Are Progressives/Liberals Finally Reclaiming the Values Turf?
I went to a bookstore the other day and noticed two books prominently displayed on the same front table:
Our Endangered Values: America's Moral Crisis, by none other than former President Jimmy Carter, and a Beacon Press anthology, Global Values 101, featuring such well-known progressive thinkers as Howard Zinn, Amy Goodman, Robert Reich, and Lani Guinier, among many others.
For more than two decades, the ultra-right has staked a claim around "values." Unfortunately, the values they claim are not my values or the values of most people I know. Just as one example among many, the term "family values" has been far too often used to create a climate of acute homophobia--of bigotry. These people claim they're in favor of family values, but their definition of family only includes one among various possible models: a dominant husband, a stay-home wife (or one focused far more on home than career, if she does work outside the home), and zero tolerance for divergence from the model.
Well, I see a whole lot of families that don't look like that, but that are loving, secure places for the partners and their children. And I see plenty that do fit the "traditional family values" model where abuse, infidelity, and/or alcoholism seem to rule the day.
Let me be clear: there are, of course, plenty of loving, supportive families with a husband and wife in a heterosexual marriage; I am blessed to live in one. But our family is founded on tolerance, on freedom of self-exploration, and on the firm value of making the world a better place than we found it by helping to break down barriers of bigotry.
So I find it very refreshing, as the author of Principled Profit: Marketing That Puts People First, a book with a strong values message within a progressive context, to see major publishing houses beginning to publish books like these.