I left this post as a comment over at Eddie and Eddie's blog, Edge of Faith (End of Faith?) Go check the post out and say hi. Eddie F asked us what our perfect America would look like. This was my answer. I had to shorten it a bit, because I could go on forever if left unchecked, and that truly would not fit in a perfect America. :)
What would my perfect America look like? A lot like my perfect world.
Very little like the way James Dobson and his cronies would have things.
To start, abolish the congress and senate as it stands, return real power to the people's hands in the form of the ability to vote on every (and I mean every!) issue including constitutional reform, with a jury of my peers selected every two years to listen to the masses and write legislation according to the masses (not according to the PAC who has the most money or the best lawyers). Eliminate re-election. Increase public awareness and knowledge of local, national, and international issues, increase the ability of the people to understand national and global decision-making and its effects broadly.
Second, a perfect America would begin to shed from itself its reliance upon instant satisfaction and entitlement. That would be replaced by a sincere community movement...you know, where people actually care about their neighbor rather than just use the words as lip service. Seriously, America is the land of shimmering projected images, where what we say and show to the world in the form of "looking good and right" is far more important than actually being good and right. A place where people love their children and teach them to respect all other people, regardless of race, creed, or past. A true place of mercy and compassion, where the actual abundance of provision this world already holds is shared without a few powerful white men giving us rotten and idiotic reasons why it can't be done. A place where we no longer make excuses for why we didn't, don't, or won't do something, and instead, focus our energy on finding ways to make what was once thought to be impossible into a true reality for all people; NO MORE POVERTY AND STARVING CHILDREN BECAUSE MEN COVET TO STORE UP USELESS TREASURES FOR THEMSELVES!
How about an actual awareness in everyone that everyone else has feelings, thoughts, dreams, hopes, and a right to exist? How about no more gay bashing, secular classing systems, and political postering against what is right? How about a classless system where factory workers aren't looked down upon as uneducated and therefore dense? How about the intellectuals of this world getting out of their white coats and labs and actually seeing realistic daylight like the rest of us; where they can see that what works in the lab often doesn't work out here in the real world? How about no more excuses? How about people taking responsibility for their own actions? How about no more silly class action lawsuits enriching no one but lawyers?
John Lennon's imagine? Yeah, you bet; and a whole lot further. A perfect America would learn that compassion and love trump every other desire or want. A perfect America would learn that television, electronics, quick fixes, and drugs aren't needs. We would learn that entertainment is a past time, something you do when you have nothing else left to do. We would learn to help children find the things they love to do, we would help children discover where they are gifted and we would help every child make a career out of that love, so that every child would grow up knowing they can truly love what they do for a profession, rather than herding nearly every child into professions based solely on their abililty to earn money. This nation, and this world is ass-backwards in that respect. How many people love their jobs? I mean truly love them? Not many. A perfect America would be a place where everyone would love their jobs, because they found out at an early age what makes them really tick, and they followed that path through.
How about no more ENRONS? How about an America that isn't dependant upon fossil fuels? How about an America that realizes there are actually people living outside of its borders? How about an America that loves its own, and welcomes all others with ways to help them get started here and abroad. How about a global realization that what we do efects someone somewhere else, and sometime else?
How about an America that is not shallow and easily placated by gimmicks and devices? How about an America that doesn't NEED a vactation?
My grandfather didn't need a vacation ...why do I need one? Why do you? Why do we HAVE to get away from reality, when we barely live in it already?
Why do we need holiday pay when we don't work on a holiday? Why does the Vice president of vice presidents for marketing and research need six million dollars per year and stock options worth nearly ten times that much? Why does the president need a detail of Secret Service men after he is no longer president? Why doesn't everyone need a secret service detail?
In the end, a perfect America easily overcomes its past shortcomings because for the first time in the history of man, people stop being selfish and start thinking of others. For the first time, it actually becomes important for us to make sure everyone is fed, and so important to us that we don't go to bed without making sure the job is done.
The age of "enlightenment" and rationalization has not any better track record with regards to the overall welfare of the masses than does any religion in its day. If anything, rational thought has only produced a deeper disdain for people of differences, and a deeper glut and greed and desire for more than the world has ever seen. People still starve, people still go homeless, and people still live hopelessly. All this after over one hundred and thirty years of "rational" thought. That's easily six generations of Americans...more than enough time to test whether rational thought is on to something, or just another religion designed to make money.
A perfect America would be a place where possessions aren't personal, and people share what this world gives freely; a place where capitalism and money aren't necessary any longer, because a true community of people exists, a community where all are equal and all have equally.
This, of course, will never happen in this world in my time. So long as money and power (and lets face it, money IS power)are controlled by the few, the many will suffer the indignation of being lesser human beings. Neither religion nor rational thought is going to solve that. Only the realization that it doesn't hurt to share will begin to solve that problem. Currently, in this world, no mater where you go, it hurts to share...that's why people hoard.