Recently, on CNN's Sunday morning financial show, "Your Money", CNN contributor Will Cain commented that contemporary American politics is partisan perhaps beyond anything that we've ever seen in the history of the country, because the country itself is more divided along partisan and ideological lines than ever before.
I agree with Mr. Cain. In my view, that division is severe. It is stark. It is absolute, representing, indeed, two fundamentally different Americas.
One America is a country in which the citizenry believes that health care is a basic human right. For that reason, the profit motive has been fully extricated from the provision of health care to human beings, making it a nation in which every person has access to quality, affordable health care.
In this America, women have the right to make personal choices about pregnancy. It is a nation that embraces the necessity of public policy which supports families that are unable to do so on their own, in taking care of their loved ones who have disabilities.
This is an America in which although people are paid differently based on gender for doing the same or comparable work, the people support laws designed to end that disparity as quickly as possible. The society understands the need to seriously work on the present day vestiges of the country's history of racial discrimination through Affirmative Action and other strategies. Public discourse about racism and all of the other "isms" is regarded as therapeutic and necessary for the nation to heal from that history.
In this America, people live comfortably in communities with their gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, transgendered and queer neighbors, and LGBTQ citizens have the same legal rights in employment, housing and every other aspect of life as heterosexual citizens. All couples have the legal right to marry.
Financial and all other private industries are regulated for the protection of home owners and consumers. Corporations do business in the United States because their management feels a deep civic and moral responsibility to provide employment in the country which made it possible for them to produce their wealth.
They know that in doing business in the United States, they will not be as wealthy as they would be were they to conduct their business in a developing country, they will still be very wealthy and for them, that is wealthy enough. Greed does not blind them to the suffering of working Americans and to the good of the nation.
In this America, the people desire a fair and balanced distribution of both resources and wealth based on effort and hard work. Those who have more, are happy to give more.
This is an America in which crime, drug abuse and addiction are dealt with by working on their root causes. It is a nation in which the purpose of incarceration is to provide to the incarcerated, an opportunity to be rehabilitated through counseling, and educational and vocational training.
In this America, people want as few guns as possible in society, with all of them, being in the hands of police officers.
Providing accessible quality education to children and young adults is believed to be one of the most important ingredients necessary for a healthy and secure national future. Thus, education is generously but wisely funded as one the nation's highest priorities. Public employees - teachers, police officers, fire fighters, transportation workers and others, are highly valued for their public service and for that reason, are compensated fairly. Their bargaining units are respected and dealt with in an equitable and professional manner by government officials.
This country has a Department of Defense and a Department of Peace. Foreign policy is pursued in a rational, informed manner. War is avoided whenever possible.
The safety of the nations' infrastructure, its roads, bridges, and tunnels is a national priority and are thus kept safe for Americans. New innovations in travel such as high speed rail, are pursued and developed, both keeping America current in the world and providing hundreds of thousands of jobs to Americans.
In this America, the populace is supportive of research and development of clean renewable forms of energy, wind, solar and hydro power. The findings of the scientific community are not only taken seriously, they are actively sought by politicians for serious consideration in making policies that affect both the social welfare and the health of the planet.
Citizens are encouraged to vote and to participate in the political process to the fullest extent. Public discourse on radio and television elevates comprehension of social issues and results in greater understanding of and thus compassion for all of one's fellow citizens.
In this nation, political campaigns are publicly funded so that in elections, those with excessive means, will not have excessive influence. This America elects to public office, people who have open minds and are committed to working on behalf of the public good. Its politicians, regardless of whether they are of a different political party than the President, or disagree with her policies, nonetheless have absolute respect for the office of the President, the country's chief elected official.
The other is an America in which the citizenry believes that health care is a right for those who can afford to pay for it.
Now let's take a look at the other America. The American Dream Deferred Part II.
Posted: Monday, 31 July 2012