Why the US needs to be far more Progressive

…and way, way less Conservative

Even though we are living in the 21st century, many Americans still act like it’s the 18th century. They admire the founding fathers, even though slave-owning patriarchs are not good role models to have. Their antiquated lives were based on backward conservative values. In sharp contrast to this, progress is about moving forward, away from things like racism and sexism. This means treating people of color and women the same as white men. This means raising wages to close the enormous gap between the rich and the poor. Ultimately, we have to strive for a far more egalitarian society. In other words, America needs to advance access to liberty and equality to all, in order to truly become “the land of the free”. The bottom line is that in the US our institutions need to actually reflect our ideals. Unfortunately, all too often they don’t.

As just one example of what I mean, America needs to guarantee equal rights for people of color. Racism didn’t end when slavery did, or when black people got the right to vote, or when the first African American president took office or anything of the sort. Unfortunately, racism is still very much alive and well in America. Just look at the healthcare that black people receive here in the US versus white people. Highly trained doctors think that black people need much less treatment than they really require, and don’t even get me started on the Tuskegee experiments. Similarly, police officers think that black people are more suspicious and dangerous than other people. This is part of the reason why we have a broken criminal justice system that incarcerates people of color to fill quotas or the blue wall of silence that prevents cops from being prosecuted for murder after they kill innocent, often unarmed black people in cold blood. This is systemic racism and it needs to be eliminated from our society altogether.

This is about much more than just the partisan bickering that goes on between the Democrats and Republicans. I’m talking about basic human rights and common decency. I’m talking about having civility and genuine humanity. When you get right down to it, women are just as deserving of anything as any man. That’s why America has to diligently work towards advancing women’s rights, even regarding controversial things like the right to choose. This has to include, but should not be limited to, ensuring access to reproductive care, fighting for equal pay, stopping violence against women, shattering the glass ceiling, and, of course, electing more women to office. Granted, we have come a long way since the country was founded, but nowhere near far enough. After all, only 25% of the members of Congress are women, but we need to get that number up just above 50% to truly reflect the populace, as revealed by the census.

America needs to guarantee the rights of every citizen. This has to include everybody, plain and simple. People with disabilities need to be included in everything possible. There isn’t a bathroom in the country that shouldn’t be wheelchair accessible, but not everywhere is set up right. That’s not fair. Every bathroom should be the same. We need unisex bathrooms to comfortably accommodate everyone. This way, a transgender American won’t receive special attention or treatment. The LGBTQ community is an important part of our country. By taking everyone into consideration and coming up with more universal solutions we can stop segregating people so much. As long as a gay man is allowed to go into a straight bar, and vice versa, then everything will be ok. Otherwise, there’s a problem. The only people who should ever be excluded in our society are the criminals, and even then only until their debt to society is repaid. Each and every law-abiding tax-payer should have the exact same rights and privileges as any other. That would be a true sign of progress.

Every member of the public needs to have a voice that matters. This means moving our representative democracy closer and closer to that of direct democracy. In line with this, our republic needs to promote and protect every citizen’s fundamental right to vote. This means that election day should be a national holiday and there should be automatic voter registration. Plus, every state should have the initiative process, making them able to propose constitutional amendments as well as statutes. Also, in an effort to be more fair and impartial, America really needs to end gerrymandering, as well as registration purges, and any other voter suppression tactic out there. There also needs to be some campaign finance reform policies implemented, including the elimination of dark money in politics. The US should even abolish the electoral college, as well as doing anything and everything else it can to get as many people as possible to the polls and to make each and every vote count. This is how we will advance access to liberty and equality for all, moving us out of the past and into the future. That’s why the US needs to be far more progressive, and way, way less conservative. It’s just the right thing to do, plain and simple.

An Eclectic Autodidact Polymath Essayist

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