Independent Democratic Vision and Mission Part II of II
By Jorge D. H. Prósperi, 2020
So how do we begin to denormalize – transform – change?
We begin by asking critical questions: What is most important to us? What is non-negotiable? What will we fight for? What will we prioritize as human beings and global citizens – as Americans – as Michiganders – as rural, urban, suburban folks?
COVID-19 has answered all of such questions for all of us!
H E A L T H
Without health we are paralyzed as a society, community, as individuals. The COVID-19 virus is providing us second by second opportunities to PAUSE and look inward – retrospectively as a society – as human beings.
We can discuss all of the different ways that Health can be defined – from medical to socio-economic. All of us may differ as to its meaning and purpose.
I tend to begin with what I consider to be the ethos – character of a nation – perhaps the world. What follows are my musings by which to dare to denormalize . . . change . . .
The Ethos – Character of a Nation: A benchmark of a nation’s civility is the prioritization of the quality of life of its youngest and the eldest, by not what it says, but what it does via pro-active policies and programs. It’s a simple question and formula – who are the most vulnerable? This should be the paradigm – the ethos – the character by which each a country is measured. Are we willing to prioritize the eldest and the youngest – those most vulnerable? What about the vulnerable between the youngest and eldest among us?
Health – Medical Infrastructure: The major question should be to what degree does every citizen have access to proper health care? What did the COVID19 Virus expose as to the lack of local, state and national readiness? What were the shortcomings as to the lack of crucial equipment, medical personnel deployment, tangible support and leadership as to coordination of logistical execution? Another key critical question is to what degree were Medical Institutions, University Medical Schools, Research Centers, Hospitals, and the private sector ready to deal with eventual catastrophic diseases of the 21st century? To what degree were manufacturers ready to transform if and when needed? What Wall Street emergency measures were in place to support financial crisis management focused on citizens, unemployment and manufacturing rather than bailouts for banks and slush funds?
These essays began by asking what America prioritizes – its ethos – its character. Whether it’s about the youngest and eldest – the most vulnerable who need to be protected . . . their quality of life as it begins – as the last chapters are lived.
The COVIC-19 has ravaged Nursing Homes. The story is just now (April 16, 2020) starting to unfold as family members are desperately crying out seeking information without knowing who to turn to.
Investigative reporters are exposing the dark stories behind the closed doors of privatized institutions. Overworked employees have started to share horrific stories.
Nursing Homes were not prepared for such an epidemic. If not, why not? Why does the federal government continue to stonewall data regarding Nursing Homes and the COVID-19 Virus? Why hasn’t the federal government prioritized Nursing Homes, that deal with the most frail and vulnerable, by pro-actively and aggressively intervening – not waiting for local or state awareness and/or intervention?
The elderly – elders – respected and revered in many cultures – now forgotten – now discarded in the land of plenty.
Some state governors, [that woman Whitmer of Michigan, Cuomo of NY], who do not fear transparency and lead with courage, have begun to investigate and ask for accountability – employee preparedness and safety dealing with the virus, numbers tested for the COVID-19 virus, numbers infected, numbers testing positive, number of residents who were hospitalized and transported. Numbers of employees and residents who died.
Recognizing America’s Legacy of Hatred, Prejudice, Oppression and Fear: We will not evolve as a human society until covert, overt, aversive and institutional white privilege / entitlement, racism, sexism, misogamy, domestic violence, sexual harassment, xenophobia, jingoism are addressed by way of policies, education and rule of law. We can continue to have national discourses, multicultural workshops, diversity conferences and HR-PC required videos, but the pathology of -isms are rooted deep in the American socio-cultural DNA . . . like the COVID-19 virus, it’s in the air we breathe on a daily basis and it kills – always has. But we can’t wear a mask to avoid it.
The anti -isms and phobias learning curve must begin at home, starting at birth by fathers and mothers who prioritize awareness and respect for difference and otherness.
The psychology of language and deportment of the youngest is a foundation. It must be continually modeled and mentored in all ways for youngsters. Schools must begin to prioritize the same. Teaching the history – the legacy of oppression needs to become life-long – from Pre-K through College and continue into the workplace . . . until our last breath on earth. Lest we forget that children are born innocent of social-cultural -isms and phobias. They are captive audiences and learn to fear and hate otherness and difference through OUR – OUR social curriculum. We can – MUST do better!
The Corporate World via CEOs, Share Holders and Wall Street must being to lean towards making uncomfortable policy decisions with COURAGE, even if it means standing alone . . . exposing BY CHOICE – BY DESIGN -isms and phobias rather than waiting for conflicts, denying, lawyering up and eventually walking in shame.
Local and federal government must cleanse itself of White Nationalists, White Supremacies and Domestic Terrorists via local and national elections.
What Donald Trump represents and stands for is the epitome – the personification of malignant -isms and phobias. Those who support such an individual (be they politicians and/or voters) become part of the ongoing legacy that metastasizes and keeps America from actualizing and authenticating its vision, mission and core principles in the 21st Century.
Education: This is the core of a society as to authenticating, amplifying and maintaining the core principles of democracy, justice, rule of law, access to voting, free press, inclusivity and opportunities of worth for all citizens. Education should be the major goal in order to achieve an astute, critical thinking citizenry that votes with knowledge-based astuteness, critical intelligence and conscience focusing on the quality of life for all. To what degree have we educated our children from per-K through college regarding citizenship – its responsibility – particularly in time of major crisis? Was our technology ready for the onslaught of internet use during the COVID-19 attack? Does EDUCATION as we have been defining it, continue as a NORMAL? It no longer can! Time for educators to reframe, restructure, remap curricula. Time for educational leadership to step up from kindergarten through college.
Financial: A central critical question is to what degree are the constructs of Capitalism, Free Enterprise, Supply and Demand, and Wall Street compatible with Democracy as to examining financial distribution and gaps of inequality, meritocracy and genuine opportunities of worth? How did Wall Street respond to the Coronavirus – aside from those numbers on the lower right side of the screen? The key question that I posit is whether HEALTH trumps (no pun intended) our financial institutions. What is the dog and what is the tail. We can’t waver on this question – it’s one or the other. We need to decide.
Economic Inequality, Pay Inequality, Wealth Inequality, Meritocracy: All of these were prevalent and relevant during the COVID-19 crisis. Each raised its ugly head as minorities across the world felt the brunt of inequalities. The reason was not due to the virus, but because the inequalities existed before and will continue to exist within our society if they are not addressed. How do we deconstruct the socio-economic divide between the “haves and the have-nots?” Or do we just continue to keep them in our thoughts and prayers?
There are dramatic discrepancies between the affluent -opulent-fail-safe segment of the population of the world and its inhabitants.
National Infrastructure with KRAZY Vision and Mission: Let’s get imaginative – creative! 1. How about converting all – ALL above ground cables into below ground cables? Yes – Nationally! From big cities to expansive rural regions – no exceptions – along with internet access – all underground cabling weathering wind storms and power outages. How many jobs would that mean per state? We can do this! We can do this!
2. How about a NATIONAL pubic inter-state and multi-state transportation networks of buses, trolleybuses, trams, rapid transport, subways, ferries connecting people to their jobs, schooling and each other. How many jobs what that mean per state? We can do this! We can do this!
3. How about revitalizing a “3Rs” relief jobs program to fight unemployment and provide an economic ladder for families. Roosevelt’s ideas are worth revisiting. THEY WORKED! We can do this! We can do this!
“Oh Jorge – you are such a dreamer! Ludicrous KRAZY Ideas . . . Impossible!”
As impossible as the 9,000 miles of railroad tracks laid by 1850?
As impossible as the national system of interstate highways built in the 1950s?
As impossible as Neil and Buzz taking a stroll on the moon in 1969?
The possible and impossible has always been in our hands . . . always.
