Corporate Influence: We need to elect better politicians in the first place. Instant run-off in elections would go a long way to ensuring we aren’t stuck with these either/or trade-offs for officials who cannot get 50 percent of the vote. Further, the practice of recognizing corporations as people is insulting to Americans and should be stopped. We all know who is advocating it and why. Its very enactment is an endorsement of corporate influence. We think people need to increase the drumbeat for accountable politicians – talk about it, blog about it, comment about it. We are all held accountable in our daily lives. Why not politicians, whom we pay?
Media: There are too many voices that could be integrated into one powerful third voice. There are a multitude of organizations and publications dedicated to global warming, workers’ rights, corporate influence, bashing the other party, taxes, equal rights and more. There are think tanks for every issue. There are even media that cover the media! It all bleeds together into an ongoing wave of injustice and frustration without a way out. Consolidating into one voice would enable a movement to be more specific in its agenda and to attract a wider audience — needed to be credible among politicians. Further, consolidation would allow an alternative movement to share whatever revenues and donations it receives and use its costs more effectively and efficiently. Yes, it’s a play from the big media playbook, but you can’t crash the party with millions of disjointed voices.
Environmental Health: Let’s change the conversation about climate change to one about public health. The “one media voice” concept is most important in the movement to mitigate the risks of climate change on air quality, food, and drinking water to name a few. Improving the health of the environment requires millions of local movements to change individual thinking and behavior related to health. We need marketing messages to demonstrate the increasing risk of food poisoning and poor cardiovascular and respiratory health for Americans and their kids is increasing. We need to explain that the benefits outweigh the costs and potential inconvenience of using alternative energy sources and buying foods produced in ways that are less harmful to the environment. Movements must focus locally because the causes of environmental changes are local, e.g. factory emissions may be a problem where fertilizer run-off is not. An active, local population can more quickly influence the behavior of local companies than can a national policy because people can more easily relate to the health effects at a local level.
Education: The goal of public education should be to provide kids with the skills to earn a decent wage WITHOUT a college education. Then give school principals the freedom and authority to fail; improve teacher quality by raising education standards; and make administrative functions more efficient and effective. Who must change to make that happen? People must engage with their school boards. It seems to us that Americans are afraid to talk openly about how they think the public education system should change, maybe because we generally believe in teachers. Don’t blame teachers. We need to do what is right by kids and any good teacher or administrator shouldn’t be afraid of being measured by that standard. This approach could drive down demand for a college education, which would make it more affordable for those who want to go. Regardless, cries to fix the public school system by promoting competition from the private sector will continue. This will only accelerate the rich/poor gap.
Health: We all share the obligation to help people who are predisposed to chronic illness, work in conditions that helped precipitate a condition, or an illness like cancer surprises them. But there is a debate about how to manage healthcare for the mostly poor people who became sick over a lifetime of unhealthy living and elderly folks at the end of their lives. Focus there.