Fix the USA, Now

Many are saying that the United States of America as we know it, is falling, has dramatically changed, and will never be the same again. All of this may be true, but we should not let this great country fall, or become weakened from within. Now, is the time not only for compromise, but also for compassion. Compassion and understanding towards our fellow citizens, taxpayers, patriots, and all of those law abiding hard working people who strive to be in this great country with us. How can we hold such rage towards each other? One thing has become clear, we are a divided nation, and polarized on so many disparate issues that getting anything done has become almost impossible. We cannot even join together to fight a global pandemic. The cards need to be put on the table, all sides must come clean, it’s time to move on. There is blame to go around, but it should go around as even as possible, because there have been errors made, atonement should come from all directions, by all. Everybody must sacrifice something; there is no way that we can all hold on to of our wants and wishes. This is a diverse country in all senses of that term. Therefore, it would be prudent to find some middle ground, and things we can all generally agree on. For too long we have chosen sides and dug in our heels when it comes to some of the largest issues we are facing today. The liberals are guilty, but so are the conservatives. How do we truly come together and move on, and move our country forward? It of course, will not be easy, it may in fact be difficult, but we are up for overcoming challenges. It’s part of the great story of the USA. In this light, it should be asked of all of us to do something dramatic, to embrace some change, and to listen to our neighbors. Outlined below are 5 things that we should move forward on as soon as possible.

1) Reparations for the descendants of slaves

Reparations, yes. Let’s say to the people who helped build this country that we apologize first and foremost, and for the act of allowing people to be enslaved on these lands we are going to try and do something about it. We can and need to make things better for the descendants of slavery in the USA. We do not need to justify this action, they have continued to suffer long after slavery was abolished. We should not give out money, this is unpopular and will just cause another bottleneck in Congress. Let’s agree that we need some form of reparations, and we want them now, not tomorrow. Here are just a few ideas:

a) A robust education scholarship fund that allows every singe African American who wants to go to college a full two years paid, including assistance funds to survive those first two years. Upon good work, another two years should be granted.

b) A nationwide program to keep young African Americans out of prison, and an even larger one to help those that are incarcerated and will be leaving. A robust federal effort to provide job and skills training. Offering people a chance to come back into their communities with compassion.

c) Beautify historically Black neighborhoods and offer substantial grants to keep areas of the country culturally rich with Black history. Ensure that they remain vibrant centers of action and tourism and create new areas that are in need of this type of investment.

2) Real Firearms Reduction

How can you be able to buy an AR-15 easier than it is to vote? This is wrong, and dangerous. The evidence is now impossible to ignore, the discussion is on how to reduce the number of automatic weapons like AR-15s today, and to stop many people from getting them, especially those that are likely to turn them on innocent civilians and kill with impunity.

3) Make Voting a National Holiday

This should be one of the easiest things to do, and one of our most proud moments. Forcing people to wait in lines on a Tuesday, this is not something we should be proud of. The right to vote, is the right to vote. National Holiday. Everybody has the day off, everybody votes, no fraud, no hassle, just a Free Democracy at work.

4) Invest in the heartland and the South

This may be the one important thing that can bring us all back together, at least geographically. And the government doesn’t need to do anything. All of us can however, and I would recommend that places like California, New York, and all of the other areas with dense populations and highly productive economies, start sending their ambitious residents out and inwards towards the great plains, to the south, to somewhere new, somewhere ready for investment. Let’s all take an inventory, how much of the USA do we really know? Now, with local travel being the next best thing, take a trip to the next neighborhood over, or the next state.

Bring your own brand of investment to these places. There is no reason why California needs to have the 8th biggest economy in the world, while other states are consistently struggling. Move Hollywood to Georgia, move Silicon Valley to Ohio, and the diverse foods and agricultural products back to the prairie. Corn and Soy take up too much space, there’s a lot more we could grow, and a lot more people who could become small-scale farmers. There are so many parts of the country that should welcome these newcomers as well. Please, don’t shoot them.

5) Realize that neither people like Bernie nor Trump are the right fit for the president of the USA.

Neither represents the vast majority of the people in their views, and both would just make half the country angry. Why would we do that to ourselves? It is hard for me to say this, because I respect Bernie and at one time hoped for a president like him. But I now realize why that could not work, at least not in these times. As far as Trump is concerned, I will just say this. He did more damage to the USA internationally than I think most people understand. He inspired people like Jair Bolsonaro, the ex- military captain and fringe right wing president of Brazil, who botched the response to COVID there, 300,000 people have died thus far. He was one of Trump’s biggest supporters in the Americas and an early voice denying the threats of the COVID-19 pandemic.

When we vote for national office, for President of the USA we must admit, like it or not, that the US plays an out sized role across the globe, and therefore US presidents, and our foreign policy, does greatly affect the rest of the world. More importantly, we have to remember that we are voting for the person who is best fit to lead our country, not our favorite person, or someone who does what we want them to do, but who will do what’s best for the country’s general interests.

If we were to focus on these 5 things right now, I believe we could move together as a country. Sure, there is a lot more that we need to do and should do, the debates will continue, and that’s a healthy democracy. But, we have to start getting things done in this country. Both the left and the right, need to move towards the center.

-Anthony Bevilacqua

São Paulo Brazil, March 30, 2021

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Anthony Bevilacqua

Anthony Bevilacqua

Former US Park Ranger, writer and photogrpaher living in São Paulo Brazil