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For good reason, 9/11 robbed many Americans of our unspoken confidence in our safety from foreign attack. Years of recession and dislocation have eroded confidence in the American dream. Far too many people are worried about their jobs, retirement, and their children’s futures.

We worry about terrorism and crime. And we worry that the Internet, for all the great things it’s brought us, has also opened a door to dark forces. Dramatic increases in healthcare expenses worry everyone who’s sick or who might one day get sick. Bouts of terrible flooding have left us dislocated and shaken.

Meanwhile, our leaders are trying to take away our health care, rejecting scientific findings about climate, removing regulations that protect us. Too often, whether it’s a hacked credit-reporting agency revealing private information or a petrochemical company leaking unknown chemicals into our neighborhoods after a hurricane, the response of our current leaders is to do … less. Our health, our economy, our safety depends on rigorous watchdogs–just as our physical security depends on a robust military.

Security can sometimes mean balancing values. We can, for example, provide for our military defense needs while maintaining fiscal discipline. We can institute health, safety, and financial privacy protections without choking businesses.

There are a few things we can do, things that most Americans agree on:

  • Strengthen our diplomatic and economic resources to help find alternatives to endless wars
  • Protect our economic and military security by instituting a pay-as-you-go policy for increases in military spending;
  • Invest in cyber-security by requiring that businesses that hold individuals’ most confidential data institute the strictest levels of protection
  • Provide health and income security to vulnerable populations
  • Address the extremes of income equality that leave more and more full-time workers living in poverty every year
  • Work toward common-sense gun-safety legislation
  • Rejoin the 195-nation Paris climate accord in recognition of the threat climate change poses both to our national security
  • Fight for our share of federal taxpayer dollars to invest in flood preparedness and safeguard Houston by adopting a “no adverse impacts” stance toward flood mitigation
  • Promote innovative solutions to Houston’s flooding, as have been adopted in cities as diverse as Amsterdam, Tokyo, Miami, and Baltimore
  • Repair and replace critical, aging infrastructure and use Harvey as an opportunity to rethink how we grow and develop our city to ensure its long-term survival