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What to focus on?

February 11, 2017

Since the inauguration it has been difficult to focus on any one particular issue since everything seems to be under attack. DeVos’ pick for Education Secretary, Scott Pruitt for EPA, Steve Bannon on the National Security Council, the travel ban placed on countries with 90+% muslim populations, the Keystone and Dakota pipelines, not putting his assets into a blind trust and instead having obvious conflicts of interest, eliminating regulations that were put in place to protect consumers from corporations that are more interested in their bottom line profit margin than the well-being of American citizens, deregulation of the financial and real estate industries, denying that climate change is a problem, attack on many of our social programs including Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and the Affordable Health Act. Since the inauguration it seems that all I’ve been doing is being in reaction mode. Quick, call your Senators for this reason, write this group to oppose that, sign this position to protest or support something … react, react, react.

So I started to think about what it is I would want to focus on instead of just reacting. There are a certain set of issues that I find of most importance to me at the moment. I don’t think I can focus on all the issues, even though I do find most of them very important. But I can’t do that, it would just drive me crazy.

I decided to pause a moment and reflect on the issues that are currently most important to me.

  1. Education. My son is a freshman in college. The average college student graduates with over $30,000 in debt, not to mention the debt that parents take on as well. Wouldn’t it be nice if they weren’t weighed down by such debt right out of the gate? Then there’s the unequal opportunities that our children have around the country. This group of people have better opportunities than others because of where they live, how much money their parents have, the color of their skin or their gender, and more.
  2. The environment. I want my son to grow up in a world that is livable, where he has clean air to breath, clean water to drink, a clean place to live and clean food to eat. And not just him, but his children, and their children and theirs … we need to think seven generations ahead instead of a few financial quarters ahead.
  3. My health and the health of my family. We live in a country whose focus is on disease care instead of health care, and where healthcare is a privilege when it should be a right. Everyone has a right to good quality health care, the care that they need not the care that they can afford. It could be that one of these days I’ll need healthcare but might not be able to afford it. It would be nice to have that without draining my or my family’s finances. Same goes for the rest of my extended family.
  4. My parent’s retirement and my retirement. I want to be able to eventually stop working, sometime before I die. Well, maybe not completely. I’m still waiting to start my dream job, working in a small corner grocery store in a small town and live in a small apartment above it. Anyway … I want to be able to retire and live comfortably, but even that’s under attack right now.

So there they are, the four issues that I want to focus on at the moment. I’m not saying that other issues aren’t important, or that I won’t on occasion write a letter to my representative, call their office, attend their town hall meetings on issues other than these four. I still care about animal welfare, human rights, women’s rights, the issue of our military industrial complex, foreign policy, eliminating the death penalty, revamping our criminal justice system and others.

There is one issue that I think we can all agree needs to have some focus, and that’s our broken democracy, our broken government, our broken election system.  We might not agree on how to resolve the issues facing our democracy, but I think we can all agree that Houston, we have a problem.

And I hope that we can have healthy discussion around all of these issues. I’d love to be able to blog about an issue and have people comment on it, offer their opinions, and not have it turn into petty childish name calling or personal attacks. There is not a single person on this planet that has the same position on every issue that I have. And I would hope that the discussion would be based in fact, not lies, half truths, or hearsay. We all need to fact check before sending things on.

In my humble opinion our country is under attack, our very way of life is under attack, our values are under attack. We are under attack by a group of people who are more interested in keeping their jobs than helping their fellow citizen, a group of people who listen more to people who donate more, a group of people who are more interested not being wrong than doing the right thing, more interested in opposing the “other side” than realizing that there is only one side.

So this is my healthy way of expressing myself, of keeping focused instead of being in a reactionary mode all the time.

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