If I were the President

My friend Alan Hirsch, in a ridiculous moment, suggested I should be President of the United States, so I decided to play around with the idea.

I think it would be necessary to declare a day of national mourning that the country had managed to elect someone so spectacularly incompetent, but then, it wouldn't be the first time... perhaps I'll skip that idea.*

My next concern be to do something about America's deficit... 16 trillion dollars is a lot of debt, and much of it is unproductive.

My first target would be military spending. Spending around five times more than the next most heavily invested country in military spending seems completely disproportionate... spending twice as much would still make the US a military superpower. I think I will be moderate and cut defense spending in half, freeing up $355.5 billion dollars annually.

I'd also like to do something about incarceration rates... the financial cost, and the cost in terms of human misery, is a terrible thing. Having incarceration rates six times higher than the global average is absurd: the country has less than 5% of the world's population and almost a quarter of its prisoners. I would direct funds toward drug rehabilitation, mentoring programs, community service programs, diversion programs, and endeavour to enact federal laws that would shift the judicial system toward rehabilitation and redemption, especially for younger and less serious offenders. And I would abolish the death penalty. Killing someone is wrong, therefore you shall be killed, is just silly.

Walking around populated areas with guns is just nuts: the death rate from gun violence in this country is horrendous. I don't mind you having your registered guns locked up, and being transported while locked to a shooting range or a hunting area, but if you carry them on you anywhere else you'll be fined on the spot. When Enemy Forces invades the country, you're allowed to use them... until the foreign invasion begins, I don't want citizens killed. No arguments.

I take global warming seriously, so I'll introduce a universal carbon tax, half of which will be used as compensation to the poor and middle class on a sliding scale depending on need, and half of which will be used for research and incentives toward cleaner greener energy. Some of you might feel you can't afford to drive your SUV around any more, but that will just make parking easier for the rest of us... it's hard to see past the darn things.

I don't want our soldiers (or anyone else) killed in ridiculous wars abroad. I shall endeavour to genuinely befriend foreign leaders with whom we have serious disputes. I shall put significant resource into research about and the practice of peace-making... it's not only morally better, it's cheaper too. Jesus had a bit to say about the Peace-makers.

I'd like to encourage deep listening and respectful dialogue, anywhere and everywhere, and begin by modelling this.

I'd like to initiate local community-building initiatives. Some things don't cost a lot of money, they just require vision. The worst scourge of the Western World is loneliness. I'd like to talk to all manner of church and community groups to see how we can make our society a kinder place, and encourage all to know and to care for their neighbors.

And although I do take debt seriously, extreme poverty is the moral issue of our day. Today we look back on Nazi Germany and wonder: "how could good people have overlooked such evil?" I sometimes think people will look back on the early 21st century and wonder how we tolerated extreme poverty, when eliminating it was in our power. Therefore I would increase government aid channeled primarily through credible local aid groups, and encourage other world governments to do likewise.

Actually, I don't really want to be President. It would be an awful job. And my ideas would make me unelectable. And let's not forget... I'm not actually American. But it's interesting to think about what you would like to do if you had a lot of temporal power. What would you like to do, if you were the President?

* Note: Australian sense of humour... you'll get used to it.


Anonymous said…
I love the platform! You are great in my eyes. But you ain't going to get elected on this! We'll drink to your failure.
Janet Woodlock said…
I'm being playful really... what would you like to do in such a position of power? :-) Theoretically speaking, of course!
Anonymous said…
In your scenario, Janet, I'd run for the position of "Assistant President"! Lucy J
Janet Woodlock said…
I'd put you in charge of facilitating creativity then Lucy :-)Creativity programs for schools and community groups... yeh.

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