The National Safety Net (NSN) proposes that each and every American has a basic right to a dignified and decent lifestyle in virtue of citizenship alone, and it entails a Seven Point Plan that concretely defines what this means. Universal healthcare, free education, ect., are among the elements of a minimum threshold of quality life that this very rich country can easily afford in many ways–for example, America spends more money on advertisement (in which people are persuaded and manipulated to buy things that they mostly don’t need or enjoy) than the entire cost of implementing and administering NSN. Despite the obvious need for a strong national safety net in this country, given the historical and inevitable ups and downs of the American economy, especially for lower and middle class families, the so-called “progressive” political organizations overwhelmingly think and act on the false assumption that Americans are not ready for big and sweeping changes in their everyday lives. These well-known organizations have become so cowardly and timid in their goals and expectations that they can no longer be counted on to lead people to a qualitatively better social life, and they, taken together, now define and own the meaning of progressive politics in this country, and unfortunately they have turned it into a dead or dying sociopolitical movement (which is not at all what it was when it arose and lived under men like Theodore Rossevelt and Eugene Debs). Therefore, NSN cannot and should not be considered part of the progressive movement in America, but rather the beginning of a new, bold, and visionary politics that comprehends the great hunger in this country for real change, and offers people what they need and deserve, even if many of them do not yet conceptually or fully understand what this is. In other words, NSN leads people to a genuinely satisfying life by clearly and loudly articulating and demanding the fundamentals of such a life, instead of pandering to people for votes, money, and support for weak and fragmented goals that would not substantially alter everyday life for all Americans even if they were successfully achieved tomorrow.
A Progressive in America is someone who places so much emphasis on strategy that really significant goals are never discussed and achieved. This strategy is dictated by the belief that “the people” (or at least enough people) are not willing and ready for major changes in their lives, therefore they must be fed small, incremental, piecemeal changes that don’t upset or irritate them too much. This is the fatal flaw of American-style Progressivism, and why it needs to be replaced by a bold, new, political strategy that is not afraid to call openly and confidently for what “the people” need and deserve. The National Safety Net (NSN) is such a strategic proposal that begins and ends with the creation and implementation of a Seven Point Agenda that brings about major change in everyday life for common people, now and completely. It is not to be expected that Progressive organizations, groups and individuals, will adopt or support NSN because NSN gives priority to goals over strategy, substance over process, rather than the other way around. It’s time for politically enlightened folks to understand that Visionaries, instead of Progressives, are the future, if there is to be a future (worth living) in this country. Progressivism is sucking the time and energy out of many of the best and brightest political people in America. Visionaries, on the other hand, work with anyone and everyone who is not afraid to honestly articulate and embrace NSN’s Seven Point Program, which provides an absolute minimum standard of living for all. Real politics begins with the minimum, and builds on it, because anything less than this is not worth pursuing.
Fear and hatred in Arizona are spreading across the country on a variety of issues, and they will continue to grow and strengthen so long as the economy turns downward, or more accurately, so long as the economy divides people into the super-rich and everyone else who hangs by a thread or soon will be hanging by a thread. The National Safety Net (NSN) will significantly reduce the fear and hatred in America by providing everyone with the basics of life. However, the articulation, promotion, and passage into law of NSN is blocked by the selfishness and greed of too many Americans, which means that the country is caught between fear and hatred on the one hand, and selfish and greed on the other hand. It’s up to politically aware people to lead the population as a whole out of this socio-economic trap, but unfortunately even the best and brightest folks are not meeting the challenge, preferring instead to pander to the American people by offering them everything but the blunt truth, which is that we need compassion and generosity in this country more than anything else (even above justice and fairness). Fear and hatred are the flip side of selfishness and greed.
