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10 Ways to Reclaim America

Here is my wish list of positive suggestions to rally behind in order to recover the soul of America.

1. Demand a month-long hiatus from Republican-Democratic name-calling, demonizing, and president-bashing on the campaign trail. Every last second that our elected representatives spend in a cat-fight results in greater national debt, more poverty, increased unemployment and more casualties abroad. Insist that both presidential candidates and the whole of Congress learn to speak and listen deeply from the heart, and after 30 days, agree on at least one large goal that will act as a rallying cry to unify our polarized population.

10-ways2. Connect with those of other political parties.  Citizens of different persuasions agree on more than they realize. All of us want to “fix” the economy, the roads, the government, the high price of gasoline, our educational system. In a recent study carried out by Harvard Business School, when asked to design their ideal society for wealth distribution, both Republicans and Democrats came up with a markedly similar picture for a just society, much like that of Sweden. Out of what both groups dream in common, we can fashion one goal to work on together.

3. Learn to be more politically sophisticated in your thinking and avoid black and white/either-or dichotomies. Societies aren’t either free-rein capitalism or full-on communism. There are endless shades of grey in between. Avoid applying the term ‘socialism’ to any kind of initiative that attempts to provide basic rights to society or ‘naked claw’ to anything free market. Working together as a community and providing for the community is not socialism. By the same token, capitalism isn’t automatically a byword for irresponsible money-grubbing.

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My Wish List for Main Street

The people of America, at long last, have had enough of unfairness. From Wall Street to Main Street, they have taken to the streets.  Teachers, soldiers, postal workers – all those in the core traditional jobs of American public sector – are suffering huge layoffs and now ready to join the millions of people now out of work and living without health insurance or the likely prospect of another job.

What started largely as a ragtag union protest called Occupy Wall Street  -  after announcements that seven hundred school workers were being laid off from New York City’s public schools alone - is gathering force across America, growing into a national movement, with ‘Occupies’ now in major cities across America. Although the majority of those in the streets are liberal, a number are also Republicans.  As a retired New York architecture professor put it, ‘It’s more a social movement than a political movement.’

In fact, it is a social movement about the fact that America is no longer a society in any sense of the word.

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Pure fire

As you’ve probably heard, my adopted country, Great Britain, is on fire.  From Manchester to London entire communities have been set alight, stores and houses vandalized, people beaten up, and five murdered as of this writing. Last Wednesday, my sleepy suburban corner of London was crawling with policemen, acting on inside information that our area was targeted next. 


Commentators have been busy, trying to work out the collective significance of the anarchy on the streets.  Who is doing this?  Are they provocateurs, bussed in from the outside? Or well organized protests against globalization?  Or perhaps the criminal underbelly of society?  

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Becoming a pirate

As I watch the fall of the House of Murdoch, for the first time in two decades I feel good about being a journalist again.

I became a journalist when it was still an honorable profession—immediately after the days of Woodward and Bernstein.  I saw the immense influence of the press as it should be, as a Fourth Estate, with the power to bring down a corrupt presidency. To be a reporter, I believed, was to act as the conscience of the nation.

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