[Updated June 24, 2017]
Welcome all Northwest Florida and Florida Panhandle and all other Progressives. If you would like to join an existing action group for Florida Congressional Districts 1,2, or 5, contact us.
This is a page for those who have come to understand that the great promise of the American system of government doesn’t work unless all citizens are willing to accept the responsibilities of self-governance. If we want our government to truly represent us, we have to become involved in elections and issues. We have to ensure that the right people are elected to office and then follow up to make sure they make the right decisions while representing us. If they fail to make the right decisions, we have to ensure they don’t retain their office. Each and every citizen has to do their part. We all have to take responsibility.
It is our belief that our government in the United States has become more of an Oligarchy than a Democracy and Republic. We are faced with the tremendous issues of over-population, technological replacement of human labor, income inequality, money influence in politics, and climate disruption. Fears and prejudices are manipulated by those with power to ensure that their wealth and power are increased, while the needs of the working man and woman become subservient to the needs and desires of the powerful. We believe this should be countered with an ever-developing understanding of liberty, one that is progressively stripped of the prejudices and erroneous presumptions of generations past, one that is enlightened by science and founded on the notion no one is truly free unless everyone is free – not free to do harm or oppress others, but free to pursue their own self-determination on a fair playing field, free to believe and express their beliefs and live their lives with dignity. With this freedom, however, comes the responsibility to ensure that we remain free, to ensure the safe-keeping of our natural environment and to ensure the preservation of hope and freedom for all our fellow citizens.
No Party Affiliation
Our group has no party affiliation. However, to be honest, we must admit that most of today’s Republican party lawmakers do not represent our values. But, it is not party that matters. It is the issues that matter. We believe our efforts should be focused on issues rather than party or personalities and we will support anyone who supports the issues in which we believe – but only for so long as they continue to support those issues. We will oppose anyone, regardless of party who threatens the principles we follow. We believe that both political parties have become large, unyielding bureaucracies controlled by big money interests and unresponsive to the working people they serve. We understand that party affiliation and personal attacks are vehicles of division. By dividing us and pitting us against each other, those with wealth and power manipulate us and distract us from the real issues. Our goal is to always keep our focus on the real issues, the issues that matter to the hard-working men and women who keep our country productive. (And, we are also concerned with those who did work, or would work, but are now disabled. We do not believe in casting people aside due to factors beyond their control.)
What We Do – Organize
The most important thing we can do is to form grassroots, local organizations and take action on issues. This site is being repurposed to be primarily for a group covering the 2nd Congressional District for Florida (a very conservative area of the country). but most of the information we will share here can be useful to progressives everywhere. And, the experiences we have had can hopefully be a model to progressives desiring to form local groups in any area. Everyone who shares our core beliefs as stated above is welcome here, regardless of location. Please join with us and let’s create a permanent, proactive movement to restore our country to its true values. We have created an online network to expand this public website, including a private action group, a private discussion group, and a public Facebook page. We also coordinate with other action groups in our area, the State of Florida, and national groups.
What We Do – Provide Resources and References
There are things we can do as individuals and things we can accomplish by organizing. We should do both. It is our goal to provide the information and strategies you need to both organize and take action to do what you can to ensure our government represents our needs.
Let’s look first at what we can do as individuals. (After all, most of us are progressive because of our independent thinking and desire for independent action.)
– Find out who your local, state, and federal representatives are.
Get their addresses and phone numbers. (Common Cause has a page to help you with that. ). Don’t stop with your representatives’ main addresses and phone numbers; get the addresses and phone numbers of their regional offices in your area as well.
– Let your representatives hear from you.
Remember that all politics is local. Phone the representatives for your districts, both state and federal, write them, drop by their regional offices. Get to know their assistants and field personnel. Learn their names and get to know the field representatives personally. (Contact with the field office personnel is far more effective than trying to contact the representative directly.) When you write, call, or drop by, speak honestly and from your heart. Don’t just use form communications provided by others. Be friendly and personable. Make it honest and real.
– Stay informed.
