To continue this stream of public out loud political discovery I am coming out and being official about it- progressive. Seems like such a simple word, that could mean so many things.
To me, the current working definition of “progressive” is within the political context, obviously. It has to do with the idea of being utterly dismayed by President Obama and the Democratic party at furthering plans to address America’s challenges and gear us up for the future hurdles. It is not the idea of going back to some romanticized version of America, like that espoused by the Tea Party and it is not like the Republican vision of America in lassies faire conditions (God forbid if Scary Perry becomes the President, corporations will take us back to the 1970’s with his “flexible permitting” for polluters in Texas).
Its not the politics of the Green Party, a party that has no viability in America in my eyes and their agenda is one that is completely off kilter. Nor is it the exclusive Libertarian ideals. I don’t think its with the politics found amongst the labeled “Independent” voting bloc, one which I would certainly lay claim to, but find that it doesn’t quite define my politics well enough since my politics is a bit better defined.
To be a “progressive” is not necessarily to be a Republican or Democrat (even if one were a registered one…). I feel to be progressive is about having an approach to addressing America’s challenges and gearing us for our future hurdles that is innovative, outside the usual two-party rhetorical structure, progressive (yes, I used the word being defined to define that word!). Okay, so defining what “progressive” means is hard. Being an American progressive is probably not a problem, but one who readily accepts the identity as an American Muslim (I can see the searing eyes when I tell people “I am a progressive American Muslim” because of the significant negative connotation “progressive” has come to hold amongst Muslims) is a bit of a far stretch.
But this long introduction was just a means to get to THIS POINT- I was asked by two wonderful people Angelica Ramos and Adel Syed to join the board, as the Selections Committee Chair, for the newly founded New Leaders Council of Orange County. I readily and happily accepted. Adel and Angelica are both fellows of the NLC- LA Institute, so having known them and known a bit about NLC through other past Fellows and the founder- Adam Borelli- I knew Orange County needs NLC.
We need to get young professionals involved in Orange County politics, who do not have to jump through the hurdles of insider party politics- Republican or Democrat. Both parties stifle the desire by young professionals to make an impact in their communities through politics because the old guards serve as an unrelenting gate keeper. I don’t have any false notions of NLC OC changing things up over night, no that is not the mission of NLC. NLC is about creating a community and network of like minded professionals who are trained through the NLC Institute as fellows who go on to work on advancing progressive ideas, if not politics. NLC is not about partisan politics, we are about addressing the challenges America faces today and the future hurdles by getting young professional educated, engaged and familiar with the political process in their local communities.
“Change” and “Hope” don’t come out of nothing, CHANGE happens when concerned citizens actively engage and apply themselves, giving society as a whole HOPE for a brighter and better future. As the NLC OC Selection Committee Chair I invite you (everyone!) to take a look at the Fellowship opportunity and apply for it! You can apply for the OC fellowship if you live in Orange County and meet the requirements, but there are 19 chapters across the country, so apply, nominate and encourage entrepreneurial, young and successful professionals who are change makers in their way that will benefit from the NLC Institute. APPLY NOW!