Pharyngula

My New Year’s Dream

I don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions—they’re always so narrow and boring. I’d rather advance some bigger goals.

When I was a young fellow, and my father was teaching me how to swing a bat, he’d tell me I shouldn’t aim to hit the ball, I should try to swing through it. When he was teaching me how to play football, he’d tell me I shouldn’t aim for the lineman’s chest, I should set the goal of running straight through the guy and a hundred yards downfield. (Of course, there were other words of wisdom from my father, like “you’re a born nerd, boy, and I don’t know why we’re wastin’ time with the sports”). The point still stands, though: if you’re trying to go from here to there, don’t set your sights on there—make your goal an unreachable point far, far beyond there. Never settle for a small piece, always go for everything…and be glad of whatever you can get.

In that spirit, then, here’s what I’d dream of seeing in the next year.

  • Every penny spent on this pointless war ought to be immediately redirected out of Halliburton’s hands and straight to social services. Universal healthcare, first thing. Everything else gets poured into education—we need more and better schools at every level, and more teachers, and the teachers need to be paid what they’re worth. Every child born ought to be able to expect to get the same medical care as any other, and every child ought to be able to get the level of education he desires and can handle, not just what her family can afford. If our government can suck up tons of cash and shovel it at a disgraceful foreign expedition, they ought to be able to do the same with something that really matters. And we can pay for it by taxing the bloated and grossly over-pampered rich.

  • Let religion expire. I want to see a world where religion is a quirk, the hobby of eccentrics, rather than a prerequisite for high office. Creationism should be the punchline to a joke instead of the focus of serious debate. Let all the churches and synagogues and mosques close, and then reopen, repurposed as centers for secular charities or the arts. Televangelists should be bankrupt (we’ll keep them off the streets with our expanded social services, though), and the more honest preachers should be looking for legitimate work—something other than trading a false authority for handouts from the deluded and fearful. Maybe they can go back to school and learn something useful.

  • Let’s get specific: GW Bush, Dick Cheney, and the whole corrupt lot should be impeached, convicted of gross negligence tantamount to treason, and sent to prison for the rest of their lives. The entire Republican party should wither away in shame and disappear. The Democrats should reorganize and stand up for real principles: return to their roots as the party of labor and the working class, for civil rights and equality. Because we do need competing ideas, the other party with some power should be the Greens, who fight for the environment and sustainability. It would be such a joy to be able to go to the polling place and instead of choosing between Evil Greedy Grandpa and Bland Dithering Bureaucrat, I could actually face the pleasant dilemma of having to weigh agendas that matter in a positive way.

  • In a development for the long term, lets pull people back into developed enclaves and allow large swathes of the country revert to wilderness; I want plains with herds of bison, I want old growth forests standing pristine and unthreatened, I want sections of coastline where the marine life is allowed to teem untouched. We should treat life as something worth preserving, not to be sacrificed for mere human convenience.

  • Those human enclaves? Let them be fed with sustainable agricultural practices and fueled with renewable energy. Tie them together with efficient mass transit and free, open communications technologies.

That’s my dream for this new year. I want all of that, and heck, I want ponies for everyone, too.

OK, I’ll compromise: if we can’t swing the ponies, I won’t cry too much. If it takes two years, rather than one, I’ll cope, anxiously.

But let’s please start aiming much, much higher, and let’s all have a wonderfully progressive new year.

(crossposted to The American Street)

Comments

  1. #1 Torbjörn Larsson
    January 1, 2007

    - So what was behind the Iraq war? – Intelligent design!

    OK, one wish down. We have to work on the rest, though.

  2. #2 David Marjanovi?
    January 1, 2007

    Well, SmellyTerror is right. It’s always the same: ignorance produces fear, and fear produces conservativism.

    Valhar2000: Fourth.

    Stanton: Relax. *patting on back, smiling* I can barely keep up with the new dinosaur “genera” that are described every three weeks on average, and that’s just the dinosaurs.

    Hank Fox: The use of “liberal” to mean “crypto-communist” is an exclusively American phenomenon, and you can thank Limbaugh and his ilk for this. Even the use of “liberal” by most people left of center* for themselves is restricted in this way; you won’t encounter it much in Europe, and you’ll often find it used for people who are liberal on economic issues — that is, everyone between Clinton and Blair on one side and the so-called libertarians on the other. I’m not aware of any of the Social Democratic parties of Europe ever having called itself “liberal”. Maybe “left-liberal” buried somewhere deep in the party program.

    Oh, and one last thing: the minimum wage. The US minimum wages, all of them (different by state), are a global shame. Austria’s, for example, is around 10 $ per hour, and it will soon rise to 10 ?.

    —-

    * Well, the US location of the center squarely within the conservatives is another US peculiarity… Kerry would fit quite well into most European conservative parties.

  3. #3 David Marjanovi?
    January 1, 2007

    Well, SmellyTerror is right. It’s always the same: ignorance produces fear, and fear produces conservativism.

    Valhar2000: Fourth.

    Stanton: Relax. *patting on back, smiling* I can barely keep up with the new dinosaur “genera” that are described every three weeks on average, and that’s just the dinosaurs.

    Hank Fox: The use of “liberal” to mean “crypto-communist” is an exclusively American phenomenon, and you can thank Limbaugh and his ilk for this. Even the use of “liberal” by most people left of center* for themselves is restricted in this way; you won’t encounter it much in Europe, and you’ll often find it used for people who are liberal on economic issues — that is, everyone between Clinton and Blair on one side and the so-called libertarians on the other. I’m not aware of any of the Social Democratic parties of Europe ever having called itself “liberal”. Maybe “left-liberal” buried somewhere deep in the party program.

    Oh, and one last thing: the minimum wage. The US minimum wages, all of them (different by state), are a global shame. Austria’s, for example, is around 10 $ per hour, and it will soon rise to 10 ?.

    —-

    * Well, the US location of the center squarely within the conservatives is another US peculiarity… Kerry would fit quite well into most European conservative parties.

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