March 30, 2020

A Collection of Collects

Some years ago, I attended a workshop sponsored by the Anglican Fellowship of Prayer. I participated in one session on the structure of collects, a form of prayer much used by Anglicans. Inspired by this instruction, I have written a number of collects over the years. Generally, my collects have been inspired by situations for which the Book of Common Prayer seemed to have no especially relevant prayer. Some may seem useful in a wider context.

I thought it might be useful—for both readers and myself, actually—to print the collects I have made public all in one place. Additionally, I have not always titled these prayers, and I thought it best to do so now.

I offer the collects below without further commentary. They are listed in the order in which they were written. Readers are free to use these in any relevant context, though I would appreciate knowing how you have done so and how well-constructed you find my prayers.
For Christian Unity (2007)

Creator of the universe, who made us different from one another in myriad ways we can see and in more ways we shall never know, yet made us all in your image; fill our hearts with your love and our minds with your wisdom, that we may truly become brothers and sisters of your only Son, our Savior Jesus Christ our Lord; who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

For Inquiry (2010)

Architect of the universe, who endowed us with a thirst for understanding, give us a passion to discover the mysteries of creation and your will for our lives, along with a humble spirit whenever we think we have succeeded, that we may become better stewards of your creation, better neighbors of its inhabitants, and better disciples of your Son, our savior Jesus Christ, who reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

For a Troubled Nation (2017)

God of justice and mercy, who delivered your people from the oppression of Pharaoh, protect us from greed, ignorance, and malevolence in our political leaders, and help us make our nation one of peace, liberty, and justice, in harmony with your creation and exhibiting the love of Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

For an Impeachment Trial of a President (2020)

Almighty God, whose precepts direct us into all righteousness, inspire those who sit in judgment of our president to pursue justice with wisdom, courage, and integrity, so that this nation may again display the love and compassion of your Son, our Savior, who, with you and the Holy Spirit, lives and reigns, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

For a Time of Contagion (2020)

Most merciful God, whose Son manifested your love by healing the sick, protect us from advancing contagion and the fear thereof, and grant wisdom to those who, by virtue of training or election, are guardians of public health, so that we may cast aside our fears and continue to advance the Kingdom of Heaven proclaimed by Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

March 29, 2020

It’s Time for Bernie to Fight the Real Fight

I was particularly struck by an op-ed in The New York Times by Charlie Warzel, “Trump Chooses Disaster as His Re-Election Strategy.” This paragraph seemed especially important:
Meanwhile, the conversation around the virus shifts away from those needlessly suffering and the Trump administration’s woeful preparedness. The pandemic moves from Mr. Trump’s nightmare—a complex medical and logistical crisis requiring empathy and leadership—to Mr. Trump’s wheelhouse—an overly simplified, cynical political battle fought with cruelty and finger-pointing. Just as his coronavirus news conferences have become stand-ins for his rallies, the president’s politicization of the virus allows him to operate in a modified campaign mode. Without an official Democratic challenger to call out and a traditional election news cycle to cover the horse race, Mr. Trump is choosing to use the pandemic as a tool for his usual base-rallying division.
Warzel has issued an implied call-to-arms here. Trump’s loquacious, rambling, mendacious, and ignorant news conferences demand something more than truth-telling in the pages of The New York Times and The Washington Post. Trump’s re-election campaign began more than three years ago. The Democratic Party needs to catch up and engage the citizenry.

It is time for Joe Biden to be answering Trump’s lies and misdirections every day.

It is time for Bernie Sanders to do his part as well. He needs to exit from the race for the Democratic presidential nomination, enthusiastically endorse Joe Biden, urge his supporters to work and vote for Biden, and support Joe Biden in every way he can in countering the malignancy that is Donald J. Trump.

Bernie Sanders should change his trajectory immediately. Attempting to position himself to influence the Democratic platform or Joe Biden himself is a selfish delusion. The time to act is now. The failure to act could be catastrophic.

March 24, 2020

Not Many More G&Ts

I picked up limes and tonic at the supermarket yesterday. After dinner, I planned on having a gin and tonic. When I took the gin bottle out of the pantry, however, I become mildly depressed. Not only was the bottle nearly empty, but the gin was not even my favorite brand. Normally, this would not be so upsetting. But in the current coronavirus crisis, Pennsylvania liquor stores are closed. I can’t replenish my gin supply, whether with Gordon or Bombay Saphire or anything else.

