Talk:Our Vision for America

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OnGunControl

I say this because I feel that the Democratic party is unnecessarily dragged down by this issue. We need to spend our political capital where it matters. Economic justice. Competent foreign policy. Social safety net. I'm not saying we should abandon people to the ravages of violent crime - far from it. But there are ways to protect people that don't cost us political capital at all: in particular, more cops on the street.

Country Liberal Gun Perspective

--(Pyrrho 13:38, 12 Jul 2004 (PDT)_ I am a country liberal. I learned to shoot guns as a kid. I believe in the right to bear arms... as a fundamental revolutionary right. And the right to bear arms DOES have an impact on the governments ability and will to execute oppressive actions, or so I believe and maintain. Though I believe the world would be a better place without gun violence, and though I believe in the right of and need for the state to regular gun purchase, I do not prefer the Gun Control issue as a political issue. I believe that Gun Control is not an ideological issue, but a practical one, it's a matter of how much gun control is appropriate. In general a situation where gun control is proportional to population density, that is, more restrictive in the city makes a lot of sense to me. So my personal preference is to not prioritize Gun Control in the Vision for America, except, perhaps, a statement that Guns (and other weapons, and dangerous chemicals... etc.) do require special regulation, a position which really is as mainstream as one can get. This moves the debate to the particulars of certain types of regulation as they come up or are applied.

PS: I'm only a country liberal when it comes to guns... given a different issue I'll have a different perspective.

I agree

Gun control is not an issue that I feel terribly strongly about. I think it would be nice if guns were unavailable... but I don't feel that it is somehow reprehensible to be against gun control. In general, I am for greater freedom - socially, especially (actually, I'm not one for economic freedom, come to thing of it) ...so I feel pretty ambivalent about gun control... I don't WANT people to own guns or smoke pot, so I will vote for any measures to stop such things - but I'm not going to scoff at their arguments that these things are rights. (I am undecided as to if these things are or aren't 'rights' as we define the term.) I don't think gun control has to be a partisan issue, and I think it is interesting that it is. I would like to read about the history of the gun movement. Where are the statistics about the general population's views on gun control? When an issue is ambiguous, I say just choose the popular opinion. At least you will get more votes. Hairy Legs

On National Service

You suggest tree-planting, and other usual forms of unskilled service. I think that asking people to do unskilled labor totally wastes people's special talents. If a smart man were to ask Mozart to serve America, he wouldn't ask him to work in the garden: he would ask him to compose music. If you ask me to serve my country, you shouldn't ask me to plant trees: you should ask me to write software.

If you ask me to do unskilled work instead of using my special talents, this has three effects:

  1. For one year, my contribution to the GDP is vastly diminished. Simply put, I'm not producing something as valuable as what I could be producing. The nation's output will diminish.
  2. You now have skilled professionals, like me, taking jobs away from unskilled laborers. That drives the wages of unskilled laborers down even further. That's the last thing we need.
  3. Most importantly, you cause me to dislike my country: I hate gardening, I hate bugs, and I don't want to do it. I'm a programmer because I like programming, not gardening. Forcing somebody to do work at something other than their chosen field creates resentment against America.

In short: if you're going to have national service, you need a reliable way to incorporate people's unique talents.

--Pyrrho 14:39, 28 Jun 2004 (PDT) there is a lot to discuss there. One, you cannot assume that the government can guarantee labor of the kind you most prefer. The important thing is for such programs to do things that need to be done. Having said that, I think computer programming is something it needs to be done, but as you know, it's still difficult because not everyone that claims to be able to do this really can do it well. However, I do agree, I don't want to see a menial national service, it's important that people get useful training, etc, that it's focussed also on the worker to help educate themselves.

I think you should feel free to add other kinds of national service, that's what I hoped people would do but defending the list I started I would say,

(1) Peace Corps is not about planting trees, and (2) in fact, working for any of those three "Corps" could involve computer work, public relations, etc. etc., as these are huge organizations with all the needs of large organizations. (3) I have a feeling that you don't understand that there are a lot of people in the world, in America, that want to just do their job and it can be anything that pays decently. A lot of people are willing to work hard, but they want to leave their job at work. They are not looking for fufillment directly from their work so much as during their own time and life. In addition to National Service Opportunities (note this wasn't stated as a requirment, just as an opportunity) I do believe these type of programs should be open to day laborers.

