As it's Election season again, I dug up an Facebook note that I humbly submit as a conversation starter.
Hello, my name is Franklyn Thomas and I'd like to announce my candidacy for... well, whatever you got. I'm not a politician, nor do I have any political experience, but that hasn't stopped some out there (I'm looking at you, Mr. Paladino from New York). I'm not terribly angry as much as I'm tired of people who claim to have my best interest at heart, but don't. I figure, hey, these guys are running on sound bites, I might try to run on something else: ideas. Duh moment: this country has problems. We need solutions. Not the solutions that have been crammed down our throats for generations, new solutions from this era. From us, not some wrinkled old dude.
For starters, as Americans we've been conditioned to believe for the last 30 years or so that the wealthy will save us if we just hand them money. That is the essential concept behind trickle-down economics. The problem is, it doesn't work. Not in this economy. It may work in a situation where we made stuff, manufactured things, but these days our prime export is debt. We buy and sell debt like it's wood or brick or steel. We don't manufacture anything on a global scale anymore. This is a problem that is endemic to the bottom and has worked its way to the top of our system. People would prefer to be ballers than bricklayers, to be power brokers instead of handling power tools. How do we combat it? We address the bottom of the structure. As your elected official, I would push forth legislation that would allow the government to make it easier for our children and young adults to be educated, and for our educators to be better compensated and appreciated. This would include a mandatory minimum salary for teachers in the public system that would provide a 50% increase in pay across the board. In return, I would insist that a similarly mandatory accountability system that would be handled by an impartial group of parents, alumni, and teachers in the region to rank our teachers and the job that they do. From the student's side, I would introduce legislation that would sponsor optional region-specific curriculum to better prepare students for post-educational life in these regions. For instance: our farming states in the middle of the country would benefit from eduating our youth in how to work a farm, how to manage crops and farm labor, animal care, how to turn a profit. This educational approach could be applied to a wide variety of problems plaguing our society today; teach our children how to better their communities, and those communities will better their towns, their states, and the country on a whole.
Expanding on this point, my government would be willing to abate most or all of the collegiate expense of the children and young adults who enrolled in a program that addressed a specific need in their region or in the country as a whole. our infrastructure is crumbling, especially in smaller towns and cities across the United States; we need visionary engineers to help us fortify it. My administration would set up a "farm system" of sorts, where we pay for engineers to be educated to their bachelors level, and they work on rebuilding our roads and cities for 10 years. We need educators; students who would be willing to nurture their love of teaching would find the United States very appreciative of their efforts. We need to solve our energy crisis within my lifetime so that my grandchildren will not have to bear the punishment of what we have put into our atmosphere for so many generations. My administration would be willing to fund the dreams of the wide-eyed optimists entering college expressly to figure out how.
I believe in the ideal that the role and purpose of government is not just to defend, but to invest in its people. The best of those investments in the education and the health of its people. And even though I'm sure it would cost me voters who believe that socialism is communism, I would support the defeated Public Option for healthcare. As a healthcare worker, I can tell you that the insurance companies do not care about you. They care about their profits, same as any other business. I would not deny them their right to make money, however part of their purpose is to make it so that being ill doesn't make you broke. The insurance companies have not been living up to that. Capitalism is the theory of letting the market decide. I believe we should introduce a government backed option, similar to the option that is already extended to federal workers and politicians, that offers reduced cost health care. The response of the industry could only be to reduce their cost, to not repel customers and to end the general (excuse my French) fuckery they have perpetrated on us for the last 30 years. This may not be as important to the people of New York or Washington state, who already have the benefit of several insurance companies competing over your hard earned dollar. However, states like Alabama or Tennessee, whose single, statewide insurance companies leave options limited to "eat shit" and "like it" could benefit from this.
The third prong of my campaign falls under energy independence. This isn't simply about finding new oil wells on our land and seas; this is about changing our worldview. The reason why the Middle Eastern nations are such an important thing to us is solely about the vast reservoirs of oil they sit upon. We make bad deals over it. We fight bad wars over it. Our mindset must change. Developing a new, sustainable energy source must be our top priority, if for no other reason than it will remove the leverage of groups like al-Qaeda, who can find refuge in oil-bearing nations who love our dollars and hate our ways. We can end the extortion by finding another way.
My ideas on this are a little different. This country is not homogenous. The landscape alone could be divided into six different nations with six different needs and six different sets of resources. We can make practical use of the winds in the midwest, the sun in the desert, the water along the Mississippi and so forth to power our nation. The point is, we can figure out a way to power our nation without fighting another oil war, without worrying about another oil rig exploding. Ever. And as your elected official, I would work tirelessly, day and night to do so.
Lastly, and most importantly, I'd like to outline my plan for the unemployment rate. Harsh, severe taxation for American companies who do more than 20% of their manufacturing overseas. There is simply no room for that kind of outsourcing in today's economy. There is no reason why these practices should be allowed to continue. Conversely, I would like to initiate tax breaks for companies who bring their manufacturing jobs back home. Overseas companies who do manufacturing in the US would be subject to the same taxation; heavy taxes for not utilizing American workers for products made and sold in the US, tax reprieves for high employment.
So, in conclusion, my fellow Americans, I would look forward to seeing you on Election Day, and we begin the work of saving our country and our planet.
... ah who am I kidding? I'm no politician. And this liberal-leaning blog post has probably cost me more friends than I would have had votes. Still, it's nice to dream about a politician who had more than his career in mind when he voted on shit. Oh well.