I don’t understand why I can buy beer in Pennsylvania today, but I can’t buy gin.

March 21, 2020

A Coronavirus Thought Experiment

For the sake of argument, suppose that we could immediately test everyone in the country for the coronavirus and instantly get test results. What would be our next step, and what would it accomplish?

The answer is straightforward. People who test positive for the coronavirus and who have serious respiratory symptoms should immediately be sent to a hospital; their condition is potentially life-threatening. People with a positive test but only mild symptoms—they may feel like they have a cold—and those who test positive but are asymptomatic should be confined somewhere where they have no contact with those who have had a negative test. Everyone else can safely resume normal activities and save the economic system from complete collapse. (We may need to use some disinfectant here and there.)

Eventually, the hospitalized will either recover and rejoin society or they will die. The isolates will be tested frequently. Those who clear the virus from their bodies can resume a normal life. Those who develop serious symptoms need to go to a hospital.

Under this plan, in time—perhaps not even a long time—everyone is either thriving in a normal life or is dead. To assure that the plan works, people arriving from outside the country must be tested like everyone else.

Of course, we do not have the tests or the personnel to carry out this experiment in the real world. On the other hand, it is instructive to compare this thought experiment to what we are actually doing. in particular, what our testing procedures are.

I hope we are not doomed.

March 12, 2020

A Coronavirus Story

Why can’t this administration get anything right? Not only is President Trump’s latest travel ban essentially useless and a great inconvenience to many, but also, it was announced incompetently. What follows is a personal story of damage done by an inept chief executive.

With my usual trepidation, I watched the president make his address from the Oval Office last night. What most concerned me was the announcement of a ban on travel from Europe beginning at midnight Friday. It was not clear if the ban began midnight Washington time, Greenwich Mean Time, or some other time. I did not immediately realize that time was not the only ambiguity in the president’s statement.

My son was in France for professional development. (He is a winemaker.) He was scheduled to return to the U.S. in about 10 days. I immediately sent him a text message:
I hope Trump isn’t trapping you in France.
He replied:
It’s possible.
I responded:
Good luck!
My son telephoned me a few minutes later to thank me for the alert. He had already made travel arrangements to return home by Friday night. He reported that airline fares were going up as he was booking a flight. Almost two hours later, I saw a tweet from Acting Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security Ken Cuccinelli. I texted his tweet and a comment: Check this out. Check with the embassy.
Cuccinelli explained, an hour after Tump’s address, that the travel ban “does not apply to American citizens or legal permanent residents or their families.”

This morning, I received two text messages from my son:
Leaving anyway. No guarantee there will be any flights in a few days.

On my way to Paris by train. Then flying to Gatwick tonight and on to JFK.
I answered:
You’ve probably done the wisest thing. The president is an idiot.
We have a president so incompetent that he cannot get a simple announcement right. Does anyone on the White House staff check these things? How many other Americans did Trump scare to death and screw up their lives unnecessarily with his incomplete message? Where was Cuccinelli when the president’s statement was being written? (Trump was clearly reading from a Teleprompter.)

Of course, one has to ask if the latest travel ban from Europe makes any sense. And why the United Kingdom is exempt from the policy. (Is this an exception for his friend Boris Johnson? There are surely virus infections in the U.K.) Anyway, Trump may think that he is keeping the coronavirus at bay, but, surprise, it’s here already and spreading widely.

We cannot get a Democratic president soon enough.

Update: This morning, I checked the State Department Web site for information. There was none.

The travel ban might have made more sense weeks ago; it does not now. Further, if we are concerned about people bringing the virus from Europe, it is logical to believe that Americans can carry the infection as well as can Europeans. In other words, if the ban made sense at all, there should have been no exceptions. The exception for U.S. residents is clearly for political, not medical, reasons. The disposition for the U.K. is still an unexplained mystery.

March 6, 2020

Biden’s the One

The media have made much of the reputed progressive/moderate split in the Democratic Party. The split is real of course, though it must be acknowledged that the entire party has moved left in recent years, so even “moderate” means left-of-center.

