America is being challenged once again. We are facing COVID, our decaying transportation systems, climate change, waste reduction, equitable health care, food insecurity and unemployment, while some of our elected representatives are focused on our bedrooms and our sex life. What is more important?
We have faced frightening challenges before. Our attitudes and policies should be tuned to social responsibility. In the early 1930s, America was suffering from the dust bowl and severe unemployment. What actually saved this country was World War II.
In the 1940s we spent $300 billion to pay for male and female manpower and to create overwhelming technology to provide for our defense. One million is worth over $253 million in today’s dollars (you can do the math). The current president is only asking for a $3.5 trillion spending plan, a mere fraction of what we spent to save our democracy.
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We do not need a war to bring Americans together. We need to spend to provide new infrastructure. We need to put money into artificial intelligence and information technology to move us ahead, as we did with jeeps, tanks, ammunition and the atomic bomb. It is a huge upfront cost, which will provide us with payback for years to come.
This is no time to quibble about how much it will cost us now. The real question is, what will it cost this country if we do not aggressively fund these challenges? Will we become a backward, irrelevant country whose natural resources will be squandered on antiquated processes?
It is time for all Americans to get together, like we did for WWII, to fight together to make America viable and strong. America is a country whose inhabitants love freedom and democracy. Those are the two most important attributes we have. We need to vigorously protect both.
Meanwhile, we are mired in social policies that make no contribution to the welfare of this country. Whether people love the opposite sex or same sex doesn’t matter, both make contributions to the welfare or our country. What color an American is, or what God or no God that an American prays to, really doesn’t matter.
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Those are social constructs best left to choice; not government control. All contribute to the health and welfare of the country and are a benefit to the survival of freedom and democracy.
What is a benefit is unity of purpose; to build an economically strong and futuristic country that can bring all Americans into a world that can ameliorate climate change and create technologies that lead to the survival of the human race and our democracy.
June Girard is a former columnist for the Island Navigator in the Florida Keys who now lives in Gainesville.
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