Service to Country – It’s About Time – Tenet #7

old soldier-young soldier

The Pro American Party believes in service to our country. All American citizens MUST provide a minimum of two years of service to their country when they become of legal age. This shall begin at the age of 18 if not in school or if high school has been completed. Otherwise it will begin the summer after they graduate from high school.

washington service to country

This service can be in the military or any other community, county, state or federal position. Once this requirement has been met each citizen is entitled to two years of free college or technical school. Those who complete their AA or similar degree within two years with at least a C average are then entitled to an additional two years of free higher education or approved technical school at no additional expense. Exceptions to the 2-year service requirement shall only be made in the case of severe disability. Such persons, by definition, shall not be eligible for free education benefits.

In an earlier post we mentioned the idea of American Teenage Ambassadors.   As part of their service to country requirement any teenager can take part in a service assignment to a foreign country.    The type of service will be negotiated between the State Department and the host country.   Each assignment will be a minimum of 4 months in duration, although an individual can serve on multiple assignments if desired and the project is not completed.   We envision that the type of assignment will vary greatly based on the needs in the host country.   This service will allow our ambassadors to learn in detail about the peoples and cultures worldwide.   Given the great spirit of American youth, it is our belief that this service will reap long and sustainable rewards for generations.

Kennedy quote

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U.S. Military ≠ Foreign Policy

military bases worldwide

The Pro American Party believes our military needs to be the best in the world.   Comprised of many former military members, we love and respect our brothers and sisters at arms.  It will come as no surprise to those that serve, however, that we recognize the horrors of war and the physical and emotional destruction of which war is capable.   Further, we believe it is not in the best interests of the country to have a ‘military class’.   If there has to be a war, be believe every family should be equally subject to this danger.   In our view it is disgraceful that Congress can declare war, endangering our children in one instant, and then make sure their children are exempt in the next.  (More on this in future tenets.)

We believe our foreign policy should be weighted in favor of providing non-military assistance as a primary component of our foreign policy. The use of our military should be a last resort and only for clear and limited purpose that is the best interests of the vast majority of citizens and not of the elite or special interests.

Educational and cultural exchange opportunities should be encouraged for citizens and at all levels of government.  Contact and communication facilitate understanding, empathy and a more knowledgeable world view.   If millions of Americans had direct experience with countries around the globe we, as a nation, would be able to require more of our politicians.   As it is now, if an international event didn’t happen on Game of Thrones, most of us are probably  unaware of it.

The Pro American Party believes that cartons of food that say “USA” show more good will than military options and should be pursued when advantageous. When American goods are sent to a foreign country it is incumbent upon the State Department to devise a method for ensuring those goods are actually delivered to the people of the country and not simply to those in power.   Our people would be even better ambassadors than our products.   The PAP has a plan for creating these ambassadors that will be discussed in a future tenet.

Per our previous post requiring a balanced budget: Should it be necessary for the military to engage in war the Congress is authorized to collect an additional tax to pay for this expense.

Trade Agreements Suck

Land Of The Free And Home To A Lot Of Cheap Stuff
Land Of The Free And Home To A Lot Of Cheap Stuff

Ever wonder why the U.S. enters into so many trade agreements?   The short answer is to allow U.S. companies to exploit the natural and human resources of other countries.    In essence, most of these agreements have clauses that allow U.S. corporations to move their production activities to foreign countries, use their cheap labor and then bring their product back into the country without facing a tariff.

Why would U.S. corporations do this when they know it will cost American jobs?   The answer is simple.   They don’t care.  Cheap labor allows them to make more profit; that it also puts Americans out of work is ‘collateral damage’.   To our mind these ‘American’ companies are acting in an UN-American manner.  The Pro American Party protects our country from this abuse.  Take a look at tenets #2 and #4 to see how we address this.

Look at the results of the NAFTA agreement.  In the first 15 years following this trade agreement (1994 – 2010) we lost almost 700,000 jobs, mostly in manufacturing, and our trade deficit with Mexico has soared to just under 100 Billion dollars over those years.  These industries included motor vehicles, textiles, computers, and electrical appliances. (Source: Economic Policy Institute, “The High Cost of Free Trade,” May 3, 2011)

Ironically, many Americans are complaining about stagnant wages, when it is the inevitable result of bringing in products using cheap labor from foreign countries.   So why has this taken so long to become a big political issue?   The corporations pay big money in political donations to political candidates, and they don’t want it broadcast.   Although If I Had The Power does not endorse political candidates, it is interesting to note that both Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump, who don’t rely upon corporate money, are both talking about the problems of our terrible trade agreements.