After leaving the race for her party’s presidential nomination, Elizabeth Warren said she had been told there were two “lanes” to the nomination: a left-leaning lane occupied by Bernie Sanders and a moderate lane occupied by Joe Biden. Those two lanes have been cleared of all but their original occupants, so it now appears that the Democratic presidential nominee will be either Biden or, less likely, Sanders.

Under Donald Trump, the country has moved toward anti-intellectual (and -scientific) authoritarian cronyism. When the president took office, it was hard to imagine how far from the prevailing political norms the country could be taken in three short years. The United States of 2020 is almost unrecognizable from a vantage point of only a few years ago. Those who did not embrace Trumpism—and the majority of citizens never has—have experienced a kind of political whiplash, a perpetual disorientation from which they seek relief.

The promise of a Joe Biden is a return to a pre-Trump status quo ante, followed by modest movement left. That movement, however, irrespective of which Democrat is in the White House, will be either difficult or impossible if the party cannot retake the Senate or, at the very least, defeat Senator Mitch McConnell. The fear that a Sanders candidacy will create difficulties for down-ticket Democrats is palpable and realistic. It could sabotage the very Democratic Congress needed to support the program of any Democratic president.

Bernie Sanders, on the other hand, seeks immediate and radical change. This presents two problems. First, even with a Democratic Congress, it is unlikely that lawmakers will approve Sanders’ radical agenda. Congress will be reluctant because citizens, having experienced the Trump whiplash, are not ready for being yanked in the opposite direction. For this reason, Sanders is much less likely to become a successful president than Joe Biden. Also, because of his radical agenda, he is less likely than Biden to be elected.

Democrats seem to understand this, and they will likely choose the former vice president as their standard-bearer. He is perhaps not the ideal candidate; he is likely not the candidate that would have been chosen through a better-designed primary process. But, under the present circumstances, Biden is what you get. He’s probably good enough.

March 5, 2020

Lizzy’s Choice

The political landscape has changed rapidly during the past week. The departure of Buttigieg, Klobuchar, Steyer, and then Bloomberg from the Democratic presidential race has left us with only two viable candidates, Sanders and Biden. (As best as I can tell, Tulsi Gabbard is still running, though God only knows why.)

Even though their prospects were bleak, I had expected Buttigieg and Klobuchar to stay in at least through Super Tuesday. Biden’s huge victory in South Carolina apparently changed their plans. Seeing no likely way forward, Buttigieg and Klobuchar bowed out and endorsed Biden, the only person in a position to derail the candidacy of crazy non-Democrat Bernie Sanders. Rather more surprisingly, Bloomberg did the same.

Warren, we are told, is rethinking her strategy, given that her showing in primaries and caucuses has been abysmal. She clearly is not getting the Democratic Party nod. She has not dropped out, but we know she has had at least one post-Super-Tuesday conversation with Sanders. What is Elizabeth going to do?

Warren has, I think, four choices.

First, she could stay in the race for now in the hope of who knows what. She might gain a few delegates to have a bit of leverage at a broked convention, an unlikely but conceivable outcome. Staying in at this point, however, seems merely self-indulgent and would provide proof that she is incapable of reading the handwriting on the wall.

Second, Warren could simply drop out, endorsing no one. This would show that she can read the handwriting on the wall. It would also show her to lack courage, and it would be disappointing to her supporters, who might reasonably look to her for guidance.

Warren could, of course, leave the race and endorse Sanders, who has been seen all along as a kind of philosophical kissing cousin. She has, after all, assiduously avoided attacking him. But Warren has positioned herself as a more thoughtful, systematic, and realistic candidate than Sanders, and many—perhaps even most—of her supporters could not follow her embrace of democratic socialism. Warren would lose the respect of many Democrats with this move.

Finally, Warren could leave the race and, following Buttigieg, Klobuchar, and Bloomberg, endorse Biden. Some would see this as a sellout, but it would represent a certainly personal sacrifice for the sake of her party. It has become clear, after all, that, for most Democrats, Biden is the one. Her endorsement of Biden would be a severe blow to the Sanders campaign and would make a clean Biden victory more likely.

What will be Lizzy’s choice?

Update: About the time I wrote this, NBC News announced that Warren was getting out of the race. That eliminates Option 1. The story indicated that she has not endorsed anyone else yet. The New York Times has reported that Warren has also spoken to Biden. Stay tuned.

