'00 Presidential Kickoff (part 2)

“The next time they give you all that civic bullshit about voting, keep in mind that Hitler was elected in a full, free democratic election”
~George Carlin

Continuing from part 1 of this column, we look at Hyperion's first 2000 presidential speech. The comments this time are a little more involved, a little more angry. Enjoy.

My first 7 Ideas

Issue 1: AGE

We need to decide what it means to be an adult in this country. I realize that with such a large group of people having an arbitrary age is hard to avoid.13 I want to go beyond that, though. Once we decide the minimum age—eighteen, twenty-one,14, or whenever—I want to add a second hurdle. So here is the addendum: To officially become an adult, at whatever age the minimum is, you have to pass a competency test. Before you can vote, before you can drink, before you run for Congress, etc., you have to show us that you are able to perform, as an adult should, that you are smart enough to handle the basics. Once you are an official adult; all of the benefits an adult gets, you get.15

13 From a human standpoint, arbitrary age markers are inane. After all, we mature at different rates. However, from a legislative standpoint, defining many status levels without a time-coded definition would be a nightmare.

14 One of the side-effects to living so much longer is that (at least, in western civilization), it is taking much longer to grow up. Because of this, I would lean more toward 21 as the “fully adult” limit, but there is room for debate.

15 I can hear the conspiracy wags now; talking about grandfather clauses and eugenics and the like. I still favor this measure, so I will tell you what I think now: I am not trying to punish someone for not being smart, but there is a certain level of basic intelligence that non-developmentally challenged people are more than capable of exhibiting. That so few people seem to think things through is not evidence they cannot, nor is it an excuse. Tell me our world would not be better off if we required at least some proof you are not a dumbass before handing over the keys to the kingdom.

(His campaign platform? Less homework, later bedtimes, and the elimination of cooties by 2020.)

Let us talk about holding office. Right now, you have to be twenty-five to run for Congress, thirty to run for Senate, and thirty-five to run for President. Hogwash. I can buy the argument that most twenty-one year olds should not be president. But hell, most sixty-one16 year olds should not either. I will trust the people to make the decision as rationally as possible. If you are an adult, you have the right to run for public office. You probably do not want to, you probably should not, but now you can.

16 Seems like there was a reason I picked sixty-one, but it is lost in the shroud of time. I would just like to further add that with the Media being what it is, a twenty-one year old would most likely get laughed out of the room. My mom brought up the dubious argument that the younger population could suddenly decide to vote and pick a young person. Well, so what? By our Constitution, Jesus, Des Cartes and Alexander could not have been president. Give me a break.

(He can make the lame to walk and the blind to see, but he can't wear a flag pin and say "Dad bless America.")

I am no fan of alcohol (see below), but it is asinine that you can die for your country before you can drink a glass of beer. No more. Voting, drinking; all of the rights and all of the responsibilities are going to now come in a package deal.17

17 Including renting a floor buffer! It has always bothered me that you have to be 25 to do that.

In addition, as far as taxes We supposedly started this country on the concept of “No taxation without representation”. Yet, the government will happily take money from our Minor Entrepreneurs. It has been argued that young people still get government services. So What. So did the colonies. If fact, America paid quite a bit less in taxes then British citizens did. That did not stop the Founding Fathers from their principles. If it was good enough for them, it is good enough for me. Until you are officially an adult, and can have a say on these crazy taxes, you do not have to pay them.18

18 I suppose this argument is slightly flawed because of sales tax, but the principle remains the same. And while I’m thinking about it, execution should be reserved for those who vote, as well.


(Recognize your congressman?)

Some of the people are mad because of special interest money, which they feel pollutes the system and buys influence. It does. Why else would you give money if you did not think it would help you? Others are angry because they feel contributing insane amounts of money to political causes comes under the heading of free speech and personal freedom. It does19. So, we are going to compromise here. You, as an individual, can give any amount of money you choose to a candidate. You will do this, however, as an individual citizen. No more PACs, no more corporate lobbyists, no more hiding behind the Unions or the Oil Companies, or whatever. If you want to give, you do it yourself. Moreover, you disclose the amount. All of it. If you want to contribute twenty-million dollars to some candidate, fine, but all of America is going to know about it. That should help keep down those with nefarious intent who want to be anonymous. It is not perfect, but it bridges both ideologies on this issue. And consensus is what I am all about.

19 I am no longer convinced that money spent on politics is 100% free speech. I just read a book called Freakanomics that makes the argument that money doesn’t help a candidate; the winning candidates tend to receive the most money because they are winners, not the other way around. I am not arguing the math, but it seems self-evident that money has so fucking corrupted the process that even the compromise of allowing unlimited contributions BUT ONLY BY individuals) would not stop the problem. One thing is for sure: groups of people, like PACs and Big Business should not be allowed to give money. At the two conventions last month over 100 million dollars got spent by corporate America. Why would they do that if there was no benefit to them? I don’t know if I addressed lobbying in any 2000 column, so let me say here and now if I were in charge I would AT THE VERY LEAST ban congressmen (and their families and connected people) from EVER becoming lobbyists. If I could I would ban lobbying altogether. Also (I think I mentioned this in ’04, but not sure), I would make all campaign commercials subject to perjury laws. That would at least cut down the chicanery.

