The home of the “free and the brave”! What does it mean to be free and brave in today’s times? When you dig deeply into our states’ finances, you may catch a glimpse.
There are three major issues of my Campaign Platform that have also been cited by many with whom I have spoken to be of major importance to their life and pursuit of happiness: a good education, healthcare, and infrastructure programs that are federally financed, not privatized.
Yet, when you read about our state and federal budgets, as investigated by The Economist, we discover “the lives of the free and the brave” are put to the test on a daily basis and their basic wants are not satisfied.
In California and the West Cost, for lack of $38.3 Million and $16 Million annually, the earthquake early warning system, Shake Alert, has no federal funding for completing the entire project. In America, unlike Japan, where earthquakes are a national priority, Congress & the President consider earthquakes a “west coast” priority. One should note, if a major earthquake does occur, as predicted, the cost to rebuild would exceed $32 Billion and produce a million tons of debris. Mexico, Japan, Turkey, Romania, China, Italy and Taiwan have early warning systems. The US, the land of “the free and the brave”, refuse to legislate preemptively. It makes no sense to me or California’s Representative Adam Schiff.
Meanwhile, in Oklahoma, the legislature gave oil diggers a windfall of a 1% tax on drilling, making it impossible to keep teachers and schools open more than 4 days a week. There’s not enough revenue to pay them. In fact, school boards hope they don’t lose teachers to Walmart and neighboring Texas. The Police are also suffering with the revenue shortfalls and don’t have enough money to fill up their tanks or arrest drunk drivers. Other Oklahoma state agencies are insolvent too. The cause is tax cuts that can’t be overturned without the consent of three quarters of the legislature. Ironically, while Oklahoma is losing their teachers and healthcare remains expensive, Republican lawmakers are looking to cut Medicaid to reduce their shortfall? Is Oklahoma a state you’d choose to set up a new business? Inferior schools, expensive healthcare, stripped down Medicaid, no pay for law enforcement and overcrowded correctional systems don’t sound appealing for the pursuit of life, liberty and happiness to me! What about the folks who live there?
Meanwhile, in North Dakota, oil Diggers are charged 11.5% for drilling and their state budget is solvent. Kansas, north of Oklahoma, has just reversed their tax cuts.
Our pursuit of life, liberty and happiness appears to be at odds with “the home of the free and the brave” when freedom means poor choices for living and bravery is characterized by one’s endurance to live with those choices. It appears that our pursuit of life, liberty and happiness has been curtailed by legislative choices that impede our freedoms and personal growth. What can be done? For starters, amend the state constitutions to reflect the needs of the People. It’s not impossible. A ballot initiative can be proposed to right legislative wrongs. Then in 2018, #RockTheVote for individuals who champion the rights of the People and provide “thoughtful” governance. It’s not as hard as you think. We the People are not powerless. United we can improve ourselves and our society.
This post discusses two out of three topics of importance to us. The third one, healthcare, is a topic that may appeal to potential leaders in the field and Healthcare activists in your communities,( no experience required, only your desire to help and change Community practices). IHI (The Institute for Healthcare Initiatives) is offering a 10 week online course . This program is open to anyone and includes an activist Community agenda. It’s free to students and $549 to anyone else interested in participating. The link is attached for your review and potential enrollment. Check out the projects: they range from tackling Opioid Addiction to Homelessness and more.
- We’re getting close to the start of the upcoming virtual course, Leadership and Organizing for Change, d rawn from the teachings of Harvard Kennedy School’s Marshall Ganz. The course helps you build a narrative that will get people on board with needed change.
- The 10-week course, including online modules and live coaching calls, is available for $549 — with no travel costs! Prework for the program begins February 15 , 2018. Find out more about what you’ll learn and review the key course dates .
Thanks for reading and let’s chat later!
“The Heart and Soul of the Middle Class “