Know what the current issues are and how they are currently manifested. Follow the news (preferably not cable news or affirmation websites, however). Follow up on what you read by looking up the source materials. If an article refers to a government document or a scientific study, look up and review the document or the study. Don’t believe everything you see on social media. Verify everything from reliable, credible sources. Try to focus on facts rather than emotions. Many people and groups on social media attempt to use your emotions to gain traffic to their sites and/or promote their point of view. Many organizations (and even foreign countries like Russia) attempt to infuse social media with false news to manipulate and interfere with our democracy. Avoid being manipulated by anyone. Self-governance takes responsibility and emotional stability. Don’t let anyone throw you off balance or get you worked up emotionally. Stay focused on the issues and the facts.
– Become resolved with your own views.
Don’t be reluctant or embarrassed to express how you feel. Remember, however, that it is far more effective to express yourself politely and with maturity and understanding than with vitriol. Many Americans share the same core beliefs. Better to find areas of agreement, than to accentuate differences.
(An excellent way to stay informed and counter doubt on climate change is SkepticalScience.com’s Global Warming and Climate Change Myths, which provides counters to all of the common climate change deniers’ arguments.)
– Learn the War of Language.
In large part, the Oligarchy has gained power by taking control of the language. (Look for future articles on this subject on Indieway.) Do not acquiesce in their choice of words. Be powerful with the words you choose to use. (See our current article on this subject for more information. )
– Avoid useless arguments.
Those that have become indoctrinated will not yield. Do not yield to them, but direct your efforts where they will do some good. Avoid social media confrontations with those who strongly disagree with you. Nothing is gained from these debates and they usually degenerate to personal attacks and name calling. If it is not “on your post” or in reply to your tweet, ignore it. If it is on your post or in reply to your Tweet, make no more than one comment in response and then leave it. If they persist on Facebook, just use your delete key. If they persist on Twitter or some other social media, ignore or use whatever means you have to eliminate the distraction from your post without engaging the person (or bot) in endless debate. (See our article on this subject for more information.)
– Take some action everyday.
Consistent action is the key to success. If we want to make the world a better place, we need to work at it, doing something, however small, most every day. Keep your life balanced and tend to your work, family, and personal needs. There will, of course, be times that you need to take a break from political action. Avoid becoming obsessed and driven by politics. What we suggest is that you simply commit to make it a priority to keep taking effective action as part of your regular routine.
As there is power in numbers, it is important to organize. There are two ways to become involved in organizing: 1) You can start, or become involved with others who are starting, grass roots organizations; 2) You can become a member of, or contributor to, a larger, established progressive organization.
Grass roots organizations are the best kind. Grass roots organizations consist of people who know each other meeting face to face, speaking person to person, finding ways to be effective together. You can look on Social Media for local progressive groups or organizations to join. If you can’t find any or don’t like the direction of the ones you find, start your own. Exchanging information and ideas on a local level makes your efforts feel more real. It gives you a stronger sense of purpose and provides satisfaction. (A helpful guide for this is found at Indivisible Guide.)
Become familiar with and consider joining larger progressive organizations. The strength in numbers gets magnified with these larger organizations. There are many established organizations and new ones are cropping up every day. We offer some assistance in sorting them out and selecting the ones that are right for you. (See our list of Progressive Organizations.)
However you do it, whether independently — through Grass Roots organization, or through larger organizations, or all three combined — do something now and do something everyday. Much is at stake.
What We’re Not
Please note that we are not asking you to be foot soldiers in our army. We respect your independence. While some of the larger organizations we have listed will attempt to give you step by step instructions and ask you to carry them out without question, that is not the spirit of this group. As for the organizations we list, you should judge for yourself whether a particular organization is right for you and whether the benefits outweigh the negatives. Our goal here is to empower you rather than recruit you entirely into our way of thinking and doing things. We offer suggestions and advice. You determine your own course.
How to Use this Site
This page is intended primarily to be a reference site. We try to list resources that will be helpful to you. We also provide discussion of approaches and strategies.
In addition to this website, we have, as stated above, a private action group focusing primarily on Florida’s Second Congressional District. As this group is setup as a “private” Facebook group, you will need to establish a Facebook “friendship” with someone already in the group to be invited. The route to do this is to first join our discussion group (https://www.facebook.com/groups/1855153298074347/), and then ask within that group if someone is willing to accept your friend request and invite you into the private group. You can also like and follow our Facebook page to keep up with progressive news. We are also on Twitter @NorthwestFlaProgress. You can read the guidelines for our group here.
We are here to help! Let us know how we can better help you if we don’t have what you need.