Chris Reed and the Anime Raiders
Sometimes one must dare to dream:
On the idea that the Government of the United States belongs to the people of the United States, and based upon the personal belief that an average citizen could do a better job than most of the current people in power, I have decided to do my part to make certain that things improve.
Therefore, I am officially announcing that I will be seeking the Democratic Nomination for President and hopefully, the Presidency itself, in 2004. I already have as large a delegate count as Dick Gephart.
My name is James Christopher Reed, and most people call me Chris. I was born in Los Angeles on September 23, 1964. I will be 40 the year of the election. This would make me the possibly the youngest person to run for President in the history of our country, and the first post-Baby Boomer in the office. I have never run for political office before now. I am married to a wonderful woman named Catherine, and have two children, Michael and Isobel.
I do not desire the job of President. Frankly, there are better jobs out there – some that pay more with considerably less stress although I don’t have one of those jobs. And quite frankly, I enjoy living in San Francisco. I’ve been to Washington D.C. and found it dingy and dull. The building that houses the EPA needs to be cleaned. However, how may of you have said to yourself “I could do a better job”? A lot of you, I know. I have myself and I plan to back up those words with action.
One reason I am running because it is clear to me that no one in the current field is addressing the issues important to people my age and younger. The people in power in the generations before mine have done a great deal to screw up the lives of the people of my generation and after, and we’re tired of it. You know why people my age and younger don’t give too much thought to Social Security? We expect you to have spent it all by the time we retire.
Education matters. Wasn’t Mr. Bush the younger meant to be “The Education President”? The only things my children have learned from “The Education President” is how not to pronounce “Nuclear” and “Terror”, and how hard a job their mother, who is a real teacher, really has.
Education must be promoted above virtually all else. I am a member of perhaps the first (and certainly not the last) generation that saw the previous one cut education. It was called Proposition 13. While the true desire was to cut taxes the end result was that it appeared that the generation before mine didn’t care about our success. Yes, this is a superficial response, but we were raised superficially (we gave you the audience for Mtv).
Education took a back seat in this country in the mid 1970’s and has gotten progressively worse since that time. We need to care for the kids, the teachers, and create an atmosphere where kids learn to THINK, not just learn how to take tests. While I believe the strongest influence on education should be the home, we have forgotten to enforce that for a generation now and we blame the schools for it. This is wrong.
My generation was given a second-rate education and you’re going to get a second-rate return on that investment. The implied social contract that states we care for our young so that they care for us when we are old has been broken. It must be repaired. Now. We can do better.
I worry about the parallels between what is happening in our country now and history not too distant. Once in the past century, a leader who won by the thinnest of margins faced difficult financial times when an awful thing happened, and many lives were lost. He found scapegoats. He persecuted anyone even remotely connected to the perceived scapegoats. When popular support for this began to fade, he created a war with another country.
I do not claim that the current President is the same as Hitler. America does not have the political and military history of Germany in the 1930s. However, the parallels bother me. I am not alone in this, and we should be careful.
It is important to remain involved in the dialogue of the world stage, not simply to mold it in our image. The UN is the most important part of that dialogue. The great risk that I see from the current administration’s attempts to relegate the UN into obscurity is that it could backfire and relegate US into obscurity, should the rest of the world listen to them instead of us. We cannot afford that. There is nothing wrong with making a decision that does not necessarily agree with the debate – unpopular stances must sometimes be made. But we should not make a decision and then try to make the debate support the decision. The President is not a King.
Other countries have influenced our way of life from the very beginning. We cannot stand as an island while the rest of the world becomes a breathing network. Our American identity is important, but this must be balanced with the identity of our place in the world. We are the strongest country on the planet, but strength cannot be maintained forever without respect. Respect must be continuously earned.
I cannot emphasize enough how important dialogue is. We could resolve most of the current crisis with North Korea if we would simply TALK with them. Or at least we could have before we attacked Iraq.
