The Progressive Caucus met this past Thursday, led by Representative Keith Ellison, to discuss what it means to be progressive and highlight the history of progressivism in the United States.

I tend to shy away from the label of progressive as it seems too much like a ceding of the term liberal to those who have demonized it. However, my liberalism/progressivism is based upon a strong belief in social justice.

A social justice in our economic system that demands we create a basic safety net for those people who find themselves in any number of unfortunate circumstances. I have long held the belief that government in and of itself is NOT evil and can be used as a force for good if managed properly. Perhaps it is the naivety of relative youth but I refuse to be cynical (much like a certain individual who helped give me life) about our prospects for honest leadership that can utilize the power of government to do good things rather than utilize the power of government for selfish pursuits.

It is probably in the area of social issues which my progressivism/liberalism is strongest. My opinion has always been one of believe what you want to believe and love who you want to love. There is little reason for the government to be making those decisions.

So, what makes YOU progressive/liberal or for that matter, what makes you conservative?