America is a strong country and has always been able to overcome adversity. It has fought good wars, bad wars, bad economies, depressions, recessions, and natural disasters. It has always moved forward. America has always emerged better than it was before.
Over the last few decades however, America has been following a regressive path. That constant progress that created a solid middle class and access to success began to erode. Absolute power began to shift from the average American to corporate entities and moneyed interests. The Move to Amend documentary, Legalize Democracy, details the path America took towards progress and the path towards the corporate takeover.
Americans must demand these things.
The regression America has suffered over the last few decades need not be permanent. If every American is focused on the following 10 demands, the regression will stop.
1. Americans must demand a job with job security: There are many reasons why unemployment is high. Much of it has to do with the fiscal irresponsibility of a Republican Congress that promotes austerity, a proven failure. Americans must demand massive infrastructure spending to rebuild America’s dilapidated infrastructure. Immigration reform must be a part of this solution from a moral perspective and an economic perspective.
2. Americans must demand a livable wage: An increase in the minimum wage helps both the minimum wage worker and the economy at large.
3. Americans must demand a clean environment: Renewable energy and energy independence was not included in this list because it ties so closely with a clean environment. Americans must demand investments in renewable energy. They must demand polluters clean up their mess at their expense. Most importantly Americans must stop the offshoring of pollution. We live in one world and pollution in China eventually makes it right back to the USA.
4. Americans must demand a tolerant nation: This may sound too aspirational but it is very important. The Plutocracy knows that eventually the average American will realize they’ve been had. Unfettered capitalism has sucked their wealth, innovation, and well-being. Intolerance is used as a distraction. Create wedge issues like abortion, same-sex marriage, war on Christmas, racial strife. A divided America then cannot fight against the real enemy. Government cannot heal the heart but individually one can see the virtue of being tolerant. Ensuring intolerant leaders that stoke intolerance don’t get elected is a must.
5. Americans must demand a responsible financial sector: Boom and bust cycles need not be catastrophic as it was in 2008. Most of the titans of finance who caused the substantial demise of the world’s economy turned out fine. It is the masses that continue to suffer from their recklessness and irresponsibility. Americans must demand Congress reinstate Glass–Steagall. Congress must put the chains on those thugs on Wall Street who care solely about making wealth. They care not for the country that gave them the wherewithal to be wealthy.
6. Americans must demand affordable credit: A vibrant economy like ours depends on affordable credit for everyone. The cost of borrowing on credit cards, pay day loans, and other forms of lending is predatory. It is effectively rich bankers profiting from those with the least. Many small creditworthy companies do not get good borrowing rates. These practices hurt many and limits their access to success. America’s dollar is backed by the full faith and credit of the United States. Why should a few bankers dictate its expansion? Americans must demand tight controls on lending and make it biased to the average responsible American citizen.
7. Americans must demand an Affordable education: Many states are using less of their tax dollars on education. They are able to save massive amounts in the short term by forcing college tuition to make up the difference. The rise in tuition price out many people from getting an education. For those that attend, it places a heavy credit burden on them. The problem is it takes a generation before the negative effects of this shortsightedness is realized. High skilled educated workers will have to be imported from other countries as the American worker is relegated to menial labor or unemployment. We must demand higher taxes on those that have benefitted on the backs of the poor and middle class to ensure all Americans who want a college education can get one. Everyone must have access to success.
8. Americans must demand secure affordable healthcare: A healthy nation is an innovative nation. The Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) is a start. It removes the shackles many had to an employer. It ensures that everyone has access to health insurance whether they had a pre-existing condition or not. Insurance can no longer dump you from a policy. There is no more fear of going out on your own and innovating, starting your own company. Americans must demand a single payer system that removes insurance companies’ big profits for simply taking your money to pay a bill. Americans must demand affordable medical schools so doctors can afford to be primary care physicians throughout the country.
9. Americans must demand a humane social safety net: Americans are not lazy. The economy is a manmade system. As such its failures are manmade. The least we could do is to have a humane safety net to catch all those who are temporarily unable to take care of themselves. With this comes social responsibility. Civics must be brought back into classrooms to teach all Americans the virtue of work and responsibility to our society at large.
