Saturday, October 22, 2016

Turn upside-down world right side up

Everything is turned around. Two-thirds of Americans think our country is upside down. The result of the current presidential election won’t change that.

Election Day will come and go. The winner will be inaugurated although despised by a majority. Voters will continue relying on the post-factual views of their cable TV network of choice, leading to faulty public policies and continued deadlock on matters critical to the republic. You and I have to think deeper.

I am one of those who believe this country is upside down. What would right the ship? My list starts at home.

Wyoming would be “The Equality State.” The legislature would enact hate crimes and anti-discrimination legislation and end the gender wage gap. Political, religious, business, and other community leaders would demand a Cowboy-culture where burning a Quran is as unacceptable as refusing to stand for the singing of Cowboy Joe at War Memorial Stadium.

Talk about upside down, the Equality State is the only state refusing to sign a refugee resettlement agreement, alone among a “basket of deplorables” like Mississippi, Texas, and Arkansas. A “right-side up” Wyoming would welcome immigrants.

UW’s athletic program would return the millions of dollars received from the legislature last year, saying, “If we’d known that to give us this money, you’d have to cut programs for the disabled, elderly, and poor, we wouldn’t have asked for it in the first place.

Wyoming would make a serious commitment to public health. Tobacco taxes would be increased because it’s those taxes, which result in higher priced cigarettes, not parental lectures that prevent kids from starting to smoke.

Instead of one more bucking horse sculpture, monuments would be built honoring progressive icons like Mariko Miller, a courageous advocate for civil rights who was among the first to warn the country about Vietnam. There’d be statues of people like Keith Henning and Paul Johnson whose strong voices led the Wyoming workers’ movement in the middle of the last century.

In a country headed down a better path Barack Obama could run for a third term, Edward Snowden would be pardoned and traveling the country warning about threats to privacy. Bankers causing the 2008 subprime mortgage crisis would be tried in the courtroom next door to the one in which Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld were being tried for war crimes.

People would stop reading the Bible literally and start taking it seriously. They’d quit worrying about other who others love. Americans would remember they learned to speak truth to power when they evolved from hating to admiring Muhammad Ali and apply those lessons to Colin Kaepernik. Isaiah would get his wish. Swords would be beaten into plowshares.

John Lennon’s “Imagine,” would be sung during the seventh-inning stretch at baseball games where there’d be no designated-hitter rule and record books would have an asterisk behind Barry Bonds’ name because he really didn’t break Hank Aaron’s home run record.

The U.S. would join the rest of the world adopting single-payer health insurance, there’d be a Palestinian state, the U.S. House and Senate would become democratic enough to actually allow the majority to rule, and gun owners would realize the NRA has been lying. Nobody is coming to take our guns.

Wyomingites would update stereotypes about the poor, admitting people are not poor because they are lazy, but because the rigged economy profits from poverty. Medicaid and food stamps are subsidies to employers who won’t pay livable wages. We’d admit that, adjusted to today’s dollar, minimum wages are lower now than those Pharaoh paid the Hebrews before Moses led them out of slavery.

People voting for Donald Trump because he might nominate Supreme Court justices would remember that while those appointments might occupy a few days of his administration, he’d be President for four long years.

My list is longer but there’s a word limit. Let’s all just work to change what we can, accept what we can’t, and humble ourselves enough to recognize the difference. Then the world will right itself.

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