If we’re all expecting the end of the world as we know it, we might as well plan the new one.
Okay, we’ve all had our fun pondering the end of life as we know it this year. I even took a humorous stab at it just the other day. I guess we needed to get it out of our systems again. I mean, it’s been over ten long years since the last time we got all nutty about the impending apocalypse. Personally, I’m of the opinion that this yearning for a dramatic end of the world scenario is driven largely by the collective unconscious guilt of the human race. On the one hand, the guilt that wealthy elites unconsciously feel, knowing that the tablet device their ten year old is watching Disney movies on as they fly to a tropical retreat was made by the cracked and bleeding fingers of ANOTHER ten year old, half a world away. A ten year old that gets paid a dollar a day so that the company that made the tablet can “retain the talent” of the overpaid CEO that was largely responsible for taking that dollar-a-day kid’s crappy job away from some former middle class American because they got paid 20 times more for it. And on the OTHER hand, the collective guilt fueled by the laziness and apathy of that same former middle-class American, who didn’t vote, didn’t pay attention while their country got gutted by robber barons, and instead sat around ordering out for pizza and watching “reality TV” and cable news while their home got repossessed and the cost of education skyrocketed so high that their kids will be doomed to the same second-rate first-world life that they are. Do I sound cynical? I’m not. In fact, I figure if we DO finally have to face the end of the world this year, that just means we have opportunities to create a new one. And the ball is already in motion. From the recent massive protests in Russia, to the Occupy, Tea Party, and “think local” movements in America, to the “Arab Spring”, regular people all over the world are demanding a better world. I think we can make one. How about you? Below is my starter wish list. Feel free to chime in or tell me what an idiotic Utopian I am.
Take Back Our Government
Get lobby money and corporate influence out of the political process.
Repeal corporate personhood. Or start executing corporations for their crimes.
End “agency capture” and the revolving door practices of DC. Stop appointing former executives to regulate the industries that used to employ them.
Don’t just vote in “big” elections, get involved in the full process.
Put People To Work
Transform welfare handout programs into infrastructure-building work programs
Stop shipping jobs overseas to maximize profits. Cut CEO salaries instead.
Revamp The Prison System
America’s prison system is a racially-biased*, multibillion dollar industry that is probably better at training new criminals than anything else. If America wants to continue being the largest consumer of recreational drugs on the planet, maybe those drugs should be legalized and taxed.
Over 2 million Americans are in jail right now, and over 7 million are under correctional supervision. Over 50% are incarcerated for non-violent offenses, and 20% are incarcerated for drug offenses.
America in fact leads the world in incarceration, with Rwanda and Russia trailing in second and third. For comparison, the next western democracy on the list is the United Kingdom, with 1/5 America’s incarceration rate, sitting at 89th on the list worldwide. America has twice the incarceration rate of countries we might think of as oppressive, like Belarus, Ukraine, Iran, and Kazakhstan.
Put some white men in prison. The collateral economic damage caused by a dozen or so of the mostly white, mostly male criminals in the financial services sector easily dwarfs the economic repercussions of crimes committed by a million of the existing inmates in the correctional system, who probably cost us more as prisoners than as active criminals.
Feed Some People
Americans waste about 34 million tons tons of food each year. This is about 14-15 per cent of the food they purchase, amounting to $43 billion worth of discarded, but edible, food. We spend 1 billion dollars a year just to DISPOSE of this waste. Why are people dying of starvation in 2012?
Mind Your Own Business (Unless You’re Helping)
The heroic image of America saving the world in the 1940′s is 70 years old, and coming off a bit contrived these days.
Maybe we could rebuild America’s positive image abroad by only getting involved when asked.
Last time I checked, no-one was asking to be bombed, but plenty of people still wanted an iPad and a Hollywood film.
Restore the civil liberties that have been stripped from citizens in the guise of protecting them.
Put an end to the “security theater” that has nearly destroyed the travel industry and makes travel a miserable personal experience.
Let the Patriot Act “sunset” as originally promised, and get AT&T out of our personal communications.
Stop Torturing People
Remember when we WEREN’T the bad guys?
Shoot For The Stars
One of the greatest eras in the history of mankind was largely driven by space exploration.
Magellan, Marco Polo, Columbus, and other brave explorers in history were in it for more than the money.
There’s a strange logical fallacy going on when it’s considered sensible to spend a trillion dollars on killing people, but frivolous to send explorers to learn more about the solar system we live in.
*About 7% of the general population is African American, but African Americans comprise almost half of the total prison population