Clark Humphrey wants to know what progressives should believe in, and what things they should support, in lieu of just being “against things” that the ruling party is in favor of. This got me thinking of things I’d like to see instead of what I do see:
Environmental Responsibility: We don’t own the earth, we are merely stewards. True conservatives should conserve, don’t you think? So the rape and exploitation of the land and its resources shouldn’t be allowed only for the already rich short term thinkers. Until we can create an orca, a salmon, or a black footed ferret, then we shouldn’t be following policies that eliminate entire species.
Responsible Foreign Policy: No more support and subsidization of terror states. How many right wing despots have we supported through the years simply because of some bogeyman like “communism”? Castro may be a thoroughly despicable world leader, but we’ve supported others that have been worse. So no support for Israel as long as they are terrorizing their neighboring countries.
Nuclear Non-Proliferation: There’s been a treaty signed. If we don’t support it, then it’s meaningless. India and Pakistan have the bomb, in violation of this treaty. I believe that they’ve signed, but even if not, then we should still “encourage” them to renounce nukes. We can’t very well tell Iran and North Korea that they can’t have nukes as long as we pretend that Israel doesn’t. At present, there is too much incentive to develop nuclear weapons, if for nothing else than to deter the aggression of the United States. If we developed a more “sensitive” and enlightened foreign policy, then the deterrence of nuclear weapons would not be needed. Therefore:
Out of Iraq: We have no business there, and our presence only makes things worse. A truly international peace-keeping force to try to maintain some sort of order, but as long as it’s U.S. troops almost exclusively, then we’re perceived as a foreign occupier, and will be bogged down in their religious civil war.
Progressive Taxation: The idea that the wealthy enjoy many more perks of living in a wealthy country, and should therefore help pay for the privilege. Furthermore, there should be a line below which no individual should fall, a safety net from poverty if you will, to keep people from starving in the streets. As part of this, I ask for:
Universal Health Care: Basic medical needs taken out of the hands of employers and guaranteed for all. This would involve rationing, similar to what Oregon has done. Not everybody can get premium health care under this plan, as that would be very cost prohibitive. Broken bones set for free, but heart transplants cost extra. Free inoculations and better living education, instead of paying for the illnesses later.
Trade: Free and fair. We shouldn’t be supporting military dictatorships simply because they can produce cheap clothing in sweatshops. We shouldn’t create trade zones that encourage jobs moving to foreign countries that do not have decent living wage structures. Encouraging companies to move manufacturing to places that have relaxed or non-existent environmental protections simply moves the pollution from “advanced” countries to places where there are no safeguards. Not acceptable.
A Return to a Government of Law: No more “free speech zones”. No more domestic spying. No more illegal detainees held in foreign prisons in our name. No torture. Ever. No revolving doors between Congress and Industry and Lobbyists. No back door political donations designed to buy influence. I want Public financing of campaigns. No corporate lobbyists making the laws that regulate their industry. I want enforcement of existing environmental and financial laws, such as mine safety regulations and insider trading prohibitions.
Investment in Infrastructure: OK, not a mesmerizing topic, but important none the less. Bridges, roads, tunnels, and yes levees. A dollar spent today saves 10 tomorrow. How much will it cost to rebuild New Orleans? Versus how much did we save by leaving a half-assed job in the first place? Penny wise and pound foolish.
An End to Aggression as official Foreign Policy: Mostly by U.S. forces, but in support of international peace keeping and humanitarian efforts instead. Now I don’t object to U.S. forces in Afghanistan, as I believe that to be a legitimate use of force. That government was harboring persons who had brought harm to our citizens. That kind of aggression must be fought. But again, there’s no rational excuse for the invasion of a sovereign state that presented no threat to the U.S.
I want my freedoms, as guaranteed by the Constitution and laws of this country, to be respected. That includes law made by precedent, such as a woman’s ability to control her reproductive rights. I seek an end to this country’s War on Drug Users. I want less money going to corporate welfare, and more money dedicated to helping people that can use it better. Things like student loans, and medical treatment. I want balanced budgets, with smaller government, but I don’t want that smaller government to be made smaller by the elimination of programs that help the average citizen. One could make government smaller by eliminating things like the Environmental Protection Agency or the Department of Labor, but these parts of government exist to preserve our resources and health. Instead, I’d like to see a reduction of farm subsidies and a reduction in the defense department budget. I’d like to see the enforcement budget for the Internal Revenue Service increased, with a mandate to aggressively pursue the tax shelters and other tax withholding schemes of the wealthy instead of the poor and working classes.
And I want Accountability in my government. If you’re taking bribes as a government official, you get to go to the same prison as a bank robber or rapist. If you’re incompetent at your job, then you should be fired, and never be able to entertain the idea of a job in government again. If you’re found to be responsible for violation of the laws of this nation, I want you out of the government. Period. Especially if you’re guilty of war crimes and violations of international law. Impeachment is demanded and expected in such cases.
So this is what I believe in, and what I would support in elections with my vote and with my checkbook. This is how I believe things should be. The sad thing is that this list is TOO progressive, and downright scary to many Americans. (This is one reason that I’ve never considered running for public office. My ideas are too scary.) The end result would be a better, more enlightened world, with more opportunity and prosperity for the entire planet, not just for Americans. And it truly is a world view, not just a “Me First” mentality. Consider that Americans make up a small percentage of the planet’s population, but use up a significant fraction of the resources. We can only afford this by the exploitation and enslavement of the rest of the planet and its citizens. This is untenable. True progressives must take a global view, seeking the betterment of all, and not just the few.
This page is authored and maintained by Rich Webb.You can send E-mail to me by following this link to the contact page. And feel free to contact me if you have any comments, criticisms, or suggestions. I remain, however, perfectly capable of ignoring your useless opinion...