February 27, 2020

Collect for a Time of Contagion

Americans are increasingly anxious about coronavirus and its potential to cause a pandemic. Public statements from the governments of both China and the United States are rightly viewed as untrustworthy and, therefore, not comforting.

I searched the Episcopal Church’s Book of Common Prayer and found no prayer that seemed apropos of the threat posed by coronavirus. Therefore, I decided to write one. The result is the collect below.

For a Time of Contagion

Most merciful God, whose Son manifested your love by healing the sick, protect us from advancing contagion and the fear thereof, and grant wisdom to those who, by virtue of training or election, are guardians of public health, so that we may cast aside our fears and continue to advance the Kingdom of Heaven proclaimed by Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

February 8, 2020

O God of All the Nations

Carolyn Winfrey Gillette is a Presbyterian minister who is also a hymn writer. America’s recent political upheavals have inspired her to compose a new hymn, “O God of All the Nations,” which she has set to one of my favorite hymn tunes, LLangloffan (see information about this tune on Although Gillette hasn’t said so on her Web site, I suspect that her text was in part inspired by “O God of Every Nation,” which is also set to LLangloffan. (One of my own hymns can also be sung to this tune, although, for historical reasons, Munich was my first choice.)

Some have criticized this hymn as too “political.” I have two responses to this criticism. First, Gillette has offered a number of biblical citations to justify her text; it is surely scripturally based. At least as important, however, is the fact that much of the Old Testament can be viewed as political commentary. Separating God from politics separates God from considerations of good and evil. If our worship is oblivious of the world around us, including the political world, it is simply solipsistic.

I am perhaps not a disinterested observer respecting the Gillette hymn, as I myself have recently written two collects in reaction to the behavior of our current president (“For a Troubled Nation” and “For an Impeachment Trial of the President”). I don’t consider my collects to be different in kind from those in the Book of Common Prayer.

I have reproduced “O God of All the Nations” below. You can also find it on Gillette’s own Web site here, on a page that carries the following notice:
Copyright © December 19, 2019 by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette. All rights reserved.
Permission is given for free use of this hymn.

O God of All the Nations
Tune: Llangloffan 76. 76. D

O God of all the nations, your ancient prophets saw
That kings and institutions are not above the law.
Integrity is precious, and truth will one day stand;
Your way is peace and justice, and love is your command.

O God, when times are troubled, when lies are seen as truth,
When power-hungry people draw praise and not reproof,
When greed is seen as greatness, when justice is abused,
We pray that those who lead us will know what they must choose.

We pray they’ll gather wisdom and lift up high ideals,
To guide our struggling nation along a path that heals.
We pray they’ll have the vision to value each good law,
To put aside ambition, to seek the best for all.

O God of all the nations, may those who lead us see
That justice is your blessing, that truth will set us free.
Give all of us the courage to seek the nobler way,
So in this land we cherish, the good will win the day.

February 2, 2020

The Iowa Caucus Poll

 The final and much-anticipated poll results from the Des Moines Register were not released yesterday. Questions about the validity of the polling caused the newspaper to withhold publishing what were seen as questionable results. (See, for example, the New York Times story here.) Apparently, the Iowa caucuses will have to go forward tomorrow without the poll results.

The polling snafu may be a blessing. Who knows what the ultimate result of such a poll might be? If candidate A is leading in the poll, does that encourage supporters to participate in a caucus or to confidently stay home? If candidate B is behind, does the candidate’s supporters, discouraged, stay home and drink hot chocolate, or do they trudge through the snow in the hope of showing the pollsters wrong?

We’ll likely never really know the effect of the absence of a last-minute poll. We will, however, know the result of the caucuses tomorrow.

January 30, 2020

A Policy Declaration All Democrats Should Love

From the competition between Democratic presidential candidates so far, one might be led to think that policy positions are the most important criteria on which we should judge presidential hopefuls. In fact, many experts point out that voters tend to select the person, rather than the person’s policies. Certainly, expectation of what a particular candidate might actually do in office is important, but it can be difficult to rank candidates on policy alone if one considers objectives, the mix of objectives, and the likelihood of accomplishing what is being promised.