According to recent, reliable polls only about one-half of Americans like Capitalism, and young people are evenly spit between Capitalism or Socialism. It’s good to see that more and more people, especially young people, are realizing that a money-driven economy is not the panacea it has claimed to be for the last 200 plus years on this Continent. On the contrary, Capitalism has created an ecological crisis, as well as a socio-political crisis that together have put everyone in a state of dangerous insecurity. The National Safety Net (NSN) is the beginning of an alternative economic system in America, and once it is up and running , then it will demonstrate/prove to more and more people that the human qualities of cooperation, sharing, and generosity are superior to competition, selfishness, and greed in all areas of life. NSN opens the door for a qualitatively better human existence, and it is time for intelligent and sensitive individuals to take the essential first step of supporting it. The major so-called progressive organizations and groups are not going to do it; they have become far too traditional, conformist, piecemeal, dependent, and afraid to alienate or lose the people, and they are actually moving contrary to the latest polls showing that more and more people want something completely other than Capitalism, something like NSN to begin with.
The new fiscally conservative proposal to solve California’s budget crisis is “going to be painful,” according to the proponents of the Governor’s plan. The first and most basic question is: Painful for whom? The answer is that the poor, the weak, the vulnerable, and everyone who is not part of the rich will have to sacrifice more and more so that those with a lot of money don’t have to pay more taxes. Of course this reality is obscured ( for some) by the propaganda that raising taxes is always bad, or at least bad for the middle class. However, if the debt crisis foreshadows anything it is that the middle class is in deep trouble or soon will be. The only real “budget solution” for the State of Ca., and for the country as a whole, is the creation of a National Safety Net (NSN) before there is so much sickness, unemployment, homelessness, fear, stupidity, and frustration that it’s too late for Reason, cooperation, and sharing. When the economic foundations of any society crack and collapse ( in major/critical areas such as food, healthcare, housing, employment, security, etc.) then chaos and street-anger begin, and ugliness and violence escalate, leading to a breakdown or meltdown of civilization. Anyone who thinks that this cannot happen in CA. or America is a fool, or one of the rich who only care about short-term wealth that they can use to fleethe scene of the crime and devastation.
The simple truth is that some people do not have enough (for a good and decent life) because others have too much, and this social situation in America does not lead to revolt and revolution due to the effectiveness of capitalist propaganda . The members of primitive or tribal society know that “gross” inequality is wrong, and basic goods and services are shared for the sake of community life, but most Americans no longer know this because capitalist ideology teaches them that it is socially and morally acceptable to grow richer and richer at the expense of others who grow poorer and poorer. This is the big lie that must be exposed and debunked, so that people can regain their essential humanity. This is what the National Safety Net (NSN) accomplishes: it guarantees everyone a basic and decent lifestyle that contradicts and undermines capitalist propaganda. NSN rests on the fundamental truth that humans are socio-political animals who need one another, and who care about one another in essential ways, which is not something to be silent or shy about.
Today, it is 40 years since 4 students were killed at Kent State Univeristy in Ohio for protesting the War in Vietnam, yet the American Empire is now bigger and meaner than at any previous time in history, How do we account for this social situation in which an all time high of American world-destructiveness corresponds to an all time low of youth resistence? Many of the protesters in the late 60s and early 70s at Kent State, such as myself, were privileged members of the Middle Class, and our opposition to the Vietnam War was two-fold. One, our personal lives were gravely threatened by the draft: we wanted to live and let live, and not die and kill in the jungles of Vietnam. Two, we were idealists in that we believed that we could change the country and the world into a peaceful, more loving place for everyone, including people of different and distant lands. Both of these grounds or justifications for resistance to imperial wars have eroded in the 21st Century because these wars are now fought by “career soldiers” (including those who have little to no chance of securing a livable income in any other manner), and because America is closing and sealing the windows and doors of youthful opportunity and idealism everywhere. The National Safety Net (NSN) is the antidote to the despair of forced compliance with the War Machine, or a life of economic dependence, struggle and uncertainty. Kent State, and the numerous subsequent war tragedies over the last 40 years, are the inevitable results of the savagely competitive American economy that drives people to do things that they would rather not do.