Respect Human Rights, Health, and Human Potential
Medicare for All
Access to clean air, clean water, nutritious food and health care is a human right. Everyone deserves an opportunity to grow and live in a safe and healthy physical and psychological environment.
We spend more on health care than the citizens of any other developed country. American drug companies discriminate against their own citizens, charging us up to 10 times more than what they charge Canadians and the people of other developed countries. Every year, thousands of people die in hospital beds a few feet away from the medicine that would have saved their lives because they could not satisfy the pharmaceutical industry’s greed. We must place human life above profit and put an end to this with Medicare for all, a single payer system that covers prenatal, mental, vision, dental, preventive care, prescription drugs and all other medical needs.
But health is about more than access to medicine and doctors. We need to also promote healthier food by eliminating food deserts, often found in poor communities, and ensuring universal access to fresh and nutritious food. More than half of Americans rely on underground water sources which are being polluted by toxins in fertilizers and pesticides as well as chemicals used in fracking and factory farms. Flint, Michigan is an example of the devastation of lead contamination. Infant mortality has increased dramatically and thousands of children are experiencing serious developmental problems. Enforce the Clean Water Act and strengthen laws meant to safeguard our drinking water.
End the criminalization of mental illness that puts more mentally ill people in prisons than treatment facilities.
Free Public College and Quality Education
Learning and training unlock a person’s ingenuity and talent. They grant the satisfaction of being able to care for oneself and loved ones while contributing to society. Make public education free from pre-kindergarten through college. Move away from standardized testing. Teach critical thinking, creativity, inquisitiveness, skepticism, cooperation, and participatory learning over memorization and obedience. In a world where information can be accessed instantly on the web, analyzing information is more important than memorizing it.
Keep student-to-teacher ratios low. Reverse the privatization of schools and support high-quality free online supplemental learning. Encourage mentoring and support special education services. Raise teacher pay, protect teachers’ unions and make sure they have the resources needed to educate without having to spend their own money on school supplies. Ensure quality curriculums and textbooks that accurately portray science and our nation’s history. Teach safe sex in order to keep sexually transmitted diseases and unplanned pregnancies low.
Staggering student loan debt is robbing younger generations of the ability to purchase homes and cars or start families and businesses, accelerating the decline of the middle class. College is free in many European and Latin American countries. It was free in the U.S. decades ago and should be again at public colleges and universities. An educated public has more professional opportunities and makes our country a hub for innovation and scientific advancement. An educated electorate is also the cornerstone of democracy. Abolish the $1.3 trillion in student loan debt that is shackling a generation of young people.
Comprehensive Immigration Reform
Undocumented immigrants risk their lives to come to America. They often work hard and dangerous jobs with long hours and low pay, especially in the agricultural, construction and restaurant industries. It’s time to reverse the criminalization of the 11 million undocumented immigrants in America and create a swift pathway to citizenship. Pass the Dream Act and naturalize all undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children. Expand DACA and DAPA. Ensure that Medicare for all extends to undocumented immigrants and allow them to purchase health insurance through the ACA in the meantime. Dismantle inhumane deportation programs and detention centers.
Protect refugees who come to America and their right to return from trips abroad. Refugee crises in the Middle East, Europe and the Americas can be traced back to wars and organized crime stemming from U.S. foreign policy. Stop the wars in the Middle East and North Africa that have destabilized countries such as Syria and Libya, destroying their infrastructure and forcing millions to leave their homes in desperation. End the drug war which exports cartel violence and corruption to Latin American countries, forcing many to flee to the U.S.
Respect Disability Rights
Disability rights are civil rights. People with disabilities deserve to live full lives, to work and participate in society free of systemic discrimination. End subminimum wage for workers with disabilities while guaranteeing jobs and living wages in the community for all. Pass the Disability Integration Act, to provide seniors and people with disabilities home and community-based services as an alternative to institutionalization, ensuring access to long term services and support. Guarantee housing for all.
Improve and enforce the Americans with Disabilities Act. End the widespread incarceration of people with mental disabilities and enforce the Supreme Court’s Olmstead decision to provide people with mental disabilities community-based support. Reject the privatization of disability and aging services and guarantee health care as a human right with Medicare for all.