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Other Pressing Issues

Plastic Polluted Ocean
Patient with Healthcare Nurse


    There are so many atrocities and problems occurring around the globe that are plaguing both humanity and all life on Earth, which all must be addressed as soon as feasible. It seems like a never-ending battle of good vs evil, right vs wrong, and conservative views against liberal ideologies. Where do we even begin? We start with the most important pressing issues as our main goals and continue from there. Obviously, we must work on resolving all of these dilemmas simultaneously, but emphasis must be placed on the issues that simply cannot wait like climate change, which will be the end of all life on Earth if not challenged immediately. 


   We must address global warming and climate change  now. Do you like coffee? Seventy percent of Americans drink coffee every day. Study after study has revealed climate change poses a threat to the coffee industry. Growing coffee beans is one of the first things that climate change will drastically impact since temperatures and growing conditions are rapidly changing. Rising temperatures are bringing about drought, diseased crops are ravaged by more insects, water resources are dwindling, and many small coffee farms are already closing shop and their owners and workers are headed to the U.S. as immigrants because their livelihoods have been greatly disrupted.   


     Climate change is now affecting every person on the planet; fortunately, we recently rejoined the world in fighting this mortal enemy. Evidence is mounting all around us that shows global warming and climate change are definitely occurring; heat waves, extreme temperatures, drought, famine, flooding, severe weather, and the disruption of billions of lives are occurring daily. Sure, the Earth’s climate has changed many times throughout its history, rising and falling through the different ages. The reason we are so concerned today is that climate changes, which normally occur slowly over tens of thousands and even millions of years, are taking place in only a few decades. 


    Deforestation is a leading cause of climate change; our world's forests and jungles are the lungs of the planet. Our remaining forests and jungles must be protected and many more new forests planted and managed. Biomass plants (plants that burn wood chips, green trees, and shredded tires in order to produce electricity) have eradicated forests around the world after conning most of us into believing they are green energy producers; they are not, and must either be eliminated or their fuel sources changed.


    Clearcutting the world’s green forests in order to fuel these biomass plants only to release 60% more carbon than coal-fired plants and three times as much as natural gas-run plants is not a green energy solution or a good deal for the planet; it is counterproductive. Adding shredded tires to freshly-cut green trees in order to keep them aflame is absolutely incomprehensible. This pollutes the atmosphere and also covers surrounding lands with toxic soot.

    Solutions exist that could save the remainder of the world's forests. Hemp could easily replace our need for many products that currently require destroying our forests. Growing hemp requires fewer fertilizers and herbicides, it can be used as biomass fuel instead of trees, its growing time is four months vs the thirty years needed to grow trees to maturity, it absorbs four times as much carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, and can be used to make butter, burgers, milk, beer, vodka, furniture, paint, paper, and toilet paper, clothing and shoes, paint, varnish, and oil products, medicines, and can be used as a substitute for plastic products. These are but a few of the products that can be made from hemp.

    Why do we not utilize hemp more if it can indeed help save the planet? Because of the stigma behind pot and smoking marijuana and its main chemical substance  THC. This is a myth; hemp is not the same weed that is sold in medical marijuana dispensaries around the country and it does not contain THC, the active ingredient that produces the "high" that cannabis Sativa possesses. It is far past time to begin growing hemp and reducing our craving for wood. We can save the world's forests and must educate the world's population and manufacturers about its benefits and savings. Eliminating plastic products alone would be a game-changer and could help save our oceans and sea life.


    In 2001, the United States administration under President George Bush withdrew the United States from “The Kyoto Protocol Treaty” of 1995, where countries that do not meet their CO2 emissions goals must buy carbon credits from countries that do. Under the leadership of President Bush, our administration said that their goals were unrealistic, it would hurt the economy, and more studies were needed to prove human activity is causing the greenhouse effect. This was all misinformation fabricated to justify greed. We must rejoin the protocol and its world effort to save the planet, its environment, and its ecosystems.


     In 2015, 196 nations ratified a plan known as the Paris Climate Agreement. The main goal of the accord is to hold the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2 °C above pre-industrial levels, mainly by reducing greenhouse gas emissions. In 2019, our country's previous administration pulled us from the agreement, stating that the accordance was undermining the economy and putting us at a permanent disadvantage, and the withdrawal would conform to his self-centered “America First” policy. 


