Moving forward toward a more egalitarian compassionate society is the American tradition. We’ve been a world leader for this specific reason and we cannot step back from our evolving moral challenges. This moment cries out for a clear vision of what we must do to continue that tradition. I’ve jotted down a few of my ideas but welcome feedback both pro and con.
1. Reinstate the Fairness Doctrine, terminated under Ronald Reagan.
“It required broadcasters to devote some of their airtime to discussing controversial matters of public interest, and to air contrasting views regarding those matters. Stations were given wide latitude as to how to provide contrasting views: It could be done through news segments, public affairs shows, or editorials. The doctrine did not require equal time for opposing views but required that contrasting viewpoints be presented. The demise of this FCC rule has been considered by some to be a contributing factor for the rising level of party polarization in the United States.”
2. Significantly increase federal funding for schools to bring teacher salaries closer to professional standards. Add to Common Core educational standards for K-12 to include more vigorous education in civics, history, and science. Add debate and classes on world’s major religions to required courses.
3. Expand curricula standards to home school and religious school requirements. High school diploma should not be granted to anyone who has not satisfactorily completed Common Core benchmarks.
4. Tax any church or organization that advocates Dominionism, a form of political advocacy that would in essence overturn the U. S. Constitution. This advocacy violates tax-exempt status.
“An example of dominionism in reformed theology is Christian reconstructionism, which originated with the teachings of R. J. Rushdoony in the 1960s and 1970s. Rushdoony’s theology focuses on theonomy (the rule of the Law of God), a belief that all of society should be ordered according to the laws that governed the Israelites in the Old Testament. His system is strongly Calvinistic, emphasizing the sovereignty of God over human freedom and action…”
5. Enact mandatory two-year government service for every eighteen year old. This would serve in most cases as a type of apprenticeship. Military, Peace Corps, AmeriCorpsVISTA are forms of diplomacy and peace keeping. New services that could include Sciencecorps (to work with forestry, marine, agriculture, medical agencies), Vocational Services (similar to WPA, to work on nation’s infrastructure in jobs including engineering, carpentry, welding, concrete work, etc.), Art Services working alongside accomplished artists, musicians, writers to provide useable materials/performances for various venues. Etc.
6. Require each American adult who has not served in a program outlined in #5 above to volunteer one day of work each year within their local government, either city, county, or state. Refusal to participate would result in withholding driver’s license renewal or other penalty. Handicapped and persons over 65 would be exempt. Alternative could include attending one local political party meeting per year (established parties only).
7. Form bipartisan committee to study pros and cons of terminating the Electoral College. The presidency must represent the will of the people NOT the states.
8. Congress must take action to end gerrymandering and other forms of voter manipulation/suppression.
9. Congress must re-enact the ban on assault weapons and streamline regulations governing background checks to include gun shows and online sales.
10. Congress must streamline immigration procedures and services, provide adequate funding to expand staff sufficient to process all asylum applicants in a timely manner, and – most importantly – focus U.S. aid in Latin American nations from which most asylum seekers are fleeing in order to stop violence and economic problems that lead to emigration.