According to researcher Jeff Faux, NAFTA strengthened the ability of U.S. employers to force workers to accept lower wages and benefits. As soon as NAFTA became law, corporate managers began telling their workers that their companies intended to move to Mexico unless the workers lowered the cost of their labor. In the midst of collective bargaining negotiations with unions, some companies would even start loading machinery into trucks that they said were bound for Mexico. The same threats were used to fight union organizing efforts. The message was: “If you vote in a union, we will move south of the border.” With NAFTA, corporations also could more easily blackmail local governments into giving them tax reductions and other subsidies

In a double tragedy, NAFTA also caused thousands of Mexican farmers to lose their jobs.  The Congress, in their wisdom, blessed U.S. agribusiness with HUGE subsidies, allowing them to steamroll over poor Mexican farmers who could not compete.  In case you don’t know, agribusiness is NOT your local farmer, instead they are large corporations that take advantage of several laws designed for small farmers and rake in millions in taxpayer money.  (The ProAmericanParty will correct this problem too!)   By the way, when Mexicans can’t find work in Mexico, where do you think they go?

One other factor of these trade agreements is that U.S. pollution standards do not apply in foreign countries.   However, Mother Nature does not recognize borders and Mexican pollution finds its way to the U.S. whenever the wind blows our way. Once again corporations don’t care about people, or the environment.   Their short term, profit-oriented outlook harms Americans and the world on a daily basis.

The bottom line is that trade agreements almost always hurt U.S. workers.   They cost jobs and hurt the hourly wages of those who manage to keep their jobs.   They hurt our environment.  Big business use these agreements to increase profit and access, at the expense of our national well-being.   The rich get richer and the little guy gets screwed. Trade agreements suck and both political parties allowed this to happen.

Utopia – The Pro American Party?

utopia

Utopia –  An ideally perfect place, especially in its social, political, and moral aspects.
Recently one of our readers suggested that we were trying to create a Utopia with the Pro American Party and its platform.   Flattering, but not really.
The PAP has simply designed a platform that looks at structural problems within our society and addresses them.
As mentioned in a previous post, the platform of the PAP creates a floor, not a ceiling.  The PAP attempts to recognize human needs that ALL of us have and design a political structure that addresses the most basic of these needs.   To be sure, the rich and super-rich will largely not like our platform.   Our platform requires more of them.   Our platform requires more from U.S. corporations.   This lies is stark contrast to an ideology of self-interest.

In his 1943 paper, “A Theory of Human Motivation,” Abraham Maslow outlined a hierarchy of human needs.  According to Maslow a person needs to fulfill his/her most basic needs before s/he can fulfill higher level needs.Maslow's_hierarchy_of_needs

When you look at the platform of the PAP you can see we only address the bottom two levels of human needs.   So Utopia – no.   But it is a start and gives people a chance to become the people they want to be.

Guest Column – Dr. Steve Rose

The article connects the politics of racism with the social issue of Veterans in transition by looking at how “social justice” can serve as a perverted virtue to justify racist ideology as well as provide sense of purpose and belonging.

Steve Rose is a PhD graduate of the Department of Sociology at Queens University. His doctoral research focused on the social barriers facing Canadian Veterans in transition to civilian life, as related to suicidal ideation. He has also worked with the office of the Veterans ombudsman on research aimed at defining a “successful transition” for medically released Veterans, and is currently a lecturer in the sociology department at Eastern Michigan University.

The Ku Klux Klan (KKK) might sound like a cultural relic, hardly taken seriously in the 21st century, but it is actively recruiting American Veterans. A recent VICE documentary takes an inside journey into this divisive hate group, uncovering why Veterans are joining their ranks.

Founded shortly after the civil war, the KKK originally served as a support-group for disenfranchised and disgruntled confederate Veterans. Their mandate read:

“To protect the weak, innocent and defenseless from the indignities, wrongs, and outrage of the lawless, the violent, and the brutal; to relieve the injured and oppressed especially the widows and orphans of ex-Confederate soldiers”

Taking out the last line, one might mistake this for a contemporary social justice initiative or a counter-terrorist mandate. How could this be the mandate of one of the most infamous hate groups? The answer to this question gives us insight into why Veterans have joined the KKK.

What do Veterans, the KKK, and the rest of us have in common? The need for a sense of justice and belonging. The most extreme acts of violence are often committed due to one’s sense that it is for a just cause. Even murder-suicides are shown to result from a perversion of virtue, as argued by psychologist Thomas Joiner.

The KKK always had close recruitment ties to periods with a large influx of Veterans in transition. This occurred after each of the world wars, continuing to the most recent influx of Veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Veterans are a prime target for the KKK because of their training as well as their vulnerability during transition. In addition to dealing with anger and psychological traumas, Veterans in transition are often seeking a sense of belonging. Regarding the Klan, as a well-decorated Purple Heart Veteran in the documentary states at 4:15:

“…you get to know these guys and it’s like a sense of belonging. It’s like you found brothers and sisters you never knew you had.”

Upon hearing that line, it sounded strangely familiar. In my own research a Veteran expressed a similar sentiment when discussing the sense of belonging he found at Treble Victor – an entrepreneurial support-group for Canadian Veterans. He stated: “it’s like meeting family you never met.”

When struggling with transition, Veterans need a group to come home to. Although biological and conjugal families often assist, they are not enough. Veterans require meaningful occupational groups that can guide their new mission in a search for justice. This way, we can combat the influence of predatory hate-groups like the KKK and their perverted sense of virtue, while also utilizing the elite skills and training of our nation’s Veterans.

Our thanks to Dr. Rose.   We will have additional discussions about the needs of veterans in the future.

How the PAP Reduces Crime

There are many factors that contribute to criminal activity.    Major influences are a lack of opportunity and a lack of resources.    A more complicated issue is environmental/cultural.  Yet another issue concerns Americans with criminal records.   The PAP addresses all of these issues.

There are three major social theories are address crime and are closely related to each other.   The first comes from social structure theory.   This theory recognizes that pathological conditions exist when people live within a socially disorganized community, and/or suffer from strain, usually financial in nature.  There is also a facet of this theory that addresses cultural conflict.   It maintains that some crime occurs because of a clash of values between cultures about what is acceptable.  Another facet is differential opportunity, which looks at the lack of opportunities available to certain segments of society.

The second of these major social theories has to do with social process theories.   These theories discuss how being surrounded by criminal activities and criminals, especially when young, influences our behavior.

A third social theory has to do with social conflict.  These are theories that discuss how wealth and power control law and policy and allow those with power to control those who do not have it.

When it comes to Americans with criminal records the data is clear.   Once someone has a criminal record, trying to lead a law-abiding life becomes even more difficult because getting a decent job is incredibly difficult.   As you might suspect, when you have mouths to feed and legitimate opportunity is not available, it is easy to turn to crime.

As stated in Tenet #2, the Pro American Party endorses the idea that having a working population is in the best interests of our country.   This tenet provides jobs for those who cannot find jobs in the private sector.   This means that we will no longer have any segments of our society that suffer from no opportunity.   It also means that over time, subcultures will naturally move towards the majority culture.   This tenet does not provide a ceiling, but it does provide a floor.  No American will have to go to a government agency and ask or beg for money or resources, because each person will be able to support themselves.   This is also true for Americans with criminal records.   They too will have a job, allowing them to become productive members of our society.    Felons that represent some type of threat will also have jobs, but depending on the type of threat they represent some jobs may not be available to them.

Tenet #2 supports equal opportunity, the development of positive social bonds and minimizes the effects of negative social labels.  It also supports gender equality and works to minimize tensions between the haves and the have nots.

All of these efforts will serve to reduce crime.    If I Had The Power believes this tenet will allow us to close many prisons and get rid of the vast majority of welfare programs currently active.  Perhaps most importantly, it will change the feeling of hopelessness that so many of our citizens feel.

A future post will deal with teenage crime and solutions for that problem.

Tenet#6

The Pro American Party believes our military needs to be the best in the world. In a world that does not respect anything but power,  we cannot afford to have anything less. However our foreign policy should be weighted in favor of providing non-military assistance as a primary component of our policy. The use of our military should be a last resort and only for clear and limited purpose that is the best interests of the vast majority of citizens and not of the elite or special interests. Educational and cultural exchange opportunities should be encouraged for citizens and at all levels of government. The Pro American Party believes that cartons of food that say “USA” show more good will than military options and should be pursued when advantageous. When American goods are sent to a foreign country it is incumbent upon the State Department to devise a method for ensuring those goods are actually delivered to the people of the country and not simply to those in power.

Should it be necessary for the military to engage in war the Congress is authorized to collect an additional tax to pay for this expense.  The immediate negative view of an extra tax will, by itself, ensure that all Americans are involved in the decision to go to war.   Politicians will have to be able to explain why a war is in our best interests.

If I Had The Power is comprised largely of veterans who have great respect for our military.  We want our military reserved as a last resort, not a first option.    Future tenets will further enhance the status of our veterans, to create a better path for them once they return home from their military duty.