Though my wife and I are thinking about pushing beyond the limits of nationalism and going to live in another country, my heart will always have a sweet spot for America. You might say that I’m still looking for the American Dream; I’m just doing it in another country. For the American Dream isn’t strictly American at all.
I believe that the American Dream is one of finding such prosperity in this life that it affords one the opportunity to have a lasting impact on the world to come. Though some may have a different definition of it, there is still a nebulous cloud around it, but the glaring truths that stand out are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. And though our government has, in many instances, has done an abysmal job in providing it, those are the tenets upon which it was based.
One of the greatest problems that I have with today’s America is that it doesn’t live up to the hype. It is marketed as the ‘land of the free and the home of the brave.’ What is free about being forced into debt because you contract an illness or have an accident which incapacitates you to the point where you can no longer fulfill your role of indentured servant? What is brave about staging an all out war on a country smaller than most of our own states because we’re afraid that they might have a fraction of the firepower we possess?
There is little doubt that America is the richest nation in the world. However, the harsh reality is that the majority of that wealth belongs to a handful of people, while the majority of people are struggling daily just to keep their heads above water. I’m not trying to complain about the iniquities of capitalism or to impugn the possibilities in a free market. Nevertheless, it must be realized that just as the discovery of this country was largely based on the search for gold and slaves, that is what is being created today.
The grandest problem is that most Americans won’t even consider facing this. Regardless of any chink in America’s armor, there are those resolute patriots that will state, “Well, it’s still the greatest country on earth. Where else are you going to find the freedoms that you have here?”
My answer is, “Almost anywhere.”
The rest of the world does not hate freedom as American leaders would have us believe. The American system of democracy is not the only system of democracy on the planet, and most any other industrialized nation in the world provides the same liberties offered to Americans, and, in many instances, more.
Then the cry goes out, “Well, why don’t you just move there you pinko, commie bastard?”
My answer is that I’m seriously considering it, though I don’t care for pink, am not a communist, and know for a fact that my parents are married.
But, alas, I am an American by birth, and though I am loathe to accept the slovenly laziness of the status quo that creates a plight for my people, I do see the promise in the ideal of America and find it as difficult to turn my back on her as I would my own family. However, I do have a few suggestions on steps to take toward meeting the goal of the hopes our forefathers instituted.
First, I believe that we should completely annihilate the party system. Not just break down the antiquated two-party system of Democrats and Republicans to include Greens, Libertarians, and others; we should completely dismantle the parties. What we need are leaders. What we need are public servants that hold the best interest of the people as their highest goal. One cannot truly do what is best for America if his loyalty is first filtered through another group. As it is, congressional loyalties are divided enough as they are from different states, and parties only serve to give more basis for dissension.
It seems that with every election, politics becomes more of a gruelingly long spectator sport between Reds and Blues than it is about the progression toward freedom and prosperity for all. While it is true that this creates jobs for analysts and commentators, it does little good for the people that the system was designed to actually serve.
Furthermore, while the party system makes it simple for a citizen to choose a team and vote for it across the board, it serves as a subterfuge for true democracy. Running a country is not a simple thing, and taking part in a process that decides the fate of a country run by the people and for the people should not be reduced to the simple task of choosing a banner to wave in the face of so many complex choices. Voting should take more research than picking a color.
Secondly, if we are to truly have a free and prosperous country, we need to dismantle the profit-driven HMO system and provide adequate health care for all citizens. In comparison to most .every industrialized nation, we are way behind. Great Britain, Italy, Spain, Australia, Cuba, Belize, Canada, and many other countries offer their citizens the freedom of never having to worry about what will happen to them if they were to become sick or injured. Why can’t America care for her people like that?
For those who argue that we can’t afford it, we must realize that we are already paying enough to the broken Medicare system to cover the cost. We only need the courage to break from the status quo, the compassion to care for our neighbor as ourselves, and the wisdom to realize the positive outcome of caring for the sick.
How many Americans go to work each day with a personal or family illness or injury, and have no insurance to cover it or an HMO that refuses to pay for it? How much of an impact does it have on their productivity as they work toward their limited salaries and wonder how they are going to pay the medical bills that will offer the life that is supposed to be secured by the Declaration of Independence? How much anxiety would it relieve if they didn’t have to worry about those costs? How much would that increased productivity affect the nation’s economy? If it truly comes down to dollars and cents, if we are, as a people, unable to find the compassion to help our fellow man and realize true freedom, universal health care is just plain good for business.
And why are we able to spend billions a day on a war that ends lives, but can’t find the money to save lives?
Third, we need to get rid of the crippled system of the IRS and the income tax. Instead of taking from its citizens what it believes it is entitled to and giving them the remainder, the government should adopt the Fair Tax upon all goods and services.
For law abiding citizens, they get to keep every dollar they make and pay taxes on what they buy instead of what they earn. Those who would otherwise skip out on paying their income taxes through illegal means will now pay taxes through their purchase. This will also mean that we will accept taxes from tourists and illegal aliens.
So those are three of the changes I’d like to see in America: representation for Americans instead of the special interest groups known as parties, free healthcare for all to keep pace with the rest of the world, and a Fair Tax instead of the unfair income tax. I’m sure that I’ll come up with more later, but those are the most glaring.