THREE ISSUES│Foreign policy, creating new jobs, rebuilding education and “Culture counts”

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Alan Shilepsky has not three but four issues that matter to him. As a convinced Republican, he has very strong thoughts about how he perceives the election and politics in general. Shilepsky has worked as an election judge, was active in three political parties and worked for candidates such as Governor Arne Carlson during the 1990s. Even if he doesn’t work actively in politics anymore, politics is in his mind, heart and soul. And this you can feel, when you talk with him about the ongoing election.

Shilepsky is married, works as a database consultant and lives in downtown Minneapolis.

His first issue is a strong and realistic foreign policy and national defense. Shilepsky says that it is a very dangerous world out there, especially for an open society like ours. There are lots of people who don’t like us, and will not for a generation, he said. And it’s not just for what we have done, but because of what we are and the example we set – openness, tolerance, prosperity, and modernity – and regrettably some decadence. And with the borders relatively open, this thought scares him.

The second issue deals with rebuilding America’s economy and making jobs in productive private sectors. Shilepsky especially wants to see some progress in manufacturing, energy, transportation, natural resources and innovation. The public sector and a giant health/illness sector are just treading water, as much as regulatory paper-pushing. He would like to get people back to their sense of being producers because that is what our self-perception comes partly from – everybody should feel like they are able to contribute to their economy.   

Shilepsky’s third issue is rebuilding education from K-12 to universities. This can be done, he said, by partly reducing federal regulation and overstimulation with money with strings attached. Instead, he seeks for jawboning of individual achievement, core curriculum which should include the stem subjects of science, technology, engineering and math, not forgetting intellectual curiosity and effort. Alan thinks that America has over-computerized and deprioritized the 3 Rs – reading, writing, and arithmetic – and self-discipline. Furthermore, he claims that if disciplined focus to one’s craft and merit promotion is good enough for sports excellence, we should ask no less in mental pursuits.

Shilepsky wants to add a fourth issue which is very important to him. He thinks that people should recognize again that “culture counts” and that some cultures promote prosperity, tolerance and human happiness more than others. There was something to be said for the “Puritan ethic,” and western civilization’s canon of science and humanism. In Shilepsky’s opinion, these were middle class values which should be encouraged, so people make commitments again. The people should be able to choose eclectically from new perspectives, but they should also re-stigmatize behaviors that increase long-term poverty and dependence, and furthermore could hurt children’s life prospects.