Things we Americans don't do but Australians, wisely, do.
From economist Robert Reich's Facebook page last evening:
"Besides the other positive attributes I listed several days ago when I came to Australia, I should add several others --
a requirement that everyone votes, one of the best and most responsible safety nets for Australians who fall into poverty, including
an efficient system of universal health care and
an excellent civil service,
a carbon tax,
a financial sector that hasn't become a casino,
and a business community committed to improving living standards of Australians."
While it's true that Australia doesn't spend nearly as large a portion of its GDP on the military as we do, that's true of every other nation in the world. What makes Australia stand out is a strong sense of civil society, evident in almost all its institutions. (For example, Aussies don't like the current Labor government mainly, it seems, because Prime Minister Julia Gillard was put in place via a back-room deal that replaced Kevin Rudd, the Labor Leader they thought they were voting for in the last election.) The challenge here in future years is to move from a commodities-based export economy to a high-tech one -- but it's a challenge the nation seems fully aware of, and, given the strength of its civil and economic institutions, seems fully capable of pulling off."
The thing is, we Americans don't work together any longer. Congress doesn't. The political parties don't. We're broken and a lot of it, at least in government, is because the wealthy and corporations have bought our representatives. They legislate for them--for those wealthy and corporations--first and us second, if even then.
We have to go back and work together again. We have to be Americans, first and last. We have to work together to fix our problems. We have to compromise.
It's really not a dirty word.
Links: Robert Reich