Personally, I don't think that people can expect too much from the type of jobs the government can justify subsidizing... they can be useful, but if they involve cleaning up park trails... well... maybe you have to get fufillment on your own through hard work... as you no doubt have for example. Granted that such service is not going to seem like the same opportunity to all people, and it's not going to seem rewarding. The purpose of such programs should be two fold.

(1) getting something done the country needs, maintaining pyublic infrastructure, etc..

(2) providing work and some opportunity to those without opportunity.


I think if you look at the biggest picture regarding (1) it includes a lot more than planting trees... scientists could use a bunch of national service labor, for example, and large organizations already have a very wide set of labor needs.

Wiki-wise... I'd suggest you edit in some of your concerns by adding other forms of national service and also by explictly stating the kinds of work that the services may include, from entry to skilled level.


Title for the article

It seems to me that the "Vision for America" page does less to lay out a vision and more to foster discussion about a vision. Could we please rename it to something like "Thoughts on a Progressive Vision for the Nation"?

Other issues

All this needs to be nailed down in issue/position/argument form on its own pages like social justice.

Health

Accountability of healthcare and insurance industries.

Single standard for digital transmission of health care information.

Wiki on Health care in the US

Fiscal discipline

Scrutinize the expenses of the entire government, federal and local and try to balance the budget.

General principles

I think maybe a declaration of principles and values might help a bit. Maybe like this.

We believe in building a strong community based on fairness and trust.

We believe individuals are responsible to the community.

We believe in keeping our word, in cooperation and in building trust with the world for our common interest and safety.

We believe the economy as a means to provide opportunity and prosperity towards many.

We believe in protecting our environment to better our health and our futures.

We believe that government is a public service and that it should be responsible and be held accountable for the strength of our democracy.

We believe that investment in healthcare and education is a responsibility for our future prosperity.

We believe full accountability is essential in a strong democracy.

We believe that the rights of women, children, labor and all people must be respected and promoted.

Supporting the troops

Supporting the troops means giving them what they need to do the job.

Supporting the troops means supporting their families with the health and education that they need.

Supporting the troops means giving them the compensation that they deserve for having done their duty.

Supporting the troops means being responsible to them by using every option available to avoid sending them.

Supporting the troops means being honest to them.

Info

[1] [2] [3] [4]

Additional Discussion from elsewhere on the wiki

What are we trying to do on the Vision for America page? That breaks down into at least two elements: our goals and our approach. Our approach will be guided in part by what our goals are.

Goals

Draft: We need an approach that will enable us to develop a broad, inspiring, politically useful (i.e., will guide and help us hone in on really good policies/reforms and aid in forming new coalitions), truly visionary VISION.

To be visionary and inspiring, we will need a picture of the future we are striving for. So in addition to plain old issue and policy stuff we will need to take the risk of envisioning what can be, should be, and will be

Approach

Draft:

Assumptions:

- in working through even seemingly fundamental disagreements and confusions we may find a good deal of 'gold' = the kinds of 'ideological innovation' and clarity that can really inspire a broad movement uniting the center and the left to renew our great nation.

- trying to quickly throw together a broad vision will more likely result in papering over some unresolved conflicts and bad assumptions.

If those assumptions are valid, then our approach should be to explore big thorny issues, clarify difficult questions, chart out the implications of conflicting approaches. For example: - what are our foundational values/principles (see also the broad vision statements for America brainstorming page)? - what is the right balance between free markets and government support/incentives/bailouts/regulation? - what is a visionary military policy? - how can we honor both individual rights and deeply held moral/religious convictions? (yes, the response of some is that folks with deep religious convictions can go stick it, but there may be some gold to be found in prying open the question of values/morality more deeply, and pondering whether there is a morality that is more deeply respectful of both religious conviction and individual freedom that what passes for public morality today) - etc.

But to ENVISION and inspire, we will also need to look at what kind of world we want our grandchildren to live in, to pick apart existing utopian novels and/or sketch out our own, and so on.


From older version of Vision for America: = Note re: Editorial Policy =

Pyrrho has some interesting thoughts at talk:ThinkTanks.

Stevelu has added a related proposal for discussion there.

