By Claudia GallionJust prior to his election in 2008, Barack Obama promised a ‘fundamental transformation of America.’ What was he talking about? He was referring to remaking America in the model of European social democracy. He was talking about progressivism.Progressivism is a political ideology to the left of traditional Democrat liberalism (think San Francisco). American progressives support very steep progressive taxation, organized labor and government unions and a government-run universal health care system.Progressives believe government-controlled capitalism most effectively grows the wealth of society and the political establishment should direct the redistribution of that wealth among its citizens as it sees fit.Foreign policy is guided by a belief that international institutions such as the U.N. should ensure a balance of power throughout the world, with the U.S. a participant but not necessarily a leader. Sound familiar? President Obama has proven himself to be a down-the-line progressive in all of these areas.Redistribution has become a central focus of the Obama administration.Though he has learned not to use that unpopular word on the campaign stump, his rhetoric leaves no doubt about his political philosophy. Never mind the money from increased taxes on the top 2% (who already pay about 51% of federal income taxes) would fund the government for less than one week or funding for progressive programs will require tax increases across the middle class, all the more so as these policies induce lower economic growth.Public unions are bankrupting states and cities.Even liberal Democrat Franklin Delano Roosevelt recognized the dangers of allowing government workers to strike and extort from their employers (that would be us), not to mention the corruption of politicians beholden to them.Unfortunately, our president opted instead to promote an aggressive agenda of unionization among public and private workers. One need only to look into his very close relationship with the corrupt SEIU or consider attempts by his pro-union appointees to the National Labor Relations Board to block Boeing from establishing a factory in the right-to-work state of South Carolina.Onerous progressive regulations are crippling American entrepreneurship.In particular small businesses, the engine of jobs, face uncertainty about taxes and regulatory costs imposed by Dodd-Frank and Obamacare. Federal energy policies have hamstrung our ability to achieve energy independence while imposing costs on all Americans when we can least afford it.A progressive foreign policy agenda is highminded and idealistic. It’s also unrealistic and dangerous.Our enemies won’t like us, no matter how often we extend a limp-wristed hand of empathy. They must respect us and only a strong military and clarity of policy and purpose will make that happen.The progressive philosophy explains Obama’s unwillingness to utter the ‘T’ word regarding the terrorist attacks in Libya. The speech by our Secretary of State, apologizing again for hurt feelings over a video as the flag-draped coffins of our ambassador and three other American heroes arrived on the tarmac, was an insult to the cause of justice.I believe the reason the progressive agenda has gained headway is that its tenets are presented within a framework of high-minded morality, implying those who disagree must be hardhearted troglodytes.Consistent with longstanding leftist tactics, progressives don’t present the true picture to the general public about the new America they intend to create.It’s time now for an honest debate. I’d like to hear a cogent explanation of how taking what belongs to someone who earned it and giving it to someone who hasn’t — as opposed to equal opportunity for all and a safety net for those who truly need one ‘“ won’t diminish the achievements of both.How, if we relinquish our exceptionalism, can we remain a beacon of hope to oppressed nations? How, if we fail to achieve economic and energy independence, can we be strong enough to counter threats by other countries?Years ago, I gave up my affiliation to party. Raised in south Louisiana, where everyone was a registered Democrat, I observed that my parents voted on the basis of what the country needed at the time, sometimes Democrat, sometimes Republican. I know how they’d vote this year ‘“ and so will I. Claudia Gallion lives in Barnesville with her husband, dog and two cats. She writes about business, economic, technology and legal issues relating to the media industry for an Atlanta corporation and spent a year teaching high school English in Lamar County.