Let’s Get Radical!
By Charles Metcalf Jr
Over the last several years, over the last couple decades really, as my social and political views have moved further Left, I get called “radical” a lot. That my radical views are too progressive, too extreme, to ever be taken seriously. While I do rather like the idea of being a so-called radical, I find it strange that my opinions are considered so out of touch. So I should like to take a moment to consider what I actually believe in.
I believe that Healthcare should be free at the point of service for everyone. Because our lives, and the lives of those we love, are not commodities like a cell phone or a car or anything else we don’t really need but choose to buy because we want it. Just because someone gets cancer does not mean they should be burdened with anxiety over potentially losing everyone they have just to pay for treatment, or dying because they simply can not pay for it. This is why I support Medicare For All.
I believe that public college and trade schools should be tuition free, just like public k-12 schools have been for most of our lives. Just because someone was born into nearly inescapable poverty does not mean they should not be given the ability to make a better life for themselves.
I believe all workers deserve a living wage. You might think a burger flipper is an unskilled worker, but I guarantee they work harder, and under more stressful conditions, at work and home than the CEO of the fast food chain. Just because a daycare worker or a janitor doesn’t seem as ambitious to someone as a Wall Street banker buying their new yacht does not mean they don’t deserve to be paid enough to survive and save for their future.
I believe that just because a family decided to cross our southern border in search of a better life, just as many of our ancestors did before America was given a name and expanded westward eating up Indigenous lands, does not mean we should separate their children and detain them in horrible conditions. Immigrants deserve to be treated not just as humans, but as neighbors, and not as some insurgent enemy.
I believe that hatred should never be celebrated. Racism isn’t something to be proud of. Anti-LGBTQ views does not make someone superior. If you believe that there are good people on the side of Neo-Nazis and the KKK then you have simply failed morally as a human being. Just because you feel annoyed at people pointing out the hatred they see everyday does not mean it hasn’t been there all along, ignored for decades by those unaffected by it and left out of social conversation by those most at risk of retaliation for challenging it.
I believe our environment should be protected from those who seek to exploit it and pollute it in the pursuit of financial gain. We have the technology to move towards clean, renewable energy. What our corporate-controlled system lacks is the economic incentive to invest in it right now, if ever. Oil and natural gas companies have too much money tied up to just change course on their own. Just because Nestle uses our natural public bodies of water for free, with tax exemptions, to bottle up and sell back to us, does not mean we have to just accept that as the way it should be.
I believe our government should work for The People. As it was intended. It should ensure our safety, not just in times of war, but in times of commonplace hardship. In our Declaration of Independence, we specifically named the inalienable rights that we believe we are afforded by birth. These rights include Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
The pursuit of happiness. I believe than in order to pursue happiness, in the most inalienable way, is to do so without fear of bankruptcy from terminal illness. Without fear of poverty. Without fear of homelessness. Without fear of backlash over whom we fall in love with. Without fear of violence over the color of our skin, or our gender identity, or our religion. Without fear of pollution and the sickness it brings. Without fear of a world that stigmatizes mental and physical health conditions. Without fear of failure due to the wealthiest in our country stacking all the decks in their favor.
Some say these beliefs make me a radical.
The definition of a radical is a person who advocates thorough or complete political or social reform, relating to or affecting the fundamental nature of something. Our entire socioeconomic system has only served to benefit the most wealthy and powerful, while forcing everyone else to be either just a cog in the machinery, or something seen as even less than that. This system needs to change. Also, when I was a kid, I learned from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles that radical meant “excellent” or “awesome.” So yes, I am more than happy to consider myself excellently radical.
I have a radical love for my family. I have a radical love for the arts, science, creativity, innovation. I have a radical love for humanity. I have a radical love for our planet. I have a radical love of the potential of our collective future.
I understand that we need big and bold plans to get to a better world for us all. We need real ambition and passion. We need radical. Radical should be our default setting.
And now we should all turn our radical up to 11. Make the changes our world really needs. And then we can go out for pizza.
Text © 2020 Charles Metcalf Jr. All rights reserved.
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