It’s great that the Democratic party has a new slogan heading into the 2018 midterm elections. I even like it, as it conveys the party’s message that the Trump administration has *not* been working for the people in general but instead on behalf of corporate powers and other libertarian and conservative special interests.
I wish, though, that Democratic leadership and members would stop fighting amongst themselves and worrying about slogans and instead distill the message they send and the purpose they hold down to one simple word: Health.
“Health” covers just about everything: Environmental regulations, gun control, workplace benefits, minimum wage laws…the list is endless. On every issue, the question would simply be
Does this contribute to or detract from the public health?
Access to healthcare is important, but it’s literally treating the symptoms and not the illness.
The illness is lax pollution standards. It’s minimum wages that don’t even get you to the poverty line. It’s food safety standards that are easily circumvented. It’s workplace protections that are at best ignored. It’s education policies that leave lower income communities behind.
If you put in place policies, laws and regulations that all have as their central goal to ensure people are healthy, you don’t *need* as much access to healthcare. “An apple a day…” and all that.
This is of course likely too simplistic for the heavyweight thinkers and lawmakers. And it’s certainly far too bold a wide-ranging a proposal. But study after study show that as someone’s health improves so does their economic contribution.
That’s not me signing on to a Randian objectivist view that people are only as valuable as what they bring to society, it’s me saying if you want to keep believing democracy and capitalism can coexist meaningfully than helping people be healthier – not just letting them see the doctor when they need to – offers more potential than another round of tax cuts for business owners and shareholders.
Chris Thilk is a freelance writer and content strategist who lives in the Chicago suburbs.