I Have a Dream Part 1: It Starts With a Dream.
Written by Robert Warden
Now that I have discussed various ways in which Republicans have pursued, and largely achieved at this time, their political objectives — of attaining and holding onto power, of deregulation and tax cuts for the wealthy, of increasing the size of our military while decreasing the rest of government, of rigging the Supreme Court and other courts in their favor — I wish to turn my attention to progressive strategy.
Conservatives have clearly had shared strategies to accomplish their goals, as is well documented. They have big money, think tanks and economic and political get togethers where they have discussed strategy which has been implemented over the years, apparently putting the less well funded and less well organized progressives at a serious disadvantage. But what we progressives lack in money and organizaation, we abound with in intelligence, moral fortitude and numbers.
Getting progressives to go the same direction politically has been compared to herding cats. We tend to go every which way, pursuing our own interests of the moment like cats. That isn’t entirely true, however. We do have common ground in opposing economic unfairness, oligarchy, unearned privilege, social injustice, and warmongering, among other things, and endorsing enlightened policies which are designed to prevent these problems from occurring. In fact, polls and studies show that many people, if not a majority, who identify with conservatives and vote for Republicans, want some of these same things such as economic fairness, reduced wealth inequality, and a meritocracy in which birth status and social position are not the determinants of success. We have numbers on our side, big time. Not only are most Americans more on the progressive side of the spectrum (certainly compared to current national politics), but we even have working class conservatives on our side economically in principle, even if they actually vote for Republicans against their own economic interests.
My political dream, or in other words objectives, policy wise are something that I have described before, but it has been several years since then. I think the way I envision humanity’s future is something that will resonate with other progressives in general, and there is broad agreement although I may have somewhat of a more psychological perspective than most, and maybe a few unusual ideas whose practicality I am unsure of.
A good place to start would be to say that I want a democratic socialist society. But that is only a beginning. What I envision, as much as we might aspire to be like them, is not for the U.S. to become another democratic socialist nation in the mold of scandanavian or other democratic socialist governments which currently exist. No, democratic socialism itself needs to evolve.
First, I envision a United States of more democracy, not the less that we have been getting. I see an America in particular, with higher voting rates, citizen initiated propositions, and easier ways to vote.
Second, I see a nation in which we reign in capitalism. We need reasonable regulation and monopoly prevention, but I suspect that won’t be enough in the long term.
I see an America in which we have a guaranteed income or some kind of vouchers for all citizens in good standing so that people have their basic needs met.
I see an America which encourages peoples’ interests and lets people work for themselves if they wish instead of having to be hired by large corporations or entities which dictate the terms of good standing to their employees. I see a society in which virtually all adults have productive activities that they enjoy, and which enhance their sense of fulfillment and actualization as well as creativity.
Aside from self-starter projects, I envision an America in which worker co-ops become the norm and individually owned corporations fade from prominence, perhaps even being outlawed eventually.
I see a nation of very high upper end tax rates which serve not only to fund needed programs, but prevent the overaccumlation of wealth, and perhaps even a stipulation of an upper limit to wealth accumulation.
Also, I envision a United States in which corporations are made to pay (even if it puts them out of business) for their “externalities,” that is, the damage that they cause to the environment, harm to people, etc.
Socially, I see a nation of racial and gender harmony, where all people are treated fairly — a world where all forms of discrimination and sexual abuse are taken seriously and are duly prosecuted under the law (but that shouldn’t need to happen very often in an enlightened society).
I see a United States in which all peoples’ have equal access to education, economic and political opportunities.
I see a nation where people are encouraged to have as much education as they wish, and it is all provided free for the students.
Likewise, healthcare access will be simple, easy and cheap, without long forms to fill out or having to sort through numerous competing “health plans” by for profit insurers.
Politically, I see a nation where the Republican Party and their agenda are relegated to a permanent, irrelevant, minority status, to be replaced by more progressive parties or factions. I also envision election reforms including the overturning of Citizens United, to be replaced by publicly funded elections, with modifications such as instant runoffs or voting by party preference instead of individual candidates (at least for some positions), that will give other political parties greater access to election success and poltiical power.
On the global front, I see a world of international cooperation and peace, not among wealthy big shots who want to buy the world off, but among its citizens through both personal contacts and through international organizations such as the United Nations, as well as among governments.
I envision a world which addresses as a community, the health of our environment, including new technologies and lifestyle modifications to ameliorate global warming or other climate changes, and also to address pollution problems and habitat destruction. Our future well being as a species can only be as good as our environment and ecosystem. We need to do much better than we have, and the cooperation needs to occur on a global basis. We can only sustain ourselves in the long term if we build a sustainable future, by working with nature rather than against nature as a species.
In fact, all of the above, even when I mention the United States, I envision for the entire world. I in fact absentmindedly typed “world” numerous times above when I meant to apply it to United States politics. However, since we are focusing on United States politics here, I think it is appropriate to make objectives regarding our nation’s politics first, and consider the international political picture subsequent to that.
I may have missed a few issues, but this is the general outline of where I wish to see our politics heading in the future.
Once a vision of the future is established, however, the crucial question is how to achieve it. Personally, I think having a vision or set of goals is crucial to progress. Knowing what we want gives us the goals that we wish to attain, and helps us outline the parameters of our efforts.
Subsequent posts will go into detail about ideas to achieve our objectives. The first, most obvious one, is how to approach this year’s midterm elections. However, it starts before that, with the primaries, and nominating and supporting as many progressives as possible to run in this fall’s election. I will discuss this in more detail next time.