|Pickens County Democrats
Pickens County, Georgia
From: Chapter 5, The Philosophy of Progressive Values in Voicing Our Values: A Message Guide for Policymakers and Advocates (Fourth Edition, 2019), Bernie Horn and Gloria Totten, Public Leadership Institute.
FIRST, where government has no proper role, because public action would violate individual rights, progressive policy should be based on freedom. By freedom, we mean the absence of legal interference with our fundamental rights—freedom of speech, religion, and association; the right to privacy; the rights of the accused; and the right of all citizens to vote. Compared to an individual, government wields tremendous power, so a progressive policy adds great weight—in the form of strong legal rights—to the individual's side of the scale. For example, freedom of speech is absolutely sacrosanct unless it immediately and directly puts others in danger—"falsely shouting fire in a theater" as Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes put it.
Freedom should be fairly easy to understand—it's a defense of our basic constitutional rights and civil liberties. We include the right to vote because it should be as sacred as any constitutional right. The very definition of democracy—rule by the people—requires the unrestricted right to vote. So, laws that keep American citizens from casting ballots should be eliminated on the grounds that they violate our most fundamental democratic freedom....