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About Constitutional Progressives
Tea partiers and other so-called constitutional conservatives have claimed the Constitution as their own and want to turn it into a political document that can be distorted to support their ideological agenda. Constitutional Progressives has grown out of the need to wrest the Constitution from tea partiers' control and restore our Nation's Charter as a document that unifies and inspires all Americans, rather than divides us across ideological lines. Read a front page New York Times story and Washington Post column about our launch.
What We Do
Constitutional Progressives is a fast growing group of leaders, scholars, citizens, and organizations that believe our Constitution is, in its most essential respects, a progressive document. The goals of Constitutional Progressives are to:
- Build a grassroots force able to rescue the true meaning of the Constitution and restore the Constitution as a document that unifies and inspires Americans across ideological lines;
- Urge Americans across the political spectrum to sign the Whole Constitution Pledge, recognizing that when we pledge allegiance to the United States, and when political officials take an oath to support the Constitution, we are committing to respect the "whole Constitution," not just the parts we like or find convenient;
- Closely monitor and respond to the errors and distortions of tea partiers and other constitutional conservatives and correct the historical record about what the Constitution says and means;
- Oppose misguided efforts to amend the Constitution, reverse constitutional progress, and ignore the wisdom of our constitutional forebears; and
- Support leaders who respect the whole Constitution and equip them with the constitutional and historical expertise and messaging to respond effectively to the errors and distortions of constitutional conservatives.
What We Believe
Constitutional Progressives celebrate the Framers, such as George Washington, Alexander Hamilton and James Madison, for creating the best and most durable form of government in world history, but believe the Constitution today is better than the document ratified in 1789. Generations of Americans have made our country and our Constitution "more perfect" by ratifying Amendments that have eliminated slavery, protected liberty and equality, expanded the powers of the federal government, and secured voting rights for every adult citizen in America. This story of constitutional improvement should inspire all Americans. We are all the heirs and beneficiaries of the work of the social movements -- the Reconstruction Republicans after the Civil War, the Progressives of the early 20th Century, the Civil Rights movement -- that have been the motivating force behind virtually every successful effort to make our Constitution better.
Senator Mike Lee, Representative Michele Bachmann and other self-proclaimed "constitutional conservatives" see the Constitution as a political document that can be distorted to support an ideological agenda. They seek repeal of Amendments and advocate a march backward toward a time when the Constitution was a less inspiring, democratic, and egalitarian document. Senator Lee has written a Constitutional Conservatives pledge, which tries to root in the Constitution a bullet point list featuring every plank of the conservative political agenda. By contrast, Constitutional Progressives believe we must embrace the "whole Constitution" -- both the wisdom of the Framers as well as the lessons of the last 220 years.
Our Constitution and its history -- the story of our still unfinished constitutional journey towards a more perfect union -- are under assault. There is no greater threat to progressive values than this effort to make America's progress unconstitutional, but progressives have had no coordinated response to this theft of our Nation's Charter, until now.