Also read our vendors’ Letters to the President.
By Jeffery McNeil
As we see President Obama inaugurated for a second term on Jan. 20th, I wonder what lies ahead. Will he draw inspiration from FDR’s New Deal? From LBJ’s Great Society? Bring the troops home from Afghanistan? Will he be the president to bring peace to the Middle East? Will he stand his ground or submit to the Republicans and make cuts in Social Security and Medicare in the name of compromise?
The next four years won’t be easy.
First, I am concerned about human rights, both here and abroad. The military detention and interrogation facility at Guantanamo Bay remains open. Government surveillance under the Patriot Act has been expanded. Drone attacks are also a source of worry. I would like to see a non-partisan committee investigate his justification of them.
Then there is real gun control. Achieving it would present challenges to the second and fourth amendments. Gun owners are not going to give up their guns without a fight. I don’t think the anti-gun crowd is interested in the guerrilla tactics that would be needed: searches and seizures and violations of civil liberties. Americans love their Constitution and are not willing to give up certain freedoms. I think we need to strengthen the laws we have and bolster funding for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.
A ban on assault weapons will take a strong hand. It’s useless to try to use logic in dealing with special interests who put profit over public safety. These people have no conscience and no decency. Obama should just impose new laws and let them go through the courts.
Maybe he will get lucky. If pro-gun judges retire he can appoint more liberal judges who will ban assault weapons.
Lastly, I would like Obama to look at the existing laws to see how we can curb offensive language, mainly from the far-right on public airwaves.
There are many reasons political discourse has become polarized but I believe this started with the abolition of the fairness doctrine back in the 1980s.
That ended unbiased journalism and created industrialized extremism, allowing large corporations to buy up public airspace. Now they say anything they want and are not accountable for the consequences. Mentally ill people hear their hateful propaganda as a call to arms, resulting in the killings sprees we are witnessing.
And the culprits are not only the far-right commentators. Corporations, movie directors and others who are more concerned with profit than ethics share the blame. I think we need to consider placing restrictions on people saying things that could jeopardize others.
There should be more balance, in news, in government, and in society itself. Fairness does not impose on free speech. It allows people to make rational decisions.
There are more things I would like to see but these I feel are top priority.