Regarding Iraq – I believe we have done a terrible wrong here. Unless the current administration has revoked a rule instituted by President Nixon, our President has committed an impeachable offense in trying to kill the leader of another country. Regime change is NOT the job of the United States. It doesn’t matter that that leader is an enemy of our country and a potential danger to our way of life. Even Richard Nixon saw the dangers in assassinating another world leader. If Nixon’s order has been withdrawn, then we have set a very dangerous precedent.
But of course our current President will not be impeached. Republicans control congress and the current Democrats lack the will – the votes simply aren’t there. In addition to running for President, I would propose that the United States create a methodology of removing the President that can be controlled by the people; the ability to Recall a sitting President. We can do this with Mayors, Governors, and congressmen, so why not the President?
Of course, it shouldn’t be easy to do. It should be onerous as hell quite frankly. Say, 20% of all the registered voters in the previous election signing a petition for a recall election, certified by the FEC. The recall would affect both the President and Vice-President, as they are elected as a single ticket. This way, should any President suck at doing his job, including me, the American People can do something about it.
It may take a constitutional amendment to accomplish this. I throw the concept out there on the table for everyone to debate.
Our country is headed in a direction that the founders of our country would be appalled at. The framers of the Constitution were very clear in their intent – that freedoms must be established, protected, and when needed fought for. They provided quite clearly for freedom from persecution resulting from belief. The Patriot Act and its successors are misguided and as Un-American as anything you can possibly imagine. Any reaction to terrorism that changes the principles of our country is simply wrong. Any such reaction is a win for the terrorists. The Patriot act and its successors must go.
The threats we face are real – let no one doubt that. Terrorism presented us with a wakeup call of incredible horror and a kind of suffering we still have not fully come to grips with. It must be countered and terrorists caught and punished like the criminals they are. Terrorists are not an army, but a collection of thugs – and should be treated as such. We must address the CAUSE, and not just react to the effect. Hate must be eliminated and not just tolerance but acceptance must be promoted.
Fear and paranoia, and the policies that foster them, have no place in American life. As my father once told me, when he called a man he fought with regularly a good friend, all people want the same thing, and it doesn’t matter if they’re Republican, Democrat, Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, Atheist, Sikh, black, white, brown, blue or green. We want our kids to have it better than we did. That’s universal – we should be able to make it so.
And tax cuts? Tax cuts? Having tax cuts at a time of deficit spending - at a time when the country is on a war footing - is about as stupid and reckless a thing as can be done. It’s like maxing out your credit cards when you know you have to take a pay cut. If the average American did what the government does that person would be bankrupt. There is no one solution to taxes – they change because the needs of our nation continues to change.
I’m like everyone else – I would love for my taxes to be lower. But to quote a rather good movie, “America is First Class Citizenship – you’ve got to want it real bad”. It takes active participation and expects a lot from its people, because the rewards and freedoms are greater than anywhere else in the world. John F. Kennedy’s famous line about asking what you can do for your country is as relevant today as it was 40 years ago. Taxes are how most people pay their part of the price.
So I’m going to say something no one else has. CLINTON WAS RIGHT. It’s The Economy, Stupid! It always has been, and it always will be. What ever you think of the man, he had the guts to proclaim that the state of the union was the best it had ever been, and he wasn’t wrong. We need to return to that level, and go beyond. It’s about jobs, and having an economic environment that will create jobs. It’s about CONFIDENCE – and Bill Clinton was GREAT at instilling confidence. Mr. Bush the younger is not. Sure, President Clinton had some good luck, but a good leader will always capitalize on that luck. You don’t instill confidence by reducing your income and spending more money. The American people want to know that our government can balance their checkbook. We’re expected to – despite the fact I never learned how in school. I had to pick up the skill since that time.
I believe our goals should be set so high that they seem unrealistic. We must reach for the stars just to show we can. We have not had a race to the moon since my own childhood, and we have been missing that sense of purpose John Kennedy’s bold declaration gave us. He said we would have a man on the moon within 10 years, and although we had no real idea how to do it at the time, we succeeded. We need challenges like that again. The very concept of America REQUIRES that we have challenges like that again. The tech boom of the past decade was like that.
