The Free Press, Mankato, MN

April 9, 2013

Your View: Most Americans are progressive, optimistic

By Howard Herbst, Minnesota Lake

— Recently, Tom Maertens wrote a column, published in The Free Press, stating that America is not conservative, but that the majority are progressive/liberal. This was followed by a response by Al DeKruif asserting that Maertens was wrong, that America is conservative and that Maertens cherry picked polls and information, as DeKruif proceeded to do that very same thing.

Actually, both gentlemen are correct.

Most Americans are progressive. They want to ensure that all classes of people have equal rights and opportunities, they want the most vulnerable to be cared for, they want government to provide for good public education, first-class infrastructure and a generous safety net. But most Americans also can be called conservative in the sense that they want progress in these areas to proceed with due caution, they want costs to be minimized as much as possible, they want "opportunity" to result in "self reliance."

Most Americans are also optimistic of future progress. We know that soon same-sex marriage will be the norm. We know that eventually there will be common sense gun safety measures, while maintaining Second Amendment rights. We know attempts to limit voting rights will be ultimately defeated, we know medical delivery and medical insurance systems will be overhauled, we know that a path to citizenship will be developed for our immigrants.

Progressives, our progressive nature, along with the inevitable flow of history, will see these things through. The role of conservatives, as always, should be to help guide the process.