Sunday, October 28, 2012, posted by Q6 at 1:26 PM
You hear it all the time in an election year:  "If I were President, I would blah-blah-blah."  And people have their ideas, and some of them are good, and some of them suck.  When it boils right down to it, running for office isn't that difficult.  As I understand it -- and it varies from office to office, state to state, and district to district -- it's just some paperwork and maybe a fee.  Signatures on a petition, too, if the office is powerful enough.  Winning the office and doing the job take a little more expertise and savvy (or not, given how we complain about or elected officials).

I'll be honest:  over the course of time I've considered, several times, running for a local office.  I have no idea what these smaller elected jobs pay (if anything), and I don't know if I'm the sort who would be open to the whole pander-to-the-voters-so-I-can-get-elected scene, but I've thought about it.  And while the idea does seem somewhat appealing to me at times, I can't get away from the fact that one small, local office would logically lead to another, higher office.  A City Councilman is, from my perspective, nothing more than a frustrated Mayor; a Mayor is a frustrated Governor; and so on up the chain, until you're a Presidential Debate meme.

And putting yourself out there at that level will either make you very popular or exactly the opposite.  Given some of my ideas, I fear I'd fall into the latter category, which is why you don't see my name on the ballot (Roseanne Barr's, yes; mine, no).  Here are some of those potentially unpopular ideas:

ECONOMIC REFORM:  My idea isn't well thought out with details, but the concept seems pretty simple:  I propose a "cap" on personal income as well as business profits.  You know those people who make so much money they'd never be able to spend it in one lifetime?  Yeah, that's a bunch of money that could be better used in other areas.  You don't need $10 million a year to live; but just for the sake of argument, let's make that the cap.  Anyone who makes more than $10 million in a year needs to surrender everything over that amount, and that goes back into the state or national (or both) coffers.  Same for businesses:  determine a certain profit cap as a percentage of operating expenses, and anything over the profit cap either needs to be directed into expansion of the business (with a certain amount dedicated to human resources), or surrendered.  It's not a popular idea, I'm sure, and it probably smacks of socialism or communism (or both); but it's one way to bring the 99% and the 1% closer together, or the 47% to the 53%, or just help level the playing field in general.

GASOLINE PRICES:  It's been said that in ten years gasoline will be something like $10 a gallon.  People will have stopped using a lot of it by then, just because it's too expensive; others will stop using it because we will eventually run out of the stuff (finite number of dead dinosaurs = limited resource).  Why wait?  Let's start a clock, and when that clock runs out gasoline will be illegal to refine, sell, and use.  We'll have that long to either (a) make mass transit work better, or (b) finally get these alternative fuel cars in the showrooms.  JFK gave us a decade to get the moon, and we pulled it off.

HEALTH CARE:  I'd like to think that my salary cap idea would make the medical profession less attractive to those who are out for big paychecks, leaving that many more people who get into the field of medicine to help people and not to make money.  That being said, I understand that there are some big costs connected to some ailments, but I'd like to see many more of our resources dedicated to the prevention of certain health problems.  We talk a good game sometimes, but we're not taking care of ourselves the way we should.  I don't know if this would be massive discounts for those who live healthier, or if we throw huge penalties at those who don't.  But prevention isn't difficult, and maybe those who choose to live poorly should be denied treatment for things they could have prevented.

(You're starting to see why I can't run for office, right?)

THE ENVIRONMENT:  The planet is only so big, there are only so many resources to sustain it, and we're not helping.  (I'm sitting here in 90 degree weather in late October.  Don't tell me we're not feeling the effects of this already.  We keep this up and we'll have Thanksgiving dinner at the beach.)  Ultimately, there are just too many people on the planet, and that's the first thing we need to change.  Reducing the size of the population (which we could easily weave into my health care platform) would be a long term goal.  Stepping up efforts in conservation would be short term goals.  This is another area where we all talk a good game but still drive our kids three blocks to school.  That big island of trash out in the Pacific Ocean that's supposedly the size of Texas?  Not a natural phenomenon.

EDUCATION:  This is an interesting one for me because I work in education.  Do I think everyone should go to college?  Hell, no.  (I don't think everyone should go to high school, actually, but don't get me started on my let-Social-Darwinism-have-some-fun-for-a-while rant, because that also makes my Health Care and Environment plans develop in very draconian ways.)  Not everyone should go to college because there isn't enough college in the United States for all of our high school graduates (let alone immigrants, legal and otherwise).  The demand for college and the limited supply of college is what's making the costs impossible to afford for most people, which goes back to the whole economic problem.  Do you run a business in which you require your employees to attend college?  Then send them there yourself.  My father was an engineer; he even supervised the quality control department for a time.  Not a day of college.  Not one.  Most of those guys who worked on the moon shot program?  No.  Back in the day, college was meant for just a few, specialized fields.  It wasn't meant for everyone.  It's still not.  I think we've all lost sight of that a little bit and we need to get a grip.  College is not for everyone, and it should not need to be for everyone.

In the end, there's really only one reason I've convinced myself that running for  any sort of public office would be a bad idea:  I'm twice divorced, and I believe that either or both of my ex-wives might enjoy taking the opportunity to share all kinds of dirty laundry -- real or imagined -- in the hope of derailing my campaign.

I'm not really candidate material, and I'm comfortable with that; I guess what bothers me is that a lot of the citizenry of the United States doesn't seem to think our candidates are "candidate material," either -- nonetheless, one of them is going to win.  It all reminds me of something one of my high school teachers said long ago:

"The only people we want as our elected leaders, the only people we think would do the job right, have no interest in being elected to anything."