To develop positions on the issues, we headed out into America. We traveled more than 20 years, on and off, researching.
We talked to experts. We talked to average Joe citizens. We talked to a lot of people. And I’m a former small town journalist. So I took a lot of notes.
I crafted these position papers from these notes. They are not only chock full of good ideas, they read like an extensive travelogue with each, or every other, paragraph shifting to another part of the country for yet another interview on the topic.
For instance, some of the interviews for the position papers on crime took me to: Pikeville College in Kentucky to interview a renowned, or at least sort of renowned, criminal justice professor; to Needles, California to interview the director of a relatively new “Drug Court Project,” a diversion program for first time non-violent offenders; in Savannah, Tennessee, I interviewed a prison guard with an excellent take on the systemic reasons people land in prison over and over again (and how to stop the cycle); in Newport, Rhode Island, I interviewed a police officer involved with “old school” Community Oriented Policing (COP), which is making a big comeback in America – and with good reason.
And these were just a few interviews for a rather extensive, and multi-dimensional paper. A paper with ideas and model programs that, if plugged into every town, would curb crime in America by 70%, or more – seriously.
And the quality of life in America would be enhanced exponentially across the board if what we came across in regard to the environment, the economy, the family, the military, life issues, immigration, education, energy, transportation, etc., were plugged into every town or county.
In fact, the metaphor I use is that each piece of information in these papers is like a puzzle piece. And if the puzzle was assembled from town to town, with various local adaptations of course, it would dramatically shift the country – for the good. The common good.
Yet at this point, our country is like the Titanic – with an exponent!
We’ve killed 55 million babies in their mothers’ wombs. We average 11,000 shooting deaths a year now, including little Sandy Hook Elementary School first graders in Connecticut and little Amish girls in Nickels Mines, Pennsylvania. We stand at the brink of catastrophic climate change disaster here in the near future, while there is rapidly increasing drought and famine in more arid countries in the Third World now. Nuclear proliferation is off the charts and we are one push of a button away from worldwide nuclear annihilation. Our roads are war zones with 33,000 deaths a year and hundreds of thousands of maiming’s. Far exceeding the number of dead and wounded in Afghanistan and Iraq combined – by a factor of at least 20.
And I could go on, but he point, the tremendously salient point, is that the policies in the positon papers, so to speak, coming out of D.C. these days – are akin to: REARANNGING DECK CHAIRS ON THE TITANIC!
You see, if the policies were working, these problems would be decreasing in kind. They’re not. They’ve, for the most part, gotten worse.
That’s because the big money of corporations and the special interests are pulling most of the political strings. And, frankly, most of those corporations and special interests aren’t interested in the common good for the common people – but rather they are interested in profit – no matter what the social or environmental cost.
Latino rights activist Thomas Ganzalas in Fresno, California, is primarily interested, not in personal profit, but rather a fair shake for people desperately fleeing poverty and violence – he told us on a stop there. Buffalo, New York’s Doctor Myron Glick, who could have had a lucrative medical practice in the suburbs, started his Jericho Road Health Clinic in the inner city. He treats people for free, or on a minimal sliding fee scale, we learned on a stop there. On a stop in Fishers, Indiana, we learned environmental consultant John Mundell’s business is part of a network of Economy of Sharing Businesses where a third of these business’s profits, of the top, go to outreach projects into the Third World.
Meanwhile, Yorkshire, Ohio farmer Dan Kremer refuses to put artificial, toxic herbicides and pesticides on his crops because, even though it would increase his yields, it also might increase the risk of cancer in people eating the food. However the Monsanto Corporation, which makes a lot of these toxic artificial farm chemicals, doesn’t seem to be as concerned about that. And their D.C. lobbying money and campaign donations to politicians all over the country – well, keep these politicians from drafting legislation to ban these chemicals.
One in three people now get cancer in a lifetime in America. Yet we continue to use these dangerous toxic chemicals.
If farmer Dan Kremer was secretary of Agriculture, that would change.
If I were president, a lot of things would change for the good, the common good.
And these positon papers are thread through with just how all this would change. And change, quick!
Please take the time to take a careful read of these papers, before you vote. I took the time, 20 years or so, and 250,000 miles of research, to develop them.
It, indeed, is a blueprint for a new America. One that really lines up with where the country really needs to go at this point – before it’s too late.