Historically, America led the world in establishing a society with democratic values such as equal opportunity and protection from discrimination. Today, however, our country is among the most extreme examples of industrialized nations that have a widening gap between the wealthy and the rest of its citizenry — the working poor, the struggling middle class, and those who increasingly cannot make ends meet.
Our public schools, from kindergarten through college, are forced to cut back countless programs and services. Fees for community colleges are up sharply, and many public universities must turn away qualified students.
More than 50 million Americans have no medical insurance coverage.
The crisis in publicly subsidized housing is intensifying, while publicly funded "corporate welfare" continues unabated.
Our tax code favors the wealthy.
Our criminal justice system assigns long prison terms to hundreds of thousands of perpetrators of victimless crimes, such as selling marijuana.
Our civil liberties of privacy and free speech are impaired by the excesses of the USA PATRIOT Act and kindred new laws that use a national tragedy (the attacks on September 11, 2001) as an excuse to impose ubiquitous surveillance and control over citizens.
In addition, discrimination based on gender, ethnicity, or race continues to sap the potential of our society and to violate personal dignity.
Feelings of isolation and helplessness are common in America today.
Children are increasingly shaped by an "electronic childhood" with little direct experience of nature and free play. Our families are scattered, our popular culture is crassly manipulated by the profit motives of increasingly concentrated media conglomerates, and our sense of community is a pale shadow of what earlier generations of Americans knew.
The quality of life is determined not only by material aspects that can be measured and counted, but also by elements that cannot be quantified.
We should support the separation of church and state, but also acknowledge the spiritual dimension of life, and we honor the cultivation of various types of spiritual experience in our diverse society.
Artistic expression and a thriving structure of art institutions are key to community well-being.
A deep and broad embrace of nonviolence is the only effective way to stop cycles of violence, from the home to the streets to the international level.
We should advocate a diverse system of education that would introduce children early to the wonders of the Great School (Nature), and would cultivate the wisdom of eco-education, eco-economics, eco-politics, and eco-culture.
We smust protect our children from the corrosive effects of mass culture that trains them to regard themselves first and foremost as consumers.
We should support the shift in modern medicine to include healing through complementary therapies and engagement with the Great Hospital (Nature).
We need to facilitate the healthy unfolding of the person within the unfolding story of the family, community, bioregion, state, nation, and Earth community.