There is one pledge I would like to hear Democratic presidential candidates make, and it is a one that would be widely applauded by Democratic voters. In fact, it would be great if all Democratic candidates made this pledge. (That wouldn’t help differentiate the candidates, but it would increase peace-of-mind among Democratic voters.) The promise would go something like this:
I will appoint cabinet members and advisors who are experts in their field, rather than self-aggrandising grifters and political hacks. Furthermore, I will always give serious consideration to recommendations made by those I appoint and by career professionals within the government. I will listen to voices outside the government as well, but always with a healthy variness of the self-interest of those offering advice.
In most years, this would seem an odd pledge. After all, isn’t that what a president should do? This year, however, the declaration is a promise to undo much of the damage wrought by Trump and his minions—well, to begin to undo that damage anyway and to foster an environment that can advance the general welfare of the American people.

January 20, 2020

Collect for an Impeachment Trial of the President

I have written a number of collects, either for general use or for use in particular circumstances. As the Senate prepares to try the President of the United States, a special prayer seems to be in order, particularly since the outcome appears likely to be an unfortunate one. I hope that this collect is seldom appropriate. Before the trial of President Donald John Trump begins in earnest, however, I offer the following prayer:

For an Impeachment Trial of the President

Almighty God, whose precepts direct us into all righteousness, inspire those who sit in judgment of our president to pursue justice with wisdom, courage, and integrity, so that this nation may again display the love and compassion of your Son, our Savior, who, with you and the Holy Spirit, lives and reigns, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

January 15, 2020

McConnell’s Kangaroo Court

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell wants a Senate “trial” of President Trump without the introduction of any documents or witnesses.

A court proceeding without documents and witnesses is simply a kangaroo court. Without documents and witnesses, the trial is a he-said-she-said affair. The prosecution and the defense can assert anything at all, and there will be no evidence to support or refute it.

Is this really happening in America?

January 11, 2020

Gilmore Girls

A few days ago, I received a Blu-ray disk of Bad Santa from Netflix. For some reason, I had put this movie in my queue some time ago, and I ended up with it because to disc at the top of my queue was not immediately available. Having forgotten why I wanted to see Bad Santa in the first place, I expected a movie that was rather stupid. It wasn’t that, but it was quite transgressive and generally in bad taste.

The bad Santa of the title is played by Billy Bob Thornton, and his love interest, such as she is, is played by Lauren Graham. If I never see another Billy Bob Thornton movie, it will be too soon, but I was smitten by Lauren Graham’s smile. I knew her from Gilmore Girls, of course, and always thought her an attractive and talented actress. (Are we still allowed to use the word “actress”?)

Anyway, watching Bad Santa reminded me how much I liked Gilmore Girls, the entire series of which I have seen at least twice. So, last night on Netflix, I watched the pilot of the series, largely to see Graham again and to remind myself how all the important relationships in the series were set up in the first hour. It is an impressive hour of television. Today, I watched the second episode of season 1.

Re-watching this series is a real joy. I don’t have to pay much attention to plot, as I am quite familiar with that aspect of the show. This allows me to concentrate on the fast-paced and clever dialogue. I found myself laughing a lot, probably more than I had on previous viewings. I’ll likely watch more episodes whenever I need to relax and recharge.

If you aren’t familiar with Gilmore Girls, I recommend your watching it streaming on Netflix. Loren Graham plays single-mom Lorelai Gilmore, and Alexis Bledel, who has gone on to appear in many roles, including in The Handmaid’s Tale, plays her teenage daughter Rori (also Lorelai Gilmore). You won’t be disappointed.

January 5, 2020

A Litany for the Democratic Presidential Candidate

In September 2012, I was thinking about the upcoming election in which President Obama was seeking a second term. As a way of assuaging feelings of guilt I might experience should I fail to write myriad essays on things political, I wrote a longish post I called “A Preëmptive Political Post.” It was something of a list of principles I hoped would guide the incoming administration.

In this political season, I have been listening to the many people vying for the Democratic Party nomination. The political game demands that candidates try to stand out from the crowd with policy proposals that often seem impractical or barely indistinguishable from those of other candidates. In fact, one suspects that, in less competitive circumstances, many candidates could agree about most important issues.

This year, rather than enunciating political principles, I thought I would list desirable outcomes or initiatives. I suspect that nearly all the Democratic candidates could, in conscience, subscribe to a majority of the items on the list, even if no two candidates would approve of the same exact group. I acknowledge that many of my own ideas cannot be implemented, at least in the near term.