One more thing on this issue, at least for now. The president, in our current system spends the last two years of his or her first term running for re-election. This paralyzes the decisions made, and horribly corrupts them. So, here is what we are going to do: The president will be elected to one six-year term, and that is it. They will have six years to get things done, and then they can go enter celebrity golf tournaments and jump out of airplanes, or whatever they want to do. This will help reduce the politicization of the office, and make our leader come closer to being everyone’s leader.20

20 I go back and forth on this issue in my head. On the one hand, my argument is sound. A president gets maybe 18 months and then he is running for reelection. And winning reelection is much easier if you are a sitting president than not. Taking it out of the equation might cause some presidents to do more of what is right and less of what current opinion polls show. On the other hand, the kind of cultural revolution I have in mind would likely take 20+ years, which would either require abolishing the XXXXXth Amendment, or just temporarily suspending elections by making me a dictator (until I die; then proceeding with elections). You can see my bind.


(Well, it is!)

This one may not seem serious to you, but to a great segment of the population, this is life and death. Have you ever tried to make a PBJ and had the jelly spill out one of those annoying holes in the sandwich bread? This can ruin your day, let alone your shirt. Well, when I am president I am putting Big Bread on Notice: make the loaves without the holes, so our sandwiches do not’ leak. Let us move on.

21 It is issues like this that make it clear why so few people take me seriously. Then again, it’s issues like this that make me think I’m the only one who connects with the common folk. After all, ultimately, it’s the little things.


One of the issues in this campaign has been the death tax. This is an egregious sin, but not the only one in this field. It is beyond evil that the government taxes money YOU HAVE ALREADY PAID TAXES ON when you die.22 I am not talking about bills here; I am talking about greedy Washington, who knows the dead cannot fight back. Well, no more. It goes worse, though. You cannot die for free in this country, with all of the fees.

22 I am continually assailed by liberals that opposing the death tax makes me an evil Republican. Nothing could be further from the truth. But the fact remains that all taxes are in some respect legalized theft. We generally agree there should be some taxes to keep the country from falling apart, but they should be grounded in logic, not just easy targets. Taxing money that has already been taxed is appalling, no matter how much money the person has. It’s pure socialism. It cannot be justified under any form of logic other than “me want.” I would be more in favor of a law that allowed only X% of money to be inherited; requiring the rest to be given away to charities or similarly bequeathed. At least then the money would stay in private hands and away from government. Someone explain to me how I am wrong on this.

Then there is the outrageous Deathcare Industry.23 Preying upon families who are hurting and grieving, the Deathcare Demons sweep in under the guise of “caring and sensitivity” and try to upsell us everything from mahogany caskets, which are going in the friggin’ ground, to headstones that cost as much as a new car. Listen people: that money needs to go to the family that is left over, who quite possibly just lost their major source of income. I do not care what you believe about the afterlife; that deals with the soul. We are talking here about the leftover tissue. It seems beyond ironic to me every time I sit in a line to watch a funeral procession pass through that most of the time we treat a dead body far better than we treated the living person while they were still with us. They same guy you cut off on the free way or verbally abused because your steak wasn’t done to your perfection is now a saint worthy of head-of-state status now that he’s gone. People, let us treat the living a little better and quit obsessing over the dead.

23 I ended up writing an entire column on this: #146 The Business of Death

Issue 5: SURGERY24

If you have surgery and you have to stay at the hospital, you get a stuffed animal. This is a cheap measure, and I guarantee you, an effective way to lift spirits without costing an arm or a leg. When I found out through talking to the American people that most of you do not get a stuffed animal after surgery I was outraged. Not even pretentious actors should be treated so shabbily.

24 I was kidding (I think) by suggesting that government should pay for the surgeries, but stuffed animal makers should donate their messed up animals to hospitals. I guarantee you that hundreds of thousands (if not more) stuffed animals go into landfills every year, from carnivals and stores, to make way for new product. Why not donate them to hospitals and children’s charities?

I'm still not done with this first column! However, 2008 Hyperion is more concerned about his audience's attention-span (and less confident of their ability to read that much), so we will finish up the first piece tomorrow.

[My name is Hyperion, and I approved this message]

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I blame short attention spans on Sesame Street and lazy paren - Hey! Let's ride bikes!

Coincidentally (or not so much, seein's it's election season still), I wrote a rare political post just last night.

Is it possible to be intensely interested in politics, and simultaneously apathetic since Washington hasn't changed (for the better) in some 50 years?

/still voting, but with a sigh