Let me spell out a few more things I believe:
I believe that if you don’t like the content of what’s on television or radio, don’t watch or listen. Programming that has no audience will disappear, I assure you, no matter how good or bad it is. I believe the best way to protect your children is to be involved with them – don’t expect someone else to screen what they see or hear. We are a country founded upon individualism; exercise it.
Regarding the environment – protect it. Period. Do not EVER turn back the clock. For those people who want to see the environmental standards we used to have, to see regulations relaxed to levels they once were, I would like to point out that I have asthma because the air used to be grayer than it is now. I’d like not to be sick again and I don’t want you to be either. The Kyoto Protocol is a great idea; we should sign it.
I believe in freedom of speech, regardless of how repugnant I find the content of that speech. The ACLU is right about this one.
I believe that debate can be strong, honest, and at the end of the day we can go home friends because we both really want the same thing – a better world for our children – even if we do disagree about how to get it accomplished.
I believe the separation of Church and State is an absolute.
I believe that MEN should have little say in the abortion policy debate. Men can’t have them.
I believe that stem-cell research is important and should be supported. I would like to see Superman walk again. I would like to see Alzheimer’s cured. I would like to see Ronald Reagan spend his later years with a clear mind, regardless of my personal opinion of the man. I would like to know that EVERY possible research avenue is being pursued to find a cure for ANYTHING.
I believe Insurance and the practice of Medicine are like Oil and Water. They can be made to mix successfully, but the mixture must be constantly maintained or they will separate and conflict. Medical care should NEVER be about cost control.
I believe every vacancy for judgeships should be filled NOW. Fill half of the vacancies with right-leaning judges and half with left-leaning ones. Spread them evenly throughout the vacancies and get to doing some real work.
I believe that the definition of the word “Family” should come from the members of the family itself, not from outside. Government has no role in making this definition.
I am a Liberal. I’m not a middle-of-the-road type. I believe in being open to new ideas and concepts and would hope that others do as well. Once upon a time the word “Liberal” meant open-minded. The word “Conservative” meant resistant to change. The Dictionary still has those definitions. Neither term was a cause for name-calling.
Unfortunately, these days being a Liberal can make you feel like Hester Prynne, with a Scarlet “L” on your chest. I wear that badge proudly. It has nothing to do with economics, foreign policy or domestic policy – it is a belief that freedom to pursue happiness comes in many forms and most of them are equally valid, whether you personally agree with them or not. That is a liberal point of view.
As a general rule I tell the truth as I see it, and I promise no waffling or flip-flopping. I have convictions and principles and I will present them as honestly as I can. If I find I’m wrong, I’ll admit to it. I do not believe in “spin”. Say what you say and mean it.
I admit my campaign will be a long-shot effort. I do not have the fund-raising machine behind me that other candidates do, and I do not have “inner circle” experience in Washington D.C. or other political strongholds. Compared to the other candidates, very few people will know my name at first. My family was once well connected in Republican circles but I find that their message does not resonate with me, and their political machinery leaves me feeling as if swimming in oil.
I have no intention of establishing such machines. It has always puzzled me that you should want to give money to someone who is trying to convince you to give him (or her) a job. A man I am told is an ancestor of mine was involved in the establishment of Tammany Hall and I can tell you that money corrupts. Period. There are no exceptions. If you wish to support my campaign with a monetary contribution I have no problem with it, but I will not be asking for it. Someone else will need to establish a campaign fund – I want no part of that. And, unlike Ross Perot, Bill Simon and other recent political figures, I am not rich, so you will not be seeing tons of television ads from me.
You won’t see me on the campaign trail very much. Like you, I have a day job. I can’t just take time off from it to go make speeches, unlike everyone else running for this job. I have a family to support and unlike everyone else who has entered the race so far my salary is far closer to the American average – I do not have a 6 or 7-figure income.
So here I am, Chris Reed, Presidential Candidate. I’m not a politician, but just an average guy. I ask for your support. And if not that, at least discuss the issues I’ve raised today. Let’s return some sanity to government.
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