Tuesday, November 6, 2012

my first act as president

What would be your first act as president? This is such a great question (it's the prompt for NaBloPoMo).

There are so many possibilities, but I think I'll go with this one. I'd immediately push (again) for and end to the Defense of Marriage Act and I'd reiterate that I'd support any and all measures to ensure full legal rights for same sex couples to marry. I know there is little the president can actually do at this point to make it happen (it has to be a legislative process, if I understand it all correctly), but I'd make it one of the very first things I'd  talk about in the hopes that things might move forward.

I heard an interesting interview on NPR's Fre.sh Air the other day on which the person interviewed proposed a national draft in which all young people, male and female, college student and non-college student alike, would be eligible for the draft. If they were drafted, they'd get lots of benefits for their service (free college education and other great benefits for life, like special mortgage deals). Further, they could choose whether they'd do military or non-military service, and military service would offer the very best deals (non-military would be good but not as good as military). And to appease the libertarian types, there would be a third option in which someone could opt out of the draft altogether, but the deal would be that they'd have to take a penalty in which they'd never be eligible for government-backed things like student loans and special mortgages through the FHA.

It just sounded great. I have no idea if this is a feasible option and I'm sure I'd be pretty annoyed if my college plans were disrupted for a few years in order to do domestic projects (I'd certainly choose non-military service). But it seems to me that this is one solution to the problem of fighting wars in which the wealthy and privileged among us get to opt out altogether. I've been horrified at the fact that we've been fighting wars for years and young people have died to protect this country while the rest of us take a pass and watch reality tv (myself included). And like any other big program, once people got used to it, it would be normal and part of our everyday lives. I'd be happy if my kids had this option, I think, and while I'd certainly hope and assume they'd choose non-military service, just because I'm not really ever on board with war (except in extreme circumstances), I'd like for them to feel invested in their country and their government in a way that most of us don't feel.

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