Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Seven Questions

With the Maryland filing deadline fast approaching for those who are (or are considering) seeking public office in the 2018 election cycle (February 27, 2018 to be precise), this blog is once again considering what questionnaires (if any) to send out to various campaigns.  Of course, the issue mix ranges depending on a number of factors (for example: whether the candidate is seeking a Federal, State, or Local office). 

While we can discuss specific policy proposals all day long ($15/hr federal minimum wage, Medicare for All, etc…), I like to return to exploring “first principles” to understand how candidates think about underlying issues. 

That said, these are the questions I find foremost on my mind in 2018, in no particular order:

1)      Do you consider the increased concentration of economic wealth in the United States to be corrosive to our democracy?  If yes, how should this issue be addressed? If not, why not?
2)      What are your thoughts on social democracy? 
3)      Racial discrimination continues to plague our nation.  This is evident in our workforce (hiring practices, income disparities, opportunities for advancement, etc…), in the administration of our criminal justice system, in systemic efforts to disenfranchise voters based on race, in the relative dearth of substantive environmental protections for communities where people of color constitute a large percentage of the population, and in other facets of American life.  What steps can and should be taken to address these issues?
4)      Thinking about the principles of liberty and equality, and this can apply to any given challenge (fiscal, social, etc…), how can they both be promoted to ensure that the “unalienable rights” of all Americans are protected?
5)      Let’s assume that something called “class warfare” exists.  If so, who has been winning? For how long? And in whose interest is it to continue the war?  
6)      Considering the UN’s sustainable development goals which refer to gender equality as a “fundamental human right,” how is America performing when it comes to promoting gender equality and what specific steps can and should be taken to secure true gender equality in the United States?
7)      Many LGBTQIA Americans have expressed concerns that the current Administration (and those who view the world similarly) are dedicated to rolling back recent legal protections fought for, and recognized, in this country.  What steps can and should be taken to safeguard the rights of LGBTQIA citizens to participate fully in the “pursuit of happiness” stated in our Declaration of Independence?  

Will this be the basis of the questionnaire? Who may receive it?  Who may respond to it of their own volition? Stay tuned, as more will follow...

In solidarity.

1 comment:

  1. In response to your questions:
    1) Concentration of wealth is a historical problem that can be addressed a number of ways. First: progressive taxation and social programs to make sure the benefit of that money goes to folks who need it. Second: Stronger unions to give workers bargaining power. Third: Higher estate taxes to lessen the flow of great wealth from generation to generation. Fourth: Universal access to education and training.
    2) Social Democracy. That's a bit general, but I would make this comment. We are suffering from a plague of cynicism about our politics that makes it hard to accomplish anything.
    3) Race. Another historical problem that's hard to fix. Long term, the best solution is greater participation in the political process so the system, flawed as it is, works for all.
    4) Liberty & Equality. Humans are torn between the individual desire to "get ahead" and the social desire to help others. One provides the selfish engine that can do great things; the other makes sure those things are available to all. We need both and government can work that balance.
    Class war. The rich will always have the advantage in this ongoing war, especially when they rig the system through the political process.
    Gender equality. We have made great progress in my lifetime. My sister (now 73) was pushed out of science class and was later harassed mercilessly in the workforce. recent events, however have shown that we have a long way to go. I don't think legal quotas are the way to go, but a system of grading businesses, etc. on gender equality could give consumers a way to direct their dollars away from the stinkers.
    7) LGBTQIA. First- elect Democrats. Simple but true. The Dem. Party has staked out their position and should be rewarded. An expanded Equal Rights Amendment could also help, although that will take a while.