Our Vision for America
Our Vision for the Unites States of America
If the DailyKos community got its way, the country would be run in a far more liberal/progressive fashion. What would this look like? To make it concrete, we are working on a vision of what the United States would look like twenty years from now.
The key difference with the U.S. we see today is that tomorrow’s America would be a great deal fairer and the affluence we have developed over the last two hundred plus years would be more sustainable. When someone says that they are a liberal, this is what they mean.
Every aspect of American life would be better if we made the commitment today to make our country more liberal. In fact, the word “progressive” means making progress. By definition when you make progress things get better.
If you would like to contribute, you can find more information on the page for realizing our vision.
A Better Life
Here are some specific areas where we believe the country would be better off twenty years from now by implementing liberal policies today.
Jobs and Wages
The basis of solid personal life is a good job. Good jobs come from a healthy economy. A healthy economy results from sustained investment in technology and sensible limits on population grow.
In twenty years, we expect to see the results of good public policy to sponsor both public and private research. This research should be aimed at making the life of all citizens better. The results of research should be protected from misuse by those whose political positions are designed to favor selected groups.
As a result of good investment in research and sensible family planning, everyone in the country who is able to work will find a good job match. Their wages will be at least enough to support them throughout life, so that they can pay not only for essentials like food and shelter, but for all the necessities of life, including the insurance needed to protect their health and life, as well as enough savings for a respectable retirement. The minimum wage in this country will be the living wage, and it will be supported by a robust economy sustained by responsible investment in technology.
For those who cannot work because of physical or psychological impairment, they will find enough public support to ensure that they can live a meaningful life, whether that results in assistance that makes a job possible for them or in full support.
As a job is the basis of the good life, workplace conditions must be such that any reasonable person can work in safety and relative comfort.
In twenty years, all jobs will come with a guarantee of suitable workplace conditions. This means that no one will unreasonably risk their life or limb in their job. This includes freedom from toxins that have foreseeable long-term adverse health effects.
Work will always be work, but it need not be demeaning or unsafe. In twenty years, society will protect workers from these adverse conditions either through unions or workplace standards written into law.
One of the most worrisome parts of life is the thought of facing a major disease. For most, healthcare is currently unaffordable, and for many it can be lost too easily when most needed.
In twenty years, all persons in the country will be able to obtain healthcare at a rate they can afford and which will not be discontinued when they face health problems. In part, this will be possible because we have invested in the economy and have built the wealth necessary to provide basic healthcare for all. In part, this is possible because we have moved away from the idea that healthcare is a personal choice and made it a societal choice.
Social Security was implemented in the United States because vast numbers of elderly were living in poverty. This is not an acceptable state for an advanced society.
In twenty years, we have provided solid financing for retirement. We have done this, first, by improving the minimum wage, which provides increased income for the system, and second, by improving individual retirement financing. With higher wages for poorer workers and increased wealth created by sensible investment in technology, we have fixed the basics of financing retirement.
One of the most important elements in achieving a fair society is fair access to education. By correctly financing our public education system we will have given children in even the poorest neighborhoods equal access to education. This enables all the brightest students to reach their potential, maximizing the opportunity for overall improvement of society.
In addition, education is vital to citizenship. This is why public education is important to society, and why we have favored public education over private schools.
In twenty years, we have seen more equality in our society as a result of changes to the educational system. And, we have also seen an increase in the quality of the result, graduating students with better understanding of science, better literary skills, better reasoning skills, and better overall ability to cope with life. As a result, industry has profited, with a higher class of workers better able to do their jobs and performing at a higher productivity level. But these benefits go beyond industry to provide better educated individuals who can contribute in myriad ways to society, improving our culture as well as our standard of living.
The average person in our society is also happier with their life, because they feel more in command of their destiny than at any time in the past. The average person will be far better off because they will enter society on a more equal footing than in the past, while the children of the wealthiest will have a more functional and richer society in which to work.
The culture in the United States traditionally has valued freedom. That’s why we have a Bill of Rights to the Constitution and why we have a Statue of Liberty. That’s why we have extended the frontier to the doorstep of the universe and why we continue to say that we are a free people.
In twenty years, we will have an increased freedom that comes from public mastery over both governmental and corporate intrusions into privacy. By reaffirming our support of the Bill of Rights and demanding strict adherence to it by both private firms and public institutions, we have created a model for freedom in the world.
But to get there we had to fight corruption in both government and its relation to the private world. We had to roll back the temptation of privatization where it threatened to take away our rights. This was the most difficult fight we had because so many people want to acquiesce to the comfort of someone else controlling their lives. But we know that freedom lost may never be regained. So, no matter the cost, we draw the line when institutions step over their just boundaries.
At the same time, the country has returned to the separation of church and state. Churches found out that interfering in politics could be a two-way street, with the government telling churches what to do. A revitalization of the Supreme Court means that the government refrains from trying to enforce religious strictures and maintains neutrality among the many religious groups operating in the country.
