The current panel of presidential candidates ranges mainly from the center to the far right. While the Republicans would reinforce the economic and political inequalities of our nation and return us to the stone age in terms of social policy, the Democrats are too intertwined with the timidity of their centrist party and the aims of big business to champion social progress and the economic interests of everyday Americans. None are laying out a truly bold, transformative vision for the future of our nation and our world.
We need a candidate who inspires idealism of what our country might be, and not just complacency with the country as it is. We need a candidate who preaches that change is possible, that the obstacles of yesterday need not be the fate of tomorrow. We need a candidate who will shoot for the moon, lift our hopes to the stars and show that the sky isnít even the limit on our shared ambitions for a just, humane and free world. Below is the speech that candidate should give.
My fellow Americans, it is my great honor to run as a candidate for president of the United States of America to work with all of you to lead us toward a better tomorrow. For while there is much to celebrate about the state of our nation and our world, there is much upon which we can improve.
Unprecedented gulfs of economic inequality are plaguing our society, and these gulfs are widening, threatened to swallow not only the economic security of our families and our communities but the very premise of our democracy, where we all are guaranteed an equal chance. The health of our planet is in peril. Our own over-consumption of gas and goods has taken its toll, and the Earthís cries for help are echoed in deadly storms, record temperatures and the rapid extinction of precious species.
Racism still haunts us, not the ghost of personal animus past but still very-much-alive evil institutionalized in our schools and neighborhoods and businesses. And to the deep history of structural racism against African Americans in our country, newer communities have been added. While immigrants continue to make vital contributions to Americaís economy and culture, they too are treated second class. Women still do not earn the same pay as men for the same, exact work. And gay men and lesbians are still denied the basic, human right to form a family of love.
While the policies of our nation have fractured and threatened all of us at home, communities around the globe have suffered a similar fate. Americaís foreign policy has made more enemies than friends. Today, we are not a revered nation but a feared nation --- a global bully whose only hope is to not get caught. The hypocrisy of our nation is catching up with us as we preach democracy and fairness around the world, yet have less and less to show for our rhetoric back at home.
This may be how things are, but it is not how they should be. Nor how they can be. For today, we set out on a new course, a better path toward the bright future of tomorrow. If we look to the horizon, we can see what tomorrow holds.
Today we have economic inequality. Tomorrow we will have justice. We will have a market economy that works for all of us, not just the richest few. Already there are 11.5 million Americans working at employee-owned businesses, where the workers benefit directly from the profit of their own effort. Tomorrow, there will be more employee owned-businesses and cooperatives and companies that are accountable to people and not just profits.
Today we have educational neglect. Tomorrow we will have educational respect. We have high quality public schools that not only help all kids do well in that economy but help them appreciate thereís more to life than just how much you earn. Already there are great public schools in wealthy suburbs around the nation. Tomorrow, we will bring the highest quality public education to every city, every countryside, every child in America.
Today we have a dying planet. Tomorrow we will co-exist with nature. We will learn to conserve, to need less and use less and consider the planet in our actions. And we will invest in a new generation of technologies, creating jobs while further reducing our need for fossil fuels. Already, three quarters of Americans recycle and we have developed the technology for hybrid cars and solar energy. Tomorrow, our nationís citizens, businesses and government will do everything we can to save the planet.
Today we have racism and sexism and homophobia. Tomorrow we will have harmony. We will not only tolerate our differences but appreciate them, in a nation that includes and values everyone equally. And we will work to root bias from our public and private institutions, replacing legacies of discrimination against some of us with real opportunity for all of us. Already we can see the signs of progress, as diversity slowly grows from the back lots of Hollywood to the halls of Congress. Tomorrow, we will challenge ourselves and our institutions even more, so that diversity isnít just a pretty picture but represents true equality.
Today we close our borders. Tomorrow we will open our arms. We will treat people with dignity and respect whether in the United States or other nations. And will we ensure that those of us who are hungry or homeless, without a job or without insurance, have all of our needs met. Already from the European Union to Latin America, countries are abandoning insular nationalism in favor of a shared agenda of equality and opportunity and human rights. Tomorrow, we in our nation will stop scapegoating immigrants and work together to address the economic insecurities that face us all, on both sides of the border.
Today we have a nation at war. Tomorrow we will have a world of peace. Our policies will ensure that poor nations, now Americaís chattel, can develop their own resources and talent into sustainable economies. Already, we have the United Nations, in which nations work together to solve the global problems that affect us all. Tomorrow, our country will be the United Nationís greatest champion, using the platform to cooperate with other nations and transforming the UN into a powerful sphere of global diplomacy and democracy.
Today we have a plutocracy of the few. Tomorrow we will have democracy for us all. Every citizen who wants to vote will be able to, automatically, the day they turn sixteen and voting day will be a national holiday. And we will reform the way elections are financed and organized, so there will be more candidates worth voting for and more of us inspired to vote. Already, there are robust public financing laws in three states that have allowed waitresses and truck drivers, and not just millionaires, to run for office. And already in towns as diverse as Ferndale, Michigan, Burlington, Vermont, and Minneapolis, Minnesota, instant run-off voting ensures that voters have a range of candidates to choose from, so no party or no candidate has a monopoly. Tomorrow, we will make sure that everyone has an equal say in our democracy and that democracy doesnít stop at the ballot box but continues every day.
Yesterday we were discouraged. But today we are hopeful. A better tomorrow is not just our dream. It is our destiny. Those who insist that the problems of our world are intractable, that a better world is impossible ó these are the enemies of hope. Those who say that we must accept incremental, insubstantial changes, that our dreams for a better world are naÔve and idealistic --- these are the enemies of change. But these enemies are not just others. These obstacles are within ourselves, among those of us who desperately hope that change is possible but quietly fear it is not.
We must not let the problems of the past limit the potential for our future. We must not let our disappointment in yesterday lead to dismal hopes for tomorrow. If you have watched the sun rise after a long, dark night, then you know what is possible. You know that behind the clouds of today is a bright tomorrow. We cannot let the politics of the past hold down the human spirit. We must open our eyes, our hearts and our minds, and dream of a better tomorrow and, together, work to make our dream come true.
Sally Kohn is director of the New York-based Movement Vision Project, working with grassroots organizations across the United States to advance our shared values of family, community and humanity. She has interviewed more than 165 progressive leaders around the country on their vision for the future.