Several issues need to be addressed by our nation

Why I am a progressive – Let’s look at the major issues that we face as a nation and how we might best address them. I will list the issues that are of concern to me. You may think of others that are just as important to you.

• The influence of corporate money in our politics. This is not the issue that I am most passionate about, but it is the primary issue, I believe, that prevents us from adequately addressing almost all of the other issues. Corporate America has been writing the bills which Congress has been discussing for a number of years. Lobbying and campaign contributions are so important in winning elections that too many of our elected officials have been “bought and paid for” in the interest of business over the American people. So how do we address this issue? Fund all campaigns with public money. Limit the amount of spending for all candidates. Proportional voting has also been proposed.

• The environment is probably the most important issue for our time in history. If we don’t find a way to reduce the greenhouse gases and thus the continued rise in the global temperature, we won’t have to worry about any of the other issues that we face. We can not allow industry to continue to destroy our ecosystem at the expense of life (human and otherwise) for the sake of profit.

• Health care reform. This issue is my passion. It has an impact on every citizen from birth to death. We spend two to two and a half times as much per capita than any other developed nation in the world and experience much poorer health care outcomes. We must move to a single payer system such as HR 676. NIMA (National IMPROVED Medicare for All) would provide health care financial security for ALL Americans at a much lower per capita cost and therefore would save billions of dollars annually. Again, corporate interests are keeping us from making this critical change.

• Prison reform. The for-profit prison system prioritizes profit over true justice. This industry has been lobbying for tougher and longer sentences in order to keep their prisons full and therefore to increase the profitability. We need to move to public funding for our prison system. We need to review our sentencing laws and make them more just. Possession of illegal drugs is a prime example. We need to decriminalize drug offenses and treat addiction as the medical condition that it is.

• Education. We must quit graduating our young from colleges and universities with a huge burden of debt. This puts them at a great disadvantage in society. We should provide our young people with four years of tuition-free university/college education. We need to invest in our young and the future.

• The military/industrial/congressional complex. President Eisenhower warned us that this complex could become the monster that it has. For the benefit of the war machine and many in Congress we are spending a huge portion of our nation’s wealth on guns, ships, planes etc. etc. We need to better prioritize the utilization of our nation’s wealth and provide more services for our people.

• Equal rights. This issue covers people of color, people of various sexual orientations, immigrants, women, and anyone else that may be considered “different” from the “norm.” We must become a nation in which our differences are celebrated instead of discriminated against. We must let love lead us instead of fear.

• Gun control and the NRA. I do not advocate for all guns to be taken from all citizens but we should have sensible national gun control laws to reduce the risk of guns ending up in the hands of those who may be more likely to commit mass shootings.

• Wealth distribution. The wealth of our nation has never been more lopsided. The ultra-rich continue to receive the lion’s share of new wealth each year due to the influence of corporate America on our public policies. The issues listed above and many other issues have contributed to this imbalance.

Terry Flowers, Independence