Fixing America – Ideas 7-9

By November 25th, 2019

Blog No. 109
November 26, 2019 

Fixing America – Ideas 7-9 

Reading Time: 6-7 Minutes
By Mack W. Borgen, Recipient of Eight National Book Awards. For a “cleaner” / non-email presentation of this and my other blogs, essays, and articles, please go to my website at https://www.mackwborgen.com/

Introduction (And Happy Thanksgiving Week to All)

This is the third article in my series of Ideas Blogs. In this series, I present ideas which might help in “fixing America.” 
Some of the ideas are my own. Some of them I have come across in the course of my research over these last now 12 years for my last two series of books – The Relevance of Reason (Vols I and II) (2013-2014) and Dead Serious and Lighthearted (Vols I, II, and III) (2018-2019). A few of them are older, even well-known ideas, which I believe deserve reconsideration.
These ideas cover a wide range of subjects. The ideas are presented without lengthy comment or recommendation, but I believe that you, like me, may conclude – like the title of my initial blogs in this series – that many of the ideas already percolating out there in our America “are good … and some are brilliant.”  Enjoy.

Mack W. Borgen

Idea No 7. 

– NASA All Over Again! –

The Need for Climate Scientists to Retain Communication and Media Professionals

for the Development of an Education Campaign

Background Many issues, especially scientific issues, are complex. Nevertheless, understanding and appreciating, these issues can be uniquely important to society so that such ideas do not become forgotten, buried, or politically charged. Climate change and global warming are such issues. Despite near unanimity of agreement amidst all scientists around the world as to the existence (if not quite fully as to the causes), the subjects of climate change and global warming are not being presented well. They are not, very bluntly, being presented in an effective manner or by the right parties. These subjects are running the risk of being “NASA’d.”
NASA, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, was formed in 1958 – more than 60 years ago. Tens of thousands of brilliant scientists have worked at NASA. It has a current annual budget of more than $21.0BB. However, most people have long remained largely uninformed about its projects. We know that NASA discovered Tang. NASA gave us great Man on the Moon pictures.  NASA served up the back story for Ron Howard’s Apollo 13 movie. NASA has a space shuttle “up there” doing something. But NASA and its scientists have not taken the time or used the energy to explain, indeed “market,” its accomplishments or purposes.
A parallel, but far more frightening, fate is happening in the context of climate change and global warming – albeit with the added periodic attraction of celebrity and alarmist shout-outs that all humanity is going to suffer. But if there is one thing that America should know, it is that communication, marketing and educational campaigns can work. Madison Avenue has the tools. Madison Avenue has the experience. Madison Avenue knows how to sell the ice to Eskimos and vaping smoke to teenagers. Now, we need scientists to respect those talents of Madison Avenue and social media experts so that the issues of climate change and global warming can be well, widely, and accurately explained.
Idea: Scientists must devote more of their time to developing informative, engaging, educational presentations about of climate change and global warming. In order to do so, they must explain these issues to the American people through and with the tools of Madison Avenue and social media experts. Thick-worded scientific reports by scientific organizations will not assure our nation’s needed and thorough understanding of these issues. In other words, climate change and global warming cannot become NASA’d. The importance of these issues must cross from the scientific community to the general public — but they must not pass through the colored lens of politicians or businesses. Due to the importance of these issues, the sophistication of the information delivery may be literally as critical as the substance of the content.  
Implementation:  The implementation of this idea should be in multiple formats (radio, print, digital, academic, educational, etc). The implementation must be well-presented from many different sources. There is no place for propaganda and speculation, however meetings in Paris, articles in National Geo, and mumbles from the scientific unanimity are not enough. Scientists must retain communications specialists – public relations, advertising, marketing, education, and social media experts. They too are specialists. They have their own skills and tools. And they must be retained to deliver a sophisticated, successful, and accurate education campaign. It is regrettable, but we can be live without knowing about NASA’s – or for that matter Elon Musk’s latest race-to-Mars accomplishments. But the consequences of our ignorance or our under-estimation of climate change and global warming is far more serious.
Source: Mack W. Borgen

Idea No. 8

Redefining the Concept of “News”

