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Friday, May 12, 2017

Trump Times: Making Sense of it All

Most of the news coming out of the Trump Presidency alarms me. I've rarely had this kind of visceral effect from any political leader during my lifetime. Of course, I've disagreed often with many politicians and leaders from all parties, but I've never been this worried or discouraged before. Bottom line, it's difficult to have a leader who rarely represents what you value and believe in.

Yet, I can't worry so much that I'm unable to do my work, develop my practice, and enjoy my friends and family. I have to make sense of this so I can move in a forward direction with it all. Finally in these wee hours of the morning, I have a good idea which is to stop focusing on Trump and instead, focus in on what I value, then advocate and work towards those values.

What do I value and what will I do?

I am a fan of taxation. Taxation is like paying dues to clubs or associations you belong to--you pay the fee so you can utilize the services. As Americans we need to care about how our tax money is spent and the value we get from it. We should be looking at every dollar spent to see if we are getting good return. I believe taxes are well spent when they support equitable education, health care, infrastructure, clean water/soil/air, global partnerships/community, recreation/preservation/conservation, justice, and "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for all." I don't think taxes are well spent when they only protect particular groups. I do believe that everyone should pay their fair share and that should probably be a percent of your income. No one needs billions for "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness," and everyone should pay their share. The metrics related to that "share" should be scrutinized with the factors of good living. For example if you're an average wage earner and health care costs you 25% of your income--that's not fair as for a high-wage individual that same health care may be 1% or less of their income. I'm not an economist, but this is the kind of economic thinking I believe should lead our country's tax laws.

Education Equity and Strength
I believe in a great education for every child. I believe in our public school systems, though I also believe that some may decide on private school for their children and that's okay with me. I believe that our public schools are doing a very good job, and I am committed to continuing and developing the good work possible in my classroom, school, system, and via advocacy for children everywhere. I believe our public schools provide the unique opportunity of bringing a diversity of cultures, race, religions, class, interests, and lifestyle together with a common purpose of learning--this is "nation building" at its best.

I believe that a strong Secretary of Education would start with acknowledging the amazing work that is being done in public schools throughout the country. Every day so many children profit from dedicated educators, good systems, committed families, school boards, communities and amazing technology and research. A good Secretary of Education would begin with good data--what's working and what can be better, and rather than dismantle a system that has so much strength, he/she would work to develop that system with deep knowledge. I will find ways to advocate for and contribute to good leadership in the Department of Education, good support from multiple education agencies, and good work by all educators.

As I consider acts related to education, I will look to see if those acts support an education that is equitable, accessible, and of high quality for every child. 

Quality Health Care for All
Similar to education, I don't believe that good health care means dismantling a system that has strength, but instead developing that system to be better. No system will be at its best ever as every system profits from thoughtful, research-based, and people-centered research and development. To dismantle the years of good work and result is to step backwards. Instead we should develop what we have and make it better. I believe that a smart country like the USA can use its collective imagination to develop the health care system so that every American enjoys top-notch, state-of-the-art, research-based, sensitive health care--that will make us a strong country.

As I consider health care, I will look for equity, accessibility, and quality too. 

Clean Air, Clean Water, Clean/Nutrient-Rich Soil, Protected Natural Lands
America is rich with natural resources and beautiful lands. It is an amazingly beautiful and resource-full country. We should be doing everything we can to protect this great abundance because a beautiful, environmentally clean nation will be a nation that can sustain strength, health, and happiness.

Positive Global Partner
It is in no one's best interest to fight with other countries and to work to destroy. It is in the best interests of people all over the globe to get along and support one another so that resources are shared well and equity prevails. The idea that everyone can have the same is not achievable or positive, but the amazing idea that we can work towards every global citizen having "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness," is achievable. You don't have to be a billionaire to have "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness," but you do have to have a safe communities, accessible/affordable health care, nutritious foods, clean environments, quality education, respect for diversity/difference, comfortable shelter, good clothing, and an opportunity for quality recreation and socialization. The battles of the times should be peaceful "battles" to bring justice to all people on the globe and to create environments that promote "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" for all global citizens.

Community and Recreation
Quality recreation places and opportunities help to build good communities. This is an important investment for our country. I am a big supporter of our National Parks, Forests, and Seashores.

The arts bring us together as a people. The arts make life rich and meaningful. We need the arts.

There is so much more that I will probably add to this list, but rather than obsessing over the President's behavior, I'll work to support what I believe makes a strong country. I believe that we need a strong country for all people. I don't like or dislike an individual because of his/her party or because of any other part of their cultural profile, but instead I want to support all Americans with "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" in mind. I don't think we have to be continually stuck in the mindset that there's not enough to go around because I believe with good action and imagination there's significant promise and potential to be had if we work towards it.