    The selfishness we now see in America must end. The ramifications of climate change affect the whole world, not only us. We cannot expect other nations to do their part while we do the opposite. On November 4th, 2020 the United State’s resignation from the Paris Climate Accord became finalized. Environmental disaster would have followed, but our government's new administration reversed course and rejoined the agreement. Many crucial environmental policies were at stake, and we are now back on track to help fight the biggest threat the world has ever encountered. The United States has always set an example for the world; we are not a country full of selfish people, or are we? Selfishness and greed must go.


    We must educate the public on the realities of climate change and global warming. In 1896, Swedish scientist Svante Arrhenius suspected that burning coal, oil, natural gas, and carbon-based substances could alter the atmosphere. Roughly sixty years later, climatologist Charlie Keeling began studying the rise and fall of CO2 levels. He found that the normal ups and downs from the changing seasons were not following their usual patterns and that they were actually climbing. He found that more and more CO2 was remaining in the atmosphere each year. His graph, known as “The Keeling Curve,” shows a 15% increase in CO2 levels from 1960 to 1995. This proved that fossil fuels, which took tens of millions of years to form, were releasing massive amounts of CO2 into our atmosphere. 


     Jim Hansen, ex-NASA scientist and professor directing the Program on Climate Science, Awareness, and Solutions of the Earth Institute at Columbia University, said that in the history of Earth there have been five or six massive extinction events that were caused by significant climate changes. This may reoccur soon. Scientists have confirmed that temperatures are rising so fast that we will soon reach a tipping point — a point of no return — where there is nothing we will be able to do to change or undo what we have done. Once we pass this tipping point, the world will be condemned. Our lands will continue to turn into deserts, with less freshwater available in each coming year.        


    Professor Peter Cox, at the Hadley Center for Climate Research in Exeter, England, headed one of the largest climate study efforts in the world. The professor's studies show that the earth's temperatures rise proportionally to the amount of CO2 in the air, and increases in levels of CO2 emissions are steadily increasing. If our warming trends continue, by the year 2100 the summers would become unbearable, no one would be able to go outside, and there would no longer be enough food or fresh water to sustain Earth’s 11.3 billion people. We could lose almost all species of life on the planet by then, but some species would flourish; insects, which do well in hotter temperatures, would have rising populations resulting in more diseases such as the West Nile virus, yellow fever, and malaria.

    The United Nations recently released a landmark report stating that humans have pushed the climate into "unprecedented territory."  It becomes quite obvious that the way we treat Mother Earth in order to accommodate our own selfish needs must come to an end. All of the negatives listed above must be confronted and corrected. Our future generations and all life on Earth depend on us repairing the damage that we have inflicted upon the planet. Let us not disappoint them. 


    While on the subject, everyone should watch a 2020 movie entitled, “Planet of the Humans,” which was produced by highly-acclaimed political and environmental activist Michael Moore. It contains noteworthy revelations about all of the issues above, including some deceptions concerning green energy. Many of us are staunch environmentalists, and green energy must become our future. But it appears that some forms of green energy are not quite what they are cracked up to be.


    Even though green energy has its drawbacks, we can fix the bugs that are plaguing its progress such as its most destructive issue — using green trees from the world's forests as biomass plant fuel and adding used shredded tires to keep them ablaze. In early 2020, there were over 4,200 active biomass plants worldwide. Hemp must replace trees as their fuel or these plants must be phased out. Moore's documentary is now available for free on YouTube. This film will awaken you, get you motivated, and the ending will tear out your heart. 


    We must immediately begin addressing and reversing the damage that we have caused to the world’s oceans. Our oceans produce over half of the planet’s oxygen and absorb 50 times more carbon dioxide than our atmosphere. Covering 70% of the Earth's surface, our oceans transfer heat from the equator to the poles, regulating our climate and weather patterns. In 2019, our country’s ocean economy produced almost $300 billion in goods and services and employed over three million people. We depend on our oceans, yet at the same time, we are destroying them.


    We must immediately bring the destruction of our oceans into public scrutiny. Our oceans are presently being “trashed” and converted into giant landfills. The dumping of toxic chemicals, plastics, and garbage is destroying marine ecosystems around the world. Our oceans and seas are storehouses for the vast majority of all water on Earth; they store about 90% of the world’s evaporated water for long periods of time. We are not only killing our oceans and our sea life, but we are disrupting the cycle of fresh water and seeing less fresh water every year.