The Need for the Regular Infusion of Positive News 

Background:  The Beatles famously sang the words “I read the news today, Oh, Boy.” And there was a time, not so long ago, when the gentle tones and words of a more singular and uniting Walter Cronkite and John Chancellor delivered commonly-heard evening news. Now, with the splintering of the news media, news has taken on a hostile and dispiriting tone with toxic, counterproductive – and sometimes ill-deserved – toxic effects. In a small, but important, measure this can be changed. This is because if the rough definition of “the news” is the information we need to formulate informed opinions about our country (its economy, politics, society and culture), then “good news” needs to be communicated by our reporters and broadcasters as well. “Good news” is an important aspects of part of our country as well.
Drawing a marital analogy, we all have a common law marriage to this country. We are in it. We are a part of it. And unless we wish to become divorced by emigration to another nation, then we should be – literally and regularly – told and reminded of that which is good; that which deserves honor in addition to that which is needs correcting.  
Idea: Encourage our news reporters and broadcasters to include — in each days news reporting  — some good, positive, and encouraging news.                  
Implementation Comments: For a multitude of reasons – including necessity for the freedom of the press – this idea can only be proffered as a request. However, it is humbly suggested that journalists and reporters need to rethink the nature of “goods news.” It is not here suggested that such news is somehow needed because we want a dose of the “feel-good.” To the contrary, it is here suggested that such reporting is one of the responsibilities of journalists and reporters because, in its own way, such news is as constructive to our society as information about impeachments, mass shootings, far-away lands and battles, or the stock market.
Source: Robert Badal, resident of Santa Barbara and one of nation’s preeminent antitrust attorneys, and Mack W. Borgen (who is solely responsible for the above wording, argument, and presentation).

Idea No. 9

The Necessity of Mandatory Public Service

Background:  Conscription, more commonly known as “the draft,” has only been used five times in the our country’s history. In the 20th Century, it was used during both World Wars, the Korean War, and the Vietnam Era. The last mandatory draft expired in December, 1972. While there were a number of exceptions and deferments with respect to, for example, married men, married men with children, college students, and conscientious objectors, most men of draft age (appr. 18-25) were subject to the draft unless they “voluntarily” enlisted in one of the other services.
The concept of the draft was rarely viewed from the perspective of “public service.” Instead, it was seen as a matter of national security and defense. The roots of “public service” are better exemplified by Roosevelt’s New Deal Civilian Conservation Corps in which young men could serve and provide manual in exchange for housing, food, and $30 a month. Today, there are many social, community, and faith-based organizations which provide opportunities for community service. There are also voluntary civil service programs supported by the federal government such as the Peace Corps (235,000 Americans have served since its inception in 19062) and AmeriCorps (about 75,000 Americans each year since 1994). However, the common characteristics, indeed arguably problems, with both the now-”All Volunteer” Army and these public service organizations are that too few serve and that those who do serve are disproportionately from the middle- and lower income families. The concept of wide-shared service and commonly-shouldered burden has been lost. More subtly, for a vast majority of America’s younger generations, there is a loss of the honor and sharing of the bonding and “equalizing” experience of serving this country.
Idea: Subject to certain appropriate, but narrowly defined exemptions, all young men and women should be required to complete not less than 18-24 months of mandatory public service prior to the age of 25. Recognizing the vast differences in personal preferences and skills, such mandatory public service requirement should be allowed to be met in the context of a wide array of alternative services – from military service to teaching; from health and child care to environmental, forestry and park services; from the provision of dental care to legal services; from implementing anti-drug campaigns to fostering programs for the abatement of homelessness.   
Implementation: At first blush, this proposal may seem to be greatly disruptive to our young people’s planning and careers and to our economy. And it is. So was World War II. So was Vietnam. And our country is still in need of public service. There is plenty of needed work to be done in this country from the manual labor of fire prevention to the construction of new public facilities; from the building of care facilities to the maintenance of veterans’ facilities. Similarly, at first blush, this proposal may suggest a powerful pushback from, for example, our teachers’ unions. But this proposal need not adversely impact or displace, in this example, experienced and career teachers. To the contrary, teachers need and deserve our help, and nearly every teacher could use a teacher’s aid. Nearly every teacher dreams of cutting class sizes. Lastly, public service will also tighten our nation, adjust our perceptions of one another, and equalize our bonds.
Source: Long-standing Idea Deserving of Reconsideration

See Previously-Presented Ideas: 

Idea 1 –   Consolidated Interstate Database for Reports of License Suspension or Revocation (Mack W. Borgen Blog 106, October 14, 2019).  

Idea 2 – Term Limits (Mack W. Borgen Blog 106, October 14, 2019).

Idea 3 – The Media – Report Corporate Settlements, Awards and Fines as Percentage of Annual Net Profits (Mack W. Borgen Blog 106, October 14, 2019). 

Idea 4 – Award of Attorneys’ Fess to Winning Party (Mack W. Borgen Blog 107, October 28, 2019).

Idea 5 – Inclusion of Positive Aspects of American Society as a Distinct Part of U.S. History School Curricula (Mack W. Borgen Blog 107, October 28, 2019). 

Idea 6 – Office of International Comparisons (Mack W. Borgen Blog 107, October 28, 2019).

Excerpts from Dead Serious and Light-Hearted by Mack W. Borgen 

Having Fun – The Fancypants Word of the Day

Ersatz (Part of speech: Adjective; Origin: German)  1) Describing an artificial substitute for something, usually of inferior quality.  2) Simulated or imitation. Examples of use in sentences: “It has been on sale, but the ersatz cheese was so bad that no one wanted it” and “The antique dealer was caught trying to sell ersatz vases.”
Source and thank to wordgenius.com and Shawna Borgen.

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