At this troubled time it is easier to dream than it is to hope.
And my dream, as I’m sure is yours, is world peace with sufficient food, housing, Medical care, education and clothing for all the people on this earth, with sufficient care of the environment so that people and other animals can continue to live, and with fairness and dignity accorded to all people.
But I know that not all of that is going to happen in my lifetime, if ever. Actually, it sounds more like a fairy tale than an eventual possibility given the events of the last two years, especially the events of the last few weeks.
And so, what can I hope for?
Much of my hope depends upon the present and incoming Democratic members of our United States House of Representatives, and yet, that hope is diminished because much of the good that they may do will be overridden by the Senate and by President Trump, and by our United States Supreme Court and the many other federal courts whose justices President Trump has appointed.
Do I hope that our Representatives’ investigations will somehow lead to Trump’s impeachment and/or imprisonment? ?
Not really, even though I think that Trump deserves much worse, because I’m more afraid of what Pence would accomplish than what Trump will do. Actually, I’m beginning to wish that both men would just disappear from the earth.
But I do hope that enough Republican and Democratic members of the house will be able to work together with members of the Senate to make our immigration and criminalization policies and practices more humane and just, and to ensure that all United States residents will have quality health care at an affordable price.
I’ve been hoping and working for single-payer health care since 1945. And, as you heard Mandy Pino say so well a few months ago, HR676, the Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act will, when passed and implemented, provide what Medicare does right now plus provide long term care, hearing aids, dental services and prescription drugs , saving money for at least 90% of our population and billions of dollars for the nation. It is currently sponsored by 123 Representatives and supported by 7 incoming ones and the majority of United States citizens.
But this measure, as with all others, will be passed only with the hard work of us citizen-supporters, letting our legislators know what we want and telling our fellow citizens how and why we believe, and urging them to get their legislators to pass what is so sorely needed.
In addition, I just learned, thanks to Mandy, that Representative Jayapal is rewriting HR676 so that it will leave out people who require long term care, retain the insurance industry and protect the profits of investor owned providers. And so, if we want the essence of the 13 year-old HR676, we need to contact Representative Jayapal telling her that we do
However, even good legislation is never enough. We must be alert to how legislation is implemented once it is passed. And we must somehow do the tough job of ensuring that the implementation of good laws carries out the intent of those who voted for them.
And speaking of tough jobs, just how can we reform our immigration system?
I hope that we can:
*see that children are not separated from their families
*see that the Dream Act is implemented
*see that enough money is allotted to enable processing for asylum, residency, green cards, citizenship, etc.,in a reasonable time
*see that immigrants are given the health care they need and satisfactory housing and food while being detained, and
*end the practice of having private, for profit, detainee centers.
I hope that our offense budget will became a true defense budget, thereby freeing up the money for things that are really needed, that we shall stop wasting so much money (and giving it to weapons and airplane and drone manufacturers) and that we shall stop killing and maiming people
I hope that we shall reform our justice system and stop incarcerating people for little or no reason, that prisons will no longer be owned and run by private, for profit organizations, and that, as in the First Step Act, recently passed by both the Senate and the House – a bill which Trump said that he would sign, although I do not know that he has- job training and other programs aimed at reducing recidivism rates among federal prisoners will be instituted, and that there will be eliminated mandatory life terms for third-time offenders and mandatory minimum sentences for non-violent drug users.
But it is important to be aware that the First Step Act affects only federal prisoners -less than 10 percent of the United States prisoners and that it excludes immigrants.
I hope that our nation will recognize through legislation and implementation that guns do kill people and regulate their sale so that all buyers undergo background checks, that no buyers be allowed to purchase guns that act like machine guns, and that people with mental illness or criminal histories will not be allowed to have guns.
I hope that we shall allocate funds to really help addicted people, and provide housing and services for them as well as for all homeless people.
I hope that all our states will provide free quality pre-school, elementary, high school and college and university education for all our citizens, including vocational as well as academic skills.
I hope that this nation will face the reality of what we have done to Native and African Americans, as well as to Chinese and Japanese people, and at least not continue our bad practices, but also make amends for the evil we have done in the past.
I hope that we shall stop fracking, invest more heavily in wind, solar and water power, and levy taxes on carbon use. And I hope that the Green New Deal movement, aimed at tackling both income inequality and climate change will gain momentum.
I hope that we shall have a livable national minimum wage and negative income tax sufficient for all our residents to live decently – something like $50,000 for a family of four might do it now, and that we would levy sufficient income and corporate taxes to make that and my other hopes possible.
I hope that somehow the feelings of hate and fear of others so widespread in this nation will disappear. Perhaps they will when people are not afraid that they and their children will not have enough money on which to live a decent life.
I hope that our nation will stop trying to dominate the world, that it will cease suppressing democracies and kowtowing to dictators., that it will stop supporting Israel in its efforts to greatly limit the rights of Palestinians, and that it will not go to war for any reason. But, contradicting myself, I do not want our forces to be pulled out of Syria and thus open the Kurds to destruction by the Turks, nor am I certain that we should pull our forces out of Afghanistan at this time.
I hope that our nation will cease the production of nuclear arms and destroy those we have.
I hope that we shall abolish the electoral college and make certain that our voting districts are planned fairly, and that the right of every citizen to vote will be unfettered.
And I hope that the amendment to abolish the Citizens United ruling will be passed, putting an end to corporate and other big money takeover of many of our elections.
In a recent article, “Why America Is the World’s First Poor Rich Country,” umar haque makes the point that so many individuals in our nation feel poor because they have to pay for their use of things that other societies’ taxes pay all or part of like health care, education, transportation, media and communications.
And I agree with him. That is why I am a member of DSA, the Democratic Socialists Of America, and have been since its inception in 1975, having also been the member of its predecessor, the Democratic Socialist Organizing Committee.
That is why I have been a loyal fan of Bernie Sanders for years and a strong supporter of him for President in 2016, and I note that Nathan Robinson said in Current Affairs, “no other candidate has the ability to defeat Donald Trump.” That is why I am delighted that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was elected to the House of Representatives, and glad that she recently declared that it’s completely unacceptable that Congressional salaries are exempt from shutdown. And I hope she will succeed in turning her sentiment into law.
Ah, but, then, there will still be the courts with which to deal,
As dismal as the present and near future seems, we must not give up. If we do, the worst will definitely happen, And so, let us use our energy, our power, our skills and our knowledge to work to get a nation that lives up to our dream: for world and national peace with sufficient food, housing, medical care, education and clothing for all the people on this earth, with sufficient care of the environment so that people and other animals can continue to live, and with fairness and dignity accorded to all people.
As Steve Garey, former head of the United Steelworkers Union in Mount Vernon, Washington State was quoted as saying in an August issue of The Nation, it’s “organized people versus organized money.”
Thus ends my sermon for today.