One: no single member of any governmental body can do anything on their own. Whatever a politician tells you they want to do, they cannot do any of it without the cooperation of a majority of the other parts of the government. A politician running for president can promise to give everyone a unicorn that farts glitter, but unless that president has a compiant Congress, you’ll get no unicorn. Or even an increase in the minimum wage.
Two: this country has a lot of problems right now that need to be solved quickly. Here is a partial list of some of the most important:
- Obviously, we need more gun control. At the very least, we need to move toward universal background checks and we need to get serious about making it more difficult for people who shouldn’t have guns to get hold of them. Anyone who sells a gun, even privately, should certify, under oath, that they conducted a background check and that the person he sold it to passed and then be made responsible if that wasn’t true. Every gun sale should be put into a database, including registering every single gun with the BATF or some other body, to create a database that anyone in law enforcement can access at any time.
- We need a better health care system, in which mental health is not considered a separate thing and that everyone who needs or wants care can get it. We’re off to a good start with the ACA, but we need a lot more, including a possible shift in how we pay for care.
- We need infrastructure, meaning roads, bridges, dams, levies and many other necessary infrastructure elements. Tens of thousands of these need to be repaired and/or replaced, and we need to invest in that. We also need a better mass transportation infrastructure, including rail. Not only is all of this necessary for our safety and security, but it would create millions of jobs, which would help out most Americans economically; infrastructure programs have always paid for themselves.
- Climate change will not be a quick fix, but we need to invest in a shift in energy production that takes us away from the 19th Century technology that is the internal combustion engine and learn to use the energy that surrounds us, like solar, wind, geothermal and tidal power. There is no real downside to doing this and it will create a much cleaner and brighter world. All other major industrialized countries are already making this transition, so if we fall behind, we’ll not only have a dirtier country, we’ll be a lot poorer.
- We need a better-educated population, which means easier and more affordable access to higher education. College graduates are leaving school with higher debt than ever before and the government is raking in big bucks servicing that debt, which should be seen as shameful. Not only can we afford to eliminate a large chunk of that debt, we can’t afford not to. The way we treat these debtors is also incredibly unfair; do you know student loan debt is the only type of debt that is not dischargeable in a bankruptcy, even if the debt is a loan from a private creditor? That means, if you borrowed money from a private lender to pay for college at a ridiculous interest rate because you needed to finish and there was no other way to pay, you’re stuck with that. People who buy more car than they can afford can negotiate the interest, cram down the car loan value to book price or even just give the car back and forget it ever happened in bankruptcy, but those with student loans have to continue to pay forever.
- No matter how well-educated we become, someone still needs to clean things and pick up trash, and we all like to buy things, which means someone will always have to work in a warehouse or a retail store. Not only that, but those who like to buy a burger and some fries once in a while have to be able to buy them somewhere. Everyone who works and contributes to our society is a vital part of it, and no one should have to work three or four jobs just to make enough money to survive. That means making a fair wage.
There are a lot more. I could probably list about 50 things that need to happen in this country within a relatively short period of time, so that we can return to being the wonderful, progressive nation we were starting to become until we lost our way a little more than 40 years ago. The list above contains just the most urgent things we have to do just to survive as a nation and not fall into an abyss from which we may never return.
Yeah, you’re right; that’s too negative. We’re progressives; we’re supposed to be the optimistic ones. And that’s kind of my point; we progressives have to be positive that we can do all of this stuff, or we’re screwed as a movement. Of course, we’ve been screwing ourselves for almost five decades, so why should now be any different? Because it has to be.
There is a third thing, and it’s really important;
The current makeup of the Republican Party, which represents less than one-quarter of the population, has shown that they are hell-bent on making sure none of the above happens. On the other hand, the Democratic Party has shown an overwhelming willngness to move us forward on every single one of those fronts. We have a major political party that is intent on blocking any kind of progress this country needs and another one that really wants the country to move forward and make progress on all fronts. Yes, there are a scant few Democrats who represent relatively right-leaning districts who make noise in the Republican direction, but remember the first thing above. The far left tendency to focus on “purifying” those scant few Democrats is, quite literally, nothing short of insane. And it’s killing us.
I will obviously get into this more later on, but our greatest obstacle to becoming a great country is the Republican Party and our greatest obstacle to getting rid of these idiots is ourselves. We can no longer afford to entertain the ridiculous notion that, somehow, defeating conservative Democrats and replacing them with Tea Party loons is somehow a victory.
It’s not a victory. In fact, we essentially wasted six of the eight years of the most progressive president the nation has elected since the 1930s because we focused on the Democratic Party and not our actual political opposition.
This has to stop. You can’t get anything done when the majority in Congress is held by the most radical political party in US history.