To the Editor:
When the Trump campaign first came out with the red, "Make America Great Again" hats, I was puzzled. Again? I thought that America was great in 2015.
That’s not to say we didn’t have a lot of room for improvement and lots of things that needed fixing, but who doesn’t? Furthermore, I’ve been around since the ’40s and I thought the U.S. was always great. Maybe not the greatest, but right up there with the best, and quite frankly, I’m not even sure how to measure “best” in countries.
However, I can say what would make the U.S. better, and I think that most people would agree. For example:
1. We need more affordable child care for families. That’s not to say “more professional” because my mom always worked and I had lots of fine child care, but it was by neighbors, friends, and relatives. That was when neighborhoods were less transient and more stable. Professional or not, we need more affordable child care.
2. We need much more affordable health care.
3. We need health care coverage for all, or almost all, of our population.
4. We need to upgrade and maintain our infrastructure.
5. We need less inequality of income and wealth. How much less is an open issue, but pretty much everyone agrees that there is too much money on the top and too little on the bottom and middle.
6. We have to take immediate steps towards ameliorating climate change, both for the sake of the planet and our international reputation.
Fortunately, the solution to each of those issues enjoys widespread agreement, is well understood and clear, and the next administration can make a serious start to address them. All we need is leadership and the political will to accomplish them.
Less easy are:
7. We need to take a serious look at all sides and aspects of racial, ethnic, and gender inequality and take steps to address some of the easier parts as quickly as possible.
8. We need to take a hard look at both our educational system and values concerning thinking, learning and use of logic. One thing that the climate change issue has clearly shown is the serious misunderstanding of what science is all about.
9. We need to address the growing level of intolerance, anger, insulting, and attending divisive language. This last might be one of the most difficult because of our interpretation of and adherence to the First Amendment, thus, hate radio shows will probably stay on the air, even if all else calms down.
I believe that most Americans would agree to most of the above. The trick is to recognize where we can and should improve and to get political, social, and economic leadership to effectuate them, and I must confess that I don’t see much interest by Republicans on any level for actually accomplishing that, but if whoever is in power wants to make America greater, those steps should be taken to do so.