Wishful Thinking

Check-ups for chickens. Moon colonies by 2020. Denying women contraception. Christine-I’m-Not-A-Witch-O’Donnell.  When you consider the state of affairs in this country over the last few years, Jersey Shore doesn’t seem so over-the-top crazy. Like Christine, I’m not a witch. But if I were, I’d replace the bread-and-circus shenanigans of current and would-be lawmakers with opportunities to focus on the bread-and-butter concerns of the 99%.  

Here are some examples:

The 2012 presidential debates: I would replace the presidential debates with a series of game shows. Candidate-contestants would demonstrate that they are fit to serve the 99% by competing in timed contests. So instead of listening to candidates’ same old debate talking points – again, you could watch Newt, Mitt, et al. maneuvering through Costco on a Saturday afternoon in an attempt to be the first candidate to find a week’s worth of groceries for a family of four for under $50.

Another lame “But-It’s-A-Good-First-Step!” policy – Though the mortgage settlement between the country’s five biggest banks and U.S. attorneys general is not completely settled, apparently the banks have agreed to make restitution for their fraudulent behavior. Victims of foreclosure abuses can look forward to up to $2000 each.   

If it were up to me, Wells Fargo, Citi, the other big banks involved in the housing mess, and all their branches, would be turned into shelters for the homeless.

Presidential candidates suggest that the food stamp program (aka the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP) is nothing more than an excuse to relieve taxpayers of their hard-earned money so that President Obama can continue to coddle government-dependent loafers.

If I were in charge, elected officials who frame food assistance in terms of dependency would be automatically entered into a new program created just for them. The Edible And Thrifty Sustenance for Hardworking, Independence-Loving Taxpayers (EAT&%!T) program would discontinue reimbursements to elected officials for food and beverage-related expenses. Instead it would provide them with specially prepared meals, delivered in tin foil packets that diners can make into little hats after they eat.  

Newt Gingrich and several state governors advocate drug-testing public assistance recipients. In a just world, anyone who runs for or holds public office would have to submit to drug-testing for claiming that:

  • The U.S. will have a colony (perhaps the 51st state) established on the moon by 2020;   
  • You did not hear “black” ….  What you heard was “blah,” you know, as in “blah” people;
  • Corporations are people;
  • The separation between church and state has no basis in the Constitution; and
  • Some of the least ethical behavior on Wall Street wasn't illegal. 

Additionally, elected officials and candidates for public office would be hooked up to a lie detector whenever they address the public.

Hate mongering – i.e. claims about elite snobs in the White House, President Obama’s “overt hostility to faith in America,” “phony theology,” and just about anything else Rick Santorum says.

In a just world, there would be the Commission on Sanctimonious, Corrupt Utterances Made By Ambitious-to-a-Fault, Genuflecting Statesmen (SCUMBAGS). The Commission on SCUMBAGS would be empowered to fine candidates for making obnoxious statements, and donate the fine to a nonprofit group of their choice.

So if Newt says something about how poor people should want paychecks instead of food stamps, or suggests janitorial work as an extracurricular activity for poor children, the Commission could fine him $5000, and send it to the NAACP.

If (perhaps I should say "when")  Rick Santorum vilifies same-sex relationships, the Commission could, if it wanted, impose a fine of $5000 and send the money they collect to the It Gets Better Project, a nonprofit organization for gay teens started by Dan Savage.