I’m writing this laying in bed with my head on a Hello Kitty pillow, listening to one of the many works-in-progress and trying to convince myself that it’s fine as it is, because if it isn’t I have to do more to it and this piece consists of a bunch of layers of me improvising for seventy-seven(ish) minutes per track on stringed instruments – tenor banjo, mandolin, guitar, bass – which I’ve been doing at least once each evening this week and I don’t fuckin’ feel like it. I also don’t feel like getting to work doing the ridiculously fine-line, dense doodling on the 16” by 20” sketch of Shiva, Lord of the Dance, that I have my feet on. So this is what I’m doing.
There’s been a lot of political talk around the tables where I drink coffee and enjoy fine tobacco with the various misfits and social rejects who comprise my antisocial circle lately. It’s kind of annoying because there are so many more interesting things to talk about, but there it is. What’re ya gonna do? I am at least as opinionated as anybody, but my opinions are well thought out and sensible, unlike those of some imbeciles, so I’m going to share them right here and now. Get ready.
We do not live in a Democracy; we live in a Democratic Republic. Look it up. India is a Democracy. If we want to live in a Democracy – I, for one, do – we should learn from India.
- The Economy
First, we kill the top 1%. Then we divide up their stuff. Then we switch over to a system that actually works well for everybody and doesn’t glorify and reward the worst of human characteristics: democratic socialism.
- States’ Rights
As a true son of the South, I am for States’ Rights as much as I can possibly be. The Constitution pretty clearly gives a lot of power to the States and I support that. Of course, the States have to agree on some things: common currency, national security, no slavery. That last might seem like a given, but whenever one is referring to the Constitution, one should be clear about whether or not one agrees with Thomas Jefferson’s pro-slavery policy. The Constitution is a fine document which was created and approved by a group of men who believed that people of color and women were inferior to themselves.
I heard the governor of Texas on the radio recently bragging about how conservative the Lone Star state is, as opposed to liberal California. I completely support States having personalities. I enjoy regional differences. California should be allowed, encouraged even, to go as wacky as they wanna, while Texans should be allowed to have even bigger cowboy hats and to build a fucking wall if they wanna pay for it. Christ, I’d be happy to let Texas secede from the Union.
Wind and solar, duh. Existing hydroelectric dams, but no new ones. No nuclear. Nuclear is the only option that is even worse than fossil fuels. Phase out fossil fuels. Reward innovation. The ocean is moving constantly, so why don’t we harness the tides to create electricity? I’m sure there is no end to the possibilities for generating usable power if we get rid of the fossil fuel and nuclear options.
- Welfare Reform
Revive the Workers’ Projects of America. Anybody getting anything from the Government has to work for it. Picking up trash by the highways, digging ditches, building wind farms, giving enemas to old people, whatever.
- Obesity Epidemic
If people wanna be fat, let ‘em be fat.
- Foreign Policy
Well, I’ve already ended our reliance on foreign oil, which means I’ve ended all our current wars, so that ends a lot of foreign policy right there. Foreign powers are our global neighbors, so we should adopt a good neighbor policy, which mostly means minding our own damn business. Of course, we should try to help out our neighbors who need help, starting with Haiti.
Haiti became Haiti when African slaves rose up and drove out the slavers. That’s awesome. That’s exactly the kind of determination for freedom that the U.S. of A. supposedly appreciates, but unfortunately for the Haitians, they did it at a time when the U.S. of A. was still thriving on African slaves. If the white slavers in Haiti had been British, the U.S. might have sent troops down to help suppress the rebellion, but they weren’t British, they were French and Catholic, so the U.S. just ignored the whole affair, assuming that the new country of Haiti would collapse, leaving the island and the Africans up for grabs. Haiti has been struggling to survive ever since and the U.S. has never offered Haiti a hand or given a shit. It is disgusting and disgraceful that the wealthiest country in the Western Hemisphere does nothing while the people of the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere continue to live in unsanitary refugee camps. They’re only two-hundred miles away, for Christ’s sake. How hard would it be to help Haiti build an infrastructure?
As much as we would all love to live in a world without war, that’s probably not going to happen. There will always be Hitlers and there is no pacifist way of dealing with them. Sending thousands of troops onto heavily fortified beaches and into jungles full of snipers and booby traps is costly, both in terms of lives and supplies. Therefore, I would switch to small, surgical strikes by highly trained operatives. Assassins, basically. If the Allies had put an assassin on Hitler in 1939, World War II wouldn’t’ve happened.
What? Unethical? Fuck off. Conventional warfare is a hundred times unethical. Assassins are far more ethical and cost effective.
