If I Were President
This should have a much longer title. It should really be “If I Were President With At Least A Two-thirds Majority In Both Houses Of Congress, Sympathetic Courts, And At Least Two-thirds Of The Governorships And State Legislatures.” In other words, it’s a wish list. If I had the power to arranging things the way I want them, what would I do with that power? Obviously, it’s not a complete list. I’m sure there are pressing issues that I’ve never even thought about, but it’s enough to get started.
- Repeal the 2nd Amendment: This one is pretty obvious. We need sensible gun laws and we need to get guns out of the hands of the vast majority of people. The 2nd Amendment as it was written and intended probably isn’t a barrier to that goal, but it has been so corrupted by activist judges over the years that it has to go.
- Make all of the US territories and the District of Columbia states: People often talk about Puerto Rico and DC, but the same arguments work for Guam and American Samoa and The US Virgin Islands. It is crazy that there are American citizens who cannot vote for president and don’t have real representation in Congress.
- Ratify the Equal Rights Amendment: Sexism is just too entrenched. A Constitutional Amendment won’t fix everything, but it will help keep the courts moving in the right direction.
- Completely redo the penal system: There’s so much wrong here that the only real option is to scrap what we have and start over. Long before I heard the phrase “mass incarceration” I was deeply troubled by the prison system. The punishments are frequently cruel and unusual, disenfranchising anyone is about as unamerican as an action can get, and the fact that the punishments often last a lifetime, even for minor crimes, ought to be enough to get everyone on board with this. The goal of the penal system should be to prevent crime. It should not be punitive on any level. Justice doesn’t come from punishing those who do wrong, it comes from making sure they find their place in the world and never do wrong again.
- Disarm the police: This is obviously related to #4 and contingent on #1. People often ask why waiters and retail workers are better at deescalating conflict than the police. A big part of that is the fact that there’s an upper limit to what regular people can do in a conflict. The police don’t have that limit, and they should. There’s the old phrase, “When you have a hammer, everything looks like a nail.” Well, when you have a gun, everything looks like a target. Disarm the police and they will figure out how to deescalate dangerous situations.
- Expand the power and scope of the Environmental Protection Agency: It may be a trite phrase, but we only have one planet. We’d best keep it livable.
- Do whatever it takes to solve climate change: This one is huge and will impact many areas. Part of it will be treating the climate crisis like we did the space race and spending as much as is needed. Part of it will be altering behaviors through regulations and the tax code and things like that. Most importantly, we need to treat it like an actual crisis and mobilize in the way we did for WWII.
- Aggressively prosecute white collar crime: White collar crime hurts a lot more people a lot more severely than what we typically think of when we think of crime. It should be treated proportionally to the actual harm it does.
- Amend the Constitution to overturn Citizens United: Get private money out of politics. All campaigns should only use public funds. If Jeff Bezos and I were both running for town council, we should have exactly the same budget from exactly the same source. No unfair advantages from personal wealth. Politics would be better if people from all classes and backgrounds were involved.
- All voting districts will be drawn by an independent, non-partisan panel: I would even be in favor of having the United Nations or some other true outsider draw our districts. Gerrymandering is disgusting and needs to stop.
- Open the borders: We should have virtually limitless immigration. Immigrants are, and always have been, good for America. When I say virtually, it is only because I’d be apt to deny Putin access if there were a coup in Russia and he were seeking asylum. Most anyone else who wants to be here should be welcomed.
- Fund space exploration: Star Trek isn’t going to just happen on its own.
- Universal healthcare: I’m tired of being the only rich country that can’t figure this one out. It’s long overdue.
- Expand the social safety net: Things like unemployment and hunger are rarely the victim’s fault. People should be protected from misfortune, not punished for it.
- Reparations: If Germany can pay reparations to Jewish people, we can find our way to this. We caused the damage, we should do our best to repair it.
I think that’s enough for now. I know I didn’t go into a lot of detail. If you’re curious about anything I mentioned, let me know and I’ll be happy to write a whole post about it. And if I missed anything, let me know. I want to do as much good as I can in my fantasy world.