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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.

Originally posted to Something the Dog Said on Mon Apr 12, 2010 at 06:40 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tips? Flames? (17+ / 0-)

    Your vision for America in a decade?

    Getting Democrats together and keeping them that way is like herding cats that are high on meth, through L.A., during an earthquake, in the rain -6.25, -6.10

    by Something the Dog Said on Mon Apr 12, 2010 at 06:38:49 AM PDT

    •  Play 'til I die (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Something the Dog Said

      We work all our life so? We don't have to work? Lucky someone didn't mess work up for "play" otherwise we would play all our life so we wouldn't have to play again.

      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,

      There has to be winners and losers. Otherwise the Yankees would be left with no one to beat but themselves. Or leave this up to the White Sox, or Red Sox every 75-100 years. Wasn't that fun?

      Anyway...money is a big deal. Take away money and all you have left is Madoff serving 150 years. That was a waste. Again, fun.

      Two losers never make one winner. McCain/Palin ticket? Way too much fun.

      Your vision for America in a decade?

      We all have more freedom from money and have a little more fun.
      A little less is sometimes more.

      •  Okay, though I am unsure how that (0+ / 0-)

        translates to policy that we can work for.

        Getting Democrats together and keeping them that way is like herding cats that are high on meth, through L.A., during an earthquake, in the rain -6.25, -6.10

        by Something the Dog Said on Mon Apr 12, 2010 at 07:18:57 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Stress less greed (0+ / 0-)

          Take away money as the reason for our existence. It has to start with personal responsibilty. Greed runs WallStreet. They depend on our greed, but they determine how the pot is divided. I am not in. Opt out. Replace money with Fun, and then work backwards trying to achieve the end goal. Without money, power is personal responsibility. Your goals becomes altruistic, more in line with the real God.

          My plan is not to stop work at 60, but to divide work up over 90 years. That way there is more time for fun and if I die at 60 I missed out on 30 years more of work (albeit part time)but got all the fun in.

          You want what is best for your children? A job well done is personal success. What we have today are fights. How do we end the fights?
          An alcholic can't change if he wants to keep drinking.

  •  My top 5 (7+ / 0-)

    A rapid shift to clean, sustainable forms of energy.

    Effective protection of air, water, and land resources.

    Affordable education and healthcare for all.

    A focus on developing a sustainable economy with protections for labor and consumers along with accountability for corporations.

    Reducing the federal debt by cutting defense spending and allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire.

    Please help the people of Haiti

    by DWG on Mon Apr 12, 2010 at 06:48:14 AM PDT

  •  Smaller (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Something the Dog Said

    We need to get back to our 1960s belt size.  I don't think we need to go completely pre-industrial.  But America's arteriosclerosis is killing her.  Addiction ... gluttony ... amassing ... hoarding ... fear about tomorrow ... "why if we run out"?!

    The whole Costco/Sams Club way of looking at life has to come to an end.  We need to start carving out our lives one or two days in advance instead of decades, and rely on each other more, and the box stores less.

    I'd like to add some quip about racial tensions easing, but the truth is in another quarter millennia or so we'll probably start seeing dramatic physiological differences between each of us fade anyway.  There probably aren't very many corners on the globe now where differences we haven't already discovered can be found ... and fortunately more people are loving each other than killing each other and that tends to smooth out the racial lines a smidge.

    Catholic Church: Example of Religion thats TOO BIG TO FAIL

    by Detroit Mark on Mon Apr 12, 2010 at 06:48:23 AM PDT

  •  LOLOLOLOL (0+ / 0-)

    I am working for an America where people have consistent political ideologies.

    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

    On the wheel of ideology, the cogs of communism and fascism are close. -1, -1.59

    by Liberaltarianish on Mon Apr 12, 2010 at 06:51:20 AM PDT

    •  In what way is that inconsistent? (0+ / 0-)

      I didn't say that they should not have some kind of penalty for their being in our nation without the documentation we require by law. However since their "crime" is on the same level as a serious traffic ticket it is not a problem with rule of law.

