As I think of the theme of uniting Americans, I'm reaching for our common denominators--what can bring us together as a people.
A Good Life for Our Children, Grandchildren
It's difficult for me to imagine any American who would choose policy or activity that would hurt or hinder our children and grandchildren's future. What can we do to make a good life for those that will live long after we are here? It seems to me that as we consider this, we must pay special attention to the following areas of concern:
- Clean water
- Fertile land
- Good schools
- Safe neighborhoods
- Basic rights of food, shelter, health care
If we look carefully at the data and statistics with regard to what is working for children and what is not, then we can begin to work on a child-centered agenda for our nation.
Clean Water, Fertile Lands
To live well, we need clean water and fertile lands. To maintain our natural resources, we have to work with experts to make the best possible decisions for the short term and long term. Many want to turn their heads from this reality, but the truth is that countries that pay attention to this will be countries that maintain greater power and potential for the future. Short sighted, greedy policy will weaken our democracy. We have to work together in this regard.
Respect and Understanding of All People
America is and has been a nation of immigrants. Our diversity has made us strong. It's essential that we embrace this fact and work with it to provide "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" to all of America's people. When we lead with only some in mind, we weaken our democracy.
Clearly Americans are interested in jobs. To me, this is one reason that Trump won the presidency We have to create these jobs with a forward vision of our country. If we work to create good jobs with good policy, we will make our country stronger. A forward vision of job creation may include the following:
- More well-paying jobs in public service in order to care for people's shelter, nutrition, health and education. The money for this can be created by more equitable taxation with regard to those who make far more money then they will ever need.
- More well-paying jobs with regard to protecting our natural resources--let's keep America's natural resources including clean water, fertile land, and beautiful landscapes/waterscapes strong, forthcoming, and beautiful.
- Investment in jobs of the future--the kinds of jobs that will better our world including biotechnology, clean energy, space exploration, and more.
- Most Americans agree that it's time to re-think our foreign imports, particularly those imports that rely on slave labor and exasperate the world's inequality. Bring jobs home, pay well, and as Americans, lessen our material wealth--we don't need all the material things we have. Instead we need to buy less, pay more, share more often, and enjoy better quality products--products made in America.
We need to focus heavily on the welfare of communities using a contextual lens. Good quality communities in America won't be cookie-cutter communities, but instead unique and distinct representing the context of the people, their lands, and their needs. In this respect, the government needs to think carefully about both the distinct and common factors that communities need to prosper, factors such as good health care, clean and fertile natural resources, natural/human-made beauty/architecture that inspires, recreation, the arts, and entertainment. The government needs to respect each community's uniqueness and support the common factors of culture and good living that support "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." With greater automaticity comes the need for greater service to one another and a greater need for recreation, the arts, and education. Infusing communities with sustainable gardens, great bike paths, parks, libraries, theaters, and more will elevate all of us to be good people of the future who prosper in strong, distinct communities throughout the country.
We are intertwined with countries around the globe. The key is to work together so that every country can offer their citizens good living. We need to work to be a good global partner. When the world's people are treated with dignity and have what they need, many of the problems the world faces today will go away. We rely on one another and it's integral that we work with countries around the world with that in mind.
Our troubling leadership today is waking all of us up to the need to get involved, have a vision, and work together towards forwarding our democracy and the opportunity for "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" for all people in America and beyond. I don't think that any citizen will argue with that. We have to be mindful of greed today, the kind of greed that is short-sighted and looking for gain for some rather than all. I don't deny individual ambition and the desire to do well, but I do worry about the kind of greed that takes and takes and takes without regard for the average individual--the many people that make up our wonderful nation and world.
It's time for everyone to speak up and act with their best intelligence, understanding, and expertise-we cannot be satisfied with only a few making decisions for the many, but instead all Americans everywhere have to use their voice to make a difference. Our country and lives depend on it.