    In addition to pollution, mankind has caused other major problems to our oceans. Marine ecologists and Greenpeace say the biggest single threat to marine ecosystems today is overfishing. Giant ships, using state-of-the-art equipment, can quickly and accurately pinpoint schools of fish. These industrial fishing fleets are basically floating meat processing plants, and have exceeded the ocean's ecological limits. As larger fish are wiped out, the next smaller fish species are targeted. Canadian fisheries expert Dr. Daniel Pauly warns that if this continues much longer, our grandchildren will be eating jellyfish.   


    Another significant impact of human activity on the oceans is marine pollution. It is not limited to oil pollution from accidental oil spills and illegally discharged tank cleaning wastes. Despite the visibility of oil spills upon marine environments, these are dwarfed by those of pollutants introduced from other sources such as domestic sewage, industrial waste discharges, urban and industrial runoffs, mining, sea dumping operations, oil production, agricultural nutrients and pesticides, and radioactive discharges.    


    The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, the world’s largest collection of garbage, plastic, and floating trash that resides halfway between Hawaii and California, has grown to more than 600,000 square miles. That's twice the size of Texas! Toxic waste from this patch is easily transferred throughout the world’s oceans and is present in all the seafood we eat. The Great Barrier Reef, the world’s largest coral reef, has been dying for decades. 


    The issue of plastic debris is one of the urgent needs we must address. On a personal level, we must avoid buying non-recyclable plastics and dispose of our necessary waste responsibly. According to Australian researchers, people across the world unwittingly consume more than half a pound of plastic per person each year. The most important thing we must do is demand that all manufacturers have a strategy to recycle all their containers, and everyone must recycle their plastics. 


    Life on the planet started in the oceans. It would be a monumental mistake for mankind to cause the end of life there. On a global level, we must stop all countries from dumping any type of pollution into Earth’s oceans. We must stop overfishing and start rebuilding our fish stocks. We must retrace our steps and eliminate all the problems we have caused to our oceans in the past. Money saved after eliminating defense costs could be used to address these issues. 


    We must eliminate the production of toxic chemicals and stop polluting our atmosphere, lands, and freshwater resources with toxic waste as soon as feasibly possible. Toxic chemicals in our environment threaten our rivers, lakes, atmosphere, land, and oceans, and ultimately us and the future. The production, trade, use, and release of many synthetic chemicals are all now widely recognized as global threats to human health and the environment, yet the world’s chemical industries continue to produce and release thousands of chemical compounds every year, in most cases with very little or no testing and awareness of their impact on people and the planet's environment.


    In Europe, they are requiring companies to phase out and substitute the most toxic chemicals with safer alternatives. The United States must follow its example and do this now with all toxic chemicals. Fighting toxic chemical pollution must become a worldwide effort. Our country's previous administration reversed course and legalized countless deadly chemicals in exchange for monetary gain. We must rejoin the global community and start doing our part; imposing worldwide bans on toxic chemicals is imperative to our survival and the planet’s health.


    We must change the world’s outlook on the inevitability of population growth and begin reducing the world’s population to a sustainable level. The planet no longer has the available resources to sustain its existing population, let alone support the world’s growing population. Scientists calculate that as other countries become industrialized, and these countries start using our planet’s resources as America does now, we will need the resources of five to seven more planets like Earth to accommodate their needs.


    We do not need to go as far as China’s One-Child Policy — yet. If we cannot immediately alter our ways of thinking, we may be forced to initiate a voluntary campaign similar to China's policy; all Americans must willingly cooperate in reducing our population to avoid this from occurring. In order to keep our existing population numbers the same, each couple could give birth to a maximum of two children. There are people who would not have children, so if all couples who desired kids conceived only two children, our country's population would still slowly decrease. 


    As members of the now overpopulated Earth, we have a moral obligation to our children and future generations, to voluntarily have only one or two children per couple until the world’s population is well under control. We must eventually decrease the world’s population by one-half by supplying free surgeries such as tubal ligation and vasectomies, giving out free birth control, and educating the world’s people on curbing population growth. 


