We live together on our beautiful Mother Earth, but we are recklessly destroying both it and our society. Relationships are becoming ever more polarized and chaotic as we adopt partisan sets of opposing facts about reality, increasingly resist coming together to solve our most basic problems, and continue to allow big money to control things.

Today, we face two overarching threats: Widespread poverty and global warming. The fallout from our thoughts and actions — or inaction — is becoming ever more stark and ominous. It’s past time for deep and meaningful change, well beyond what’s left of the Build Back Better bill.

Poverty is closest to home. Many, if not most, Americans are deeply anxious and depressed about their economic condition, based largely on our 45-year history of lost jobs and stagnant, low wages due to computer automation and off-shoring.

Quiet desperation can provoke blind trust and misplaced loyalty. We may well be headed toward a loss of social norms and toward the acceptance of a right-wing, totalitarian society. The Jan. 6 “Save America” insurrection at the U.S. Capitol offers a preview.

Big and bold innovation and open-minded collaboration are urgently needed. For example, a Universal Basic Income of, say, $1,000 per citizen per month would benefit everyone, as shown by the numerous UBI pilot projects.

Similarly, a refundable carbon tax would shift consumer demand away from fossil fuels, while carbon tax monies would be recycled to consumers (say, $2,000 per family annually) to prevent economic hardship. Top economists support it.

Workable answers lie within reach. Can we develop the community spirit to adopt and implement them?

Do we have the political will to heavily tax the income and wealth handed to the very few who profit from our low, stagnant wages? Can we surmount our knee-jerk aversion to new taxes, even if they are refundable?

Let us avoid disaster on this small, blue planet, and transform ourselves and our society by treating each other with respect and understanding.

Let us firmly reject chaos, sit down together, vigorously engage, and allow our heartfelt, mutual desires and longings to be fully realized.

Marshall McComb

Baker City

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