Saturday, May 27, 2017
I read an article the other day that said Democrats don't have any plans of their own, all they do is bitch about Republican plans. Well, of course, that isn't entirely true. Hillary had plenty of policy plans but they got drowned out by endless discussion about e-mails.
But that's all beside the point now and I know that I've been so distraught about Trump that I am guilty of writing mostly about him for the last few months rather than what I'd like to see for America.
So, here's my wish list.
1) We have fought and wrangled and protested and debated so much about Obamacare, that I wish we'd just repeal and replace it with with Medicare for all. Rather than the endlessly complex components that go into creating the ACA, let's just make it simple. Figure out how much we all have to pay (based on income) to give every single America the ability to walk into a hospital or doctor's office and get the care they need. We know it is possible because a bunch of other progressive countries have had universal healthcare for years. Let's eliminate the middle man, which is the insurance companies. They've been the stumbling block forever.
2) Let's raise the cap on Social Security contributions and make it solvent as far as the eye can see. If you're one of those lucky people who've made a gazillion dollars thanks to being a part of the American Dream, more power to you. Now pay up.
3) I have always wondered why wages are considered more taxworthy than other types of income. Tax my neighbor down at the rich end of the block the same on his capital gains as you do me on the hours recorded on my time card. The rich create jobs by investing and building. I create jobs by consuming.
4) And speaking of consuming, let's raise the minimum wage to a rate high enough to support a family with at least some modicum of dignity. By doing so, we'd take millions off of food stamps and that would make higher-ups, who so resent having to help pay for "moochers" very happy.
5) Let's get that infrastructure thing going that both Hillary and Trump talked about during the campaign. And I mean, let's us do it. What I don't mean is for Saudi Arabia to pay Erik Prince billions to do it. We are America. Can we not afford to build our own goddam roads?
6) Let's make student loans, if not free, at least, interest-free. And while we're at it, let's do the same for vocational training. Not everyone is meant to get a 4-year degree but we'll always need plumbers and electricians and builders and mechanics.
7) But before we decide what our kids on going to do post secondary education, let's make sure they have a thorough grounding in the basics and that every child attends a school, a PUBLIC school, that is safe and sturdy and has all the resources and teachers it needs to do its job.
8) Let's encourage workers to join unions again. In every negotiation between management and labor, both parties should have representatives that have their best interest at heart. \\
9) Let's start valuing our earth again. We probably can't do away with fracking and drilling and mining in the next 10 years but that should be our goal - to turn to resources that treat land and the air and the water more gently....and to train our people for these jobs of the future rather than telling them they can still be coal miners. Do they really want their children to be coal miners if there is a cleaner healthier option?
10) Let's get out of Afghanistan. Have we made a difference in 16 years? Will we make a difference if we stay another 16 years? What does the end game look like?
11) Far as I'm concerned, the same goes for Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen - let them all duke it out as best they can. We can't fix the whole world.
12) Let's have commonsense immigration reform. Yes, we need defined borders and we need to know who is coming across them. Yes, we need to vet all those people. But tearing families part who've done us no harm or leaving families stranded at an airport because they have a Muslim name - that's not the America I know and love.
13) Yes, let's pursue every alternative for limiting climate change.
14) The hardest one of all: let's stop hating each other. I have not a clue about how to make that happen.
Thursday, May 4, 2017
I guess, like Hillary, I am now part of the Resistance but I don't feel very triumphant about it. I don't have any bullets or bombs, only words, and they seem like pitiful weapons against what is currently going on in my country, the sliding backward that I'm watching happen before my very eyes.
I used to believe we were the best, certainly not perfect, but the best in so many areas. We were brave and bold and creative. We invented things and then invented ways to make those things faster and more efficient and cheaper. We built things - beautiful buildings and bridges and highway systems. In order to do this, we took in people from all over the world - scientists and architects and physicians and physicists and added their expertise to our own. We forged ahead to discover technological miracles. It was the American Way.
We have never been as kind and gentle as we sometimes like to believe, Every advance in civil rights had to be fought for with protests and police dogs and billy clubs, with arrests and even murders, but in the end, the right way always won. Before it was over, women could vote and Black people could drink at the same fountains and attend the same schools and gay people could marry the partners they loved.
We believed in science and education and we believed in using those things to help our country and the world. We were always the first to arrive with aid after any disaster. We showed up with food during famines and medicines during pandemics and weapons during genocides. We took in the refugees those catastrophes left behind. We were the world's generous-hearted Uncle Sam.
We were usually ahead of every modern curve - we pioneered workers' rights and environmental progress and medical cures and advanced education even for non-elites.
No more. We are regressing in every one of those areas. Our infrastructure is crumbling even though our rich are richer than they've ever been before. We are closing the door to immigration, even deporting, not just criminals but settled, productive residents. Trump's budget drastically cuts research into cures for diseases. We are moving away from public education into for-profit schools, from which politicians get huge donations. The E.P.A's funding is being slashed in Trump's proposed budget. As I write this, the Republicans are getting ready to vote on repealing Obamacare and replacing it with something that barely qualifies as healthcare. (Guess who gets the biggest contributions from insurance and pharmaceutical companies?) Red states are passing ever harsher restrictions against voting and ever harsher restrictions against abortion and other areas of women's healthcare. The Republican Congress just passed legislation allowing employers to forego paying overtime. They passed legislation that allows companies to no longer keep track of employees who get hurt on the job. They are considering repealing the Endangered Species Act. They are considering privatizing our national parks in favor of drilling and mining. There may be an executive order today making discrimination legal based on religious grounds.
So, I'll resist in my own small way but I find it heartbreaking that all this was evidently what my fellow Americans wanted. It was totally predictable. The Republicans, now that we have given them complete control, are doing what Republicans always do. They've never tried to keep their anti-progressive views a secret. The best the Democrats can do is fight a futile rearguard action to lessen the awfulness a little.
So half me yells, "fight!" and the other half sighs and says, "fuck it."
As I watch us retract into a more fearful, smaller, sadder, selfish country.