The presidential election got me to thinking…..
How will we get the 70+ million unhappy campers who voted for Trump back under the tent? Trump may be gone but unhappiness remains. There are millions of die-hard Trump supporters just like there were millions of Never-Trump supporters during his administration. Neither will budge. However, unless we build some national sense of solidarity and consensus, we will have perpetual gridlock or worse scenarios that I shudder to contemplate.
So let’s start with some common ground questions, without letting it be known that we are democrats.
Why? Because for some, the label Democrat triggers visions of socialism, Marxism, communism and God knows what else.
Next question: So how do we get to that point?
First question: Do you want what’s best for your children?
Specifically, The best education that’s possible so they have the best chance of achieving their potential.
Answer: Sure. Yes, why not.
Answer: Fully fund education system. Steal a Trump phrase, we can “Make America Great Again”.
Let’s avoid the divisive argument over charter schools.
Let’s not force parents into Hobbesian choices requiring them to enter lotteries in the hopes that they WIN placement in quality schools.
Let’s end the stigma of zip code residencies determining quality education.
Let’s re-examine our learning systems so there are more “learning pods” where kids learn on a more focused, small scale basis rather than the current warehousing environment.
Let’s end the digital divide, the achievement gap and the dual system of schools (those considered “good” and those considered “bad”)
This will address the following issues:
- Mitigate Covid-19 infection spread
- Lessen chances of mass shootings
- Probably less bullying opportunities
- Increased potential for learning in small scale, focused learning environments
For older children getting closer to entering the job market, college, trade school or the military….
Let’s conduct a hybrid schedule of academics in the AM with work experiences (i.e., job shadowing, enriching field trips, mentoring opportunities and paid stipends) in the PM. (or vice versa PM and AM depending upon scheduling issues). Make education be work relevant.
Last, but not least, Wi-Fi and full connectivity for all to close up the connectivity and digital gap.
Will this cost more? Probably.
But there will be a better Return On Investment (ROI) and cost effectiveness. Demand performance and results from both teachers and students, something persons from both sides of the political aisle should support.
Let’s maintain local control of education (local boards of education) while providing national funding to equalize opportunities. States rights and limited government folks will like this while the progressives will like funding to close the education inequity gap.
How will this be funded?
Some reduction in military spending redirected to education because in the long run quality education is a defense strategy in a competitive geo-political global economy. Propose an upgraded education system with the vigor and determination on a par with the Marshall Plan, the Space Race/Man to the Moon and the interstate highway system (all of which, by the way, were national defense initiatives).
So who might be against this?
Those that are comfortable (for whatever reason) with the broken, ineffective, unequal system There’s probably no chance of nudging them from the status quo so leave them in the dust and waste no time trying to get them inside the tent.
Don’t get immersed in the quagmires of prayers in schools and transgenders in bathrooms. For those obsessed with hot-button topics affiliated with social/family/religious value issues, let them default to the private schools where education can be customized to their liking. For the rest, focus on the aforementioned proposal for a basic, quality education for ALL of American youth and ultimately a Stronger America. Never forget to underscore this phrase.
Next common ground, common sense question:
Do you want safe streets and neighborhoods?
Do you want to free up prison space for hard-core violent criminals.
Do you want to get those suffering from addictions into long term rehabilitation?
Do you want to augment the police with social workers, therapists and outreach workers so they can focus on being cops.
Answer: Sure, yes.
Let’s stop catching and releasing addicts and overdose victims. Extend the duration of supervised, intensive mandated treatment so it’s not just a revolving door. Follow this combination of a tough-love approach.
Let’s stop catching and releasing violent criminals. Get them off the streets and keep them off the streets. Apply this tough, no nonsense approach to all violent criminals whether they be illegal immigrants or native born. Don’t worry so much about the mother who is fleeing from horrible conditions to find a better life for her children. Focus on the violent criminals (be they illegal aliens or hate mongering local thugs) by beefing up the U.S. Marshalls Fugitive Taskforce to hunt down violent criminals no matter what their pedigree.
Let’s not get hung up on what weapon the violent criminal used. If you’re a violent repeat offender or if your offence is of a heinous, violent nature, you are gone from society.
Take the higher-ground as the unidentified Democrat so the Republicans, Libertarian’s, and others can not corner this market as they have so often done so in the past. With enough toughness (no nonsense) and love (empathy), most people will buy into this. For those that can’t (for whatever reasons), don’t worry about getting them under the tent.
