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Pragmatic Progressives for America

Posted on the 25 November 2012 by ---
Hi Readers,
Here is a full reprint of my article that will likely be appearing in the December Issue of the Monterey News.  This is going to be my final post for quite some time.  There are three links to my new project, which launches November 25.  Can you find them all?  SPOILER: the first is at the end of this sentence.  The second is at the end of this article.  The third is the new link in the navigation bar entitled "PP4USA."  Anyway, read on:
Letter from Reed College
Greetings Monterey,
I'm in Portland, Oregon right now, nearing the end of my first semester at Reed College (which has approximately 1400 total students and a griffin mascot).  It's been a dramatic transition to city living after spending my entire childhood in Monterey.  This semester I'm taking Introduction to International Relations and French, along with the required Humanities 110, which focuses on ancient Mediterranean texts.  My goal is a degree in political science.  Fall here has been just as brilliantly colored as in Monterey, but much warmer and wetter.  Interestingly, despite Portland's notoriety for rain, fewer annual inches fall here than in Berkshire County.  The reputation derives from the fact that instead of downpours, the always-gray skies issue a perpetual drizzle.  It sounds dreary, but it's been tolerable so far.  This is because I like Reed, which is a place of open minds and predominantly academic pursuits.  For instance, "Reedies" eschew a high-octane college sports establishment: earlier this year I watched our men's basketball team lose by a 3-to-1 margin to a nearby Bible school's JV team.
I might as well cut to the chase.  My primary purpose in writing this letter is not to talk about my personal life, but about a new project I have begun with several other freshmen interested in political science.  It's called Pragmatic Progressives for America and its slogan is: "A crowdsourced progressive think tank building ideas and activism for tomorrow's left.  In solidarity with Occupy and Get Money Out."  As far as I know, we are the first crowdsourced public policy think tank in the United States.  "Crowdsourced" means that our think tank is powered by people across the country, including you.  Our regular contributors (including me) post analyses of bills, policy proposals, current events, and national or global issues, all from a left-of-center perspective.  This helps provoke dialog about feasible political solutions to present-day problems.  Best of all, our website allows you to easily submit your own thoughts, proposals, and responses, which we then read and publish on a daily basis.  The end goal of our project is to build grassroots progressive discourse and consensus on key issues.  Eventually, we will create legislative blueprints together akin to a Paul Ryan plan for the left.  But unlike the Ryan plan, they will be of the people, not of the special interests.
Why do we think this project is so important?  Here is an explanatory quote from our website: "America is in the midst of seismic demographic shifts that have created a historic window of opportunity for progressives.  If we play our cards right, we have a shot at implementing immense positive policy changes in the years ahead . . . [but] progressives have been reduced to playing defense.  We defend public education, we defend infrastructure maintenance, we defend Medicare, we defend Social Security, and we defend women’s reproductive rights.  Let’s face it: as long as liberals continue to merely embrace the status quo without also proposing fresh ideas, it will impair our ability to govern." 
I hope you'll take a look at this new project and feel empowered to add your thoughts to a movement for progressive change.  You probably have had “there oughta be a law” moments before.  So come share them with us!
-Jonah Carlson
You can read and contribute ideas via Pragmatic Progressives for America at

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