The following column is the opinion and analysis of the author.
Two hundred fifty years ago, our forefathers laid the groundwork for a revolution to establish a new nation. If we were building this nation today, here is what I hope our America could be.
In our America, the land and its non-human species are protected. We conserve our nation’s unique environment and resources and preserve our wild lands.
In our America, the border wall is torn down. The construction of physical barriers separating species and families is discontinued, replaced by effective immigration policies.
We never forget this land first belonged to Native Americans and Mexico, and Black lives were stolen from their own lands. Our America rights that wrong, ensuring retribution for people of color, especially in matters of justice.
The Statue of Liberty welcomes other cultures. White supremacy is illegal and considered shameful by all communities.
Our LGBTQ+ friends and family know they are important. Our language is inclusive and policies equally defend and protect all.
Access to guns is monitored and controlled. Our America has the lowest number of gun-related deaths.
Applicants to the police force are screened for bias and psychological trigger points, then trained in nonviolent conflict resolution and deescalation.
In our America, billionaires are taxed at the same rate of percentage as the “thousandaires.” Increased funding goes to schools, scientific research and eroding infrastructure.
“Dark money” is prohibited in our new America. Donations to any candidate or cause are open to the public.
Public schools, including pre-schools, are funded at the same rate as the military in our America.
Teachers are paid as generals and armed with rich instructional materials, supplies and low-class size. The best teachers teach in the poorest neighborhoods.
Areas of poverty are prioritized. Taxes are earmarked to first improve streets, lighting and schools before other parts of the city.
Our America requires a president to speak in complete sentences. Our politicians support the will of the people, not party lines or financial supporters.
All citizens are automatically registered to vote. A day off is provided each election year. Voting by mail is allowed. Any suspected election tampering is fully investigated.
The importance of a free and impartial press stays strong. False equivalencies and the loud tweets do not distort the truth.
In our America, free health insurance is provided to all. Vaccines will be not only appreciated but coveted again. Contraceptives are fully covered.
Abortion is decided by the woman. Men who speak out against abortions must undergo a “past partner fact check” to verify past partners agree they never had unprotected sex or unintended consequences — or be quiet.
In our America, the homeless are sheltered. Excess food discarded by restaurants and grocery stores are distributed to the hungry by community food banks.
Mental illness of any kind is not stigmatized. Research is funded to address the needs of the mind as well as the body.
Easily accessible, fuel-efficient and free public transportation connects our America.
Preschools are free, and where appreciation for other cultures and diversity awareness prevent stereotypes before it is ingrained.
Any abuse is investigated immediately because agencies are fully funded.
Volunteerism is required early on starting in elementary school.
Student loans are eliminated. Higher education is affordable.
Senior care is fully funded in our America so we exit with a little dignity.
In our America, science and critical thinking are the norms.
We immediately address our nation’s impact on climate change.
America hosts an annual global peace conference each year since we know we will only be great again by working alongside other great nations.
It may be 250 years later, but this is what our America could be.
Perhaps it is time to take it back.
Kathleen Bethel is a retired principal, retired CEO and 2018 Public Voices fellow with the OpEd Project.
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