The country seems divided along a line that cuts through seven issues:
1. Abortion rights for women.
2. Equal rights for all regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation and religion.
4. Climate change.
5. Gun control.
6. Health care insurance.
7. Taxes and the economic safety net.
While all of these issues are complex, it is interesting that most people fall on one side or the other. If you believe in a woman’s right to choose, you are likely to support equal rights for everyone, that we should be more open to immigration, that climate change is real and human-caused, that we need stronger gun control laws, that everyone should have access to quality, affordable health care, and that taxes should fall more on the rich and support more of the poor among us.
Polls show that most people agree on the above stated positions, so what should this silent majority do and why?
1. Abortion rights for women must be supported. While abortions should be legal and rare, the solution is to make unwanted pregnancy rare. Quality sex education in school and easy access to contraception would help. Let’s put abortion clinics out of business by taking away the need for them!
2. There can be no compromise on equal rights for all. Everyone should have equal rights and protection under the law!
3. With immigration, there are areas for compromise. But like abortion, let’s reduce the need for immigration. Most people who want to immigrate are doing it for economic and security reasons. Instead of them fleeing bad situations, let’s do a better job of helping those people and their governments with these issues. Foreign aid for these kinds of projects has been decreasing.That is shortsighted. Good people are leaving these bad situations. Let’s help them stay and make those countries more successful!
4. Climate change has been studied for more than 40 years, and a consensus that it is human caused has existed for more than 20 years. The last-breath argument against human-caused climate change seems to be that it is some “natural cycle.” There is no “natural cycle” that can explain the degree and speed of the warming we have seen the past 40 years. While there are ways that the Earth can cool quickly — think nuclear winter, large asteroid impact or very large volcanic activity — no such mechanism exists for sudden warming. It is time to move aggressively and quickly into solution mode.
5. The bottom line for gun control is that all sales of guns must have background checks and automatic weapons must be illegal.
6. While the Affordable Care Act had its problems, it was much better than where we are going now. Medicare for all is the simplest and most efficient solution. While there is room for how to get there, it is time for America to catch up with the rest of the advanced world in supporting health care as a right!
7. The last tax package has produced an unsustainable deficit whose impact will likely fall mostly on the young (they will be paying the interest and the principal), the poor and the elderly. There are reasonable compromises in both taxes and a sustainable safety net, but they will only be found if there is a return to more balance of power in our legislative branch. One area where the economic safety net needs to be expanded and strengthened is for those adversely affected by the move away from fossil fuels. Not only could carbon fees reduce CO2 production, but a part of those fees could be directed toward helping those people and their communities.
The next election will have huge impacts on each of those areas. Those of us who support most of these ideas must come out and vote. But we must also be willing to compromise and see it as a solution, not an evil. We must win because we are fighting to redeem the soul of America.
David Hart, a former physics teacher at Skyline High School and former junior high school counselor, has degrees in physics, education and social work. He lives in Torrey, Utah.