Democracy only works when the voters have access to the truth. The first step in defending our democracy is to give voters the facts necessary to make informed decisions on the most critical issues our nation faces, from climate change and healthcare to gun violence and immigration. If you wish to participate, click on the issues you care about and become a Defender.
Campaign Finance Reform — If we don’t get big money and special interests out of politics, our government can never truly represent the people. We must overturn Citizens United and implement comprehensive campaign finance reform. This is the only way to prevent corporations, billionaires, and special interests from buying votes and rigging the system.
Climate Crisis — It’s time for an Apollo-like Program to address the climate catastrophe taking place. This would enable us to take the lead on developing new energy sources and green technologies, explore ways to cool our planet through carbon sequestration and geo-engineering, create jobs for American workers, reduce deaths from diseases like lung cancer, and provide for a better and more stable world.
Livable Wages — Every American deserves a living wage. No one should have to work two or three part-time jobs just to feed their family. We need to consider a national minimum wage, universal basic income, and other approaches so that hard-working people can feed, house, and educate their families.
Healthcare — No one should be denied life-saving medical care in their time of need. We need a true single-payer system that provides high-quality healthcare for everyone at a lower cost, while cutting out the middlemen and profiteers.
Taxes — We need to design a more equitable and balanced tax system, which reduces taxes on working Americans while making large corporations and the ultra-wealthy pay their fair share.
Jobs — Unfortunately, most new jobs available today are low-wage or temporary. We need to focus on creating higher-wage jobs by investing in new technologies, education, and entrepreneurship, as well as retraining American workers for the industries of the future.
Regulation — We need to develop a system with dynamic regulations that are routinely tested against actual data, fine tuned, and revised so that they perform as intended. This way we can better protect our health, safety, and the environment, while streamlining government and making it easier to do business.
The Environment — If we want to keep our children free from dangerous levels of pollutants and safeguard our country’s remaining wilderness areas for future generations, we must strengthen, not weaken, our commitment to protecting the environment and stop our politicians from falling prey to lobbyists, who wish to profit at public expense. There’s a huge cost to pollution, and we should not be subsidizing it with our tax dollars.
Banking — We need to craft forward-looking regulations to prevent big banks from gambling with investors’ money. Otherwise, there will be another financial meltdown, and taxpayers will wind up footing the bill.
Voting — No American should be denied the right to vote. We should extend voting days to include weekends, stop politicians from gerrymandering districts, set up more polling stations in marginalized areas, automatically register every citizen to vote when they get their ID, and make it easier to vote by absentee ballot.
Immigration — We need to stop politicizing immigration and overhaul our system so that children aren’t separated from their parents, political refugees are treated with dignity, and the process is as fair, effective, and efficient as possible.
Foreign Policy — Fascism has once again reared its ugly head around the world. It’s time we live up to our values and denounce abusive governments, promote democracy over expediency, and actively pressure antidemocratic rulers to open up their political systems, respect human rights, and rollback repressive policies.
Prisons — America has one of the highest incarceration rates in the world. We need to overhaul our prison system, reduce prison sentences for minor crimes, implement rehabilitation and drug treatment programs, and stop pumping taxpayer dollars into private prisons with high recidivism rates.
Defense — Instead of retreating into isolationism, we need a stronger global presence and proactive policies that engage our allies, strengthen NATO, stabilize the Middle East, and curb the territorial ambitions of aggressive nations.
Torture — Not only is torture less effective than other forms of interrogation, it’s totally unethical and inexcusable. As the leader of the free world, we should not engage in torture or rendition to countries that practice torture. The only thing worse than our enemies is for us to become like them.
Cyber Security — We must put cyber security at the top of our agenda. Our rivals are investing vast amounts of money in internet weapons capable of hacking our networks, stealing our trade secrets, compromising our national defense, and undermining our democratic institutions. We are currently unable to stop them except through threats of military retaliation, which is a dangerous position to be in.
Guns — Gun manufacturers and the NRA have run roughshod over us for far too long. They’ve profited at the cost of American lives. We’ve seen the damage done, and now it’s time to act. We can’t afford to sit and wait for the next mass shooting. We need systematic background checks, red flag laws, and other measures put in place now, before more blood is spilled.
Trade — Trumps trade policies are not about protecting American jobs. They’re all about enriching his corporate cronies. We need legislation that requires our trading partners to live up to American legal, labor, and environmental standards. If overseas factories pollute the environment, underpay workers, or use child labor, their products should be banned from our shelves. If we want level the playing field, we should prioritize fair trade, not free trade.
Education — Our future competitiveness depends on having a highly educated workforce. Instead of cutting student programs and making it harder to repay college loans, it’s time to innovate on our educational system. We need to make sure that all Americans who want a college education can get one without incurring crippling debt. At the same time, we should rethink how private schools operate, so they cannot favor the elite at the expense of the majority.
Women at Work — We need to come up with innovative solutions to close the pay gap, reduce sexual harassment, get more women into positions of leadership, and create a flexible environment for working mothers. All women deserve to have an opportunity at a career without sacrificing their families.
Justice & Equality — Most importantly, it’s enshrined in our constitution that all Americans are created equal, and as a nation, we must have zero tolerance for intolerance. We must protect the rights and liberties of all our citizens, especially the most vulnerable, and stand up to anyone who perpetrates injustice or abuses power. This is what it means to be American.
Photo by Roya Ann Miller on Unsplash