Fighting Bob Fest attendees will have a chance to define “progressive” and chart a course of action.
Defining the future
Editor's note: Fighting Bob Fest will be held September 6 on the Sauk County Fairgrounds in Baraboo. For directions to the Fest, click here. For a schedule of speakers and events, click here. For more information, go to the official Fighting Bob Fest Web site.
If you do a Google search for “progressive,” 5.24 million entries come up. If you enter “Wisconsin progressive” you get 250,000 hits. If you enter “Baraboo progressive” you get nothing. You can change that at the Fighting Bob Fest Chautauqua on September 6 in Baraboo.
“Progressive” is one of the many buzzwords that inhabits the political rhetoric of just about anyone with a microphone and an audience these days. But what does it mean to be a progressive today? How is it that hanging your hat on the progressive hook in 2003 is the same, or different, from the past? There is continuity and there is change in the meaning of the term. “Understanding does not come through dealings with words alone, but rather with the things for which they stand,” said H.R. Ruse in The Illiteracy of the Literate.
FightingBob.com readers have answered the challenge to define what progressives stand for. Among the many definitions the site received came responses from Senators Tom Harkin, Russ Feingold, and Herb Kohl, Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin, authors, attorneys, historians, doctors, and environmentalists. Most importantly, passionate political folk have contributed “operational definitions” that open the door to discussing what it means to be a progressive, or what it should mean. They are worth your time to read on FightingBob.com and at Fighting Bob Fest.
On September 6 in Baraboo, you will see posters of Uncle Sam challenging you to add your understanding to the definitions already presented. Some of the definitions FightingBob.com received will be displayed throughout the grounds. “We the People Believe a Progressive…” will be printed in your program under the watchful eyes of Uncle Sam. Most importantly, there will be an Uncle Sam poster with blank sheets waiting for your written definitions as your thoughts and conversations evolve throughout the day. Watch for the area near the water coolers on the south end of the Litscher Pavilion, grab a pen, and let it rip.
It will be more than political graffiti. Your definition will be the groundwork for the future. Join with the others and together we will create the meaning that will lead us to greater understanding and more effective action.
August 31, 2003
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Gail Lamberty lives in Roxbury, Wisconsin and is a Fighting Bob Fest organizer.