In my professional life (such as it is) I am a 6 Sigma Black Belt. For those who don’t know (most of you probably) that is a process improvement project manager. One of the tenets of Six Sigma is that you have to design the process to meet the needs of the customer, whoever that is. It is simply summed up as starting with the end goal in mind. This is applicable and important when we are talking about politics as well.
In the middle of policy fights, it is easy to get narrowly focused on the minutiae of the policy itself, while losing sight of the overall goals. This is even more of a problem when one does not have an overall set of goals in the first place.
"Originally posted at Squarestate.net"
As Congress takes up its work again this week I thought it might be a good time to take a step back and think about what we want America to look like in the future. This is not about short-term policy fights or goals, but what it is we are working towards in the ten to fifteen year time frame. Politics is about compromise, sometimes galling compromises which progress towards the overall goal. By knowing what each of our overall goals are, we can more easily determine if the compromises of today are actually worth having or must be resisted to the end.
This is not the easiest of mental exercises to be sure. But to make it a little less difficult let me set out some ground rules. The point of this is not to predict what will happen, but rather to determine what it is we want the future America to look like. We are also looking a decade or so down the road, so while we might have an ultimate end state that is pretty radical, being reality based needs to keep our goals within bounds. So, for those who would like to see us in a truly socialist political system that goal is probably outside the time frame.
Since this is my topic, I’ll take a swing at it. For me national goals are always people based. It is a core belief of mine that the nation is its people, not the land or the government or the military, but the people who are its citizens. This makes my long term goals pretty easy, they are below in no particular order.
I am working for an America where workers can form a union and bargain collectively whenever fifty percent or more of a work group wants to. In this goal I envision card check being available and used with no pressure or coercion from any direction. It is a place where work is valued and rewarded with fair pay and the spread of compensation between the executive suit and the work floor is not measured in multiples of one hundred.
I am working for an America where we have a rational policy on immigration and do not have a shadow economy where undocumented workers must live in fear of their employers reporting them to immigration. In this goal those who are here and working now will be able to come out of the shadows, to choose to start the path to citizenship, to live with all the rights and protections of any citizen or resident without fear.
In the America I am working toward we uphold the rule of law. In this goal there is not only accountability for crimes committed in the name of national security, but a closer approximation of justice for those who are poor or uneducated. It is a goal that sees the balance between the need to prevent criminals from preying on the citizenry and the need to bring those who have served their sentence back into society, so they have a stake in making it work for all of us. It is a goal the makes the law the unbiased balancing it has always strove to be closer to being a reality.
In the America I am working toward we will return the biggest portion of taxation to wealth and remove it from work. It will see the people who earn in the top 2% of all earners pay the lion’s share of the cost of funding our nation. It will put the cost burden back on those who benefit the most from the infrastructure and power of our nation.
In the American I am working towards everyone will have the choice of a publicly run, not for profit insurance plan. In this goal all citizens will have a way to access high quality health care without going broke. No one will be forced into bankruptcy because they or a family member became seriously ill. We will be moving towards ending private for profit health insurance and using the savings to cover all our citizens.
In the American I am working towards all citizens will have the same civil rights. They will be able to marry whoever they love, they will be able to stand before their community and take on the responsibilities and rights that come with marriage. They will be able visit their husbands or wives in the hospital, share property and children. No one will be able to discriminate against them because of their sexuality or gender status.
In the America I am working towards we will not be at war. We will have ended the military adventurism of the criminal Bush administration. In this goal we will recommit our nation to the idea of no preemptive wars. We will recognize that military power has real limits in its effectiveness and extreme costs whenever it is used. Military force will go back to being the last and dreaded resort, not the first tool reached for when there is a problem.
There you have it. Quite the list, I know, but they are the things that I want from my nation, they are the goals that keep me writing and working to change the way things are today. I urge everyone reading this to take a bit of time and think about what you want in for your nation in the next ten years. It will not be the same for everyone, we all have different views and different priorities, but knowing where you want to go and articulating it is the first step towards achieving it.
If we can come together behind a vision for our nation, we can do great things. The Right in the form of the Tea Partiers, the conservatives and the Republicans can articulate what they do not want. They can articulate what they do want only in terms of a return to a mythical time when we were untaxed, the market worked perfectly because it was unregulated and America was feared and respected universally in the world. This is a false choice they are offering the nation. It can be countered by goals that are positive and real.
Now you have my goals, why not share yours in the comments?
The floor is yours.