I was sorry when Edwards bowed out of the race for the Democratic nomination. Even though I knew he wouldn't win you still hold out to hope and now I could not choose between Clinton and Obama, in fact to be blunt I would vote for neither were they standing for election here in Britain but then my politics are slightly to left of mainstream America. Choosing a political party is always something of a compromise; you're never going to find a party that exactly matches your beliefs unless you start one yourself which got me thinking -- what would a Paolo Party do in America? Here is a manifesto of ten policies, five domestic and five international by which you can imagine. They are in no particular order:
1. Nationalised healthcare. You have a healthcare system in which being ill makes it harder to get treatment...talk about putting the cart before the horse. I cannot imagine the resentment that must lie in poor neighbourhoods where people cannot afford medical insurance but see billions of dollars spent fighting wars overseas. I would also contemplate nationalising the pharmaceuticals too as a connected issue.
2. Political Funding. The funding of political parties should be done by the state. No longer should elections be fought on the basis of which party has the biggest fighting fund, nor should there be question marks over political decisions in which there are clear vested interests. Lobbying should also be replaced by active consultation -- it is only right that government decisions are informed, but not bought.
3. Liberalize - I've never quite understood the matching of economic liberalism and social conservatism in America, but yes, social liberty should be championed. Legalise gay marriage, marijuana (taxed of course), prostitution in brothels (properly regulated), stem cell research. I'm sure there is more to add in this section but they all relate to a fourth issue:
4. Decouple church and state: you're supposed to be a democracy not a theocracy and religious practice should never be made to seem a civic duty. This also ties into an international aim of giving aid to charities who promote birth control as a means of halting the progress of aids in Africa. Personally I'd rather save lives than 'souls'. This also ties into an important policy:
5. Separation of power: Politically appointed judges are an appalling breach of the principle of separation of the executive and judicial branches of power. Politically appointed or elected judges will always have the question hanging over their heads as to whether the decision they make in any given case is on political grounds. Judges should apply the law that is their only function and their appointment should be on the grounds of their legal competence by an independent panel.
6. Torture - whether you do it yourselves or use extraordinary rendition to get someone else to do it for you it's never right and can be justified on no grounds, that is an absolute. This means closing down Guantanamo by the way.
7. No more chequebook diplomacy - Either aid is needed or it isn't, threatening to withdraw aid to swing a decision at the UN is wrong on so many grounds, not to mention the undermining of the entire international law system.
8. Get the troops home - Iraq needs to stand on it's own two feet, whilst the troops are there America will always seem a divisive force.
9. Come into the fold - on the build up to the first world war Britain held itself in what she called 'splendid isolation'. America's relationship with the rest of the world of recent years in respect of the middle east, climate change, African debt and so on, has appeared unilateral and isolationist. Lead through consensus not arrogance or self-interest.
10. Be a force for good - you don't need to look much further back than Roosevelt for inspiration on this one.
Ten ideas off the top of my head -- would I get elected? No, I doubt I'd get a single vote but that's what Paolo's America would look like.
David Markson: This Is Not A Novel
6 years ago