Saturday, April 12, 2014

Procrastination Nation

This blog appeared in DelawareLiberal on 4/12/2014 by ProgressivePopulist

Residing in my "twilight years", I've been reflecting on the many unresolved issues facing my country and revisiting the ebb and flow of progress/regression in the search for solutions  I've witnessed and worked for as an activist over about 45 years of my more than seven decades of life.
This is the bucket list I've pondered.   Yes some progress here and there, some local, some at the state level and a smattering of successes federally.  My observation is that the neglect of many and failure of other reform efforts to a great extent is attributed to an unengaged citizenry as well as their elected representatives at all levels of government.  Maybe we're mostly just too damned busy trying to endure our lives, but we talk a good game about making life better for future generations.
Certainly, those generations have more gadgets to improve daily life;  gadgets and stuff seem to be what American's do very well, perhaps better than most on the planet. But, improving the social order, in my opinion, certainly better than much of the third world, but compared to other "advanced" nations, not so much.
So, here's my bucket list, listed vertically to allow readers to ponder the size of the list and reflect on each issue.  My goal, maybe unmet, is not to depress you.  Rather, to cause some reflection.  In no particular order:
Climate change- largely ignored
Environmental degradation- still tolerated
Immigration reform- again and again
Tax reform-more complex and unfair
Guns-a national obsession
Wars-most ill or dishonestly conceived
Mental health-more art than science
Gerrymandering-misused by the powerful
Campaign finance-way worse, not better
Joblessness-mostly blaming the victim
Healthcare for all-a distance dream still
Trade deficits-not favoring our citizens
Women's rights-moving in the wrong direction
Civil rights-racism very alive and kicking
National debt-a blight on the future
Public education-the under served still awaiting results
Student debt-nibbled on but unresolved
Voting rights-regression, not improvement
Corporate lobby-citizens massively losing  influence
Financial crime-goes unpunished vs. citizen petty crime
Corporate boards-still in control of the plutocrats
Right to organize-labor rights nearly non-existent
Mass incarceration-worst in the world and privatized
Drug war-lost but still hugely harming the citizenry
Sexual exploitation-sex slavery and male intimidation winning
Surveillance state-all downhill since 9-11
Judicial reform-money wins, poverty loses
Voter participation-regressive policies impeding
Equal  economic opportunity-promised but not delivered
Pretty grim results.  But an abundance of people of good will can still turn us around together with peaceful uprising and persistence to inspire the uninspired.  My own belief, as a populist,  is that we can make the most progress short term with local, municipal and state progressive leadership, ultimately shaming and outflanking the federal plutocrats.  Optimism can prevail and shake the moribund populace to engagement to better their condition.