My original thought was to call my list a litany, and I had hoped that the language I used would be, in some sense, not only practical but also poetic. The poetry was largely lost in rhetorical abundance, but I have retained the term “litany” anyway. What follows is a compendium of the hopes and dreams for my ideal Democratic candidate for president.

I will likely edit or extend this list as I think of things. I welcome suggestions for modifications, additions, or deletions. Read the list carefully, however, for implications that may not be immediately obvious.

A Litany for the Democratic Presidential Candidate

We shall protect the birds of the air, the creatures that roam the land, and the fish of the seas, including sharks and the great whales.
The waters shall be clean, and the air shall be fresh and healthy to breathe.
We shall join with the nations of the world to reduce climate-altering gases in our air, and shall help our people adjust to changes resulting both from our collective action and inaction.
Likewise, shall we join with others to remove plastics from our oceans and waterways and prevent new plastics from entering the planet’s waters.
Our national parks and national museums shall receive adequate funding to protect our natural, artistic, and historic legacy, making them available to all people.
Public lands shall remain public for the benefit of all, and any fees due for their use shall be collected without fail.
Although we cannot compensate native Americans adequately for what we have taken from them, we shall endeavor to uphold treaties conscientiously and to improve life on Indian lands.
We shall undertake the development of energy-efficient public conveyances to facilitate both modest and long-distance travel.
We shall repair public works whose maintenance we have deferred: highways, bridges, tunnels, dams, and other systems essential to modern life.
We shall undertake the repair or construction of public works only if adequately funded endowment is established for their perpetual maintenance.
More shall be required of the rich and less of the poor, as we seek to reduce the disparity of wealth between them.
All personal income deemed taxable, irrespective of its source, shall be taxed at the same rate.
Inheritance taxes on large estates shall be substantially increased.
The size of salaries and severance payments of high-ranking executives shall be limited by law.
Military spending shall be carefully reviewed with the intent to implement severe cuts.
The state shall regulate commerce for the general good, and individual enterprises shall not be allowed to interfere with regulation.
Antitrust legislation shall be strengthened and enforced aggressively.
Corporate crime, when adjudicated, shall result in punishment of the offending enterprise and its responsible managers.
Corporations shall not be allowed to make profits in America and avoid or reduce taxes by recording those profits overseas.
Senators and representatives shall be prevented from sitting on the boards of corporations and from trading securities of any kind except through a blind trust.
Subsidies for particular industries shall be eliminated unless they are needed for the purpose of national defense.
Senators and representatives shall be required to disclose, on a quarterly basis, all gifts or contributions from lobbyists or those entities represented by lobbyists whose value exceeds $100.
Senators and representatives shall be required to disclose any text from lobbyists or those entities represented by lobbyists that have been incorporated into legislation either directly or with minimal modification.
The president shall not be allowed to declare a national emergency without prior approval from the congress.
Government programs such as crop and flood insurance shall be made self-supporting or nearly so.
Interest rates and fees charged for consumer lending shall be limited.
Union creation and maintenance shall be encouraged, and anti-union activities by enterprises shall be curtailed and punished.
States and municipalities shall be discouraged from using tax incentives to attract corporations, sports teams, or other institutions to locate in their area.
The federal minimum wage shall be increased to be a living wage, indexed to inflation, and adjusted by region.
Private prisons and detention centers shall be outlawed.
We shall eliminate hunger and homelessness in our land, being generous with food assistance and committed to providing sufficient shelter for everyone
Public education shall rear competent, ethical adults appreciative of the arts, aware of our history, and imbued with civic virtue, irrespective of their natural talents or handicaps.
Public colleges and universities, as well as public radio and television stations, shall receive increased funding.
The government will encourage the institution of public school kindergarten and pre-K programs in localities where they do not now exist.
We shall respect the dignity and liberties of all human beings; corporations shall enjoy similar but limited rights appropriate to non-human entities.
Specifically, civil rights shall not be denied because of sex, sexual preference, or sexual presentation.
Anti-discrimination laws shall be aggressively enforced.
The prohibition against engaging in political activity by tax-exempt organizations such as churches shall be strictly enforced; tax-exempt status shall be revoked for repeated or egregious offenses.
Adequate health care shall be available to all, and no person shall be forced into bankruptcy because of medical expenses.
Health care shall not be dependent upon employment.
No law shall be allowed to interfere in medical decisions made between a patient and a duly qualified physician.