    Once we have begun solving the main issues that plague the country and the world, we can then focus on the remainder of our country’s problems. These include problems like initiating changes in our outdated healthcare systems, extending our educational systems, concluding our never-ending war on drugs, and reforming our prison systems, political structures, and voting methods. There are two major changes that should be examined before the presidential election of 2024: 


    First, our country's previous presidency made it crystal clear that one man should never have so much power over our country’s destiny. When our forefathers were debating on how to structure our newly formed government, many of them such as Ben Franklin thought that we should have a council rather than only one president. They thought that giving one man so much power may be detrimental. The other option was nominating George Washington as our first president. 


    Our forefathers stopped midway into their debate when it became apparent that embracing the idea of a council would imply that George did not have the virtue required to become the first single leader of the country. No one wanted to be seen saying George did not have virtue, so by default George Washington became our first president. Now that we have had a president that is completely void of virtue, it becomes obvious that one man should never have so much power.


    It also becomes apparent that as time progresses, our country’s presidents have more responsibilities and not enough time to address the issues. Our presidential candidate could someday be replaced by a council of five to twelve elected nonpartisan representatives, depending on how many council members were deemed necessary and whether or not a tie-breaking vote is desired, all of whom would run on their individual stances and beliefs.


    These elected officials would act as one mind; other nations may follow our lead. As stated previously, our end goal must be eventually uniting all nations into one global entity. In order to reform our outdated voting process, a new type of election system must be put into effect as described in the next paragraph.


    Secondly, the Electoral College must be eliminated and our voting system changed, regardless of whether a council or one president is elected to lead the country. In the presidential elections of 2004 and 2016, Al Gore and Hillary Clinton received more individual votes than did Presidents George Bush and the previous president. Both of these Republican lead presidencies turned out to be disastrous failures. It is a known fact that every Republican presidency for the last 100 years has resulted in a recession or a depression — 12 of these took place while a Republican president held the White House. 


    Many U.S. citizens did not even bother to vote, because they knew for a fact that their vote would not count. Knowing that one vote will not make a difference is a frightening reason why too many Americans do not vote at all. If our country is to make the necessary changes in order to prevent the world’s destruction, everyone’s voice must be heard. We must change our voting system so that everyone’s vote counts. 

    There is a much better technique available for voting for a new president than our existing system. This system is called, “Direct Election with Instant Runoff Voting,” or IRV. Our country would benefit immensely by converting to this system. If every person’s vote counted, many more of our citizens would vote, not only ensuring the election of the presidential candidate who wins the popular vote, but also the election of state representatives whose objectives coincide with the goals of the President and the country.   


    If we converted to a Direct Election system with IRV, the procedure would be much simpler and would result in an accurate reflection of the majority’s desires. In this direct election system, IRV can be utilized for presidential elections with or without the Electoral College. Before delving into explaining the concept of a Direct Election system, it should be noted that our two political party systems must come to an end. We have become a greatly divided nation, and we must reunite the United States. Candidates should run on their objectives as a single candidate, not as a party platform.


    In a simple and quick Direct Election, several “finalist” candidates could run for president or any office. Voters would rank their choices rather than marking only one candidate. For example, if three presidential candidates were listed on a ballot, some voters might choose candidate B for their first choice, candidate C for their second preference, and candidate A for their third choice. Other voters may rank the candidates differently. 


    Then, when the votes are counted, if no single candidate had the majority, the candidate with the lowest amount of votes is eliminated. The ballots are then counted again, this time counting the second-choice votes for those ballots. This process is repeated until a candidate receives a majority vote, reducing the time and money wasted in a normal runoff election, and everyone’s vote counts.
   This IRV system would solve many complications inherent in the Electoral College, as well as the issues introduced by some of the other alternatives. It would abolish the “spoiler dynamic” of third-party and independent candidates, where there are more than two candidates receiving votes and the “winner” of the election is not the majority’s favorite candidate. This voting system consistently produces a majority vote; a nationwide winner.


    For example, in an election where only two candidates compete, and candidate A receives 51% of the votes cast, candidate A would be declared the winner since candidate B had only 49% of the vote. If a third “spoiler” candidate would have entered the race, he or she may have taken away votes from candidate A, resulting in candidate B being declared the winner, even though the people that voted for candidate C do not care for candidate B. Direct Elections with IRV would allow voters to select their favorite candidate without ensuring a vote for their least favorite, as often happens when the spoiler dynamic is a factor and a voter prefers a third candidate the most.    


