We live in troubling times. It probably has always been the case, but with the speed and scope of communication today, it seems doubly so. Our Country is on a bumpy ride and we’re having the fillings rattled our of our collective heads.
With another Presidential election looming, we find ourselves in what seems like another endless campaign season. Each side vilifying the other, trying to portray the opposition as part of some dark existential threat to our very existence – while their guy is a savior on a white horse come to lead us to Glory. It sickens me. It wearies me. It makes me angry.
I don’t believe them. I don’t trust them. I believe they only seek to serve their own self interests, at our expense.
I am not naive. I know our history. We have always been a divided nation. At times, however, the things that united us where greater than those things that divide us. I still believe that is true. I want that to be true. It needs to be true. Otherwise we’re done.
People in power only seek to hold on to that power and are quick to attempt to manipulate the rest of us if they can in order to maintain that hold on power. Now, I don’t believe for one minute that everyone who’s involved in politics or government is driven by nefarious purposes. There’s no doubt that some are, but I know many are good, ethical and honest public servants. I don’t wish to besmirch them, throwing the good out with the bad. Just to be clear.
I also reject the idea of a grand secret conspiracy to take over and rule the world. It’s not much of a secret anymore, considering how much I hear about it from some believers. Whatever.
We were founded on great ideas, by great idealists. While not claiming either of those for myself, I’d like to share some ideas for our Country.
- E Pluribus Unum, out of one, many. We are a nation of immigrants. We need to stop vilifying immigrants and at the same time make a rational path to immigration and citizenship. Hospitality to the “alien” is a foundational concept from our Judeo-Christian legal heritage. We need to change this or take down that Statue in New York Harbor.
- At the same time, we are a nation of laws. We have to be. The problem is, we have too many laws. So many that our lawmakers and law enforcers don’t even always know what’s legal and what’s not. Often justice is not served. We don’t even have a justice system any longer, it’s simply a legal system. Forget what’s just and right – what’s legal? People lose respect for the law, the lawmakers and law enforcement when the law becomes so burdensome and convoluted. The US Code and it’s counterparts at the State and local level needs a serious paring.
- Our Military is bloated and out-of-date, both in its size and mission. We have them spread too far and wide. When we have troops on food stamps, we have a problem with priorities. I would completely rebuild our military. Down size the Army and Air Force in favor of the Navy and Marines. Creating a more nimble force that can project itself globally. A few years ago, the USN responded to the Indonesian tsunami – it was us at our best. They saved untold lives. I’ve alway been of the opinion that the Navy should have been given the Nobel Peace Prize that year, but alas… In any event, the DOD is grossly bloated and needs to be more efficient and thrifty. It’s time to bring them home from Europe and Asia.
- We need universal health care. I find it embarrassing that we thump our chests about how great we are when we have families driven into bankruptcy because of medical bills. Health insurance companies exist to serve only their executives and stockholders. I don’t know how we do it, but we need to do it. Period. We put men on the moon, we can figure out a way to do this.
- It’s time to end the “War on (insert name here)”. These “wars” have turned into either bottomless money pits or attacks on our civil liberties, usually both. Why do we declare war on ourselves? Why? It’s madness.
- Everyone deserves equal protection under the law. Straight, gay, black, white, male, female, adult or child. Period. We all have the same rights, or none of us have rights. If rights are denied by some by the votes of others, who’s next?
- I would revoke the tax exempt status of religious organizations. Think of the revenue. Then churches and clergy would be completely free to preach what ever they wanted from their pulpits, to include endorsing political candidates. Why should any of the rest of us fund your religion? I think this can be clearly supported by the First Amendment.