Drugs, whether purchased by the government or by individuals, shall not be sold for a price above the average price charged in other parts of the world.
The government shall set maximum prices for life-saving drugs sufficient to make their development profitable.
The category of Schedule 1 drugs shall be eliminated, and the government shall fund adequate drug cessation programs.
Persons imprisoned for crimes involving small amounts of illegal drugs shall be released from prison.
Psychological maladies shall be treated the same as “physical” maladies, and the government shall develop adequate programs to treat them.
Basic science and medical research, as well as a space program, shall be funded on a long-term basis to encourage sustained investigation.
Profits accruing from research supported by the government shall be shared with the government.
All citizens shall be deemed voters and expected to exercise the franchise.
All federal elections shall be at least partially publicly financed.
We shall encourage the use of ranked preference voting in all elections, including party primaries.
Gerrymandering of districts shall be discouraged through articulating appropriate characteristics for drawing districts and by encouraging the drawing of districts by nonpartisan bodies.
Laws shall be passed requiring presidential candidates to make public ten years of federal and state personal and relevant corporate tax returns; comprehensive health information shall also be required to be released.
Members of Congress shall not be allowed to vote on a bill unless they certify that they or an employee under their direct supervision have read every word of the bill.
Legislation shall clarify that no person, including the president of the United States, is immune to indictment, trial, and sentencing.
By being afforded competent advocates, the poor shall enjoy the same justice before the law as the well-to-do.
The death penalty shall be abolished throughout these United States and its military; persons who shall have been convicted of capital offenses shall have their punishment changed to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.
No prisoners shall be held in any jail under the jurisdiction of this nation, wherever located, without being afforded adequate counsel and a speedy trial.
Cash bail shall be eliminated except in cases of infamous crimes or the likelihood that the accused will flee to avoid trial.
The United States Postal Service shall be maintained even if it incurs financial losses.
The integrity of person shall be guaranteed in all jails and prisons; physical, emotional, and educational programs shall be available to all prisoners.
Men and women of virtue and skill shall guide the departments of the state and labor for the good of all.
The president and secretary of state shall be required to hold public press conferences at least once a quarter.
Weapons of war shall not be owned except by the military; such devices in private hands shall be subject to a compulsory buy-back program.
In theaters of war or in areas of significant danger, the American military shall be discouraged from hiring consultants to perform duties that can be performed by military personnel.
We shall reduce our inventory of nuclear weapons and urge others to do the same or to not build any such weapons in the first place.
The word of our nation shall be our bond, and we will seek to restore the trust of the world in our wisdom and our faithfulness.
We shall seek peace among nations, strengthening those assemblies that foster concord and regular commerce.
We shall facilitate free trade in goods and services among nations, even where “free” trade seems less than perfectly “fair.”
We shall demand that all nations respect the freedom of the seas.
We shall support democracies throughout the world and shall encourage the replacement of autocracies and theocracies with democracy wherever they are to be found.
We shall restore full diplomatic relations with the Republic of Cuba and encourage cultural and commercial ties with this nearby nation.
We shall promote human rights at home and throughout the world wherever they are not upheld or are endangered.
We shall welcome peoples fleeing war, natural disasters, and civil or domestic discord, and we shall help to integrate them into our national life.
Immigration to our shores shall be available to people of all nations, subject only to an overall annual allocation and a prohibition against serious criminals; the decision to admit an immigrant shall be made with reasonable alacrity.
Persons bought to the United States illegally as children and who have committed no serious legal infractions shall be allowed to become citizens subject to the usual requirements for naturalization.
Persons who entered the United States illegally as adults, who have committed no serious legal infractions, and have been in the country for at least five years shall be allowed to become citizens upon paying a civil penalty and subject to the usual requirements for naturalization.
No one shall be deported from this country soley on the basis of having entered it illegally.
American sales of military equipment shall be guided by military needs, rather than by commercial interests.
We shall continue to maintain American troops where they constitute a bulwark against probable aggression, but we shall remove troops from places where no credible threat exists or where no prospect of lasting peace is foreseeable.
Israelis and Palestinians shall be given the choice of creating two separate states or a single, democratic, secular state; continued American aid shall be contingent on their making a choice and implementing it in short order.
Restrictions on the funding of family planning services by foreign aid shall be removed.