Notes on America…

Some of my more American acquaintances have been noting that the U.S. government is not really representative of its people. This got me to thinking about ways to tweak U.S. governance, both to make it more representative, but also to bring the U.S. in-line with the rest of the world. 

Here are some possible solutions. I’m sure smarter minds than mine are working on these problems as we speak, but, nonetheless, here are some of my brief thoughts on the matter.

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The first three suggestions concern federal structure and the structure of the union.

1. We could bring the four Organized Unincorporated Territories — Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands — and the one inhabited Unorganized Unincorporated Territory [forget about the 10 uninhabited ones] — American Samoa — into the union as fully-fledged states. We increased our number of states many, many times in the past, most recently in 1959, so this would just be one more such step. We could easily go from 50 to 55 states. There’s room on the flag for additional stars. I, for one, see this as being just and fair. 

2. We could have states sign up for the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact. This would give their electoral votes to the winner of the national popular vote. Not all states might do this, but I think many would. Indeed, the poorer rural states might _not_ do this, but, in the end, not many humans live there. 

3. We could expand the Supreme Court to better represent the will of the people. This is… iffy, to say the least. I’d avoid this one. You don’t want to set the precedent of the legislative branch stepping on the toes of the judicial branch; separation of powers, and all that. 

A further four suggestions concern laws and/ or amending the Constitution.

4. We could pass a law saying that if a president is found guilty of a crime after being in office, their acts while in office (in the past) can be reviewed/ cancelled/ rescinded. This would actually make sense. If a former president is found guilty, especially of a crime when committed in-office, it makes sense that their acts while in-office be reviewed by subsequent office-holders. If you’re found a crook, the things you did in-office should not stand. 

5. We could amend the Constitution to remove the Electoral College, i.e., elect the president by the popular vote. This requires a 2/3 (66%) vote in the upper house of Congress (I believe). We have amended the Constitution many, many times. It is in our blood to change our malleable Constitution to suit the times. So this is feasible, but would only tackle one of many other issues on this list.

6. We could make click-revenue illegal. Pass a law making it illegal to generate revenue from a click. This would cut down on radical online lies that bring in mouse-clicks. Just as you’re not allowed to yell, “Fire!” in a crowded theater, and you’re certainly not allowed to monetize that, so be it that you’re also not allowed to make money off of clicks on a meme that shows how Obama was born in Kenya and eats Christian babies for lunch. This law would de-radicalize online content. This law would also slow down [de-incentivize] the effectiveness of foreign propaganda spread by U.S. enemies.

7. We could make it illegal to charge fees and/or tuition for education. Make all schools “public”, so to speak. The Roman Catholic Church would howl, as would some radical Protestant bodies, but overall this would make education — both primary school and tertiary or skilled artisan higher-end schools — accessible to the public. This would make re-training for middle-aged laid-off people a lot more feasible, to re-skill and re-enter the work force when you’re older as factories or industries shift. This would also force rich families to want to pay tax, so that their kids, too, get a good education. This could go hand-in-glove with a federal primary school education curriculum (please see No. 8, below). 

Two more suggestions are just broad funding priorities, and perhaps tweaks to political party membership if in the upper house of Congress.

8. We could craft a federal primary school education curriculum. This could include more science, of course, but also courses in media literacy and media assessment, to better spot propaganda. It would create smarter citizens, with a knowledge of Civics; citizens who know their rights and demand them, damn it! The drawback is that this could take 20+ years to trickle across the population. However, the advantage is that we’d have smarter people in the future.

9. Remove political parties from the Senate, i.e., make members in the upper house of Congress quit their political parties. This would truly make the upper house of Congress bipartisan, if you weren’t allowed to be a member of a political party when running for a Senate seat nor while sitting in the Senate. This would limit the funds available to Senate seat election campaigns, i.e., no money from the Democratic nor Republican parties, just an individual’s money (and no money from PACs; see No. 11, below). It would make the Senate truly an elite body of bipartisan upper-class twits debating this and that, like the U.K. House of Lords. Perhaps not desirable, but, just a thought. 

Two thoughts concerning a law and a court case.