    Many scholars fully support abolishing the Electoral College and replacing it with Direct Elections and IRV. In June of 2021, New York City used the system to primary their new mayor who will replace Mayor Bill de Blasio. We could also elect a council to replace our upcoming presidential candidate as discussed in the previous section, and utilize the Direct Elections with IRV to elect these five to twelve council members. The system would also work well to elect all of our Congressional leaders.

    We must initiate the lengthy process of transitioning to a single-payer healthcare system. It is morally unacceptable that we can ration health care by our ability to pay for it. Health care should be available for all Americans. Here in the United States, with the loss of a job, all insurance premiums paid to insurance companies go up in smoke. Unemployed usually means uninsured.


    Health care reform will not change how health care is delivered, but only how its bills are paid. Health care providers will do business as usual, competing with each other and trying to do their best, and in return will have guaranteed paid procedures with coverage for all. Costs would not constantly increase to cover lost revenue from unpaid services. Health care providers would pocket more money than they presently do.


    Recent university studies show that implementing a single-payer healthcare system, such as every other industrialized nation has except us, would save the country at least $600 billion a year on administration costs alone, and our citizens would be much healthier. If all other industrialized countries have succeeded in converting to a single-payer system that results in better quality healthcare with lower costs, so can we.


    The U.S. spent $3.6 trillion on healthcare in 2019; that’s $10,975 per man, woman, and child. Half of the bankruptcies in the United States are due to healthcare costs. We have higher healthcare costs than any other nation and various studies rank the U.S. anywhere from 26th to as high as 37th in the quality of our care. According to Harvard Medical School, countries with universal healthcare have healthier citizens with better survival rates for most types of diseases like cancer.


    As previously stated, COVID-19 has shown us the vulnerabilities of our current healthcare system. All other countries have a national healthcare system with centralized information and purchasing power, and also have centralized policies making it much easier to run the healthcare system. In all of these countries, scientists, health experts, virologists, and epidemiologists oversee the healthcare system, not their nation's politicians. The government’s responsibilities begin and end with paying our healthcare costs.


    There are three basic reasons why America has not enacted universal healthcare. First, conservatives, in particular, have a staunch belief in classical liberalism and the opinion that the government should play a restricted role in society. Secondly, lobbyists spend billions to assure the country's private insurers retain their prominence in the health system; in short, the Republican Congress is in the deep pockets of the insurance industry, pharmacy companies, and big business. Finally, America’s political institutions make it difficult for large entitlement programs to be enacted. In order to implement a universal healthcare system that provides better quality healthcare for all of our citizens at a lower cost, we must first remove monetary gain from this region of politics.


    We must announce a change in direction in fighting America’s drug wars. Our war on drugs is a massive failure and always has been. We can instantly shut down all drug trafficking, drug lords, and gang activity, unclog our court systems and prisons, and eventually eliminate 95% of the country’s crime. All previous attempts to accomplish these goals have failed. Obviously, education is the key to preventing drug habits from starting in the first place. Next is legalizing marijuana in America in order to remove the link between it and hard drugs. Marijuana is now considered a gateway drug; it does not need to be this way. Marijuana has proven to be much safer than alcoholic beverages. 


    We must administer free medically monitored substances to replace hardcore drug usage and implement free medication-assisted treatment to those suffering from addiction as every advanced country has done in order to eliminate their country’s drug problem. Utilizing this approach, most countries in Europe have succeeded in eliminating 98% of their population’s addiction while keeping the other 2% of addicts from committing crimes for drugs by monitoring them.


    In order to enact these ideas, we must reign in drug manufacturers, address the stigma of drug addiction and the ignorance of the way that drug addicts become addicted, and reject the idea that our drug problems are criminal acts. They are not. Society is to blame, not the addict. Anyone can become a drug addict.


    We must offer free college or trade school education to our children. Educating our citizens must be one of our utmost priorities. Poverty and lack of education are synonymous. Educating everyone with a desire to learn could turn our economy around. We pay to educate our children for twelve years, but we refuse to cover the costs of higher education for all of our young adults which are equally important. The time has come to follow the lead of other highly advanced countries like Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Germany, and France, who offer national free college or low-cost programs.


