Identifying a single individual as the Progressive of the Year is a much more difficult task than it appears to be. 2018 was typical in that respect. There was a plethora of people (mostly nameless and faceless) that collectively would be deserving recipients of the honor. There were also several prominent individuals with high name recognition. In the end I chose a relatively obscure individual, (who I’m not even sure is a progressive), for a single act that upheld the Constitution and representative democracy. Tellthetruthonthem.com’s 2018 Progressive of the Year is John Turner Sargent, Jr.
Sargent is the CEO of Macmillian Publishers, USA and it is for a single act in that role that he is being recognized. When President Trump had his lawyers send Macmillian’s parent company, Henry Holt & Co. a cease and desist letter to try to prevent the publishing of Michael Wolff’s Fire and Fury instead of acquiescing Sargent moved up the publishing date. The book sold like hotcakes. In full disclosure I neither read nor bought the book and have no intention to do either. That isn’t the point! The point is that Sargent defended the freedom of the press which has been under constant assault by Trump back to the days of his campaign.
No article like this would be complete without a little biographical background. Publishing is in Sargent’s blood. His matriarchal grandfather was the founder of Doubleday, which his father was CEO of from 1963-1978. John earned his bachelor’s degree in economics from Stanford and then an MBA from Columbia.
He has spent years on the Board of Graham Windom which is a New York City based non-profit that helps needy women and children with a special emphasis on foster children. For four of those years he chaired the Board.
Freedom of the press is one of the core American rights guaranteed by the First Amendment. An informed, participatory voter base is indispensable for an efficiently functioning representative democracy and it is impossible to achieve that without a free press.
I will close with Sargent’s reply to the cease and desist letter since it says it all.
“We will not allow any president to achieve by intimidation what our Constitution precludes him or her from achieving in court.”
Please note: This article was written well in advance of publishing in order to accommodate my holiday travel and grandpa time schedule.
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