Saturday, April 21, 2012
A World of the Left or of the Right?
I receive dozens, if not more, emails daily from various groups outlining their own spin of some event (like the "war on women" or some "anti-worker" bill). It never ceases to amaze me as to how many there are to spin an issue. I've often wondered what it would be like if what they said was the literal truth. Think about it for a moment. What if Democrats really were Communist-loving Leftist after your guns? How far do you think they'd really get? Are the Democrats seriously out to destroy the Constitution and Bill of Rights and replace it with Das Kapital? Or that there is a secret cabal in some dark dingy room under the Pentagon hovering over a well worn copy of "Mein Kampf", hatching their nefarious plans to strangle workers' rights, to force "working families" into servitude. Are the Republicans really out to wage a "war against women"? I can't imagine a successful outcome to that conflict when they have to explain it to their wives and girlfriends! The absurdity is mindboggling. But, still, I confess to getting a kick at watching how one "news" network will spin one series of events, and then flip the channel to see how the other "news" network spins the same issue. Sometimes it's like they're talking about completely different issues (and occasionally, like whatever happened took place in an alternative reality). This got me to thinking (always dangerous, I know). What would our life be if the Right or Left totally won the ideological battle? Complete and utter annihilation of the other side. What would it be like? If you were a Conservative, I suspect there would be a very small federal government. States would dominate. If the majority of them agreed that a specific policy worked, it would be adopted at the national level. There would be few, if any restrictions on business. Survival of fittest would be the first (and only) rule of business. Those that outperformed their competition, would prevail. Those which didn't would be swept away into the dustbin of history (or to be more capitalistic, simply recycled). There would be no regulations for air, water, or for that matter, labor. Certainly, unions, if they even existed, would be near impotent while existing labor laws would be abolished. There would exist a almost vigilante mentality when it came to crime, so there wouldn't be much need for prison. Justice would be swift and for sure. In fact, carrying firearms openly would be common place, so robberies, carjacking, and rapes may be all but non-existent. Drugs, on the other hand, would largely be legal since government would have no right to control what you did to yourself so long as one else was affected. Conservatives would demand prayer in school. A good old fashioned fundamentalist Christian "fire and brimstone" prayer. Students would be required to stand and say the Pledge of Allegiance, "under God" and everyone else's eyes. There would be no discipline issues. Butt whoopings would be the order of the day for any outbursts or misbehavior. The school curriculums would be tightly regimented with little diversity or thought to conflict with Manifest Destiny and American Exceptionalism. The role of education would be to instill discipline, respect for authority, and pride of citizenship in the future worker bees of Cubicle America. Woe be to the student who failed to keep up since there would be no public safety net. Charity would indeed start at home, assuming you could afford one. With no government regulations, buyers of everything from cars to dishwashers to homes and service repairers be aware! Banks and financial companies would be free to charge as they please, so to the savvy buyers goes the unspoiled (especially since there would likely be no FDA to monitor food quality). Social security, Medicare, Medicaid, and workers compensation wouldn't exist since each would be responsible for their own retirement. Marriages may be as much a matter of mutual economic assistance as love, but one thing for certain, it would be hetro. Diversity would be more a matter of recipes than religion or ethnic heritage since immigration would be curtailed to critical shortages only, and then, limited to those willing to adapt culturally and linguistically. Their religious practices may be allowed, but only at the consent of the state. Orthodoxy of faith will be seen as a sure sign of God's blessing on this nation. Doubtless, the IRS would not exist and neither would the departments of Education, EPA, or Commerce. Taxes would be based on either consumption or a flat tax with states allocating a portion to the federal government based a vote by the citizens. Education and environment have been dealt with. Commerce between states would be based on mutual cooperation and consent, with an occasional "turf dispute" arising from time to time (probably decided by the outcome of a college football bowl game). So, there you have a snippet if the Conservative Cause prevails. Now, what if the Left emerges victorious? In the world of Left, things would be much different. we would have very little to worry ourselves about since the federal government would manage every aspect of our lives from cradle to grave (indeed, even before then, since would-be moms would be mandated to maintain prescribed diets and health regimens in order to insure a healthy birth for the proud parent State-to-be), and if you did find yourself worrying about your place in New World Order, then worry no more since our comprehensive healthcare system would provide you--free of charge---mental healthcare coverage (provided you are not over age 55, in which case, you no longer qualify). Yes, we would enjoy the benefits of an all caring and encompassing social system which promotes everything from the type of cooking oils you may use to how many hours of exercise per day you will undertake to the new low emission high mileage hybrid you drive (provided, of course, you have paid your monthly public road use fee), or you can stay at home in your hydro/solar powered home. If you're lucky, you may have enough energy usage coupons saved up to purchase a air quality permit for that annual May 1st cookout (the Fourth of July cookout having been outlawed due to its obvious nationalist implications). Naturally, all meals will be organic; having used the latest natural based chemically enhanced growing agents