As I look around in July 2019, I think about what's happening in our country. If the Founding Fathers could talk to us from the grave, I think they would be telling us: “You can do a lot better than what you are doing.” Followed by: “How did you get into such an awful mess?” And, “Get to work and fix it."
Some of our problems are political, some are economic and others are moral. Congress must address the first two.
The Founding Fathers probably would remind us that all men (including women and people of color – the Founding Fathers were not perfect or infallible) are created equal and endowed by their Creator with certain rights and freedoms, such as religion, speech, the press, peaceful assembly, due process of law and so forth. Therefore, the founders of our republic designed a government which they hoped would protect and perpetuate those rights and freedoms.
The other purposes of government were to defend the nation from foreign enemies and to promote the common good. In order to achieve these lofty goals, the Founding Fathers would have expected us to treat our fellow citizens with decency and respect – to tolerate our differences; hence the motto: “e pluribus unum” – from many, one.
The framers of the Constitution also were concerned about monarchy (i.e., dictatorship) and tyranny; so they divided political power into three separate, co-equal branches and provided for checks and balances among the three branches. Hopefully, this will continue to serve us well.
The Founding Fathers knew the rights of the individual had to be balanced by the common good. If they were alive today, a majority of them probably would agree that our democracy requires reforms to ban: 1. partisan gerrymandering of legislative districts; 2. secret, unlimited, special-interest campaign contributions, and 3. voter suppression laws.
The common good should include tax reform to ensure the rich pay their fair share of taxes, as well as a living minimum wage for all working people. For the common good, the Social Security system should be strengthened and expanded so everyone who works most of their adult lives can earn a pension and have a retirement. It means universal, comprehensive, affordable health insurance similar to what people in every other modern, developed country have. It also should mean an affordable college education for those who want one. Nobody should go bankrupt because of health care costs or student loans.
The common good requires that the federal government provide funds to rebuild our nation's crumbling infrastructure. Lastly, it requires that our government and other governments deal effectively with climate change/global warming, and that all nuclear weapons be abolished from the face of the earth before they abolish us.
This agenda for the decade, 2020 to 2030, is an alternative to survival-of-the-fittest capitalism. It is also an alternative to socialism; one economist calls it, “Progressive Capitalism.” That is as good term to describe a brighter future for all Americans. Let's leave no one behind.