The debate between progressives and conservatives over whose ideology is best is never ending. While some issues are legitimately a subjective matter of opinion — many aren’t. Unfortunately, in today’s political world far too many people have decided that their ideological opinions and beliefs matter more than facts.
Too many folks I encounter seem to think a fact is no longer a fact simply because they don’t want it to be true. Well, I’m sorry, but that’s not how reality works.
Even though I despise labels (I believe they create too much of a tribal mentality that can render people incapable of being rational and objective), I proudly call myself a progressive — not because of any sort of blind allegiance to any particular political ideology, but because it’s what common sense, facts, history, science, math, and logic tell me is the “right side” to be on.
As I’ve pointed out before, if you look back through American history, conservatives are almost always on the wrong side of it.
So, in the spirit of a right-wing buddy of mine telling me how “awful” and “destroyed” the United States would be if progressives got their way, I decided I’d list ten “horrible” things that would happen if progressives (aka “sensible Americans”) did get what they wanted.
1. Like practically every other major country on the planet, every American would have health insurance: Imagine a country where we’re no longer having to spend all this time and energy on the “health care debate” because, like every other major country on Earth, we treated access to health care as a right, not a privilege for only those who can afford it.
Plus there’s always the fact that countries with single-payer insurance spend much less on health care than the United States and our failed for-profit system.
Oh, the horror!
2. Americans wouldn’t be saddled with tens of thousands in student loan debt for much of their adult lives: Just think about how much our economy would boom if, when students graduated from college, they weren’t facing massive student loan payments that often prevent many from buying a house, car, or spending money in ways that help strengthen our economy, create jobs, and lower unemployment.
3. Everyone would be free to practice whatever religion they wanted (or no religion at all) without the fear of having another person’s religious views forced upon them: Freedom of religion would actually mean freedom of religion.
4. Every American who was legally allowed to purchase a gun would still have that right: Despite what many on the right claim, expanding background checks, limiting magazine capacity, and banning assault weapons would not prevent any American who was legally allowed to own a gun from being able to do so for sport and/or to protect themselves and their families — it would just be much more difficult for those who shouldn’t have guns to obtain them, especially dangerous high-capacity weapons often used in mass shootings.
5. Food, water, and air would be safer and cleaner: I’m not sure why anyone would oppose regulations that require businesses to sell food that’s safe to consume, protect our water from being polluted, and keep our air breathable.
6. We would help save our planet: Even if you think climate change is a hoax (it’s not), I’ve never understood the argument against greener means of energy. We have the technology to almost completely eliminate human reliance upon fossil fuels by using unlimited resources like the sun, air, and wind — yet some people still want to continue killing our planet because being “green” hurts the coal and oil industry. It’s like arguing against using a cell phone because you don’t want to hurt people who build pay phones. I feel bad for anyone who loses their job, but we shouldn’t continue destroying the only planet on which we have to live to save a few thousand jobs.
Though it’s important to point out that while Republicans like Trump claim investing in coal is going to be some massive boom for the economy and jobs, the truth is, there were more jobs in just solar energy last year than all fossil fuel industries combined.
That’s not even counting wind and water — two other sources of green energy.
So if this is really about “jobs,” as Republicans like to say it is, then they should be all about green energy considering the facts prove those jobs are booming while the outdated, toxic, and planet-killing fossil fuel industry is on the decline.
7. Tax rates on the rich would return closer to what they were during the 50’s and 60’s during some of the strongest economic times in our country’s history, when our national debt was almost non-existent, and income inequality was far less of a problem: Believe it or not, during the 50’s and the 60’s, when tax rates on the wealthy were much higher than they are now, there were still plenty of rich Americans. You know what you call millionaires and billionaires who are paying taxes at 55 percent instead of 35 percent?
8. Voting would be easier for every American: For years I’ve said that anyone who’s trying to make it more difficult for people to vote shouldn’t ever be trusted. Yes, we need to make sure that every vote is legal, but there are very easy ways to do that without limiting the number of places to vote, shortening early voting times, and discouraging people from even trying to register to vote.
You know, like Republicans are constantly trying to do.
Furthermore, these restrictive voter ID laws Republicans have been passing at the state level are designed to do nothing more than suppress probable Democratic votes — which they’ve already accomplished in states like Kansas and Tennessee.
9. The minimum wage would be $15 or higher: It’s insane that the minimum wage hasn’t been increased at the federal level in nearly a decade. What’s even more insane is that it’s still only $7.25 an hour — or about $15,080 per year at 40 hours per week.
That’s $1,160 below the poverty line for a family of two.
I’m sorry, but if a business can’t afford to pay its employees a living wage, then maybe they should reassess how they operate.
10. The Internet would stay free and open — just like it’s been since the beginning: Despite Republicans lying about what net neutrality actually is, this issue is really quite simple. Either you like how the Internet’s been since you began using it or you want Internet service providers such as AT&T, Comcast, Verizon, etc. to be able to control what speed each website you visit is delivered to you at — regardless of the speed you’re paying for.
In other words: Do you want to pay for a certain Internet speed and have every website you visit delivered to you at that speed, or do you want whatever company you purchase your Internet from to determine that for you based on the website you’re connecting to?
While there are plenty more things I could have listed here, I’ll go ahead and wrap it up.