10. We could roll back the Homeland Security Act (HSA) of 2002. This would put us back with the National Security Act of 1947, which, in itself, could require some tweaking. The forefront of foreign policy needs to be the Department of State working on information from the various members of the intelligence community. The Department of Defense is a secondary tool of foreign policy, and there need be no such thing as a Department of Homeland Security. This reality must be reflected in the organization of executive departments. Foggy Bottom over Alexandria, or else no more Pax Americana and goodbye global reserve currency. 

11. Overturn the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, 558 U.S. 310 (2010) decision. This would help tone down the bile seen in election campaigns, i.e., don’t allow unlimited piles of money to participate in elections. We could make election campaigns more like those in, say, New Zealand or Korea or Canada, with a set time frame, a set budget for each party, and strict limits on speech and on what you’re allowed to say about your opponent, both online and in real life. Let’s make elections boring again. 

Here are two small suggestions about policing and about health care.

12. We could do away with county and state police forces. The U.S. currently has: City Police, County Police, State Police and Federal Police. Yes, there are four police bodies overseeing most communities. This is excessive. A city should have police so that drunkards don’t kick in a shop window to steal a bottle of booze. Then, we also need federal police to track down mass murderers and white collar criminals. We do not need State Police nor County Police acting as revenue generators for their jurisdictions.

This touches on the main characteristic of the U.S.: it is a community of 50 states, it’s not one jurisdiction. The state governments feel that they need a police force, if only for revenue generation. So, too, do the counties feel the need for their police force to generate revenue. This could be solved by giving more money to the counties and the state, and then moving their human resources to either City Police bodies or to Federal Police bodies located in that state.

Second, to de-militarize all police forces — for these are constabularies, not militaries — I’d focus more on walking the beat, no use of firearms, and more use of martial arts and billy clubs. Make policemen into community allies. Also, better human resources as part of the intake procedure at police academies would greatly ameliorate this process.

Third, legalize drugs. This frees up law enforcement communities to focus on real crimes and real criminals, i.e., white collar corporate crime and White nationalist terrorism. All crime is white. 

Fourth, pass a law making it illegal to have for-profit incarceration centers. Society must bear the brunt of the costs of incarceration. It is not a business for profit-run CEOs. Prisons are a society’s shame, to be run as we run psychiatric wards or long-term mental health facilities. (Please see No. 13, below.)

13. We could craft a federal, nation-wide health care service. Copay would be limited, medicine prices capped, procedure prices capped. Allow doctors to be medium-wealthy, but not filthy-wealthy. Optional procedures/ beauty procedures would not be covered by national insurance. We could take bits and pieces from, again, New Zealand and Korea and Canada, all places with well-run civilized health care policies.

This would lift the burden of medical costs from the shoulders of the lower class. It would lift the burden of employment-linked health insurance. The U.K. created the NHS in 1948, and we, too, could thus radically alter the face of our American community. 

Finally, a thought on firearms.

14. We could start a federal nation-wide database of all firearms and their registered owners. Law enforcement must be able to know where each and every gun is, at every time of day, at every address. Owners would be required to take skills-training classes and firearm continuing education classes at periodic intervals. First aid would also be part of this, and how to dress a bullet wound. No weapons with no blood.

All future firearm sales to civilians would require palm-reading technology on the grip so that only the registered owner could fire their weapon. (This technology is too iffy for military/policing purposes, i.e., sand and grit, so their weapons wouldn’t have this tech.) Your weapons would be kept at county-level community firearm centers, i.e., your locker at the firing range, where you go to pick up your weapon for your hunting trip/ day on the range. I would also include firearm education as part of the high school curriculum. 

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Anyway, and all in all, those are just some of my brief thoughts about ways in which U.S. governance could become more representative of the will of the people, if there is such a thing… which I, for one, still believe there is. These are my “14 points”, so to speak. 

Those of an American bent may see some merit in the above, and, perhaps, some foly, and I look forward to discussing it all with you, and with our local politicians, over a pint of local beer down at our neighborhood tavern. 

tl/dr: We don’t need to be as fat and uneducated as we are.



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