10. Americans must demand a real representative government: All the items listed above are possible with a representative government. The US House of Representative is not a representative body. Most Americans did not vote for those politicians. Those politicians were gerrymandered into their jobs. Americans must go out in droves and vote in the next election. Gerrymandering can only go so far.
These demands are not pie in the sky hopes. They are attainable in the short term. Back in 2010 I wrote my first book, As I See It: Class Warfare The Only Resort Ro Right Wing Doom. I reread it thinking that I would update it. What was very sad is that little has changed. No rewrite was necessary at this time. It is as applicable then as it is now.
To effect changes that will realize our hopes require that the right people are elected. It demands that you act. If you do so in the next election, the path to right the ship will begin.
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I agree with your suggestions but would respectfully add that none of this happens as long as we are fighting wars of choice and aggression around the world. Reigning in the special-interest centered wars that are making defense contractors rich while precious blood is spilt by those patriots who love this country enough to sacrifice for it is the number one economic threat in our budget. Stop the wars and begin investing the peace dividend towards the areas you have identified. Without stopping the bleeding the patient has no chance to survive.
Egberto Willies says
You are absolutely correct. The presence of your comment says it all. Thank you.
Jenel Hazlett says
How about a food supply that is safe, as locally grown and unprocessed as possible and most importantly labeled for GMOs?
Regardless of who said it: “Who controls the food, controls the people.”
Egberto Willies says
Keep adding to the list. I agree.
Ruth Apter says
I agree with the comments about war and food labeling. The even bigger issue is the farm bills that subsidize factory farms and the bias against smaller family farms and organic growers. Our food supply is control by large corporations and their bottom line is causing the erosion of the quality of the food we eat. The system protects, promotes and advances poor quality junk food over higher quality whole foods. We get sicker as a nation and then we spend more money on health care…….another way for money to be harvested from this population!
The other big issue is how we fund elections. As long as we allow our politicians to be funded by special interest we are going to be in deep trouble.
I think one of the biggest things that could be done is to have a limited direct democracy. Right now We, The People have no real say on issues on a national level. We vote for the POTUS. That is pretty much it as far as a national voice. If we pay for it, then we should have some say (other than a protest or a petition) in how and/or what is done as far as issues go.
We all want term limits for members of congress. That will NEVER happen if the only entity that has a say IS congress.
A limited direct democracy would give us the say in term limits. Not congress.
I want my voice heard. I have no interest in only voicing my say on the POTUS. I want my voice heard on national issues.
Floris Koot says
Great list that goes for any Western Capitalistic Nation. Perhaps the best way to open eyes is to make people aware, that a country only exists as long as the participants play along. The rules of previous centuries need to be changed fast. The world is one system and the more healthy (financially, physically, educated and environmentally!!) everyone is, the more peace and prosperity for all and the more change of a future for us all. Sadly those in power (whomever, I fear I wouldn’t be a great exception) do more to protect their interest, leading to dangers (violence, disasters, pollution) towards themselves, their children and their children’s children for generations to come. Much similar how protecting American Corporate interests created beings like Saddam Hoessein, Osama Bin Laden, Current Iran, current Cuba, current Venzuela, etc. A long list.
They seem to prefer war over sharing, for our monkey brains don’t know when to stop collecting and start giving. So to fulfill the ideas above, we need to:
Look our own monkey (and even reptile) brain in the face, and wonder if we want to grow up as a species.
Accept that the rules of old, don’t work for our present and that these rules can be changed. By vote, by new laws, by changing culture (begin this today), or as history shows, if the pressure is high enough, by violent revolution.
Make the damages the current system do as visible as possible to everyone. Show the homeless and show all the empty houses in the Sates. Isn’t that absurd!?
So, dear KIM, don’t tell you want to be heard, start talking content and vision. A great leader voices that which many feel needs to be said and does so in words that compel and have truth and integrity. And those last two is the current system losing faster and faster.