Saturday, November 27, 2004

What Our Nation Needs

At this time of division in our nation, many people are asking the question, "What does our nation need?"

It does not need a religious fanatic. It does not need a corporate crony. It does not need a warmonger. It does not need another talking head who recites party policy.

These things we know to be true.

We still leave the question unanswered. What DO we need?

The United States needs a leader. A statesman. Someone like FDR or JFK. Am I stating that either of these two men were perfect? Of course not. No man is perfect.

However, both men were strong willed. Both new how to address the people of the nation. Both worked to restore a feeling of safety and comfort to the people.

FDR was elected during the great depression. He had a plan. He pushed the plan into action. Today, we still have programs he initiated in place. Social Security. Unemployment insurance.

So what plan does this great American statesman, that our nation needs, need? He needs a plan to address terrorism. Not one of attacking other nations, but one of securing our homeland. He needs a plan to secure our borders, to prevent terrorists from gaining entry. He needs a plan to secure our nuclear power plants, our shipyards and harbors. At a time when American should be consolidating our military power at home, we are instead fighting battles abroad and spreading our military too thin in the task.

He needs a plan to control government spending. He needs a plan to lower and eventually dissolve the national debt. He needs a plan to bring jobs to the US, not send them abroad. He needs a New Deal.

He needs a plan to enact corporate responsibility. He needs a plan to bring healthcare costs under control and to cover every American citizen with a national healthcare plan. He needs to ensure that illegal immigrants are either urged to earn US citizenship, and not play the green card system for their own personal gain.

He needs to bring taxes in line with wealth. The more you make, the more you pay and vice versa. He needs to protect the American worker, the lower, the middle, and the upper classes. He needs a vision of fair treatment and constitutional guarantees of equal and inalienable rights.

A true statesman would welcome transparency in his government. A true leader has nothing to hide.

He should neither tow the party line nor follow the party creed. He must, most importantly, think first of what will benefit the American people the most. He must be a humanitarian. Yet, at the same time, he must be prepared to defend the American people with military force as a last resort.

He must be willing to compromise on some issues, while refusing to budge on others.

It's a tall order. Some would say that it is impossible to fill. I say that it is not impossible.

We in America seem to have fallen for the myth that a truly great president must be wealthy, college educated, and well-known. I say that that myth is wrong. The greatest thing a US president can possess is a patriotic spirit and a healthy dose of common sense.

Common sense, you ask? Yes, good old fashioned common sense.

I'll give a hypothetical example.

To protect our nation from terrorists, what could a man of common sense do?

First, he must listen to his intelligence advisors. Then he must question their authenticity. He must ask questions, and expect answers. He cannot ignore warnings. We saw on 9/11 what happens when warnings are ignored. If the intelligence groups cannot provide the answers needed, then he must err on the side of caution and then address the issue of inadequate intelligence agencies. He must communicate with the American people on a regular basis. He must reassure the people. He must increase the security at our borders and increase security on our airlines. He must push for standardized training guidelines for security officers.

To pay for this, he must stop wasteful government spending. He must urge congress to actually read the bills that they are voting on. If the result is a slower legislative process, then so be it. We as American people must learn to slow down, to think before we act, to understand before we rush headlong into an issue. The statesman must present this case to the American people. He must then pursue a more progressive tax plan. He must streamline social programs and make them more efficient. He must seek to lower bureaucratic wastefulness and red tape.

Most importantly, the statesman must gather a diverse team of advisors, from all professions, representing the interests of the American people. They must be black, white, Asian, democrat, republican, conservative, liberal, religious, and non-religious, and on and on. He needs to listen to their advice, and weigh the alternatives to determine the best, most effective choice for the American people.

He must remember that he is a federal employee and a civil servant. He must remember that the office of president is not a priviledge, but a job. He must be a man of the people, and a servant of the people.

I believe, that if such a person were to present a common sense approach for the American people, that the American people would unite behind that person. That grass root donations would and could pay for his presidential campaign, without the need for corporate sponsors who would later expect favors.

Maybe its all just a dream, but it is the American Dream.