We cannot turn back.

AuthorBarber, William J., II
PositionForward Together Moral Mondays Movement - Essay

Progressive populism isn't all that different from civil rights activism. We all believe injustice, fair play, treating people right, and using political power to better society.

These principles are rooted in our deepest moral virtues, whether it is the ancient Jewish prophet Isaiah reminding us, "Woe unto those who make unjust laws, rob the poor of their rights, and make women and children their prey," or the words of Jesus declaring that nations and societies--not merely individuals--will be judged by how we care for the least of these.

Our federal Constitution makes establishing justice and caring for the general welfare the first principles of a true democracy. Our North Carolina state constitution commands that all political power should be used for the good only of the whole; that life, liberty, the enjoyment of the fruit of your own labor and the pursuit of happiness are self-evident rights; that public education is a constitutional right; that equal protection under the law must be guaranteed; and that the first duties of the state are to provide charity and benevolence and to ensure the welfare of the poor.

I believe that deep within our being is a longing for a moral compass in our state and in our nation today.

For those of us who are moved by the cries of our sisters and brothers, we know that, like justice, the acts of caring for the vulnerable, embracing the stranger, healing the sick, protecting workers, welcoming and being fair to all members of the human family, and educating all children should never be relegated to the margins of our social consciousness.

These are not mere policy issues. These are not mere issues for some "left" versus "right" debate.

These are the centerpieces of our deepest traditions of our faiths, of our values, of our sense of morality and righteousness.

This is why this Forward Together Moral Mondays Movement is no mere hyperventilation!

No, this is a fight for the future. For the soul of our state. It doesn't matter what the critics call us. They deride us because they can't debate us on the issues. They can't make their case on moral and constitutional grounds.

As a movement, we know who we are.

We are black, white, Latino, Native American.

We are Democrat, Republican, independent.

We are people of all faiths, and people not of faith but who believe in a moral universe.

We are natives and immigrants, business leaders and workers, doctors and the uninsured, gay and straight, students and...

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