Traditionally, the United States has been a beacon of justice in the world, promoting human rights across the globe and equal justice for all at home. In order to ensure justice for our people, we believe in well-managed courts that ensure due process and protect the rights of all defendants. We seek to provide a humane justice system from the moment someone enters it as a suspect until they are acquitted or discharged from prison.
In twenty years, we will have reformed our judicial and prison systems to prevent innocent people from becoming incarcerated and to ensure that those in our prisons are given humane treatment by the prison system and prevented from harm by other prisoners. This includes providing acceptable levels of healthcare as well as prevention of harm from those in charge.
We will have also set clear rules prohibiting torture and other abuse of anyone in custody by our government and prohibited the transfer of prisoners to any country known to abuse prisoners or where we believe there is credible evidence that a specific prisoner will be abused.
We will set clear rules within our government so that all officials and employees of that government adhere to the most stringent standards of rights enumerated in the Constitution. We will ensure that the U.S. adheres to the strictest standards for human rights as provided by international law in its actions abroad. And, we will have prosecuted all those known to have violated human rights regardless of the location of that offense.
Good government is transparent government. Good government is efficient government. Good government is government that knows its purpose and pursues it with competency.
In twenty years, we will have excellent government led by smart and well-informed representatives. These presidents, senators and representatives, governors and mayors, supervisors and commissioners will understand that they are servants of all their constituents (not a select few) and look to unbiased experts for the information they need to make wise decisions. Our representatives operate in the open, with public hearings and documents officially on the record and available to the press. They insist that any private entities doing the government’s work make their operations transparent to the public, as well.
This is especially true of elections, where all apparatus for voting belongs to the citizens and nothing is hidden from them. There are no trade secrets allowed, and the process of voting is easily auditable and open to any party that cares to take a look.
As a result, our citizens trust that those in office were truly elected by the people.
Peace and National Defense
In twenty years, the U.S. has stopped thinking of its military as primarily a way to defend the country from attacks by enemies, which is no longer viable in a fully integrated world, and begun to see it more as a means of keeping peace and protect assets in areas that remain hard to control through the normal system of governmental control. As a result of multilateral agreements and joint sponsorship of forces, the U.S. no longer has to maintain a military budget equivalent to the rest of the world. A strong U.S. economy is seen as the primary means of national security.
Diplomacy has reached out to all nations and established mutually beneficial relationships, so that no country sponsors terrorists, and will use its internal security to find and stop them. Since most terrorism and violence is caused by insecurity, and that is in turn caused by economic inequality, the first defense against them is opportunity.
At the same time, weakness invites conflict, so the U.S. will not create power vacuums. But, at the same time, this is not a call to make pre-emptive war or become involved in unnecessary conflicts. In twenty years, the U.S. has taken its place as one of the super players that forms the foundation of global safety and stability.
In twenty years, enough care has been taken of the environment to stabilize it around a sustainable model. This means the end of the destruction of major swaths of habitat, both on land and in the oceans, lakes and streams. Loss of species caused by humans has been halted. Global warming has been halted to the extent that no major loss of the icecaps is now expected.
This has only taken us to the point where we can further progress by cleaning up many of the toxic legacies of past years, including the significant nuclear wastes and various biohazards that have not previously been processed. It will take the combined efforts of all humans for many more years to reverse the worst that has taken place and restore the environment to a healthy condition.
In twenty years, as a result of a commitment to sustainability, all infrastructure in the country is on a plan to maintain it at the level necessary for the efficient running of the country. This includes the rail system, which is the backbone of moving raw materials and goods throughout the country, and has come to include a fast rail system for passenger travel, which is far more efficient than air travel for medium distances. This also includes mass transit, which serves the regions centered on major cities, which has reduced the need for private vehicles, especially for routine commute travel. It includes maintaining the dams, levies and other infrastructure needed to keep the waterways working and areas safe from floods.
A Better World
In addition to the changes to our country, in twenty years we will see a change in the world. The United States has come of age. In doing so, it has taken a leadership position based on post-colonial principals that our country does best as senior partner in an empowered world. The U.S. stands for strong liberal democracies that respect their citizens and that provide open, broadly inclusive advanced standards of living.
Aware that global warming could result in widespread suffering and political destabilization, the U.S. has taken broad steps to reduce carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions by moving quickly from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources. It has also taken leadership in reducing worldwide population growth. By helping to transfer as much information about key technologies as possible to developing countries, it has helped them bypass dirty sources of energy to realize a better standard of living and better healthcare.
At the same time, better trade policies have reduced the distortion of big money in international trade, and the application of carbon costs back to transportation has given local resources more support in the market. As a result, local farms and industries are better able to support themselves. The application of universal standards of wages, workplace conditions, and environmental rules have eliminated the steep disparity in labor conditions across the world and led to a rise in wages in this country. Instead of exporting job, the U.S. has been exporting its standard of living by helping other nations apply advanced technology to provide the goods and services needed.
Further Discussions on Vision for America
This page is the result of a long history of effort by many people. The discussions for what should be included here are recorded at the Discussion:Vision for America page.