    Millions of teenagers coming out of high school do not have any plans for their futures and some become burdens on society. These teenagers more than deserve a chance to create a better future for themselves and the country. States with tuition-free college programs including California, my home state of Hawaii, Arkansas, Delaware, Kentucky, and Indiana are leading the country in this direction. All other states need to follow their example. Higher education should be a right of every American citizen and should be free.

    After repairing our country’s educational systems, the time will come to undertake the issue of education around the world. As the world leader that we were (we must regain our status as the leader of the world that the previous administration has destroyed), it is our responsibility to lead the rest of the developed world in helping poverty-stricken countries to build and set up schools. We must help people around the world to help themselves; money now spent by dozens of countries around the globe on weapons and wars could be diverted to help educate their country’s citizens.

     America should make reparations to the American Indians and the African American community. The most paramount scar left on America is the way Whites treated American Indians and African Americans as inferior races and savages. First, in return for the American Indians saving our first colonies, thousands of Indians were slaughtered and Whites slowly stole their lands in the East. As a side note, the pilgrims' first Thanksgiving was not a celebration between our settlers and the native American Indians as we were taught as young children; it was a feast to celebrate the mass murder of American Indians and stealing of their lands. This should be taught in schools, not the fantasy tale that now exists. 


    Hundreds of thousands of American Indian men and women revolted and were scalped,  slaughtered, and their lands were stolen. White people then moved westward committing the same atrocities, finalizing their atrocious behavior by forcing tribes to vacate the lands they had called home for thousands of years and driving them like cattle onto reservations where in many cases the lands were unsuitable for farming and hunting. 


    Many Navajo Indians living in southwestern deserts still do not even have electricity, running water, or plumbing in their homes. These proud peoples should be awarded pristine government lands, possibly even sections of our national parklands. After all, these lands and all of America once belonged to them. American Indians should be eligible for interest-free business loans, free higher education, low-interest car, home loans, etc. In order to make reparations and appease American Indians, we must listen to what they feel would benefit their people, not what we are willing to offer.


    The way we exploited African Americans is just as appalling. They were kidnapped from their countries, customs, families, and communities and shackled and shipped like animals to become slaves in a foreign land, where they were treated as subhuman beings and murdered, raped, tortured, beaten, and enslaved to perform work that benefited White supremacists. Even after African Americans were freed, segregation, racism, hate, and lynching continued for many decades, and hatred and jealousy for people of color from uneducated ignorant selfish racists and White supremacists still occurs today.


    How these White supremacists see themselves as superior beings is far beyond comprehension. None of us have a choice of which body we will inhabit. Racism is taught by selfish uncaring racists who have never been taught correct morals and standards and cannot put themselves into the shoes of others. And to think that many of them are hypocritical "Christians" who do not practice what they preach. All of these types of racists are truly the inferior ones; they lack correct morals and standards, understanding, knowledge, and compassion. 

    On May 31st and June 1st of 2021, we commemorated the 100-year anniversary of the horrific massacre of Tulsa, Oklahoma — known as the "Black Wall Street Massacre." These dates mark the worst acts of racial violence in American history. Despite the fact that this small community of African Americans had endured forced segregation for almost two decades, the residents had built a small utopia and were the envy of most White residents in Tulsa. At the time, Greenwood was the wealthiest Black community in the United States.


    On those days in 1921, mobs consisting of jealous White supremacists — many of whom were deputized and given weapons by city officials — attacked and murdered hundreds of African American men, women, and children. These White supremacists could not stand the fact that these Black people had made better lives for themselves than the White people of Tulsa had. The attack was carried out on the ground and from private aircraft that dropped firebombs on the city's citizens and buildings. Well over 10,000 people were displaced and left homeless, and more than 1,000 homes were burnt to the ground along with at least 35 square blocks of their businesses in the Greenwood District. 


    Property damage amounted to more than $1.5 million in real estate and $750,000 in personal property (equivalent to $32.65 million in 2020). Insurance companies refused to pay claims, calling the damage done being caused by a "riot." This was not a riot, it was an uncivilized horrid bloody murderous massacre. Their lands were stolen and only a small block of businesses has been rebuilt; most Blacks that survived had lost everything, including family and friends. 


