It was a stressful week, filled with meetings, directives, innuendos, implications and general stupidity. It was time to drop by my local pub and meet my buddy Uncle Dickie at the bar. He was in his usual seat, watching the usual news.
“Well,” I said, “how goes the struggle? Are we great yet?”
“Hmmm,” he replied, “I’m not sure we’re there yet. Seems that all that is getting done is the opposite of what the other guy did, so evidently he was making us ungreat.”
“So, what’s the new great going to look like?,” I asked.
“Well, based on what we’ve seen,” he said, “it must involve whatever certain groups, who are the exact opposite of the previous groups, identify as part of being great. So, we’ll be great when we get more oil, use coal, have fewer regulations, keep out the undesirables, get a bigger army, cut taxes and tell a lot of the world they’re on their own, we’re not helping them anymore.”
“Sounds simple,” I said, “guess we’re on our way.”
“Yeah,” he continued, “the only problem is we we’re actually there about 60 years ago and it didn’t work out all that great. Seems one view of greatness doesn’t necessarily coincide with somebody else’s view.”
“Good point. But what about you? What do you think we need to do to make the country great?
"Hmmm. I think I’d break it down into three levels, all of the them un-doable, stupid, but no necessarily wrong.
"First, at the superficial level, I would initiate three changes to make our country great.
"One, use bio-degradable plastics and get rid of those stupid plastic bottles, bags and packages that our criminal element have to pick up from the side of the highways.
"Then, since this is America and we all love guns, sell rubber bullets so fewer people get killed. Just whack each other instead of killing everybody. It’ll also make rubber manufacturers happy. And I suspect the deer population would be in favor so we can just kill them with our cars.
"Third, get rid of telephone poles since everyone is on cells. Maybe you can use them to build the wall between the U.S. and Mexico. Nice and high. Available. Saves trees. All you have to do is get them down there.”
“Not a bad, pointless list,” I said. “You’re going to help the environment; kill fewer people; clean up the joint. I’m in. Not sure we’re great next, but let’s move on. What next?”
“Next, at a deeper, more meaningful stupid level, I’d concentrate on greatness for society”
“First, if you have kids you can’t support, or have no intention of actually parenting, you have to work in a day care for small children for 40 hours a week for five years to get government assistance, and do this without hurting any kids.
"Next, when people go to vote, they have to pass a five question test, the questions to be determined. However, if they can’t answer these questions, they can’t vote. One questions would be, "What are the three branches of government and why do they exist? I would probably also include, "Do you really think the opposition party really intends to kill people purposely?” Given the way things are now, that would weed out about 50% of the voting public.
Finally, if you shout “In the hole” at a golf tournament, you’re never allowed to a sporting event again. And you have to pay a fine of $1 million dollars that goes to people who watch golf.“”
“Ok, I guess,” I said, “although you might get some push-back. And again, I’m not sure we’re great yet, but what else?”
“Next, I would go after the government and the party machinery.
"First, four-month elections. Cut political donations. Limit the effects of advertising. Save tons of brain cells. Improve national health.
"Second, identify party extremists, which isn’t very hard these day, then make them wear a red, scarlet letter somewhere. These letters could either next to their American flag, their Harley Davidson sign, their NRA endorsement, their Save the Trees icon, their Bernie badge, or their Cher tee shirt.
"In any case, this will indicate that they are so warped that no attempt at rationality is ever going to work, so there is no sense talking to them. Also, you can be sure of their view, which is always going to be the opposite of what the other guys do.I’d actually like to send them to an island by themselves, but that might come late.”
“Third, any judge’s party affiliation must be JUDGE; not Republican or Democrat. How in the hell can it make sense for judges to be controlled by one party or the other? They should be graded on how smart they are, how unbiased, how fair and how competent. Also, why we vote for them when we have no idea what they do is beyond me.
"Fourth, gerrymandering would be labeled treason and be punishable by death. Put in the population numbers and let a computer do it. It’s un-American to cheat and that is what each side does now.
"Fifth, any politician who goes on and on about how tough he or she is, or how strong America has to be, and supports going to war somewhere, has to enlist a relative for combat. I’m not arguing about having a strong military, or the need to go after some people, but I’m tired of ‘tough guy’ politicians who talk tough all the time but would never send their kids to the firing line.
"Finally, rich people who want to contribute to elections and lobbyists must all go on a television and compete to throw their money away. This would be a combination of Jeopardy and American Ninja combat so we’d get to see who they are, what they really know and how tough they really are. If their going to buy off our government, at least we’d get something out of it.
"That’s just off the top of my head,” he finalized. “I’d also consider a corporate version of these things, but I need another beer. It would include something like a ‘Most Overpaid Executive’ Contest, or ‘Stupidest Exit Package’ award.”
“Well,” I concluded, “that’s not a bad list on our way to greatness. A lot more comprehensive than just doing the opposite of what the other party has been doing….”
“Yeah, well, I’m sure if I published this list, a million people will sign up to do the opposite, and I’m just a guy sitting at a bar.”