Vote For Me

If America is primed for stupid decisions, I’d love to be their next mistake

We are still living in a world where Donald Trump is the President of the United States. That fact alone devalues the words President and United States. I struggle with the news cycle because with each new day it brings a fresh assault to the idea of basic human decency. If it’s not the clueless and vain way the white supremacist in chief responded to Hurricane Harvey it’s the way he sends his racist attack dog Jeff Sessions out to verbally assail immigrants while rescinding DACA. If you are searching for “good news” it would seem now that a few more persuadables have realized that the Republican Party is a cancer on our society and Trump is just the most malignant tumor.

I open with that to say that in this climate you would think a union of progressives and liberals would have found their core message in this environment. When it comes to presidential candidates it is a little early to actually be looking at any real politicians. There aren’t any that agree with me on every issue 100 percent of the time. So I decided to invent a candidate that does agree with me 100 percent of the time: Myself. I wouldn’t win but here it goes.

If I was a politician I probably wouldn’t do that well for several reasons. In an attempt to be pure I would unilaterally refuse any money from corporations, corporate lobbies, law firms, or any entity that has any stake in maintaining the current status quo of racial inequality in America. I would also vet any large donations from individuals within those types of organizations at a degree of scrutiny that is higher than that established by the IRS. I would do my best to recruit legal experts and scholars to poke holes in the Citizens United ruling and pursue overturning it with fury.

I would run on a platform of fixing our electoral system. First educating the public about the Electoral College, and gerrymandering and then explaining how both are systems designed to preserve white supremacy in the United States. I would demolish all “small government” conservatives by granting them their wish. If you are willing to publicly return all federal tax dollars and withdraw your reps and Senators from congress then you can shrink your state government to whatever size you want it.

I would be unelectable for even the local school board because I wouldn’t shy away from my atheism. At campaign rallies (which would admittedly be sparsely attended) I would speak freely. I would state unequivocally that black lives matter. I would trash charter schools for funneling valuable resources from public schools. I would tell the children of coal miners to dream bigger than their parents’ occupation because it won’t exist in 25 years. I would raise every teacher’s salary to be equivalent to the salary of their state’s Governor.

I would call Donald Trump a racist criminal and a vain coward. I would tell the Bernie Sanders and likeminded socialists to work with me to come up with an endorsable plan for free college and single payer health care (which I actually think are great ideas.)  I would pick a black running mate and not make a big deal out of it. (Two white people on a ticket are never forced to confront their racial homogeneity why should I and Vice President Killer Mike be any different).

When it comes to the tricky domain of international diplomacy I would reinforce the doctrine of mutually assured destruction that kept us all very afraid but free of nuclear war, while secretly pushing for nuclear disarmament behind closed doors without the pressure of an agitating media. I would decrease the U.S. presence in the Middle East while pursuing an energy policy that significantly decreases our reliance on fossil fuels in general and foreign oil in particular. I would only support military intervention in cases where United States or its NATO allies were attacked by an outside adversary.

I would pursue a tax policy that put money in the hands of the working poor. I would pursue an education policy that funneled the most vulnerable students into stable jobs instead of prison. Speaking of prison my criminal justice policy would no longer treat human beings as disposable. Funding for state and federal prisons would be tied to reduced recidivism meaning if you can’t train and/or educate the inmates for re-entry into society we’ll find a new warden.

Nonviolent drug offenses would no longer be criminal acts but instead require rehab and supportive counseling. Marijuana would be legalized and taxed. Grants would be given to districts with the most previous marijuana related arrests so that the communities most victimized by the war on drugs would benefit the most from this shift in priorities. A grace period for drug dealers over the age of 21 to become federally licensed marijuana dispensers would be given over a 4 year period. Anyone caught selling marijuana without a license would be subject to a fine and forfeit.

I would pursue an immigration policy based on the economic value that immigrants add to our society. With some taking the jobs nobody wants to do and others doing the jobs none of us are     qualified to do. There would be no Deferred Action for Early Childhood Arrivals because I would create a system to properly vet and place undocumented Americans (yes I called them Americans) on a path towards full citizenship.

If by some miracle I actually managed to get elected, I would most likely find out that there are some things about governing the most powerful nation on Earth that I did not consider. Since I would not be able to rely on the advice of the current occupant of the White House I would definitely seek the consul of Barack Obama. Unlike Trump I would take his advice to heart and do my best to learn the job.

The main thing preventing this of course is my rejection of corporate money and the fact that I am neither famous, nor a billionaire, nor a politician. I’d most likely be a horrible President. I’m impolitic, antisocial, I can be rude. I curse an awful lot. I’m a terrible negotiator. I have absolutely no poker face. I have never stood for the National Anthem. I’m not sure what truths we hold to be self evident. I would have a Playstation and an Xbox on Air Force One. Yeah I would probably suck at the job.

