Progressive victories in 2012

As the Republican party and “leadership” moves farther and farther out of the mainstream and deeper into the realm of extreme, irrational, anti-democracy, backward-facing, obstructional politics, the struggle to maintain the gains made by the progressive movement over the past 100 years gets more difficult every year. Still, somehow, progressive ideas and policies keep pushing their way back into our collective consciousness, and rational, common-sense and common-good ideas manage to survive—perhaps because, despite corporate-sponsored, self-serving propaganda, policies that help, rather than hurt, are what most Americans actually want.

So, while we can’t stop being vigilant, and while lots of hand-wringing and worry are justified, it’s important to take a deep breath and reflect on the progressive successes of the past year.

Think Progress recently offered a list of the most important progressive victories of 2012. Here’s a summary that should make us feel just a tad better about the state of the union. Read the full explanation at Think Progress.

Historic progress to end the war on drugs

New fuel efficiency standards

Young undocumented immigrants received deportation relief

Anti-LGBT Senate candidates lost, in large numbers

Voters rejected anti-tax hysteria

President Obama endorsed marriage equality

Voters rejected anti-choice candidates

Voter suppression lost

The Supreme Court upheld Obamacare

Many of these gains, it should be noted, came about because voters made them happen. Others were the result of courageous leadership, pressure from the left,  and/or pragmatic politics. Whatever the terms and the motivations, they’re reason to feel hopeful, encouraged, and motivated to stick to our progressive principles and to continue the fight.