What’s On Your Mind — How To Fix America

Facebook asks a simple question at the top of your feed inviting you to post.

“What’s on your mind?”

I feel like we are repeating history — faster and faster and faster.

On Sunday a viral video of a cop shooting a black man in the back spreads across the world.

Peaceful protests by day. Kenosha burns by night.

Left and right post up on tired talking points.

Awhile back it was George Floyd, Trayvon Martin, Breonna Taylor, Philando Castille, Eric Garner, Freddie Gray, Tamir Rice…….

It was a neighborhood near you and on fire. Furgeson, Minneapolis, Baltimore, Detroit, Los Angeles, Kenosha………

I feel like you could simply create a blanket statement on this with blank spots for names and locations and prepare to post it for when this happens again.

The right can have their talking points and the left theirs. Simply change the players and stage.

“What’s on your mind?”

I am tired of reading posts that only view this stuff from one ideological spectrum or another.

The right only discusses private property and personal responsibility.

“Honor the flag” “If only they’d listen to police” “Law and order” “We need family values”

Many of these statements are true. They are also obvious.

The left only discusses social justice and reform.

“End the patriarchy” “Racism is bad” “Change the system” “America is broken”

Many of these statements are true. They are also obvious.

“What’s on your mind?”

We seem to have forgotten that we need to work together to solve these problems.

We seem to have forgotten that there are two sides to every coin. It takes two to dance the waltz. Between left and right there is a whole nation.

I am at a loss as to what we do here. It seems so entrenched and dug in.

You watch the politics surrounding these issues and you feel it is hopeless. We are doomed to continue this horrifying stage play night after night.

I don’t think we solve this with Facebook posts nor with thoughts and prayers.

I also don’t think we solve this with career politicians.

I do think we solve this by finding areas we can agree on!

The obvious truths are:

No person should fear for their life when the police arrive to handle normal civil discord like a traffic stop.

We must have the pursuit of happiness and liberty and justice for all in America. No asterisk

Protest is protected and important for the functioning of our democracy BUT it must remain peaceful and nonviolent. This is the responsibility of both the protestors and the government servicemen and women present at the protest.

On the surface these are easy!

They are also not where the underlying pain is coming from. Doing these things is akin to placing a bandaid on a wound that requires sutures. You may stop the bleeding temporarily but the wound will fester.

“What’s on your mind?”

We have to have conversations in our homes, churches, businesses, schools, city councils, and neighborhoods.

The promise of America is access to opportunity.

America has always been a work in progress and the progress is in the work to ever expand that access. To give opportunity to all.

To me, the issue is equality of opportunity.

How do we work within our local communities to create that equal access.

First, we have to come to terms with the fact that equality of opportunity does not exist in America.

Second, we have to realize that trying to fix the issue of access to equal opportunity in a piecemeal way isn’t a good strategy.

Third, we have to understand that for many people equal opportunity may feel like oppression because they’ve never had to compete on equal footing before.

Finally, we have to be willing to get uncomfortable and dig into topics and issues that aren’t simple and do the work collectively in our community to solve this issue.

But that’s the promise of America!

We can continue to build on the ideas of liberty and justice that sent a spark across the planet more than 200 years ago.

Let’s continue to push the envelope and change the human condition for the better.

Let’s forever break the cycle of oppression and create equal opportunity for all.

“What’s on your mind?”

How do we do it? I think of three things.

Education, Health, and Good Governance.

Education

We must have world-class pre-K through 12th-grade public education no matter the state, township, zip code, or neighborhood. This is fundamental to the health of the nation and the ability for all individuals to have equal access to opportunity.

Post-secondary education should not require student loans that cripple young workers and delay family creation and homeownership.

Post-secondary education should have a much greater focus on trades and skilled labor in order to diversify our labor market, build a more robust economy, and provide many avenues to equal opportunity.

Health

We need to decouple healthcare from labor.

What I mean is that access to healthcare should not hinge on your job. I’ve seen this now twice in my adult life in 2008 and now under COVID. Losing your job in America means losing your healthcare.

Decoupling labor and healthcare means labor is more fluid and it becomes easier for individuals to have access to equality of opportunity and choice in the market. It makes labor more powerful without using other corruptible elements like unions.

It allows individuals to become more entrepreneurial or to seek better opportunities through education. Building a stronger economy and creating a positive-sum game for individuals instead of the current sentiment that life is a zero-sum game.

Good Governance

This is maybe the hardest one. Currently, we are so polarized and hyper-partisan that it seems impossible. The way to fix this is to fix the way we elect the federal government.

Amend the electoral college.

Under the current system of winner take all delegates it focuses our national politics around a small handful of swing states. This means we care about issues that only matter in those swing states instead of our own local topics. It also means our parties gravitate to homogeneous base positions instead of building diverse coalitions of voters.

Instead, it should be a proportional allotment of delegates based on statewide results.

Meaning if a state votes 49% for the right and 51% for the left the electoral delegates get split that way. This makes California a state worth campaigning in. There are millions of Republicans in California that currently get ignored by the party on a federal level. The same goes for the Democrats in Kansas, Nebraska, Idaho, etc.

It changes the national narrative of the election cycle and diversifies the issues and makes our individual vote matter way more than it does today but still maintains the ethos of the college.

End gerrymandering

This may be the biggest issue causing polarization in America today.

Gerrymandering effectively makes congressional districts in the house uncompetitive meaning they stay Republican or Democrat no matter who is running.

The outcome of 94% of House seats is a foregone conclusion! — source

They only become competitive from within the party during primaries which generally means the more hardline extreme candidate wins. That extremism is a major issue as good governance comes from the center.

The house should become competitive again. It will temper the extremism and calm the partisan divides and help foster compromise and good governance.

If we can broaden the scope of the national platforms of the DNC and RNC by opening up all votes as competitive but still weighted via the electoral college system and we remove the uncompetitiveness of many House seats by ending gerrymandering we will see the benefits of hyperpartisanship and polarization evaporate.

Effectively it will make the center where elections are won and parties will be forced to build broad coalitions versus pandering to a small vocal base. It will allow us to get out of the gridlock we’ve been stuck in since the 1980s.

“What’s on your mind?”

In the end, this is a local issue.

Stop voting ideologically. Start voting in order to build the best local community you can.

Turn off cable news and start subscribing to real journalism and then instead of sharing tribalistic memes and content that fits your preconceived world view get uncomfortable and learn the whole picture.

Realize that America is a work in progress. Own the process of creating progress!

Open up your eyes to the world and realize that keeping the status quo isn’t an option but neither is burning it all down. We have to stop fighting amongst ourselves and start working together.

If we can make the necessary changes in our own neighborhoods we’ll make the changes nationally to get out of this vicious cycle.

“What’s on your mind?”

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I love the intersection of sales, marketing, product and finance. I am the Mad Growth Officer & Co-Founder of WebriQ Goes Mad. I love living outside.

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Alex Belding

Alex Belding

I love the intersection of sales, marketing, product and finance. I am the Mad Growth Officer & Co-Founder of WebriQ Goes Mad. I love living outside.

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