It was over 40 years ago that I thought I saw a future that looked less like Star Trek and more like Mad Max and today I think we stand on a narrow ledge between a nation that builds back better and the world I feared: one of waterless barrens peopled by tribes that shoot first and ask questions later.
- Two years of community college free to all, regardless of income. Imagine your almost-grown children going directly from high school to a community college from which they can transfer to a state university or be placed in a good-paying job for which they have been trained.
- Imagine being able to place your young children in pre-school or a well-equipped and staffed childcare facility while you pursue a career or bring in a welcome second income.
- Imagine your mother or father having Medicare for dental, eye, and hearing care. No more yelling at Mom or Dad to turn down the TV for goodness sake, you can’t hear yourself think.
- Imagine having extra money (child tax credits) each month to buy groceries, school clothes and supplies, paying for field trips and after-school activities.
- Imagine not having to worry about being able to afford your medication for diabetes or asthma or blood pressures issues.
- Your husband falls ill and you get paid leave to see him through the worst of his illness.
- The summers get hotter and the winters get colder but your house has been retrofitted for climate change and renewables make heating and cooling cheaper. I know, I know. The companies will find a work-around, but it can happen.
- Your no-good brother-in-law who can’t seem to find a job now that he’s out of prison just might be able to start his own business doing something he’s good at, assuming it’s not against the law.
- There are entire communities, maybe even yours, that will see a massive drop in unexplained illnesses and a new crop of bright, curious, intelligent children all because they no longer get their drinking water through lead-lined pipes.
- And that’s not all. I’m not even counting the roads and bridges and broadbands (computer access) and housing and almost everything a person needs in the 21st century in order to construct a life worth living.
We’ll need all the help we can get, because chances are that climate change has come already and is busy making itself at home. There will still be plenty of room to pull oneself to where one wants to be using one’s bootstraps. But first, one needs bootstraps. Very hard to yank on something that isn’t there. But what if bootstraps became a sort of birthright? Something all Americans are born with?
Wouldn't that be Amazing?