Our Values reflect the ideas—even the ideals—that we hold dear, and that we want to promote throughout our country.
Below, we list our values in four groups: guiding values, social values, economic values, and survival and security values. We describe each value in detail below the list. You may jump to any Group by clicking on the Group name in the list below.
1. America is one nation made of many peoples.
2. Compassion sets America apart.
3. The people's rights must be preserved.
4. Americans must be educated.
5. Americans must be healthy.
6. Americans should be fit and strong.
7. Americans need real jobs.
8. We should adopt social capitalism as an economic model.
9. America’s wealth is for America’s people.
10. We must face and deal with the reality of climate change.
11. The American people and American values must survive and thrive.
We are the country that has gathered people from every inhabited continent of the planet Earth into One Nation. We are a country that encompasses those of all races, all peoples, every ethnicity or tribe. We embrace our identity as a multicultural society. As a nation, we condemn those who would declare America the homeland of one race to the exclusion of others, those who would pit one race against another, or those who would eject some tribes from America to the benefit of others.
We Americans are one nation, tolerant of many peaceful faiths and philosophies. We are the country that has granted all people the right to their faiths and philosophies. We hold the standard that all such faiths and philosophies will grant the same freedom to others. As a country, we condemn faiths and philosophies that would compel allegiance, or that would persecute, oppress, or destroy those of other faiths or philosophies.
Compassion sets America apart from dictatorships, totalitarian regimes, rule by mob or bully. In all of our laws and policies, in law enforcement, even in war, we should show compassion for the poor, the young, the defenseless, the innocent, the needy. We are all in this together.
Recent years have seen rise of movements to cut medical and other benefits to the poor and the aged—all for the sake of transferring funds to the already-wealthy, in the form of tax cuts. This is directly counter to the idea that America is to be a society where all can succeed; it separates us not just into haves and have-nots, but into something like a medieval arrangement of aristocracy and serfs. This is not America.
America is not just a human society. America is supposed to be a humane society. When our country treats people in a different way than we would treat our own family members, that means something is deeply, deeply wrong. We need to fix this.
The United States Constitution guarantees rights to the people of the United States—citizens, non-citizens, visitors. These rights are especially important to defend when it comes to people who are different than oneself in some way: we must defend the right to free speech for those with whom we vigorously disagree, for example.
Constitutional rights are under assault from multiple directions these days. The right to vote is endangered by measures to unfairly restrict voting rights (like requiring state IDs to vote—and then closing all the places one might get them in counties that are predominantly minority). The right to fair representation in Congress is endangered by the system of campaign contributions that amounts to legal bribery by corporations and the wealthy. The right to peacefully assemble and seek the redress of grievances is endangered by laws that would criminalize dissent or protest. The right to freedom of religion is endangered when government officials favor one religious position over another.
On a more basic level, the “inalienable rights” mentioned in the Declaration of Independence—“life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”—are endangered by the refusal of some Congresspeople to enact common-sense gun legislation, and by measures to legalize discrimination against LGBT individuals, whose lifestyle is a threat to no one.
The 21st century has considerably upped the ante for global nations. To be competitive in the 21st century—economically and in other ways—it’s not enough to be smart.
People need to be educated in multiple areas in order to contribute the most that they can to the welfare of their families, to the political life of the nation, and to the nation’s productivity as a whole.
These multiple areas should include—for everyone—facility in language use; mathematics; science and technology; artistic expression and appreciation; history and other humanities areas. (The high school students in the picture are working on a project to build a robot.)
It is a national scandal and shame that Americans have such a poor grasp of these areas. This has to change.
Americans need to be healthy to serve in their roles as family-builders, workers, and citizens.
And yet levels of pollution have increased in air and water. The country faces an epidemic of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and other essentially preventable conditions.
The U.S. has a unique status among industrialized countries, in that life-expectancy is dropping, and we have high rates of maternal and infant mortality.
This has to change, too.
America needs to be full of physical vitality. We need this vitality for many purposes:
In short, America needs vitality, so Americans need to be physically fit and strong.