available and grown in the most modern commercial hothouses. For the after meal clean up, all utensils and most plates are biodegradable while others are cleaned using your solar heated steam faucet (which sterilizes and saves water at the same time; the water is recycled for flushing). Of course, this can be confusing, so there will be ample government monitoring stations available to help assist you in the event you should have any questions, or periodically forget to comply. Instead of a sovereign nation, America would exist as territorial designation only since nations as such no longer exists. Borders would be open. Each territory will be administered by an agency under overall control of the United Nations. Our electronic technology would allow complete and instant translations of everything, from commercials to road signs. Gone will be cash. Every transactions will be electronic. In addition to the government monitoring stations, government approved assistance is only an app away on every electronic devise. Crime too is a thing of the past. Starting from birth (pre-birth actually), everyone is monitored for an deviant behavior. What can't be corrected through early "time out" or discussing anger issues, can easily be addressed using current psycho-drug therapy. After all, since one doesn't "naturally" choose to be angry, there is no need to accept blame for its actions is there? Corporations too would cease to exist. What were once formerly businesses, would now be credit earning entities, controlled by and for the territorial governing agency which oversees the administration of, well, everything. Most individuals would continue to seeking to maximize their credits, however, everyone will be guaranteed to minimum monthly income in addition to available programs for housing, food, and of course, healthcare. With a 75% tax rate, most will choose to remain part time employees. This leaves ample time to enjoy the pristine environment, thanks to mandated pollution control. However, one may not step on grassy areas; use water found in open areas or in any other way, impact directly or indirectly the naturally existing environment. Otherwise, have a beautiful day. And while all cultures as welcomed and accepted, some restrictions will remain such as the prohibition of "honor murders" (there are some things which are inexcusable, even to the Left). Marriage will be open...really open...and no longer restricted by gender. People will be allowed to marry whomever or whatever they choose, and there will be no prohibition to the number of concurrent spouses or "significant others" one may have. Abortions will remain legal with no restrictions on age and no parental consent required given the personal and private nature of the matter. Schools will permit open curriculums, with each student being allowed to take whatever course they enjoy and excel it (though there will be no grades; only positive reinforcement) and employment upon completion of a minimum number of courses is guaranteed. There will be constructs with respect to one's religion (or lack thereof). Drugs will be decriminalized, though largely unavailable due to the consumption and recreation taxes (which may be waived with a government issued prescription). Sports will largely remain the same, but there will be no final scores kept since everyone wins by simply participating. And there you have it. What life would be like if all the emails I receive from the Left and Right played out. Kinda makes Donley Kong looks sensible doesn't it? We Can All Do Better by Bill Bradley 155 pages I've always respected Senator Bill Bradley. Throughout his career, he always seemed to be one of the few good guys in Washington. Of course, every time a current or former politician or political pundit writes a book, I try to maintain a little healthy skepticism. I'm always concerned that it's going to be another "gotcha" book. More than a few seem to be trying to impress themselves with their name dropping or playing some partisan 'blame game". I was impressed, however, with this book. First, it wasn't a "gotcha" book. There was finger pointing to be sure, but it was deliberate and deserving as a book of this type should be. Senator Bradley does an excellent job in explaining to the reader the core reasons for the failure of Washington to solve our problems. It's clear from the outset that the Senator is addressing ordinary citizens not the usual politicos attracted to similar books, nor is he writing to tout his achievements, which are impressive in themselves and well deserved. This is a book meant to explain and to inspire action, which it accomplishes and much more. At the heart of the book is the failure of our elected leader to move beyond the pettiness of partisan politics to reach a consensus that benefits the general public. Part of this failure is that the system itself has been corrupted by both parties to prevent change while practically institutionalizing the perpetual campaign. Blame is carefully crafted and spun as fine as fool's gold is deceiving. There was a time when, despite political ideology, individuals from both parties came together at the end of the day to reach a common consensus. America's interest came first. Not anymore. Today, it's lobbyists and Super PACS who are the play makers, and it's in dollars raised that the political game is scored while the American voter looks on in mesmerizing disbelief like watching a slow motion crash, except this crash is that of his world and everything he took for granted. What I enjoyed, and appreciated the most as a concerned citizen, was the Senator's explanation and history of the issues and his realistic non-partisan formula for changing the status quo. To many similar books offer "pie in the sky" solutions or blames this party or the other. Senator Bradley, while a Democrat, was equally critical of his own party as he was the Republicans. But it was his suggestions, drawn from his years of experience couple with a working class common sense, which sets this book apart. If you're concerned about America and you're looking for an explanation of how we got where we are and what we can do about it, then "We Can All Do Better" by Senator Bill Bradley is the book for you. America is in serious trouble. We have too many pundits trying to tell us who to blame. What we are sorely lacking are solutions. This book is good start.