Muslims are not terrorists, though some terrorists are Muslims. Some people who claimed to be Christians have bombed abortion clinics and murdered doctors, but that doesn’t make Christians terrorists. The reason some people in predominately Muslim countries don’t love Americans is that they’ve been on the shit end of our big stick for decades, what with all the interference and oil grabbing and shit. Once we’re no longer dependent on oil and have begun to recover from capitalism, we might be able to establish friendly relations with the predominantly Muslim countries, but until then, we should leave them alone.
Anybody who fucks with us on our soil gets killed.
If somebody wants to be Communist, why should I care? It obviously doesn’t work. The handful of countries that still call themselves Communist are falling apart or gradually switching to another system, mostly capitalism. Ignore Communism; it’ll go away.
- Gay Marriage
Should all Americans have equal legal rights? Of course.
Should churches be compelled to do anything by the government? Of course not.
The problem with gay marriage isn’t that it’s gay; the problem with gay marriage is that it’s marriage and marriage straddles the wall of separation between church and state. What we need is two forms of union: one, civil, which I will call “civil union”; the other, religious, which I will call “marriage”. Any two people go to a Justice of the Peace or ship captain or whatever and get a civil union. Any two people go to a church and the church has the right to decide whether or not it will marry them. The church I go to would marry two gays. Another church wouldn’t. Some people might like to get married and civilly unioned. I would prefer to get a cup of coffee.
In all honesty, it’s amazing to me that anybody gives a shit if two gays get married. I don’t care if straight people get married. What fucking difference does it make? Marriage is a dead horse. Nobody expects marriages to last anymore, unless they’re Amish or terminally naïve. You wanna live with somebody, make a commitment to monogamy and create a partnership? Fine, so do I. I continue to hope that someday I’ll meet a woman with whom I can have that kind of relationship, but what do the Church and secular powers have to do with it? I keep hearing assholes who are in their third or fourth marriage yammering about how we have to defend marriage. Fucking ridiculous.
- Gays In The Military
Who cares? I don’t care.
- Gays In The Boy Scouts
Ya know, I was a Boy Scout and I think it’s a stupid organization. The whole thing was concocted by some Brit as a way of training boys for the military starting at age twelve. Seriously. It’s all uniforms and flag-folding and marching around in straight lines. I was only in it until I got big enough to hit my father back and then I dropped out. We did manage to have fun sometimes, when we snuck away from whatever adult supervisor was following us around trying to force us to tie knots or start campfires without matches. I learned some useful stuff, like how to tie knots and start campfires without matches, but I could’ve learned that stuff without all the saluting and memorizing creeds and slogans and oaths. At any rate, I think the Boy Scouts should be allowed to exclude gays and blacks and Irish and Jews and whoever they want to exclude. Give ‘em enough freedom to exclude and they’ll whittle themselves down to a handful of blond-haired, blue-eyed Protestant American kids using their pocket knives to fend off the pedophiles who become adult supervisors for Boy Scout troops. Somebody else will organize camping trips and kids will be able to enjoy camping and learn some cool stuff without all the boo-rah stupidity.
Unless I knocked a woman up, it is none of my business if she has an abortion. I propose that we all mind our own business.
Legalize marijuana immediately. Marijuana should be regulated and taxed by the States and sold in ABC stores, package stores, red dot stores, or whatever the liquor stores are called in the various States.
- Other drugs
All other drugs should also be legalized, but people should have to take a class and obtain a permit before they buy heroin or crank at the ABC store, which would be renamed the ABCD store, for Alcoholic Beverage Control & Drugs. The purpose of the classes would be to educate people about the risks associated with the use of certain drugs. There are risks. I believe in educated choices. If someone is educated about the risks associated with smoking crack and they still want to do it, they should be able to smoke crack. Just say know.
Americans like guns. Guns are not going to go away. Guns are not the problem any more than they are the solution. I’m not exactly sure what the problem is, but whatever it is, it’s pretty huge. Any country that has as much gun violence as this one has a systemic problem which needs to be dealt with. The gun debate is a smoke-screen issue, which serves no purpose except for distracting people from getting to the root cause of the problem.
- Teenage Pregnancy
They got this thing now that they put in a woman’s arm and she doesn’t get pregnant for five years. All girls should have that put in as part of their First Menses Celebration. Vasectomies, which are reversible, should be free. Reversing vasectomies should not be free.
When I was a kid, I understood that racism was a bad thing. One should not be racist. I honestly believed that I was not a racist. Then, in my mid-twenties, I realized that it was impossible for anyone, specifically me, to grow up in a racist society and not absorb some of it. The ugly truth was that beneath my liberal exterior, beneath my denial, I was walking around with some plain old Southern racist assumptions and feelings. I knew they were wrong, but they were still there. It was a shocking and disturbing realization which I handled poorly: I talked about it too much, offended some people and made others uncomfortable. It was necessary, though. I couldn’t do anything about it until I acknowledged that it was true. I was a racist. Not in a white supremacist way, but in the more subtle “I’m not a racist but…” sort of way, though I was too smart to use that phrase. I have made a huge amount of progress.
