you want to be? If you believe in the liberal philosophy, would like to meet with like-minded citizens who care deeply about their government, want to study the issues and help bring about change, we have a group for you.

We are a group “Organizing for Grassroots Action,” and we meet at 9 a.m. every Tuesday at 77 S. Hennepin Ave. in Dixon. For more information, call 815-718-0017. Please join us.

Note to readers – Bonnie Schuler Collins is past president of Sauk Valley League of Women Voters, a Navy veteran, and former owner and operator of Emerald Hill Country Club.

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