But so far I’m the only candidate I can trust. I forget who it was that said “Be the change you want”. I trusted our political system to vet and spit out qualified candidates for the highest office in the land. Yet since I’ve been alive George W. Bush was elected twice and Donald Trump once. Clearly I can’t trust America to make smart decisions. So if America is primed for stupid decisions, I’d love to be their next mistake. As a matter of fact that would be my campaign slogan “Vote For Me, America’s Next Mistake”.

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John McCain Is Just A Republican

Cruel. Irresponsible. Reckless. Selfish. Evil. These are just some of the words I’ve used to describe the Republicans and their agenda since 2009. Mitch McConnell, now the Senate Majority Leader, declared that his only agenda was to make sure Obama didn’t get re-elected. Let’s be clear, the opposition to Barack Obama’s presidency went beyond politics. America is hooked on two drugs Racism and Denial. I continue to believe that these two things are crippling our political system and it is threatening to collapse under the weight. Barack Obama by becoming President of the United States challenged the unstated belief that this is first and foremost a white Christian country and they just tolerate the rest of us.

I get through that preamble to say this: John McCain is just a Republican. When McCain returned to the Senate yesterday to vote yes on a motion to proceed on a horrendous piece of legislation whose main purpose is to take healthcare away from millions of Americans he was just doing what Republicans tend to do in this modern era. They may pretend to be individuals but they are a borg like collective who toe the party line, grit their teeth and pray that the American people are sufficiently fractured so that the masochistic poor whites and greedy rich ones can make it to the polls next November to keep them in office. The sad part about this whole experience is that isn’t really a risky bet.

John McCain has been trading on this “maverick” image for decades. I became aware of him in the Republican primaries during the 2000 election cycle. He seemed like a credible threat to the ascendancy of George W. Bush. However it was not to be and he remained that cantankerous Senator from Arizona. The one who occasionally said something bad about George W. Bush but voted in lock step with his agenda 90 percent of the time. Today he is that same person. He talks a good game to be sure. He all but lets us know how he feels about Donald Trump. But Trump’s agenda is the Republican Party’s agenda. And right now their primary goal is to destroy Obamacare. We can get into the reasons why but that’s a whole different subject.

American media has this way of covering politics the same way they do sports and entertainment. They want clear simple narratives. They want good guys and bad guys. They would like to be consistent in their treatment of a subject for the most part whether it’s fair or not. (see Clinton, Hilary). John McCain’s reputation as a war hero and now as a cancer survivor has pretty much guaranteed he will not face true scrutiny from the most prolific voices in mass media. In America our idea of honoring someone or something is to pretend their flaws don’t exist (see all the cop loving jingoists who believe the police can do no wrong).  The elevator pitch for John McCain was war hero. From there it became Maverick. Now it will be cancer survivor.

The ironic thing about this is that John McCain cancer survivor is the one who just yesterday showed up fresh from removal of a tumor to vote to take healthcare away from Americans. He got a standing ovation from the entire Senate just by being present. There was no context for why he was there. There was no reflection on what his vote would mean. He gave a little lip service to the idea of the Senate serving as a check on the unbridled power of the presidency, then proceeded to vote lock and step with Trump’s agenda. As he has done over 90 percent of the time since Trump took office. Let’s not be surprised by this. This is what Republicans do. They conform. They’re conformists. Ask Reince Priebus. Ask Rand Paul. Ask Paul Ryan. There are no heroes among them.

John McCain is just a Republican. I say that again. It sounds dismissive and condescending. And it’s meant to. I no longer want to pretend like I only have political differences with Republicans. I have philosophical differences with Republicans. Like Mitch McConnell’s response to Obama this is about more than politics. This is about a worldview that is irreconcilable with mine. I look at people and value them more than property. I think healthcare should be a right in what (for now) is the richest country in the world. It’s already immoral and unethical for medical bills to bankrupt you. It should be illegal as well. John McCain might believe this too. But we’ll never know because he’s a Republican. So far now as a loyal Republican his goal is to help his party destroy anything that Barack Obama touched. Trump’s agenda like Mitch McConnell’s before him is not about political differences. This is about undoing everything the Black President did. Because in their minds a black man should never have had the audacity to sit in the Oval Office.

If the concern was really about healthcare the Republicans would have drafted a bill that improves health outcomes and/or lowers costs. None of their proposed bills accomplishes either of those goals. There are actual deficiencies in the Affordable Care Act to be sure. But that’s to be expected. The bill itself is largely a compromise with Republicans and an exercise in responsible governing back when that was a thing. Contained in the word compromise is the word “promise”. And the Republicans have broken theirs time and time again. Now they have seized control of all three branches of government and given a blank check to the most reckless man in the history of the office.

So you’ll forgive me if I fail to see this as politics as usual. We are way beyond that and we have been since Donald Trump stepped up to the podium at Quicken Loans Arena last summer and laid out his apocalyptic worldview and a stadium full of zombies applauded. Donald Trump and his coalition of fanatics, bigots, and Russian moles have declared war on our way of life. If you are waiting for John McCain to save you, you’ll likely remain a prisoner of this war.

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