Progressives are scattered into many driving forces on the assumption that there will eventually be a coming together to form a giant river of change that sweeps away obstacles and cuts a new path to freedom and happiness. I suggest another model of change: Progressives should put together a powerful consensus concerning what is most socially necessary and politically self-evident to all intelligent minds, forming a tidal wave of change that rolls across the country, picking up energy, volume, persuasiveness , and transforming the established landscape into a new reality. This second strategy for social change requires a “progressive pause” at least long enough to communicate and agree about a single big prize or Big Deal that would justify and gratify our combined actions. This does not mean stopping good work everywhere, but rather, it means creating some time and space for fundamental consensus to emerge. In the spirit of this common cause, I propose “The National Safety Net (NSN) Seven Point Agenda” because it would unite huge numbers of diverse and important people and projects, and do more than anything else to immediately enhance the quality of everyday life for the vast majority of Americans, which is a solid foundation on which to build a better and better world.
Progressives should stop wasting their mind, soul, and body fighting “against” Wingnuts, CEOs, Republicans, Moderate Democrats, and other champions of the so-called free market, and instead come together around a positive alternative that will dramatically improve the quality of life for all Americans. There is nothing America needs more than a National Safety Net (NSN), whose Seven Point Agenda identifies and unites the best and most important requirements of a decent and dignified life for everyone. Of course it is always possible to add, subtract, refine, and/or adjust these basics, but all politically aware people should get behind the fundamental idea or concept of a guaranteed minimum lifestyle for all citizens right NOW, instead of trying to argue with, change, regulate, or even influence the selfish and greedy Corporate elite, and their representatives, who own and operate the Banks, Wall Street, Walmart, and the rest of Big Business that has always put profits over people, and always will. It’s time for Progressives to ignore the ideologies and idiots, and to turn to the Big Deal of NSN that will do more for ordinary Americans than anything else. Presently, what’s preventing the enactment of NSN is the absence of the unified Political Will of intelligent and compassionate individuals.
Progressives are good at criticizing Obama-style bipartisanship, and they are right to do so, but Progressives are engaged in their own form of bipartisanship, which is every bit as futile and hopeless. I mean, the entire Progressive strategy of directly fighting and dealing with the corporate operated private sector economy in order to get better legislation for average Americans is largely a waste of time and a giant distraction from what should be the primary work of politically aware individuals–namely, to build up and enforce a government operated public sector economy, beginning with the creation of a National Safety Net (NSN). To debate and argue with champions of the private sector when it comes to the satisfaction of basic needs, as defined by the NSN Seven Point Agenda, only lends credibility to their obsolete and foolish position. The private sector has never secured basic needs for the American people as a whole, and it never will. It is far better policy and strategy for good and intelligent people to get on directly and robustly with the task of securing a strong, publicly financed National Safety Net under poor and middle class folks, who are going to need it more and more as the private sector continues down its selfish and destructive path.
The gross inequality in American trumps all criticism of The National Safety Net (NSN). People face poverty, humiliation, and death everyday for lack of housing, medical treatment, wages, education, and the satisfaction of other basic needs, and the major remedy that this society offers to everyone is food stamps and the street, and we are told by the best and brightest among us, so-called Progressives, that NSN is unrealistic and/or unattainable at this time, and that it is better to go slow at reform, one step at a time, one goal at a time. This is the politics of irresponsible and small thinkers. The lack of interest in NSN is testimony to how cowardly and defeatist the reformers and leaders of American-stlyle political activism have become over the last 50 years, not even able to demand and fight for the obvious truth and justice that tno one should have so much while many others have so little. Instead of sophisticated, finely tuned analysis and argumentation about this or that Bill, Party, or Poll, it would be very refreshing and important for politically aware individuals to clearly and loudly call for Americans to “share the wealth”, which certainly has a long and rich history in this country, but it seems that generosity has now become something to be shy, embarrassed or defensive about?
Michael Moore, Ralph Nader, Denise Kucinich, Naomi Klein, Tom Hayden, for examples, are excellent commentators and analysts of American Society, but none of them has embraced the National Safety Net (NSN) political proposal that has been sent to each of them on more than one occasion. Why not? If it’s because they are too busy to read the messages on their own websites, or to be properly informed about insightful comments and ideas that appear there, then that’s too bad because no one wants to waste time and energy. If, on the other hand, they think it’s more important to remain primarily social critics without favoring or endorsing a concrete positive alternative to the Obama Administration’s disasterous economic recovery plan led by the private sector, then that’s a mistake in my opinion. I hope that they have not succumbed to the false notion that NSN is too visionary, or too grandiose, for Americans to accept. First, many would agree with the idea of a guaranteed basic lifestyle for all citizens, if it is rationally explained to them, and secondly, leadership is about leading people to better ideas and ways of living, sometimes against the established mindset, especially if the goal is clearly and irrefutable right, just, and entirely practical and achievable, as is NSN.
A long and difficult fight for healthcare with little result, and a long and difficult fight for economic regulation that’s heading for the same poor outcome. Should we pursue the issues of climate change, immigration, energy, education and so on in the same way–namely, by battling with the private sector to make it serve public needs, which goes against its selfish impulses, purposes, and even its legal mandate, or is it time to strengthen and employ the public sector ? The National Safety Net (NSN) proudly and boldly asserts that the satisfaction of basic needs (defined by the Seven Point agenda) is independent of concerns about profit or money-making because no one, for reasons that are forever unknowable and unpredictable, is safe from the possibility of utter despair and ruin. Each of us should take a closer look at the broken/suffering people around us, in the land of plenty, and know that this poor soul could be “me.” Many Americans are a mere 90 days or so from the street, and we all live in a very big and complex society far beyond individual control. Think about it the next time you, or someone you know, questions the motivation, performance, intelligence, or moral worth of a “loser,” or the next time a Right-wingnut calls you a socialist, or the next time a timid progressives tells you that the country is not ready for NSN. The National Safety Net is not premature, it is way overdue.
Governmental regulation of the Banks and Wall Street is the wrong focus, not because it shouldn’t happen, or not because we don’t need it, but because the Big Banks and Wall Street will find ways to get around these regulations, and they will carry on with the same old practices of grossly ripping off the vast majority of Americans. The National Safety Net (NSN) takes a different approach: instead of trying to directly control/regulate selfish and greedy people, it is better to create an alternative government institution that directly helps ordinary people (that is paid for by the profits of the very rich). In other words, instead of trying to improve society from the top down, which is not going to happen because it’s virtually impossible to improve or correct the worse members of society, let’s improve society from the bottom up by establishing a Federally guaranteed minimum standard of living that improves the lives of everyone ( funded by those who benefit the most from society) based on the principle that if you’re one of the “winners” in this society, then you owe a lot back to this society, and if you can’t find an incentive to work (beyond making more and more money) such as contributing to the welfare of others less fortunate than yourself, then retire and create a job for someone else.