Welcome to The American Commentator, the new membership magazine of the Americans for Democratic Action Education Fund. Through feature articles, essays, interviews, personal remembrances, and reviews, we seek to promote a stimulating dialogue about liberal ideas and ideals among ADA members and friends.
Issue No 1
ADA was founded in 1947 by New Deal liberals, trade unionists, business reformers, and civil rights activists who sought to work largely within the Democratic Party to promote full employment, national planning, and social justice. Among its early leaders were Eleanor Roosevelt, Walter Reuther, Reinhold Niebuhr, Hubert Humphrey, and John Kenneth Galbraith.
“Liberalism is a Demanding Faith,” is excerpted from the Statement of General Purposes drafted by the ADA Organizing Committee.
Should public policy adopt core values of well-being, human dignity, and compassion? Should it embrace outcomes that are therapeutic versus those that are anti-therapeutic? Should it reject measures that are based largely on economic productivity, with little to no regard as to how wealth and resources are distributed and deployed?
Ray E. Boomhower
Against the backdrop of today’s divisive political atmosphere, we asked historian Ray Boomhower, author of The People’s Choice: Congressman Jim Jontz of Indiana (2012), to write a personal remembrance of the late Jim Jontz’s years as a liberal Member of Congress and state representative in conservative Indiana. Many long-time ADA members are familiar with Jim’s service as ADA President and as the founding director of ADA’s organizing project in the nation’s heartland, Working Families Win.
In early June 2019, I had an opportunity to speak with ADA National Board member and Member of Congress Jamie Raskin, D-MD. Jamie is one of the most creative activists for democracy I have ever encountered. Doubtless, you have seen him arguing for the impeachment of President Trump in the House and against authoritarianism in the media.
In the following transcription of our chat, Jamie makes clear how he regards past “civilizing” movements as his inspiration.
Charles J. Whalen
When congressional Democrats unveiled their Green New Deal resolution in early 2019, the agenda was praised by pundits on the left and vilified by their counterparts on the right. But observers across the political spectrum seemed to agree that the resolution was “radical” and perhaps even “socialistic.” Both sides had it wrong. The essence of that proposal, now at the center of Biden’s climate policy, is not only the Green New Deal we need; it’s profoundly conservative.