A Wishful Wish List for 2013

The war in Afghanistan has taken its toll in American lives.

By Bob Gaydos

Having offered a gratitude list for 2012, I thought it only right that I compile a wish list for 2013. One major difference: whereas the gratitude list was a personal statement for developments in my own life, my wish list is less personal and more political, I guess, for want of a better word.

Here it is, in no particular order save for number one:

1. End the Afghanistan War. Now. Do not wait for next year’s announced timetable for troop withdrawal, President Obama. American troops’ presence in Afghanistan no longer makes sense and, indeed, they are more routinely becoming targets for people we thought were on our side. Al Qaeda has been decimated. Osama bin Laden is dead, as are many of his chief lieutenants. The continuing cost in lives and bodies cannot be justified, especially with a nation still struggling to restore its economy’s health. Let Afghans figure out how to govern themselves. Give them assistance with this. But end the war.

2. Revive the Occupy movement nationwide. Perhaps the only encouraging sign that Americans still cherished their First Amendment rights and were willing to challenge dubious authority was the movement that started on Wall Street and spread to Oakland. Mostly young, but not exclusively, the Occupy protestors brought attention to the overwhelming power of money in political campaigns and the alarming inequities in wealth and opportunity in America. They were rewarded with tasers, billy clubs, tear gas, and Mace by police forces whose members were among the primary beneficiaries of Occupy proposals. Yet the members persisted, despite FBI targeting as a terrorist group. In my humble opinion, it is the young people of this movement who have the will, intelligence and willingness to bring about some of the changes on this list. Their adult predecessors have failed miserably and show little inclination to change. They’d rather complain or argue. In its old form, or something new, Occupy is this nation’s hope for the future.

3. Pass a comprehensive immigration law, including a pathway to citizenship and severe penalties for businesses that exploit undocumented aliens. If the Republican Party learned anything from the last election it is that Hispanics are willing to vote against their conservative tendencies when the conservative party is not only ignorant of the lives of undocumented immigrants but exceedingly hostile to helping them. Let them finally become full partners in the American Experience, with rights and responsibilities. Congress must do this.

4. Firmly establish global warming as a serious threat to the planet. The White House should launch of a full scale educational, media and political campaign to end the science-is-hokum arguments of the far right. Enough is enough. Establish and honor worldwide practices to reduce the emission of fluorocarbons into the atmosphere. Punish corporations that break the rules. Save the polar bears. Save us all. Remember those super storms the past two years? There are more on the horizon; all we need do is nothing.

5. End secret genetic modification of our foods. It’s everywhere, folks. Require corporations to label foods that have been genetically modified and instruct the Food and Drug Administration to conduct vigilant inspection and testing on any foods that have been genetically modified (such as wheat and corn) for economic reasons and in ways that are supposedly not harmful to consumers (you and me). If there is no harm in the GMOs, why do the big corporations, such as Monsanto, resist labeling their products as such? (Attention Occupy Movement: This one seems to be right up your alley.)

6. Pass meaningful, comprehensive federal gun control laws. Let the NRA debate over the dead bodies of the children in Newtown, Conn., the rest of the country is appalled and sees no need for average citizens to have automatic weapons with large magazines of bullets. Tighten laws on sales of guns. The president should not weaken on this issue. The NRA expected him to come after them this term. He should not disappoint.

7. Resurrect the spirit of bipartisan governing in Congress. This one is a pipe dream, I suspect, but it is crucial to the survival of this nation as a world power. It may take the virtual (or actual) implosion of the Republican Party out of sheer stupidity and stubbornness to accomplish, but so be it. Form a new party of reasonable, reasonably intelligent people and dunk the tea party. To make this happen, citizens will have to let current and would-be office holders know that they are truly fed up with the partisan bickering and lack of production. The past Congress has been called the worst ever. That sounds like a bottom to me.

Well, that’s it. I’ll keep track of these issues as the year progresses. Here’s hoping I’ll have some positive news to report.


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3 Responses to “A Wishful Wish List for 2013”

  1. evelyn gaylor Says:

    On the mark Bob, in my humble opinion. One thing I would add is Campaign Finance Reform. It’s heartening hearing a sane voice.

  2. Frank Manuele Says:

    The electorate contributes to the deadlock in policies that if removed would take the necessary steps to correct the serious problems that plaque the United States. But if you look at the last election results, you can not but help wondering whether the factions are so inflexible and self serving that deadlock is preferable. I thought the days of Newt, Tom Delay, GW, Cheney and other fanatics were past once the GOP was discredited after going to war with lies in the hope of empire building, growing the deficit while ignoring any responsibility to repay it and making Americans believe that changes are bad unless the GOP makes them (deregulation, bailouts).

    I’m less optimistic than ever before and see no difference with Obama being in office. The GOP still has significant neocon members unwilling to compromise and both parties still like too much pork with their meals (Sandy funding pork).

    I believe the hope of the nation lies in #1. election campaign funding reform and #2. that people skewer their representatives when they don’t fulfill promises. But the second condition is useless if self serving special interest groups continue to influence elections and legislation adversely.

  3. Randy Hurst Says:

    OK, I read it all. I am with you, Bob, although I could not agree more that “Fair Elections” and campaign finance “revolution” and “reform” are essential. The list is “right on”. Oh, how I wish our neighbors, friends, foes, everyone who calls themselves an “American”, proudly, would join “us” in the fight for common sense. God knows it is “long, long, long, long, long”, as Harrison Ford might say, past time.

    On another note, did you all see “Lincoln”? Now I better understand why he was so sad, so maudlin, who wouldn’t be? After his efforts to get legislation to end slavery in America, rather than just the “slave states” vis the Emancipation Proclamation. Now I can better appreciate what President Obama is going through with the Republican and Blue Dog idiots in Congress. God help him, and us too.

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