Progressives need to take the time to create and articulate a vision that will withstand the test of time and transcend two-, four- and six-year election cycles.
Progressives need to fight for “a more perfect union”—one nation, under God, indivisible with liberty and justice for ALL. A nation where no matter where you are born or where you live, if you work hard, play by the rules, you can share in the American dream.
We can get there by fighting for fundamental individual rights, not just government programs. If we can summon the national will and imagination to put a man on the moon, we can give every American the fundamental right to quality education and health care and build a more perfect union.
Progressives need a foreign policy of aggressive engagement. We will stop at nothing to defend our nation, and aggressively promote human rights and the rule of law around the world. The war on terror isn't just about capturing terrorists and bombing targets, which addresses only the symptoms. The war on terror must address the root causes by reducing poverty, eliminating hunger, and promoting democracy around the world. In other words, treat the soil in which the seeds of terror are sown. Aggressive engagement attacks both the roots of terrorism and the actual terrorists.
A message of fighting to put the human rights of education and health care in our Constitution as new American rights at home and a policy of aggressive engagement abroad will give progressives a national appeal. We must not concede any region of the nation—especially those that need such policies the most.
Representative Jesse L. Jackson, Jr. represents the second congressional district of the state of Illinois.