The older I get, the smarter my parents become. Yeah, yeah, I know, there was a period of time when I’d get the dreaded computer call from Dad, too—“This blame thing’s hung up again, I can’t find my email, it’s making a weird noise.” Luckily, technology has long since exceeded my grasp. Like me, my dad now calls my son or one of the other grandkids for help.
I’m not talking about that kind of smarter. I mean wisdom smart. For instance: my brother Mark and I used to enjoy fighting. No reason, we loved each other dearly, still do, we just liked to fight. We’re seventh generation Southern and male—we were born with a certain level of violence in our DNA. And at the time, we were ripe with adolescent boy stupidity, we just needed to get that violence out of our system a couple times a day.
One day we’d been particularly violent and things kept escalating until Pop had enough. Now, at the time, we were probably poor by most any standard—we didn’t know one way or the other—and our modest house had a room with no furniture in it. Pop grabbed us both, threw us in that room, and told us to fight until only one of us was able to walk out of the room, he didn’t care which one.
Genius. Not only did we not fight, we even called a truce that lasted for almost an entire day. Yep, genius. And you know what? I can guarantee you my dad never read the first paragraph of any parenting “how to” book (he was a James Bond fan, though, and read all of those) or googled to find an article called “21 Ways to Keep Your Kids from Killing Each Other.” Nope, common sense solved everything.
If we had a big enough empty room, maybe we could take all the “divideds” in this country from the left and the right, throw them in there together and tell them to stay until only one group could walk out of the room. Yeah, you’re right, that would not end well. But, another thing I learned from my folks was if you’re gonna complain about something, you’d better have a suggestion for fixing it before you start yammering (yes, I’m looking at you, ACA repealers)! Well, I’ve been studying on it, and I have an idea.
After the current regime and present society finish draining the swamp, burning down the whole thing, or grinding it all to a halt, here’s how we start over, here’s how we really make ‘Murica great again.
First, when our young folk turn 18 they have two options—either join a branch of the armed services or spend two years in a service agency like the Peace Corps or Projects Abroad. They must spend at least a year of that overseas, somewhere other than Europe.
Next, we revamp the Electoral College. We make it a true “college” by filling it with 538 experts from a wide variety of fields—political science, civics, the Constitution, foreign policy, urban renewal, sociology, you get where I’m headed—that can “teach.”
Then, every year at election time, we have a lottery. We draw, at random, from every US citizen that has a social security number and is between the age of 35 and 75. Party affiliation, gender, ethnicity, location, status, none of that is considered. We select enough people to fill each seat of the House and Senate plus seven more. The “new draftees” spend two years studying in the Electoral College. Those that pass then serve in Congress for eight years. From those members of Congress, they select seven by vote among the rest of Congress to act as a Presidential Committee. The one with the most votes is Pres, the next most is VP, etc.
In return, we re-route a few tons of our tax dollars (they must have piles of it just sitting around up there somewhere, right?) to insure that each draftee’s regular job (and that of their spouse) is held for them until their service is complete. They still draw the same paycheck, with cost of living increases, and all their other expenses are covered. At the end of ten years, they go back to their prior life—no insurance for life, no paycheck for life, no going to work as a lobbyist, just a working stiff like the rest of us.
Crazy right? Crazy like a fox. Come on, take a chance, Columbus did! Sure, there’s a chance we end up with a bunch of arrogant, self-serving, narcissistic windbags running…wait a minute, that’s a bad example. Sure, there’s a chance we might end up with a couple of, let’s say interesting individuals representing us for a year or two, but it can’t be any worse than what we have now, can it? I’d bet you’d get a lot more common sense decisions being made.
Talk about a government “of the people, by the people, and for the people,” there you go. Something’s gotta give. The center cannot hold, and it seems more and more that the center has disappeared altogether.
Another thing I learned at home? Always be kind, treat people decent, if you can help out somebody in need, you help them. Period. Maybe my idea is far-fetched, so let’s start by treating each other decent, with respect. Yeah, I’m an old hippie. Yeah, I think we need a whole lot more Love and a lot less litigation. I’m betting there are a lot more old hippies out there, and new hippies, that feel this way, too. So, stand up, Tribe. Speak out, Tribe. Make it better. Make it better one person at a time. It’s contagious…