Why I Will Never Be A Politician

I’ve worked in DC and in and around politics most of my adult life. Here are a bunch of reasons I have concluded along the way I could never be a politician:

  • I believe the US Constitution is in need of a big overhaul, is profoundly out of date in key ways and flawed in others.
  • I don’t believe anyone but the military and law enforcement should have guns (and even many in law enforcement should not.)
  • I believe in much higher taxes for the richest and corporations.
  • I believe elections should be publicly financed and campaigns should be limited in duration.
  • I believe that politicians, like advertisers, should be legally obligated to tell the truth.
  • I believe no one is above the law.
  • I don’t believe there is any place for religion in government or government agencies. It should not even be mentioned.
  • I believe a lot folks in the MAGA and far right extremists movements are in fact deplorable and beyond reasoning with.

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  • I believe when your opponents go low, if they’re posing an existential threat to our society we do whatever we need to do to beat them (w/in the law.)
  • I believe functioning democracy depends on compromise…up to a point. Every compromise with evil is a victory for evil.
  • I believe many of our political leaders are too old (though not all of the oldest fall in this category–it’s about a mindset and energy) and a major generational change in US politics is long overdue.
  • I believe our next president should be a woman. Likely the next few.
  • We do not have equal protection under the law in our country. Institutional racism must be dismantled and that begins with restoring, preserving and protecting voting rights.
  • I believe we’d be better off with more not fewer immigrants in our society.
  • I believe one of the great fights of our age is against the climate crisis. We must make it a priority. We must also prosecute and hold accountable big energy companies that have actively promoted the destruction of the planet for decades…despite knowing better.
  • Health care is a right. That includes mental healthcare.
  • Accees to free education through college should be available to all who achieve a B average or better in high school–but that college is not the right path for all and we should provide alternative paths for all.
  • We should expand the Supreme Court to 13 justices (one for each circuit), impose term limits, limit its jurisdiction and set and enforce ethical standards for Supreme Court justices and those who work with or influence them.
  • I believe we spend far too much on defense–at least 20-30 percent too much, possibly much more. I also believe we should work (much harder) toward the elimination of nuclear weapons.
  • Clean water, clean air, sufficient food and a decent retirement are rights.
  • I believe we should rethink policing from the ground up, work to get the right wing extremists (and all extremists) out of police forces…but also recognize that fighting crime should be a top priority.
  • We should incarcerate far fewer people and invest more in returning criminals to more productive lives.
  • The answer to homelessness is building homes. Not shelters. Not tent cities.
  • We need to admit many countries are better governed than we are and learn from them.
  • Inequality has been destroying the US for decades (at least). We must combat it via the means described above (fairer taxes, ending private funding of campaigns, etc.) & other tools at our disposal. There are limits to how much incentive businesspeople need to drive growth.
  • It is time for a new wave of anti-trust regulation targeting to begin with big tech companies, big Pharma, the biggest Wall St. companies.
  • Voting should be mandatory. Election Day should be a holiday.
  • Teachers should be paid at the top end of our salary structures.
  • Companies and markets exist to serve society.

I could go on. The point is that each of these are conclusions I have come to that would produce such backlash and be considered so extreme that they would generate huge pushback. Some would provoke much worse. Some cannot even be spoken about in public. Some would be dismissed as unrealistic. In short, our system would try to kill them…or has been trying to…for a long, long time.

So, I prefer to advocate for them in other ways. But I will admit, every so often it strikes me as almost incomprehensible that ideas that are common sensical or just or decent or proven by experience to be sound are such non-starters in our political discourse.

We know better. And we could do better. But we don’t.

I haven’t given up. We shouldn’t. We should, in fact, fight for these most challenging notions despite the odds because they are so important.

I hope you will consider which difficult or impossible notions you feel are nonetheless essential and that you will set aside some time in your life to fight for them. Too much “realism” after all only produces the kind of grim realities we face today.

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