Users Who Spiked
No matter what side of the political aisle we're on, there are undoubtedly decisions made at the top we don't agree with, even if our favorite candidate is sitting in the Oval Office. There are mechanisms operating at the highest levels of government we can't hope for complete understanding of, unless we're rubbing elbows with Washington's elite. But there isn't room at the top for everyone. For those of us who possess neither the drive nor the privilege to rise to the top in this arena, we hope, ideally, the people we elect to office will represent our needs. It's a sort of power by proxy scenario.
Wouldn't it be satisfying though, to wield dictator-level power? Not necessarily for nefarious means, but to see the changes we want implemented without question. If we could be handed the reins for a bit, just to steer things in the right direction, might we not make the world a better place? The trouble is, of course, that there's no such thing as a peaceful dictator. The control we'd want for ourselves isn't necessarily what we'd give someone else. But it's fun to fantasize, especially in the wake of the 2016 election.
So what would I do if I were Dictator President? What changes would I make to maneuver the Populus to a prosperous future? I'm glad you asked.
Hear ye, hear ye! Queen Jen hereby dictates that equal pay for equal work be mandatory. Anyone, regardless of sex, age, ethnicity, or gender identity would get paid the same rate if they work in the same job. So, if Company X brings in $1 billion a year and its managers get paid $75,000 a year, ALL of the managers get paid $75,000 a year. That includes women, transgender folks, people of color, and senior citizens. If they're in the same managerial position in Company X, they all get the same pay rate. Company Y, however, only pulls down $50 million a year and their managers get $60,000 in annual salary. But, ALL of Company Y's managers make $60,000 a year. It's pretty simple. Why isn't this already a thing?
Also on my agenda is tackling the way we eat. The agriculture industry in our country has a lot of problems that need fixing. The food we produce has a tremendous impact on our health and environment. While I certainly advocate for a plant-based diet, I am neither cruel enough to dictate what people can eat nor naive enough to think that growing plants doesn't have its share of problems. Animal waste contaminates water supplies, as we've seen time and time again. Raising livestock is heavy on resources. Large populations of animals in confined spaces spreads disease not only among those animals but to wildlife in proximity to those animals. Monocropping (I'm looking at you, Monsanto) is dangerous not least of all because relying on a whole field of genetically identical corn/wheat/soy/whatever leaves us open to catastrophic crop loss.
I may not possess the drive to become the nation's leader, but I do drive to work every day. That's why I'd initiate a major upheaval of our transportation infrastructure. So many of us live in cities where the traffic sucks and it's getting worse. All those folks sitting in traffic? They're generating greenhouse gasses that are contributing to the dire climate warming situation we're all in. The city I'm in just turned down a public transportation initiative that would have built a train system to connect us with the next major city. In fact, the municipality I live in doesn't even have a bus system! Hell, there aren't even bike lanes. As president, I'd demand a major fossil fuel extraction tax and automobile sales tax that would fund the restructuring of transit in all major cities.
Styrofoam. Why haven't we outlawed this horrible crap yet? It doesn't decompose in the environment, ever. Instead, it disintegrates, becoming billions of tiny little microplastic particles that infiltrate the ecosystem. Little fish eat the particles, bigger fish eat them, seals eat the big fish, and bears eat the seals. All the while that plastic doesn't go away. It accumulates as it passes from organism to organism until we have dying bears full of styrofoam bits. Maybe it sounds dramatic, but it's true. Why? All because some people want their drink to stay cold. So what are the alternatives? So many biomaterials are already on the market to fill this need, from fungi-based packing materials to corn-based mailing supplies that there's no good reason for styrofoam to continue to be produced.
I've saved the best for last, or at least the most controversial: population control. Most people have a knee-jerk reaction to the phrase, citing Nazis and sex-selective abortion in China. It's not an unwarranted response. After all, giving someone the power to decide which people live and which die, or who reproduces and who doesn't, is a terrifying thing to ponder. It's tricky, to be sure, making rules apply evenly to all people. They must not be discriminatory in any way.
However much we fret about pollution, contamination, sea-level rise, habitat fragmentation, and loss of biological diversity, though, the undeniable cause that's staring us all in the face is that our planet cannot sustain so many people. So what does Dictator President Miss Know-it-all suggest? Let people decide for themselves if they want to reproduce or not. And just how does that help with population reduction? You ask a lot of great questions!
The first and best way to help solve this issue is wide access to birth control and widespread education about birth control. This way, people who aren't ready for a family or who might be in physical danger by giving birth, can choose for themselves when the right time to conceive is. A tax incentive could be offered to people who choose voluntary sterilization. For women who do decide they'd like to become pregnant, coaching should be available, including how to manage finances with a baby in the picture, and other resources that give potential mothers a realistic view of parenthood. Abolishing fertility clinics is probably a little extreme, but there's got to be a viable way to discourage having octuplets.
So that's my shortlist of changes my country needs, in my admittedly limited view of the world. It's probably pretty obvious to you by now where I lean politically and I'm sure there are some points above that you disagree with. That's why imposing my unanimous alterations would require dictator-like levels of power. I don't think I'd get too power-hungry, but who knows?
As always, don't just take my word for it. Read on:
U.S. Women's Soccer Equal Pay Fight: What's the Latest and What's Next (ESPN)
Overflowing Hog Lagoons Raise Environmental Concerns in North Carolina (NPR)
National Compliance Initiative: Preventing Animal Waste from Contaminating Surface and Ground Water (EPA)
Derek Wheat on the Environmental Impact of Monocropping (Medium)
Millions Against Monsanto (Organic Consumers Association)
Is the 30-Year Long Styrofoam War Nearing Its End? (JSTOR)
10 Eco-Friendly Alternatives to Styrofoam (Do You Yoga)
Can China Recover From Its Disastrous One-
Child Policy? (The Guardian)
One Child Policy: Chinese Government Program (Encyclopedia Brittanica)
The Overpopulation Project
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