      Getting Democrats together and keeping them that way is like herding cats that are high on meth, through L.A., during an earthquake, in the rain -6.25, -6.10

      by Something the Dog Said on Mon Apr 12, 2010 at 06:55:10 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Huh. I thought Six Sigma was a 30 Rock joke. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Something the Dog Said

    You mean the GI Joe? is what I believe Tracy Morgan said.

    •  Nope, it is the real deal. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MsWings, Hunter Huxley, dle2GA

      It is what made GE what it is today. It also saved and revamped Motorola.

      That is part of why they made such fun of it on 30 Rock, since GE owned (still owns?) NBC Universal.

      Getting Democrats together and keeping them that way is like herding cats that are high on meth, through L.A., during an earthquake, in the rain -6.25, -6.10

      by Something the Dog Said on Mon Apr 12, 2010 at 06:56:12 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  What I want for America (0+ / 0-)

    begins with term limits and campaign finance reform for congress.

    We need to level K Street and turn it into a lovely park.

    After that, most of Americas problems will solve themselves.

    •  Sorry I can't agree on term limits. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MsWings

      The states that I have lived in that have them basically have lost any kind of institutional knowledge and are no utterly dependent on lobbyists as the experts on legislation. I think term limits are the worst possible solution,.

      But it is your call on what you think is is important.

      Getting Democrats together and keeping them that way is like herding cats that are high on meth, through L.A., during an earthquake, in the rain -6.25, -6.10

      by Something the Dog Said on Mon Apr 12, 2010 at 07:15:20 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  What I want (rant begins now) (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Something the Dog Said

    I want some insurance provider to at least have an option of talking to a human as opposed to options 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. All I want is a replacement insurance card, and no way can I find a course to talk to a human. Perhaps because it's Monday all those lines are busy so no option, but I think that the corporations like our dollars more than providing customer service.

    I want Americans to not have this and other frustrations, and to feel more secure about how they live and what will happen if circumstances change.

    Why did I ever think I could accomplish something on Monday morning?

    Americans, while occasionally willing to be serfs, have always been obstinate about being peasantry. F. Scott Fitzgerald, the Great Gatsby

    by riverlover on Mon Apr 12, 2010 at 07:19:53 AM PDT

  •  1) Withdraw troops from hot wars. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Something the Dog Said
    1. End oil dependency/create an independent, green economy.
    1. Become the indispensable nexus of education/information for the planet.
    •  Do you really think we can end oil dependancy (0+ / 0-)

      in only ten years? I think it is a good goal, but the time frame seems short.

      Getting Democrats together and keeping them that way is like herding cats that are high on meth, through L.A., during an earthquake, in the rain -6.25, -6.10

      by Something the Dog Said on Mon Apr 12, 2010 at 07:36:37 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  What it does not want and thus will not achieve? (0+ / 0-)

    A culture of social solidarity, class consciousness, of independent, self-reliant "DIY" political self-organization and mobilization from the bottom up.  A restoration of the concept of citizen which makes the citizen central, restores the people as the authors of our own destiny, the owners of the nation, and the bosses of the politicians, not vice versa.  A reversal of the triumph of neo-liberal free-market absolutism and its consequent upward redistribution of wealth and power.  That we who have been nothing shall be all.

    We who have been nothing shall be all. This is the final struggle. ~E. Pottier

    by ActivistGuy on Mon Apr 12, 2010 at 07:53:46 AM PDT

  •  What I want is an America that knows (0+ / 0-)

    money is only a tool not an end.  Yeah, and while I'm at it, maybe if I ask nicely, Santa will bring me a pony.

  •  A transformation of heart would be nice (0+ / 0-)

    So that the tricksters in the market place are fewer, our social programs are fully funded, our militarism has waned, our food is cleaner and employment is once again a worthwhile for more than the upper offices.  You know, an end to the politics of suspicion and outrage, an end to the economics of the low wage economy, an end to foreign adventurism and American exceptionalism, and an end to factory food as we know it.  

    Youth lives by personality, age lives by calculation. -- Aristotle

    by not2plato on Mon Apr 12, 2010 at 11:12:05 AM PDT

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