One thing that the progressive movement does not do very well is to celebrate its victories. Because progressive change typically comes in a series of steps, rather than all at once, we often get so focused on taking the next step that we do not take time to reflect on good things as we achieve them. By not celebrating our victories, we often create the false impression that progressives are losing, which can discourage our supporters, make undecided voters less likely to support us, and make elected officials less likely to fight for our causes.
In an effort to avoid such impacts and help spread the word that progressives have won and continue to win numerous significant victories that have helped advance the causes of fairness, justice, and equality in America and the world, we like to highlight progressive victories here at Winning Progressive. This past week there were at least four such victories worth celebrating:
* Defeating Repeal of Health Care Reform – The U.S. Senate on Wednesday voted 51 to 47 to reject a Republicans legislative effort to repeal health care reform. Repeal would have allowed the health insurance industry to return to abusive practices such as pre-existing condition exclusions and retroactive policy cancellations, foreclose the expansion of affordable coverage to 32 million more Americans, increase the deficit, and return us to a broken health insurance system. By turning back repeal, Senate Democrats have allowed the American people to continue to enjoy the significant benefits of health care reform. If you have a Democratic Senator, call him or her and thank them for voting against repeal.
* Signing the New START Treaty – Also on Wednesday, President Obama signed the New START Treaty, which reduces deployed nuclear weapons by 1/3 and ensures that we are able to continue nuclear weapons inspections in Russia in order to verify reductions and help keep nuclear materials out of the hands of rogue nations or terrorists. New START was ratified in the Senate in December only after Democrats overcame significant Republican obstructionism.
* Civil Unions Authorized in Illinois - Earlier this week, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signed legislation that made Illinois the sixth state to allow same-sex civil unions (five others allow for same-sex marriage). If you live in Illinois, contact Governor Pat Quinn and the members of the Illinois House and Senate who got the civil unions legislation enacted.
* Republicans Give Up on “Forcible Rape” Provision – Earlier this week, Republicans (and one Democratic House member) proposed to redefine the rape exception to the ban on federal abortion coverage to extend to only “forcible rape.” Such a redefinition would mean that victims of statutory rape or incest would be foreclosed from receiving federal aid for getting an abortion. After a large pushback from Democrats and progressives, however, Republicans backed down on Thursday and returned to the broader rape exclusion under current law.
If you know of other progressive victories at the federal, state, or local levels that we should be celebrating, e-mail us to let us know.