I worked for a few years in an Ethiopian restaurant which was owned by immigrants from Ethiopia. That place was like the U.N. We had Ethiopians, of course, and representatives from Mexico, Eritrea, Guatemala, Columbia and Taiwan, as well as gays and lesbians, blacks who were descended from slaves and some plain ol’ white folks like myself. Everybody there assumed that everybody else was basically decent and open-minded, so race was something that we could talk about. We could even joke about it.
One time, I was behind the line, finishing an order. I was about to go smoke and a ticket popped up. I said “Shit, what is with you people?” Immediately, the three servers on the other side – a Chinese woman, an Ethiopian woman and a black man - turned and said, in unison, “What do you mean ‘you people’?” Immediately, we all busted out laughing. I had meant servers and they had all responded as if I had been referring to race, which was a knee-jerk reaction to living in a racist society. It was funny and there was no need for me to explain or anybody to apologize because we all got it.
In order for us to root out our national racism, we first have to admit that it is there. We all have some little bit of racism, no matter what color we are or where and when we grew up. Then, we have to talk about it. We have to openly discuss what we find within ourselves. I used to feel uncomfortable in the presence of mixed-race couples. I don’t like that that was true, but it was. I absorbed that discomfort from my family, my community, my society. Talking about this shit is uncomfortable, but it’s the only way to get it out. Denial will never work. It doesn’t have to be some big serious thing. We can talk openly and respectfully and we can laugh at ourselves. Like we would if we were among friends, which we might be if we got rid of the barriers.
- National Service
I am totally in favor of mandatory national service. Everybody should have to do eighteen months of national service starting when they’re eighteen, either civil service or military service, in a state other than the one they grew up in. This is a big country with a lot of amazing features and it can only be good to see some of it. We’re a big community and it can only be good to meet some other community members and contribute to the whole. Maybe we could send some kids down to Haiti to build infrastructure.
My kid will never see the inside of a public school unless I take her with me when I vote. She goes to a Montessori school and could write her name before her fourth birthday. If all parents put their kids in Montessori schools, the tuition would go down, which would be cool. The grrrl will make her own decisions when she’s older, but I will encourage her to get her G.E.D. at sixteen, go to trade school and then to college. She’d learn good stuff in her mandatory national service, too. I have a college degree and currently work in the trades. It’s a good life.
Sure, some parents and kids won’t do all that, but that’s fine too. We will always need people to work the overnight shift at 7-Eleven.
- Prayer In Public Schools
Pray in public schools all ya wanna – ain’t nothin’ stoppin’ ya. Seriously, there is no law or statute prohibiting prayer in public schools. That’s a lie made up by Right-Wing nutjobs.
Read the inscription on the Statue of Liberty.
- Medical Care
- Public Works
- Social Programs
Everybody pays the same percentage. Don’t wanna pay taxes? Go live in a country with no taxes.
Hmmm…I believe I have pretty much eliminated poverty. Let me just add, nobody goes hungry or homeless unless they want to.
With no poverty and drugs legal, crime is just about eliminated. There would still be the occasional psychopath, rapist and/or pedophile. They would be locked up in insane asylums where psychiatry majors would experiment on them. Or they could be trained as assassins and sent on suicide missions.
- Social Security
The Social Security system is fine, except for the fact that there are a fuck of a lot of Baby Boomers. Fucking Baby Boomers. They really fucked shit up. They had the numbers to make some positive changes in the world and they pissed it away smoking weed and listening to the fucking Beatles, for fuck’s sake. Then, they elected Reagan. Once the Baby Boomers die off, Social Security will fix itself. Until then, we just have to put up with them.
This isn’t a current political hot topic, but it’s something I thought of. Many of the peoples of pre-Christian Europe engaged in ritual regicide. Someone became king, either for a specific period of time or for as long as things were good. When the crops failed or the appointed time was up, the king was ritually killed. Frequently, the king’s body was cut up and the pieces were distributed to the various regions of the kingdom where they were “planted” to ensure the fertility of the land and the sanctity of the kingdom. I propose that we adopt the concept.
The president would be elected for a four-year term and would have the option of running for a second term, as it is now. The difference would be that when the new president is sworn in, the first thing s/he would do as president would be to ritually kill and dismember the old president. The body would be cut into fifty pieces, which would be distributed among the fifty states. Make that fifty-two, since it’s about goddamn time we let Puerto Rico and American Samoa into the club. Or fifty-one, since I’m still hoping that Texas will secede. Or fifty-two if we invite Haiti to be a state and they accept. Only people dedicated to public service would run for the presidency and we wouldn’t have former presidents wandering around being embarrassing.
So. That’s that. I have now solved all the problems our country currently has and I await a) my Nobel and b) more problems. One thing you can count on: people will always create more problems.
Brown Hat the Espresso Shaman
The pun is always intended.