I’m happy as a clam over the election results, or maybe it’s because a massive hot flash has just abated and I’m euphoric in its wake, but I’m going to get momentarily political and write up my wish list for the new Congress…
1. I want my Constitution back, I want my Bill of Rights back, and I want it firmly entrenched that no President, Vice-President, overblown member of Congress, or any other self-important, short-sighted, dangerously arrogant sumbumminagun EVER, EVER, EVER tries to subvert or avoid any part of either of them ever again. Period. I am mad as hell that you Beltway trolls have treated these documents like badly written cheat sheets for a pass/fail class you don’t really need. What the hell’s the matter with you all? Are you NEW?
These are the only things that make us the “good guys” in a world constantly aiming for personal aggrandizement and corrupted power, and I am done listening to stupid, made up excuses as to why we have to stop at least trying to be the good guys and take a short and very slippery step into “situational ethics”. Bite me and my dog. Twice.
2. We pay our bills today or we do without. That’s the way sensible households are run, it’s the way sensible corporations are run, and a government that runs on pure, unadulterated, short-sighted debt is not something I want to bequeath to my children, my grandchildren, or any other descendant. I can stand a little shenanigizing for the sake of the common good. Social security is sometimes the only thing our elderly people get, and it still isn’t enough, but it is something. I understand that some areas are going to show some debt; some are going to rely, prudently and routinely, on various manipulations of the financial sort. I understand this will raise my taxes, but I want to see the bills paid with those taxes, not more bills run up on my credit.
If we can’t afford huge departments, feckless wars, and more goodies for the White House and Congress, then we have to do without them, not just run the national MasterCard up beyond the limit; the finance charges alone will cripple my children and all their friends. If our current administrators had to pay for the bills they’ve run up, they’d all be living on Mac ‘n Cheese and wearing hand-me-down clothes, and we all know it. Grow up, government!
3. No more lobbyists. Corporations are not people and they don’t vote. Industries are not people and they don’t vote. It has also been legislated that neither entity has to pay penalties for behaving irresponsibly – they can declare false bankruptcy and escape from the responsibilities they foist on individual citizens without restraint. That needs to be reexamined. They pay taxes (sometimes) on what they earn (sometimes). But they don’t, can’t, and shouldn’t vote because they don’t get ill, get old, become disabled, and they aren’t humans with compassion and an eye to the future. They are never children, they are never parents, and they are always crappy neighbors.
No lobbyists, no lobbyist gifts, air plane rides, monies, sticky pads, golf trips, sponsored dinners, nothing. Not even so much as a piece of sponge cake or a Sharpie with an imprint from any lobbyist whatsoever. You Congresscritters can listen to organizations dedicated to the common good, such as the AARP, unions, grassroots organizations, etc., but you take nothing from them more than an understanding of their issues. Same for industries and corporate cronies. Everything needs to be completely transparent, conducted in front of C-SPAN cameras, and available for public review, without delays, upon demand.
4. Shut up, sit down, and get out of the way on issues that influence how people live their private lives. I don’t care if it’s smoking, alternative lifestyles, religious choice, reproductive choice, etc. It doesn’t belong in the public arena. People can sink their own boats, float them, learn their own lessons, or live stupid. It’s up to each individual to do so, and the people in their immediate surrounds, not some Wonkasaur humping for votes and public acclaim from the feeble minded, co-dependent, control freak element of the populace, to deal with and speak up or shut up. You already have my quarter; I hereby authorize you to use it to buy a clue.
5. Education reform. You have successfully legislated us into being the dumbest nation on the planet. We have been outclassed by third world countries using sticks and dirt diagrams to teach mathematics; foreigners living in yurts and wearing animal skins speak better English than 40% of our resident population, and nearly half of Americans earnestly believe that evolution and creationism are equally credible scientific theories. I think you are done looking for the lowest common denominator now, you’ve found it.
It’s time to think about what really needs doing in order to make our country strong, full of justifiable pride in its education, and make it stick. Real math with real tools and concrete results. English language tests that are not subject to fuzzy politics when dealing with extant literature. Compound-complex sentences that are diagrammed and understood. Science that is replicable and internationally credible. Learning support for the intellectually disadvantaged.
Oh, and while NCLB’s smooshy goals were kind of a good idea, you left out the accountability benchmarks. “To state standards” isn’t good enough, since we all know that the bureaucrats will merely lower the bar so you can see them easier to praise them. There is one, very unpopular solution, but it’s long past due. Unambiguous, extremely specific, national standards for teacher qualifications and student benchmarks of progress. Get over the states’ rights issue on this; we are a nation of nomads, and my middle school needs to know what the new kid from Miami can do, so they can place him properly and help him really learn, not just warm a seat.
Yee-haw, and I've got my eye on you all!