But that’s not what we see in America today.
We see a nation with an epidemic of obesity and sleep deprivation, which both increase the risk of multiples diseases, and make for overall sluggishness and lack of energy.
This needs to change—both so that we have happier lives, and a stronger country.
(Photo credit: photo of Mariana de Melo working out by Javierlayus.)
We live in the age of the so-called “gig economy.” This is another way of saying that corporate interests in multiple areas of the economy have found a way around having to pay decent, living wages to full-time employees: they simply have far fewer full-time employees! Companies use “consultants” and “freelancers.” Even colleges and universities use “contingent” adjunct faculty rather than tenure-track faculty.
The members of Generation Y (“Millennials,” born 1981 to 1996) and the earlier years of Generation Z (born 1997 to 2012) graduated high school and college into miserable economies (the bursting of the Dot-com bubble, the Great Recession, the Jobless Recovery—and apparently now, a burgeoning Trade War Recession. These people will be the first American generation in a century to have a standard living lower than their parents’. These are the people who we need to be building families and careers, the people who will either make America the powerhouse of the 21st century, or who will witness our fall into decay.
Americans need real jobs! Not just gigs, not just side-hustles, not anything that involves asking a customer “do you want fries with that?” We need full-time jobs with decent, living wages and benefits, in all areas of the economy. We have the resources to do this.What we need is the vision and the political and social will to make it happen.
Many of our economic and other social problems stem from the ‘shareholder capitalism’ model adopted in the 1980s. Shareholder capitalism seeks to maximize values of the shares of stock held by shareholders (including senior corporate executives). While this sounds sensible, the maximization of shareholder value then overrides any other concern—and that comes with major consequences:
In social capitalism, the point of an enterprise is not only to increase the value of stock shares, but to be useful to the society in which the enterprise is located. It looks out to benefit not just stockholders, but employees, customers, and the community.
This will be a big change in the way business is conducted in the United States. But we need this to happen for the good of the country as a whole.
Think about it. The immense wealth generated by the Fortune 500 companies is the result of the work of millions of Americans (including the Americans who built those companies before their jobs were sent abroad).
And yet, as things now stand, very little of that wealth goes to the people who created it. American productivity has gone up tremendously over the last forty years—but wages have been largely stagnant. Income and wealth disparity—contrasting the top 1% or 10% with everyone else—is at its highest level since the Roaring Twenties, just before the Great Depression.
And why is this? The seeds of this bitter harvest were sown in the 1980s and nurtured over the last forty years:
It is time for all of this to change.
The wealth of America was created by Americans. Yes, innovation and leadership should certainly be rewarded—but not to the extent that it creates a new aristocracy. Ultimately, most of the wealth created by America needs to be distributed—via fair taxation that funds health, education, and other benefits—to the American people.
The evidence is in: climate change is real. No serious scientist not funded by fossil-fuel countries disagrees. And the effects of climate change on the United States and its people will be catastrophic.
More and stronger extreme weather. Major disruptions in food production. Rising ocean levels that threaten all of our coastal cities—where a large proportion of the American population resides. A rise in infections by certain formerly tropical diseases with pandemic potential.
We’ve got to apply American ingenuity to do three things:
We need to start now.
American values, as embodied in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution—the notion of “inalienable rights,” the principle of the rule of law rather than diktat, our rights as citizens, and more—are needed by the world, now more than ever.
And they are danger in this country, now more than ever.
I’m sure that I don’t need to go through all the specifics of the actions of the current occupant of the Oval Office to establish how he has weakened or threatened the rule of law and our civil rights, or how he has stoked the fires of racial prejudice and White Supremacy in the country. (We won’t even get into this Administration's idiotic trade war or its imbecilic refusal to deal with climate change—each of which threatens our survival from multiple directions.)
For that matter, the fact that the occupant of the Oval Office seems to be a wholly owned subsidiary of the former KGB officer who now rules in Russia means that not only American values, but American democracy—even the survival of the American nation itself—are at risk.
This must come to an end. Now. Now.
American values and the American people must survive and thrive.
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