Socio-Cultural-Regional Deconstruction: Its overdue for America and Americans to deconstruct the fictional and delusional regionalism and all its constructed metanarratives – from cute dialects to regional brandings. America is stuck on being stuck on North, South, East and West states – blue and red states – once grey and blue states. State jingoism is as much a delusion as national jingoism. I guess it works with March Madness . . . but otherwise it’s just madness! Regionalism is a form of self-oppression and divisiveness. It plays well for political charlatans, lobbyist and campaign managers, but it leaves Americans isolated in times of crisis. Upon facing the COVID-19, we failed the e pluribus unum test.
Political: The three branches of government- executive, legislative and judicial require serious examination as to legislative processes, power, control, obstruction, collaboration, oversight, regulations and ethical conduct. Obstructionism is prevalent and delays legislation due to political pandering, partisanship and political self-interests. The outcome is that citizens pay the price. Again, COVID-19 brought such dysfunctions to the surface calling for change.
The two party system is in need of critical review, if not reconstruction. The political system needs fumigation at all levels. It is time to re-examine the Constitution through 21st Century lenses and realities.
Democrats and Republicans must begin to let go of antiquated imprinted talking points and join a moderate independent movement defined by ethics, integrity, authenticity, transparency, critical discourse, collaboration with a laser focus on moving policies – legislation with vigor – dedicated 100% to enhancing the QUALITY OF LIFE of each citizen without partisanship, gerrymandering and/or fear of the next election.
Citizens must be educated regarding citizenship’s responsibility to avoid supporting and voting for a Racist, Sexist, Xenophobe, Jingoist, Homophobe, Misogynist, Charlatan and/or Pathological Liar. The consequences are needless social chaos, anxiety, incompetence, incoherence and injustices. The lack of leadership shows up unequivocally during times of crisis.
National Psychological State of Being: Sorry Ronald Reagan but America is not, nor has been “The Shining City on the Hill”, not by a long shot. America is a struggling work in progress trying desperately to authenticate and legitimize its founding principles, often fighting for its dear life to maintain democracy, justice, rule of law and quality of life. This does not mean that it can’t be a shining light . . . one among many lights throughout the world with many brothers and sisters lighting candles for us to see. The underbelly of America was exposed by the Coronavirus. It showed Americans and the world that America is dysfunctional requiring National therapy. Yes, good old Uncle Sam needs some serious ongoing introspection and reflection as to social -isms and phobias. Unfortunately, there is no one National Psychiatrist or Psychologist. That job is left for each of us to look deep inside our minds, hearts and spirits. “Know thyself and to thyself be true.” At all cost we must begin to be honest with ourselves and each other.
Mother Earth and Her Nature: There must be a reason why we call our earth Mother even though most deities with such powers are usually males. But we got this one right – Mother Earth. We should be more respectful of her – more protective – more aware of her power and control. We typically recognize her by way of a catastrophe – hurricanes, cyclones, tornadoes, wind storms, tsunamis, earthquakes, landslides, wildfires, volcanic eruptions, droughts – pandemics.
Mother Earth has ways to remind us that she is in charge – that she will cleanse herself one way or another. Our earth requires attention because we are running out of time. Yet another reminder that returning to normal is no longer acceptable.
As Maya Angelou reminds . . . “On the Pulse of Morning”* . . . every morning from here on in . . . to listen . . . to see . . . “a rock, a river, a tree” . . . calling out to us . . . “clearly, forcefully” . . . “to face a distant destiny” and legacy.
The screens of Cable News Networks will continue showing images of pundits with smaller screens showing numbers of humans and charts with arrows going in different directions . . . arrows pointing to pathways . . . some lead to redundant circles . . . other pathways leading to new landscapes . . . perhaps uncharted . . . daunting . . . audaciously daring us to take the first courageous first steps . . .
We know we can – always have – but the ultimate question is whether we have the resolve – the essence of Will.
*Maya Angelou first read the poem “On the Pulse of Morning” at the first inauguration of President Bill Clinton on January 20, 1993. The poem speaks of freedom, evolution, growth and change. “On the Pulse of Morning” calls out for unity, faith, hope and determination. We miss her so . . .