One last point, with a sufficiently tough policy and loving strategy, we can avoid going down the sinkhole debate about the Second Amendment. We can avoid being being immersed in the pro/anti gun issue. We could also avoid the fund/defund police topic because the cops will be augmented with teams of social workers, therapists, street outreach workers so they can be present in the background of incidents should they turn violent. Then the cops can get back to cop work investigating crimes catching criminals. This is presumably the reason they went to the police academy in the first place. Just like why teachers went into the profession to teach and not be baby sitters addressing social issues and traumas extending way beyond instructing in subject matters.
As with the prior discussion concerning education, a society that feels safe is actually a very effective defense policy. Whenever there is a mass shooting or other heinous act of violence, there are claims that it’s caused by a mental health issue. Hold these claimants feet to the fire and get them to fully fund mental health. Make them put their money where their mouth is.
Next question: Health Care and Health Insurance:
If I get sick, I shouldn’t go bankrupt and loose my house. Right?
If I have a pre-existing condition, I can not be denied health care insurance by my current insurer or my new insurer….Right?
If I move from one job to another job , I should still have health insurance, it should remain affordable and there should be no gap in coverage….Right?
If I have health insurance but it’s so expensive that I have to cut back on the basics of food, clothing, shelter, that would be wrong….Right?
If the person that you are asking these questions responds with “no” and has no problem with these draconian conditions, proceed no further. Do you really want such a heartless person sharing the tent with you?
As with any implementation of policies, the devil is in the details. But at least with these questions/responses, Covert Democrats can establish a baseline of agreement. Notice that we are not starting out with terms like “universal, single payer health insurance”, “mandates”, “socialized medicine” or “Medicare for all”, Covert Democrats can not allow themselves to be painted into that corner. Likewise, they need to take the initiative concerning “personal responsibility” since other partisans have cornered this perceptual market. If your poor health and high insurance cost is the result of over-eating, under-exercising and excessive alcohol/drug consumption, then you need to show specific efforts and timeline to address these underlying conditions. If you refuse to help yourself, the taxpayers shall refuse to pander to your excesses. Covert Democrats need to drive home the notion of applying the auto insurance model to the health insurance model. If you rack up multiple speeding tickets and accidents, your auto insurance rate goes up. So if you chose a reckless, unhealthy lifestyle, you need to pay the extra premium for health insurance. If you move around the country and you change jobs, you do not loose your auto insurance. Why can’t this be case for health insurance?
Income, self-sufficiency and safety net unifying common ground questions:
- Everybody should have the basics (food-clothing-shelter) to survive….Right?
- Everybody should have a sense of fulfillment and purpose in life….Right?
So assuming there is agreement on these questions, what might be the path to achieving this?
- Achieve basic survival baseline through a combo of social security and Medicare/Medicaid (which we already have in place) plus a Universal Basic Income (UBI) which we could implement funded by taxation (nominal, not exorbitant) upon the tech/social media giants who are currently skating by with little or no taxes. Since the artificial information (AI) and technical revolution will eliminate jobs for a vast number of Americans (i.e, truckers, bookeepers, retail workers, and any jobs requiring repetition), it only makes sense that a portion of the revenue saved by automation and technology be re-directed to Universal Basic Income (UBI).
- With the above described social/financial safety net in place with a minimum of paperwork/bureaucracy, the simplicity of this proposal and the universal application of this proposal will appeal to persons of all political stripes (i.e., progressives who want social/economic needs addressed and conservatives who want simpler government and less government and all the others who complain about the system of winners vs. losers in the government benefits/allocation games.
- This will appeal to the entrepreneurial advocates and small businesses persons/contractors who have strayed from the Democratic tent. They will like the potential for start-ups and entrepreneurialism. In a word, good old capitalism.
- Notice that nowhere in the above scenario is any mention of income equality and income re-distribution. This proposal is all about providing the bare minimum safety net with a minimum of bureaucratic overhead and the potential for those ready-willing-able to hustle to pursue the American Dream. Now who could be against all of that?
Who could be against any of all of the aforementioned questions and proposals?
Now that’s a baseline from which we could move forward.
I’m proud to be an active member of the Democratic Party so don’t be misled by the Covert Democrat title of this article. However, to use a baseball analogy: To hit a home run you first need to get on base and that’s the strategy behind this proposal.