    Many survivors left Tulsa, while both Black and White residents who stayed in the city kept silent about the terror, violence, and resulting losses for decades. The massacre was largely omitted from local, state, and national histories. Had this atrocious act of hatred never happened, the descendants of the business owners in Greenwood would have inherited business empires.


    African Americans have never been given the opportunities that Whites enjoy, and have been suppressed and forgotten. They more than deserve reparations, regardless of proving their lineage — these people have all been mistreated for hundreds of years. African Americans deserve free higher education, interest-free car, home, and business loans that are actually acquirable, and better higher paying equal opportunity jobs. Once again, we must ask them what is required to partially correct the wrongs and injustices that Whites have imposed on them. Getting all African Americans and American Indians behind our evolution could change history.


    We must reform our criminal justice systems and our prisons. We imprison more of our population than does any other nation in the world. Currently, there are over 2 million American citizens in prisons, jails, and detention centers. This figure represents 25% of all inmates in the world, yet the U.S. population makes up only 5% of the global population. Public opinion and factual data show that this system is broken and in much need of repair. 


    Our police departments and courts are addressing only the criminal aspect of law enforcement, instead of concentrating on the social aspects.  Police departments have revealed that 90% of all 911 calls could be better handled by social service workers. More and more prisons are becoming privatized, which unjustly turns our justice systems into profitable enterprises.


    People are being railroaded and seen as statistics rather than human beings. In only the last five years, 328 people were wrongly convicted of murder and were finally freed to rejoin their families, 61% of whom are African Americans. These 328 inmates spent a total of over 6,000 years in prison — years that they will never recoup. These statistics concern only cases involving murder; how many thousands of inmates are innocent of other crimes?


    It is far past time to reform the way we treat crime. Unless an armed police officer is needed for a given situation, one must never be sent; most of our society’s problems could be addressed by social workers and specialists, not armed cops. "Defunding the police" doesn't mean eliminating our police departments, it means shrinking the scope of police responsibilities and diverting them to other entities that are better equipped to handle specific problems. Racial profiling must end. Our jails and prisons should be centered on rehabilitation, not incarceration. Our justice systems must be expanded in order to reexamine every case of possible wrongful convictions, and minimum sentencing laws must be reviewed and changed. 


    Committees must be established in order to overhaul our antiquated prison systems, and all for-profit prisons that relish our currently corrupt system must become a distant memory. Prisoners are people — not just statistics — most of which are victims of society. So many transformations are needed; let’s not procrastinate any longer. People’s lives are needlessly wasting away before our very eyes. 


    We must repair our economy the correct way — not the way some politicians have attempted. Giving $2 trillion in tax breaks to the wealthy and big businesses is the exact opposite of what was required. Pumping up the stock market did absolutely nothing for the common folk of America, and as we have now seen, this type of “fix” did not last and did not accomplish anything — most corporations used their tax cuts for stock buybacks. These funds could have improved the lives of millions of middle-class and poor Americans. This “gift” equated to giving $10,000 to every working American. Trickle-down economic plans have never worked and must never be attempted again.
    Income inequality is the biggest problem with capitalism. The top .1% (point one percent) own as much as the bottom 90%. What was needed, rather than giving $2 trillion in handouts to the rich, is increasing taxes on the wealthy and corporations. In 1944, the tax rate on people earning over $200,000 ($2.5 million in today’s dollars) was 94%. In the 50s, 60s, and 70s, it never dipped below 70%. In the 80's it dropped to 28%. What was Reagan thinking when he dropped these rates from 73% to 25% in the 1980s? Talk about giving handouts to the rich; this was Robin Hood in reverse. From the 1990s to 2012 it was raised to 39.6%. When the Affordable Care Act was passed it went up to 43.4%, and in 2018 the maximum federal income tax was lowered to 37%. 


    It has become crystal clear that money must be removed from politics, and that taxes on the wealthy must be raised by at least 40%; the super-rich should be taxed even further; rates on these folk should be restored to at least 80%. Some Congress members are griping that the latest round of tax cuts may be reversed; these people are the ones who are in the pockets of the wealthy. While the selfish elites indulge themselves in extravagances that most people could never imagine, veterans of war and children across America — the land of opportunity — are forgotten, homeless, and hungry.


