Ahead of President Donald Trump’s address to Congress tonight, the White House issued a Joint Address Issues Survey to ask Americans what they think of the president’s performance so far, and provide “ideas to make America great again.”
The first few questions in the survey are just as biased as the “Mainstream Media Accountability Survey” that preceded it. Rather than ask what you actually think of Trump’s actions, for example, the survey asks “which accomplishment(s) do you consider the most significant” so far?
But since this survey is actually hosted on the White House website and since it includes an open-ended question for ideas to make America better, I took a few minutes to jot off a few. Note that the list is hardly exhaustive, and it’s just what I was able to come up with off the top of my head in a few minutes*
Have your own ideas? Take the survey.
1. Continue to ensure that all Americans have access to affordable healthcare and cannot be denied because of preexisting conditions. You know the easiest way to do that? Don’t repeal the Affordable Care Act. You could strengthen it by providing incentives to insurers to keep them from pulling out. One way to raise the money? Stop spending so much time in Florida — security and travel costs for President Trump and his family in one month are already close to those for President Obama in all of 2016. Another would be to give up on the idea of building a wall along the Mexican border, which most experts agree would have little impact on undocumented immigrants entering the country, and which American taxpayers would end up footing the bill for.
2. Speaking of immigration, you know what made this country great? Immigrants. Barring visitors from 7 countries, even temporarily, with no evidence of a national security need to do so sends a message that visitors and immigrants are not welcome here… which is not the American dream I grew up believing.
3. Freedom of religion is also protected in the Bill of Rights, yet people including the son of Muhammad Ali are being detained and questioned for hours at the border, simply based on their names and/or religions. This is persecution, profiling, and definitely making America worse, not “great.”
4. Adequately fund and support public schools. There’s mounting evidence that providing families with vouchers so that they can choose where to send their kids to school results in worse outcomes for everyone. The solution is to support public education, not to privatize the system.
5. Unemployment declined, stock prices rose, and economic stability broke out over the last 8 years. But it’s true that not everyone benefited. While some jobs did move overseas, a bigger driver of job losses was automation. That trend will continue to accelerate no matter how many one-on-one deals you broker with companies trying to get them to keep jobs in the US. You know the one policy proposal you offered on the campaign trail I did like? A major infrastructure project. Put people to work repairing the nation’s aging roads, bridges, and other infrastructure. It’s work that needs doing and it will create job opportunities.
6. Renewable energy is also a growth industry that should be encouraged whether you believe in human-caused climate change or not (you should, because it’s real and the vast majority of scientific research on the topic confirms this). But even if you want to protect the fossil fuel industry, we’re talking about an industry that’s based on the extraction, processing, and distribution of finite resources. Investing in wind, solar, and other renewable resources is good for the long-term bottom line as well as for the environment.
7. Uphold the Obama administration’s ruling on Title IX protections. There is no reason that students who go through life as young men should be forced to use a women’s restroom or that young trans women should be forced to use the men’s room. Rescinding the order sends a wrong message and increases the risk of bullying and even suicide.
8. Condemn hate crimes and terrorist attacks perpetrated against minorities. You’ve been quick to call out non-existing incidents in Sweden, but have yet to comment on the murder of two Indian men by a white man yelling “get out of my country,” or the desecration of hundreds of tombstones in Jewish cemeteries for instance. You have said that you’re the “least anti-Semetic” person. Prove it and speak up. When people ask you a question about racist/anti-Semetic/xenophobic crimes that have taken place in recent months, as a Jewish reporter did during a recent press conference, they’re not necessarily calling you racist/anti-Semetic/xenophobic. They’re asking you to respond to the actions of *others.* If you fail to do so and instead lash out as if you had suffered a personal attack, then maybe you’re sending the message that you really are bigoted. You can condemn hate crimes without taking responsibility for they’re happening in the first place. Failing to do so lends credence to the idea that you do believe there’s nothing wrong with the rise in hate crimes.
* It didn’t even occur to me to mention attacks on the press or about a million other things until after I hit the submit button, because again, this was just off the top of my head. If I actually took time to think of things that would truly make America Great again, I could probably spend the next few days doing nothing but writing. Or maybe I should have just gone with the simpler suggestion: