Asking the Right Question

After scanning facebook posts yesterday on what I considered trusted pages, I was concerned by the level of propaganda and spin that is being cast around this election (and it seems to be getting worse). The way I would sum it up is that there is in many instances a failure to ask the right questions. When we start asking the right questions then perhaps we can move forward instead of trying to indoctrinate potentially vulnerable readers. I’m thinking here the spin of the likes of Daily Kos, Politico, Thom Hartmann, Ring of Fire, and Robert Reich (in some instances).

In this election cycle there have been a number of different ideas floating around about how to vote and why we should vote a certain way. Almost to the point of becoming “principles” that will lead to the “right” outcome.

It goes something like this: Donald Trump has to be defeated and Hilary Clinton is the way to do that. It doesn’t matter that this means keeping the same neoliberal arrangement that has been the mainstay for this and other countries for the past 30 plus years. It doesn’t matter that big money has infiltrated the system and is going to continue to run the show in alarming proportions if the performance at the DNC is any indication and the number of billionaires pledging a vote for Clinton.

I was also struck by the “logic” of another argument that Clinton needs to win because she will nominate progressive judges to the Supreme Court. By all indications with her extensive corporate pandering of late (to Democrat and Republican billionaires) she will be more than likely nominating justices who support corporate interests.

There is another “principle’ floating around that the presidency can be overlooked because it is the down ticket vote that will count. But this is even questionable as the “solution” with the new knowledge that the Koch Brothers are focusing their efforts on the Congress, not the Presidency.

So if the money interests are tying up all sectors of the government – executive, legislative, and judiciary, this leaves us with quite a dilemma.

So what do we do? We could ask the very important question of how did we get to this point and this a valid question to ask. By understanding how we got here we can hopefullly avoid reproducing this in the future. But this won’t help us change where we are at present. So the more important question in my mind is where do we want to go?

I was reading the introduction to Gar Alperovitz 2004 book “America Beyond Capitalism: Reclaiming our Wealth, Our Liberty, and Our Democracy” (and I’ll be honest I still haven’t read the rest of the book). But I was struck by what he said about change. He spoke about change in the light of needing to know what you want change to look like if you are going to even begin the journey of bringing about that change.

So I compiled a list of the things that I would like to “be the change”. These are just presented as basic wants. I don’t know the details and I”m not an expert in framing the issues and I haven’t spent time on looking into the details at this point. I’ve also avoided any negative “reasons” why any of these are not possible. Other authorities more knowledgeable than me have suggested that many of these things which we don’t think are possible are in fact very doable.

Here is my skeletal list:

1. a constitutional amendment to overcome Citizens United
2. bringing back trade unions and collective bargaining
3. breaking up the big banks.
4. bringing back Glass-Steagall
5. holding publicly funded elections
6. a heath care system that allows those who can’t afford to pay to be treated – expanding medicaid or single-payer system
7. social welfare where unemployment is provided to those without work with meaningful proof that they are searching for work
8. social welfare system that provides everyone with a minimum income to eliminate poverty
9. a minimum wage
10. a climate change plan that is meaningful and measurable
11. transitioning to renewable energy where the fossil fuel industry is transitioned adequately
12. stringent regulation of Big Agriculture if not elimination, and a move back to small family farms
13. an end to further trade agreements and reeling in the ones we currently have, as well as removal of the ISDS dispute process
14. a return to a domestic manufacturing focus
15. corporations paying their fair share of taxes and taxes if located overseas
16. corporations losing their identification as persons
17. decreased military spending and policies on how to deal with conflicts in other countries that incorporate humanitarian principles.
18. put an end to arming other countries with weapons
19. increased regulation of industry at the interchange where it harms communities – environmental justice focus
20. voting system reform to minimize fraud and ensure all citizens are able to vote
21. immigration reform (whatever that entails)
22. fix the failing infrastructure
23. race relations – deal with systemic racism in the area of enforcement
24. regulation of animals to minimize or eliminate practices that amount to cruelty
25. a public education system that is funded adequately
26. a higher education system where students are not steeped in debt for the rest of their lives with jobs that barely pay the bills
27. cut monopolies down to size; Big Pharma, Telecommunications like Comcast, Monsanto, Broadcasting, Big Tech, Property (Patents, Copyright)
28. water held as a human right – clean, safe and accessible water for all
29 gun reform (whatever that entails)
30 fairness doctrine reintroduced into broadcasting
31 adopt Joseph Stiglitz economic plan from “Rewriting the Rules for the American Economy” (2016)
32. put an end to corporations like Walmart’s monopolization over consumer shopping; focus efforts on employee coops which can compete and keep prices down
33. make bankruptcy rules fairer so they do not penalize individuals
34. increase regulation of speculation on the Stock Market (whatever that entails)

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