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If I Ruled the Political World

Posted Tuesday, August 21, 2012, at 8:52 AM

If I ruled the world every man would say the world was his friend

There'd be happiness that no man could end

No my friend, not if I ruled the world

(from "If I ruled the world" by Leslie Bricusse and Cyril Ornadel)

I did not create the human condition and will not be held responsible for its character. Given the power and opportunity to rule the world, however, I might be tempted to change the content -- particularly regarding politics and elections.

Most obviously there is the need to eliminate the root of all evil -- lifetime politicians. If we could make an improvement in life's content it would be most commendable to at a given point in time (say after 3 terms of infamous service in the same office) have them raptured to heaven -- or some other appropriate destination.

I'd make it a felony for any elected official in any office in America to knowingly tell a lie; perhaps with penalty of life in a secure facility (I hear Guantanamo is available). According to the Constitution if lying was a felony the truth police could corner them on the Senate or House floor and cart them away. Arresting liars in Congress would be a good start; a mere week into the sessions there wouldn't be enough elected reps to call a quorum. This would force us into an unending sequence of new elections (haven't we seen that movie?).

In my brave new world the prohibition against lies would extend to the campaigns which get these folks elected and re-elected and re-elected. If candidates stopped lying both about how bad their opponent will/did do and how great they will do, we'd surely find real ways to know who to vote for.

Also, it would be a misdemeanor for any candidate to claim they wouldn't do something because the opponent did it or proposed it; all the while knowing they not only would do that, but had originally proposed same. In most states doing the same misdemeanor over and over constitutes compounding a misdemeanor, which is a felony.

As to the never-ending campaigns, I'd do something about the campaign financing thing politicians seem to have all screwed up. I mean, do we really need all that money being spent on advertising to tell us how bad the other guy is/would be? In my world every dollar spent on campaigns would have to be matched with a dollar spent on something useful -- paying off the national debt, street paving in Brazil, a bonus for Social Security recipients whom I would be glad to select.

To do all of this we'd need to call a new Constitutional Convention. I would call back Washington, Franklin, Hamilton and the whole 1787 gang (the only ineffectual politicians acceptable to both Parties these many years later). They could look at all the very good things they did, correct some now-obvious mistakes, and add a few things they'd overlooked. Naturally for this we'd need a secure facility (I hear Guantanamo is available).

There is probably a lot more which ought be changed if I ruled the political world. Any ideas?

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David L. Lewis
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