    These increased taxes could be used to drastically reduce our income inequality and solve many of the problems that the poor face who are too impoverished to get proper education, housing and business loans, cars, etc. Many solutions exist to eliminate poverty and income equality. Once again, we simply lack the collective will to force change. Because Democrats regained control of the Senate with the new Vice President as the deciding vote, we can raise taxes on corporations, big business, and the wealthy.


    Until we become a global society that better works together for common goals, we must promote a buy American campaign. The virus has shown us that outsourcing our needs for many decades has put us in dire straits. The lack of medical supplies and protective equipment that are not being manufactured here any longer is only one example. Any imported product that if held back would greatly harm our country’s well-being should be produced or made here in the USA. As of this moment, if we were forced to boycott China for human rights violations or any other reason, it would take quite a while to rebuild our supply chain of products that we now ship here from China.


    We have become a country of imports due to our need to save money because our worker’s salaries do not pay the bills and buy food. We must double the minimum wage. Full-time minimum wage workers cannot afford a one-bedroom rental in 95% of U.S. counties. Raising the minimum wage alone could allow tens of millions of Americans to escape poverty. Once all Americans enjoy a living wage, we can all afford to buy products that proudly list the “Made in the USA” label.


    Once we enact new ideas and plans such as putting more profits into the pockets of workers and raising the minimum wage, a “buy American campaign” can once again begin, where we quit giving away many of our jobs to foreign countries. Implementing these ideas would keep billions of dollars a year in the U.S. and would create hundreds of thousands of American jobs, but until all of our citizens have the capability to earn a living wage, buying items for less from other countries will continue.

There is one obstacle of concern that may need attention:


    At this point in time, the only drawback that should greatly worry us is creating protests around the globe during a worldwide pandemic. Spreading a deadly virus to other protesters would not be a part of our plan of action. We must develop additional ways to show our leaders that we are “dead” serious about bringing about worldwide change. Now that the United States is approaching herd immunity, protesting will not be as dangerous here as it will be in other parts of the world, but we still have many citizens who are not yet vaccinated.


    The protests occurring now have revealed that worldwide change apparently has a price, but protesting in the streets can definitely be accomplished using safer practices than the protests we were seeing last year. Masks and social distancing are a must for the unvaccinated. Health officials and most of our citizens were extremely concerned that the protesting occurring last year would exponentially spread the virus. Figures now show that this was not the case when adequate protection procedures were observed. The world's population must continue utilizing safe practices, but we must become increasingly inventive to protect our demonstrators overseas who are protesting for much-needed changes in society. 


    Timothy Snyder, the author of “On Tyranny,” and “The Road to Unfreedom — Russia, Europe, America,” had some excellent advice about staying away from the slippery slope of authoritarianism and protesting against it, which he shared in an episode of the Rachel Maddow news hour on MSNBC. He stated, “There are lessons in history that tell us the most meaningful way to resist slipping into an autocratic government is protesting. You have to start by identifying yourself with the protesters. If first they (the authoritarians) come for the undocumented, and you are documented and do nothing, you’re making a mistake. When they come for African Americans, and you do nothing, you’re making a mistake. When they come for the nation's protesters, and you do nothing, you’re making a mistake.”


    Timothy continued by saying, “At some time, you have to turn it around like the moms of the protesters did. If they’re coming for the protesters, you have to stand up for these people, our fellow Americans, our 1st Amendment rights, and the 4th Amendment; you need to go out (and protest) for those reasons. If you are not protesting now, now is a good time to start.” Over 26 million people have recently protested in our streets. It is time that we all join them.


    The world's population could also try other ways of bringing about attention to our causes in addition to protesting, such as immense amounts of clamor at certain hours of the day or evening, or beams of light lighting the skies at night that can be seen and recorded by the space station and satellites and encouraging images returned to Earth. Envision everyone around the world honking their car horns for one or more minutes at 7 pm. Any such action would suffice, as long as it shows leaders that all countries’ citizens are uniting in order to bring about massive change on a predetermined day. 


    In conclusion, it should be reiterated that our success is imminent — it will occur. We are an extremely inventive society and all challenges we face can and will be overcome, but the protests must continue. Any attempts made by autocrats, authoritarians, and dictators to derail our movement will be futile — in the end, we will prevail.


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