What I Want in a Government System
I end up in a lot of debates about politics, wealth inequality, and our whole social order here in America. I would think that, with everything I say, the points and issues I choose to tackle, support, or tear down, it would be evident what exactly it is for which I stand. And yet I still get asked just what I support, what kind of system do I want? So, I’m going to try, again, to make that clear right here.
I want a system that seeks to provide the most good the largest number of people while refraining from isolating, discriminating against, or downtreading the rest.
This means I want a system that rejects the idea that it is okay for a few to become wealthy at the expense of the many. A system that recognizes inherent human greed and the failings that introduces into a free market model.
I want a systems that asks those who have much to contribute as they are able, and doesn’t ask those who have little to contribute more than they are able – in other words, a system that taxes the wealthy in proportionately higher rates than the poor.
I want a system wherein everyone is paid a living wage, not just one where some struggle to maintain a barebones subsistence.
I want a system where homelessness is reviled – not the homeless. Where EVERYONE is granted shelter. Not one where inordinately wealthy banks are allowed to not only profit, but are in fact subsidized by our government when they eject people from their homes. In a society where we have more empty homes than homeless, it is repugnant that we not only allow, but essentially force, anyone to go without a roof over their heads.
I want a system where no one goes hungry, where farmers are paid to distribute their food, rather than to horde some food, toss and destroy other food, and in some cases just flat not produce. In a country where we produce enough food to feed the entire world, it is morally unconscionable that we allow anyone to go hungry.
I want a system where healthcare is a right, not a privilege. We are the only industrialized nation on Earth without universal healthcare – we also have the highest health care cost per capita in the world. These two facts correlate directly. It is obscene that one’s health is directly tied to one’s paycheck. All people should have equal access to health care and shouldn’t have to make the decision “can I afford this procedure?” ever. Healthy citizens are better able to contribute than unhealthy.
I want a system where education is a right, not a privilege. Our education costs are through the roof, again higher than anywhere else in the world. We like to laud ourselves as the most advanced nation on earth, and yet fewer than 1 in 3 Americans hold a Bachelor’s Degree or higher. Worse, a large portion of those holding degrees come out of college with crushing debt – a debt which can ruin their credit ratings and actually HURT their chances of obtaining employment which would actually help them manage that debt (it is now a common practice for employers to do credit checks on candidates before ever conducting a first interview).
I want a system where we do not villainize the poor for being poor. Where we do not assign traits to them to make the middle class feel better about themselves (and keep their vision downturned from those who are truly in power). Poverty does not mean laziness – it usually requires exactly the opposite. Many impoverished people work two or three jobs just to barely scratch by. That is hardly the definition of sloth. Poverty does not mean greed – that is the realm of the rich scrabbling for more money just to become even more meaninglessly richer (once you have a certain amount of wealth, really, why do you need more? What is the point? You’re wealthy, you’re comfortable, you have no fear of homelessness or starvation and can obtain essentially anything you want – why this scrabble for more more more?).
I want a system where we spend more to house people, to feed people, to clothe people, to educate people, than we do to kill people.
I want a system where government is in the hands of the people, not just of the wealthy. As it stands now, our government is incredibly corrupt. Elections typically go to the politician with the wealthiest backers, who through corporations and Super PACS are able to contribute limitless amounts of money to essentially buy their crony’s way into office. Those politicians then are favorable towards enacting legislation that benefits those same wealthy people – tax incentives and breaks, blocks to make unionization harder, attempts to keep the minimum wage from raising (the federal minimum wage hasn’t be raised in over 8 years while CEOs continue to get pay raises every year), defunding of essential services and privatization of national works (such as the creation of the prison-industrial complex when many federal and state prisons were privatized). We MUST decouple money from our politics, or the representative republic which our founding fathers envisioned will never return – right now what we have is a plutocratic oligarchy. The first step to that is striking down Citizens United. Then create a common fund for elections, from which all candidates must draw.
I want a system where all people are given equal opportunity. Where all freedoms guaranteed by our Constitution are granted to all people, regardless of the shade of their skin, what gender they are or choose to express, what religion they choose to follow, or how they happen to choose to conduct themselves in the bedroom.
In short, I want a system that encourages us all to respect each other, treat each other like decent human beings, and to take care of each other. Is that really asking for too much?