18. Require workplace democracy in companies that have seven or more employees. Workers will participate in determining the company's direction, employee wages, and the selection of bosses, instead of relying solely on a Board of Directors who are bent on making a profit for shareholders and the company's upper management.
19. Allow Americans to visit Cuba if they choose.
20. Stop the drone strikes, the Guantanamo torture prison, the abuse of the Patriot Acts and NDAA, needless NSA spying, and excessive security checks at airports.
21. Make buses and trains more affordable and available, to reduce the number of cars and trucks on roads and highways.
22. Implement Single Payer Health Insurance, with the federal government as the single payer. This will eliminate most private health insurance companies, which are eager to make greater profits while offering their members increasingly lower coverage and benefits.
It has been said that the journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step. Well, that journey need not seem impossible. Consider that, for the first time, the American people recently expressed in the polls that they didn't believe the lies and disinformation about why the U.S. should bomb Syria.
As more and more Americans wake up and stop relying on the mainstream media in the formation of their opinions, there is greater opportunity to reach the masses, especially the millions of Americans who don't have jobs or who work at jobs that don't pay living wages. The working class of America should and can be educated and recruited to demand that their members of Congress make the radical changes outlined above, or be voted out of office.
The U.S. Congress does not have to be permanently despised. Instead, an educated and empowered citizenry can help it become the ideal of the world. The Occupy Wall Street movement failed, at least in part, because it could not agree on specific demands to put before Congress.
As the gap between the rich and poor widens within countries and between countries, national and world problems increase proportionately. This is why I am adamant about reducing the economic gap between rich and poor even more dramatically than socialists and communists would advocate. But that is my preference. The democratic voice of the people may choose otherwise.
Living in a classless society where citizens love academic study, philosophical thinking, meditation, and voluntary simplicity, instead of conspicuous consumption, is my ideal. It would be accompanied by local self-determination and economic self-reliance, undergirded by a modern type of tribalism. Still, I recognize that the democratic voice of the people may choose instead a more regulated capitalism with a greater focus on individualism.
Advocating neighborhood control of neighborhood schools to the extent that I have is unprecedented. I have not found a single educational philosopher who recommends it. Even the first public schools had elements of top-down control. But just because it has never been tried does not mean it can never work.
With so much diversity, can there be unity and peace in the world? There can be unity and peace, and even happiness, in the world, in spite of all the diversity. But to achieve it, we each must find a way (whether it is through meditation, prayer, daily attitude, selfless service, or a combination of these things) to be inwardly joyful and serene. That will make it easier to be loving and kind in our interpersonal relationships.
But even more than this is required: As responsible citizens, we must consider it our civic duty to maximize democracy (in the ways described above) and do the things that promote world peace and world happiness (as described above). We must also recognize that to know, love, and accept others, we must first know, love, and accept ourselves. Democracy, of course, can only work if its citizens are well educated.
Roger Copple is 63 years old. He retired 3 years ago, in 2010, from teaching elementary school, mostly 3rd grade, and high school special education in Indianapolis. Now living in Bradenton, Florida, he is deeply grateful that he stuck it out to get a teacher's pension and started getting his Social Security at the early age of 62. He now hopes to make a contribution to society through further study, reflection, and writing. Roger's website: www.NowSaveTheWorld.com .