By Ritch Eich
America appears to be continuing down the same divided path that plagued our nation in 2016. We desperately need enlightened leadership in the New Year. Here is my Top 10 “Wish List” for elected officials and organizational leaders who are in positions to move our country forward.
1. Assemble world leadership: Focus on enhancing our international influence and defense posture and strength, while using military force judiciously — especially with regard to Russia, North Korea and China.
2. Rebuild political parties: Rebuild both political parties or create new ones so their positions don’t just reflect those on the extreme left or right but the majority who fall somewhere in the middle. Repeal Citizens United so less corrupting money flows into political campaigns and special interests can’t “buy” elections. Eliminate gerrymandering and make it easier to vote, not more burdensome.
3. Adapt to a global economy: Help American workers secure new job pathways to adjust more quickly and successfully to the rapidly changing world economy. Allow more flexible work schedules and telecommuting to promote work-life balance and get more commuters off the highways with expanded rapid transit.
4. Broaden job growth: Remove the shackles from those who take well-informed risks so they can accelerate creating jobs through start-ups —including reducing unnecessary regulations. We need jobs that pay a living wage, not just low-paying service industry jobs.
5. Respect women: Women represent the majority of the population in the United States (according to the 2010 census), and should be more equally represented in organizational leadership including C-Suites and boards of directors, as well as receiving the same pay as their male counterparts. Impose stiffer penalties for those who commit crimes against women or discriminate against them.
6. Celebrate diversity: America is a land of immigrants (unless you’re a Native American). End the nasty, coarse and cruel treatment of those who differ from us and celebrate our diversity rather than let it divide us. Stop the hurtful and incendiary rhetoric that feeds racism and further fractures American society.
7. Honor the U.S. Constitution, especially the First Amendment: Colleges and universities need to redouble their efforts to eliminate campus racism and prevent sexual assaults while also reinforcing the First Amendment and not buckling to student demands for “trigger warnings” and “safe spaces” or other politically correct nonsense.
Other key democratic ideals spelled out by our Constitution, such as the importance of checks and balances of government and the separation of powers, must be reinforced in all aspects of society.
8. Restore civility: The rudeness, insults, lies and lack of transparency that are ruining the political realm must be reversed. Civility, honesty and integrity must be taught and restored.
9. Accept the climate change challenge: Find new and effective ways to reach out, engage and influence climate change doubters who continue to defy sound scientific knowledge. Climate change is real and cannot be ignored.
10. Modernize the electric grid and the nation’s infrastructure: All the solar equipment and wind turbines in the world won’t do any good if our nation’s aging grid fails to carry the power they produce to the places it needs to go. Roads and bridges aren’t going to repair themselves. And necessary improvements in our treasured national parks system aren’t going to happen by themselves. Invest in America to create jobs and make an already great country even greater.
And because I couldn’t limit my wish list to just 10, here’s a bonus:
11. Elevate honest and unbiased reporting: Focus on reporting the facts and issues and less on grandstanding for ratings. Gwen Ifill was known as a “reporter’s reporter.”
She approached her job as a true journalist instead of the all-too common approach of journalism as another form of entertainment.
• Ritch Eich is a Thousand Oaks-based management consultant.