Lately I've been hearing more talk about a multi-point plan from the Democratic Party, a preparation for the campaign platform of the 2006 campaign. I think it's great that they're planning, but I worry that the one thing that such a platform will lack is an over-lying message. I have a suggestion for them that stems out of a conversation I had with John tonight.
Message: Republicans are destroying what makes this country great, from a strong middle-class to an ethic of politeness.
Five Point Plan
1. Preserve the environment that all Americans enjoy. Rich Republicans may be able to go to their private lodges in Tahoe or their Texas ranches, but the rest of us vacation at America's National Parks and public beaches.
2. Free ourselves from having our essential needs priced beyond our reach. Health care and natural gas prices should not be unaffordable for anyone in this country. Private American insurance and oil companies are geared towards their shareholders demands for superficial growth that helps them line their pockets rather than the needs of the average American. Health care and energy aren't usually lumped together in a campaign, but Americans are being cheated by both industries right now. It is in our best interest to have preventive health care and affordable energy prices. This means more public ownership and alternative energy options and higher fuel efficiency standards that not only help our environment but, when developed, will force oil companies, to lower their prices and stop getting rich off of the average American.
3. Demand that we strive for the once high standards we held towards education. The Republican mindset has de-prioritized education. Viewed as just another way to cut taxes by those guys, good public education has been frittered away so already well-off people can buy another Porsche or take a Carribean Cruise. We need to re-prioritize education by strengthening our public schools, paying teachers more, giving students much more assistance in college, and cutting our budget in unnecessary areas while modifying the tax code to get this money. (Barbara Boxer pointed out when I saw her last week that if we took away the Social Security tax cap, we would have an SS surplus).
4. The working poor must be eliminated as a concept. If you're an American citizen with cable television, you can turn on the tube at night and see Paris Hilton prancing around, jobless spending gobs of money. Meanwhile, there are people working nightshifts at this hour just to get by. We should not live in a society where the idle rich get richer and idler and the average working citizen gets poorer--which is what is happening right now, because inflation is happening and wages are stagnant. There must be a decent minimum wage and a new marginal tax rate for those who make 1 million plus a year.
5. Let's be NICE to each other. What a concept, eh! Seriously though, politeness in this society has plummeted because people are always in a hurry, always trying to get the most for themselves, and these are messages that are promoted by corporations, the media and politicians! Corporations want us to buy, buy, buy; but they don't care about the consumer debt that people accrue while doing so. Media figures like Bill O'Reilly and right-wing Republican polticians and religious figures can only find people to demonize. An uncivil society yields what we saw over the Thanksgiving weekend: hostile holiday shoppers, driven by the greed of corporations and the anger of public figures to focus only on material objects. I've heard people lament so often the rudeness and self-centredness of our current society. The Republican ethic has led us in the wrong direction. We must turn back.
Finally, we are forgetting what makes our country great, because the powers that be want us too. Not only can we do better, as I've heard it said by Democrats, but we can do damn well, if we try!