Editor, The Beacon:
With their brilliance and vision, America’s Founding Fathers trusted “The People” — and despised kings; absolutely hated them. Centuries of European history provided hundreds of examples of the wastefulness and cruelty of royals with their fawning minions. That knowledge laid the groundwork for our government of and by its citizens. And we’ve done pretty well so far.
But constant attention and effort are required to groom, correct and improve democracy. If we tweak just a few things that the huge majority already agrees on, we’re unstoppable through the 21st century:
• In the economy, clean away the rust and webs of antique laws and unproductive rules that favor Wall Street over Main Street and billionaires over working people; cut corporate welfare, and keep markets fair and lean.
• Quality and accessible public education was the fuel that built this nation. Abraham Lincoln said, “On education, I can only say that I view it as the most important subject which we as a people can be engaged in.” Develop the best teachers in the world, and pay them much more. Lavish K-12 with the priority and resources it deserves.
• Fix the 54,000 bridges in America that are dangerous and “structurally deficient.” And while we’re at it, add millions of high-paying jobs by building power grids, roads, digital networks, and water infrastructure projects to lift us out of Third World status. (And the jobs created will address many social ills, like crime, violence and hunger.)
• Stop paying twice as much per person for health care than every other advanced nation, but achieving shorter life spans and poorer outcomes. Free insurance companies to do business across state lines, while offering a basic public option to spur competition. The best options are already in practice elsewhere; study and adopt them.
• And, most importantly, repair and support our democracy. Slash campaign mega-contributions and corporate influence, eliminate gerrymandering, ensure that “the will of The People” (elections) are true, fair and trusted.
If we turn the collective eyes and energy of “The People” to tackle the things we agree on, there’s no stopping us. We are the citizens the Founding Fathers put in charge. We’ve got this.