Sunday, February 12, 2017


BY DAVE REECK, guest blogger
Keeping priorities straight is difficult when you're faced with constant distraction. Priorities help you *focus on what's most important and *get the most important things done.
Here's a friendly reminder about organizing your priorities, and a list of mine.

The new administration has been in office for less than 30 days. The patterns they showed on the campaign trail remain: avoid important issues using distraction and misdirection. The constant stream of
ridiculous tweets and even the Muslim travel ban are examples of this.

How can YOU stay focused on the most important issues in the face of this constant clamor? The answer's something my parents attempted to teach me when I was young - too young to appreciate their wisdom: Keep A List.
There is something magical about a written, ordered list. Writing it lets you refer to it later. Giving it priority lets you find the most important things first.  Ordered lists are at the center of pretty much every single 'Getting It Done' self-help article.

Here's my prioritized list of political issues to focus on in the current administration, and a note about why I have this order:
1. Address global climate change (as much as possible)
Each day that passes without addressing Climate Change make the consequences worse and makes recovery take longer. 

2. Boost the economic welfare of the lower and middle classes (rural and urban)
The basic force driving national division is economic. I think this underlies differences in understanding about race relations, education, immigration and even climate change. Boosting the welfare of the majority of the citizens will help to re-unite our very divided nation.

3. Secure civil liberties
Civil liberties are  self-evident. Our understanding of these truths has evolved over time - it's not enough for all men to be created equal, all *people* are created equal. Securing these basic rights for citizens is incredibly important when our leadership seems interested in degrading them. Here's an easy test to tell when things are headed in the right direction: the racial makeup of annual arrests matches the racial makeup of our citizens. Right now there’s a significant discrepancy.

4. Improve our educational system
Our nation was once the unquestionable superpower of the world. It's unlikely we'll stay that way.
Our best approach to remaining important is through an educated population. Education will also go a long way towards resolving our national divisions. 

5. Make healthcare available and affordable for all (special focus on family planning).
It's a national shame that people go without treatment because it costs them too much. It costs our society far more (explain how) than treating them would. 

6. Stabilize global boundaries and economics (w/ a focus on improving the lives of the poorest)
Wars start when countries change their boundaries (or more correctly change the boundaries of other countries). Peace benefits the world. It's in our national interest to keep the world peaceful by helping to stabilize national boundaries and grow the economies of the nations inside those boundaries.  

Extra credit: Space exploration. I'd love to have the headroom to put this higher on the list. It scares the bejesus out of me that the actual smartest person alive thinks we need to diversity our planetary domain in order to survive as a species. But... it’s hard to argue. Maybe we can knock a few off the list above and get to work on this one.

We do not need to spend time or money further securing ourselves from terrorism. There have been only 112 deaths from terrorism in the United States from 2005-2015. Each was tragic, but each of the 15,000 homicides we had in just one of those years was equally tragic.

Isolating ourselves from the world should not be a priority. To the contrary, I believe openness has economics, morality and history on its side. Cutting ourselves off is not the way to lead the world to peace.

I hope this is a helpful list for you. If you disagree with the items or the order I'd love to hear about it, I'm open to learning new things and happy to discuss. 

Guest blogger Dave Reeck is a Seattle resident and a graduate of Lewis and Clark College, Portland, OR. Dave is the son of proud parents, Darrell and Lucy Reeck.

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At February 16, 2017 at 10:57 AM , Blogger Hal said...

Thank you! Thank you!! Thank you!!! I really liked reading this. Your reflections are both positive and helpful. I know you parent are proud---and justifiably so!


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