Travis Smiley took Democratic politicians apart last night in a role-playing exercise with a guest last night. He was doing so in a way that was friendly toward Democrats because it was intended to show how incoherent and almost mute the various voices in Congress have been to what is obviously a rotten situation.
Here's the deal: Bush says, "Yeah, I broke Iraq and Afghanistan. What are you molly-coddling Democrats going to do to protect the United States? We Republicans know that the answer is the resolute and overpowering use of military power. So vote Republican in the national elections." In other words, the triumvirate has broken Humpty Dumpty and asks, "It's obvious you have no idea of how to put the pieces together."
To avoid the appearance of weakness, the Democrats need to have a clear picture of the problem, one that puts it in its total context, and then they have to work out an analysis that is so clear that it dictates the main outlines of a policy.
It is stupid to have some people saying, "Get out of Iraq tomorrow," because that way is logistically impossible. It would be political suicide on the world stage to say, "We are occupying Iraq from now on." Even leaving troops the way we stationed troops in Germany and Japan for decades would be enough to incite anti-American feelings across the Muslim world. So, somewhere in the middle, but how can we define that point?
Given that there has to be a middle position, and the position has to be measured somehow so we know when we get there, the next thing that needs to be convincingly demonstrated is that when the duly constituted government of Iraq tells us to go, then we will go. Recent Iraqi independence from the U.S. has been very helpful in demonstrating their movement back toward sovereignty. Perhaps it would be most helpful if the U.S. troops could first by moved to more remote bases in Iraq, having them act in the role of the cavalry in old western movies, and as conditions improve in Iraq move them to Afghanistan where they could bolster the government there against Taliban resurgence. p0m 12:00, 28 June 2006 (PDT)

Well i changed the America for United States of America because actually America is just a word that has been mis-used because of the denonym of americans.America is the geographical area which includes South America and Central America. I would also like to add that the denonym of americans is a mis-used term because argentinians are officially americans too. I would like someone to change the title also from : 'Our Vision for America' to 'Our Vision for United States of America'.

Murky

I haven't looked at this article for a while. Glancing rapidly through it, it seems very murky to me. It lacks a grounding in principles, for one thing. And it lacks concrete and specific goals on the other end of the spectrum.

A quick listen to a McCain speech and/or to the other recent primary candidates will suffice to indicate that the Republicans do not have principles so much as certain core fears and core self-centered values. At least they are clear to their followers that they are the ones who know how to kick ass and defend us against terrorists, and they are clear to their followers that the purpose of society is to control people to prevent bad behavior, to discipline, and to extract revenge. Those individuals who say, "Protect me. Keep my life and my money safe. But I do not want to pay for educating other people's children, much less use my money to keep them healthy and adequately fed."

What is a society for? Eben Brauning said that it is to control people. That is one view of the goals for a nation. If a government and a society are not just to protect the people with wealth from the people without wealth, then what is it for?

What kind of an ideologue is it who says that the purpose of a society is to maintain the conditions for good interpersonal functioning and the conditions for good economic operation while using the power of the state to protect against outside aggressors and to trim back the inevitable parasitic members of the society who would take whatever they can get without regard to the rights of others?

Jefferson had to use a measure of guile to get public education started in his own back yard -- because even in his time there were many people who were unwilling to pay for the education of other people's kids. In recent decades California has taken up the old cudgels and has cut back tax support. We've already seen the results.

When the basic needs of people cannot be met within a society by individuals who are trying to live a moral life and take care of their families, what does that mean for the security of all members of the society? Are the individuals who regard any public works activities from public schools to public highways as encroachments on their economic freedom then going to thrive when they must maintain their own private security forces to guard their homes and convey them to work? Why has selfishness been permitted to grow so predominant that individual's own self-interests are thwarted? The only answer I can see is that the ideology of selfishness is a royal road to power for those individuals who work in the moral bush league. They become leaders, even presidents, but end up unable to further their own ends much less provide for the general needs of the society.

If we are going to have a coherent "Vision for America," we have to ask, "What do we want the function(s) of America vis-a-vis the American people to be?"p0m 15:03, 31 March 2008 (PDT)

New Realization Page

I've set up a new realization page and moved the material that does not directly describe the vision to that page. Please put all updates that have to do with suggestions on how to realize the vision on that page, or place a link there to where this is described.

Liberal Thinking 22:05 PST on 20 November 2008.

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