“Democracy,” according to Swedish journalist Karin Pettersson, “is not just the right to vote. What matters, in the long run, is justice, and justice can only be achieved through changes in the material conditions of people’s lives. The real dividing line in politics cannot be between ‘evil’ and ‘good,’ moral and immoral. What is needed to save democracy is to create new counterweights to today’s capitalism —which undermines it.”
People now lament that they see so much discord in the world they see “no hope for a peaceful world.” Unregulated capitalism, with its relentless drive for profits regardless of the dire social consequences it creates, have made this world what it is today. Socialism, with its drive for justice, is patiently standing by in the wings, waiting for marriage with capitalism to form a bond that can transcend the pettiness, quarrels and conflicts that lead to miseries, insurgencies and wars. Europe humanizes capitalism with a few rays of socialism in its European Union, with which it brightens the lives of millions. It stopped unhappiness, and wars between countries stopped.
Dwindling resources, lost jobs, climate disasters and mass migrations place unprecedented burdens on societies with which governments now try to cope. The world needs to execute tangible plans to counter the miseries and injustices that make life unbearable. This essay identifies the top eight problems that mainly create unhappiness in America. Countermeasures for fashioning happy, safe and free societies are then suggested as drivers that can achieve equality and justice:
1) Racism: America’s No. 1 unrest problem. The Civil War ended, but it’s still being fought in the minds of many Americans. It keeps minorities bound in poverty with little upward mobility. Countermeasure: Remove all traces of Civil War memorabilia and teach all school children the evils of racism. Apologize to the Black communities for the sins of our forefathers and provide them compensations that include free education and affordable single-payer health care. Practice atonement.
2) Immigration: America cannot live without immigrants. Many come here as laborers to improve their lives and many work in our fields. Countless immigrants say they would rather stay in their own country if they had work. Countermeasure: Instead of building walls, start an American Union like the EU that helps each country on the continent achieve economic parity with jobs and then invite them to join with open borders.
3) Lost jobs: Jobs left the U.S. when capitalism said “bye-bye” to the American worker and went to China to cash in on $2-a-day Chinese labor. It didn’t care about sending Americans to the unemployment line, that society, the taxpayers (socialism), would be burdened to pay workers’ unemployment compensation. Widgets made in China were not sold cheaper to Americans, but at the same price as if they had been made in America. A conservative government had prepared the Legislature for the exodus, and President Bill Clinton, the new neoliberal president, signed it into law. Countermeasure: Laws are needed to protect society when a company decides to leave the country; and/or start co-ops to keep work here. Italy already has such laws and subsidizes workers.
4) Religion: America fights in religious wars. Religious factions kill each other over diverse beliefs. Their wise men cry: “They’re not like us; take to the sword!” Countermeasure: Mandatory ethics classes in schools all over the world would stop hate-mongering from the pulpits. Teach children ethics that all religions can agree on, and you will find they are all very much alike. We’re all God’s children; He waits for us all, no matter what religion.
5) Global warming: Countries are scrambling to counter the warming of the atmosphere before the effects become irreversible. Everyone on Earth now feels it. Humanity is trembling with monster winds, fires, heat waves, droughts, floods and mass migrations. Countermeasure: Slow population growth by making the means of family planning more accessible and educating girls to reduce future population growth by a billion people. Keep fossil fuels in the ground; build electric cars; convert homes to use geothermal energy to heat and cool instead of using fossil fuels or electricity.
6) Homelessness: Capitalism without a tinge of socialism is again the problem. Good-paying jobs were sent away, employment benefits and credit cards maxed out, homes lost to sickness or whatever. Countermeasure: Round up all the homeless and intern them for rehabilitation. Give the mentally ill free treatment. Cure the sick. Provide shelter and train them for jobs fixing our aging infrastructure to build on global warming solutions.
7) Money in politics: The amount of money needed to persuade a politician has been out of hand ever since the right-leaning Supreme Court ruled that money can talk (corruption then became legal). So, now aristocracy owns Congress. Countermeasure: Give Congress back to the people by passing appropriate legislation outlawing money in politics and the resulting corruption.
8) Coronavirus: The virus is still running rampant and spreading. Countermeasure: Until the federal government mandates measures for all states to follow, no coordinated effort to limit its effects is possible. Thousands may still die before free vaccines are available to everyone. The National Defense Authorization Act must be encouraged to produce more personal protective equipment and vaccines.