The race for the white house is heating up. Now, I don’t claim to be politically savvy, or all that knowledgeable in the arena. But, as a service to all those candidates hoping to capture that influential western-suburban-gay-christiany-agnostic-prudish-doctor-parent vote, let me tell you the top ten things you need to say (not necessarily in order). So listen up. I’m looking at you, Huckabee.
1. Tell me you’ll do all you can to be sure my children won’t end up paying my debts. Our national debt is ticking away; at tens of thousands per US citizen now. I haven’t been in any debt in my personal life for many years and can’t stand paying any interest, but here I am with this government debt, and it’s even worse that it’ll probably be my kids who’ll pay for it. Send us the bill; let’s pay it and balance our national budget. We need, say, to go to war? It’s necessary? Fine. Tell me to sacrifice and I’ll sacrifice now. I mean how embarrassing would it be to be the first generation in a long while to leave the next with less?
2. Tell me that you’ll keep our military strong, well equipped, and intimidating; providing for our national defense, I feel, is one of the top jobs of government. But also tell me that you’ll never use the military carelessly. If you want my vote, I have to know that, when my boys turn 18, you’ll not have gotten us into a pointless war that will chew them up. If we need to send our kids or ourselves into battle, I have to trust that you’ll know what a need is; give me more than rumors of, say, yellow cake and grand visions of transforming the middle east. Show me that we must do it to defend ourselves, or that we’ve the moral duty to defend others (and that in doing so we won’t make things worse for those others). On this same topic, let gays be open in the armed forces already. I mean, if we really are at war, let’s not be firing translators because they talked about who they went on a date with last night.
3. Tell me that you care passionately about freedom of expression, association, and religion. Tell me the Constitution, the Bill of Rights are important to you. I want to be able to say what I feel, I want my government to listen (by my elected representatives, not wiretap), and I want even my detractors to have those rights. I also, being a Utahn :-), want to keep my guns, though don’t mind some regulation on some weapons. I mean, I’m sure the founders didn’t intend the 2nd amendment to apply to all arms, from side to nuclear, but I want the option of defending my family somewhat effectively when threatened, and we’ve been threatened at times.
4. Health care. I don’t claim to understand why things are becoming so ridiculous, but I’ve got my own horror stories. To be honest, I don’t know what would be the best solution here either; just that it’s a growing problem, nationally and in my personal observations. If you want my vote, I’m going to need to hear what particular steps you back. Less regulation? Universal coverage? I’m willing to listen to any good arguments.
5. Speaking of health insurance... Advocate full and equal legal rights for all families, regardless of the sexual anatomy of those involved. You don’t want to call it “marriage”? I can live with that. But my family pays into our coffers and should have equal rights. Anything less is simply wrong and I want to see you stand up and say it in the face of the PC pressure to be, if at all publically for equal rights, some lukewarm begrudging supporter.
6. Tell me the US will behave morally. Tell me the United States Government will not torture or send prisoners to jurisdictions where torture is practiced, with zero equivocation. Tell me, when we do business and trade with another country, we will always take into consideration the treatment of the citizens of that country by their government, not merely the gain of having them as a trading partner. Just as I don’t want to pass on a financial debt to our kids; I don’t want to pass on a moral debt.
7. Tell me you’ll do something about our air. I’m not talking even about global warming, though that’s a concern. I’m talking about the immense embarrassment we should feel as a population that there are literally days we can’t let our kids out to play in our cities because the air carries well past a safe level of pollutants. I’m talking about the fact that we know this air is killing thousands of people in our cities prematurely. Think about it. There are days we foul our outside air so bad that we shouldn’t breathe it. That’s crazy.
8. Abortion and stem cell research. See this post.
9. Tell me you'll be above reproach. I don't want you to even have a way of knowing who gave what to your campaign. Don’t accept any donations from PACs. Take public money, or small personal contributions, keep away from the loopholes, and publically disavow and discourage folks who, for your cause, do things like push polls and smear the reputations of, say, people who served honorably in the military. I’m not a fan of telling people how they can spend their cash or speak, but politicians are free to accept it or not and I want a candidate who plays fair and is obligated to no one, unless it’s everyone. Of course, this probably means you won't win...
10. Briefs. I don’t trust a man in boxers. I’m not, however, sure how I feel about a woman in boxers.
And if you want my vote 4 years from now, do what you say. Furthermore, if you happen to cheat on your wife and end up going on national television and lying about it, you’ll not get my vote again either. I’m just say’n, just in case; I don’t want to have to vote for Nader ;-).