A droll tweet prompted this, here is the image original, and a transcription, for those whom the image fails:
Make America again. Just make it again. Let’s start over completely. We had a good run but it’s time to hit the reset button and start again.
Some thoughts for America 2.0:
- National anthem is “Gasolina”
- No founding fathers whatsoever but maybe we give Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson a mountain statue or two
- Let’s do way, way less genocide this time. I’m thinking definitely like 0% of the genocide form the last time, that seems good
- Maybe more holidays about dogs
So here’re my thoughts.
First off, unless you discover a new landmass that’s uninhabited, America 2.0 will be built atop the current America, right? The historian in me, the same impulse that hates when ISIS destroyed ancient temples, would want us to keep the remnants, the ruins and monuments, of the past America. Modern Greece exists alongside the Acropolis, modern Mexico City has preserved aspects of Tenochtitlan which preceded it.
As such, let us not go dynamiting Mount Rushmore so as to carve The Rock’s face where Lincoln’s used to be. (In general I question the long-term historical import of The Rock, as beloved as he may be.) And on the note of the Founding Fathers, there would be… founders, right? Whether you like it or not, presumably some people would take greater responsibility in the creation of this new enterprise. They shouldn’t all be white men, many of whom were slave-owners, but you’re still going to have founders, regardless.
For the sake of nationalism and identity, for a country that will be laid atop the geographic spread and demographic spread of the current United States, unifying factors are not a bad idea. Instead of Washington’s Birthday it may be Shonda’s Birthday, but a bit of healthy founder veneration isn’t out of place. Regarding dog holidays, perhaps if we made Earth Day a national holiday as a start? (And what’s wrong with cats? A Pets Day, perhaps.) I’m all for holidays. Here are some other suggestions:
Some sort of Independence Day makes sense, based on whenever we become a new nation.
Arbor Day should totally be Federal.
United Nations Day is a good thing. Human Rights Day too.
May 1st is another good international holiday we could adopt, to replace our Labor Day.
Make Thanksgiving America 1.0 Day. A celebration and reflection of all that was good (pumpkin pie) and bad (genocide) about the first incarnation of our nation. Reflection is good.
I’m also okay with keeping Martin Luther King Day.
Replace Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples Day, as some states have already done.
Make all major religious holidays Federal. They have to be major, not like feast days for saints, but that way everyone becomes aware of each other’s beliefs and we all get time off. Win-win. So Christmas, Eid al-Fitr, Passover, Visak, Holi – all of it.
Memorial Day and Veterans Day are both still good ideas. Especially since Veterans is, again, international.
New Years is silly, but I’m okay with keeping it too.
Teacher’s Day is a big deal elsewhere, it should be in America 2.0 as well.
Okay, now we’ve got our founders, a bit of mythos but less problematic than before, and some healthy holidays to let people feel pride and celebrate who we are. The next part is weirdly phrased in the original, which is on genocide: “like 0% of the genocide form the last time”. Now, with a little grammatical wizardry, this could be taken to say that some genocide is okay, especially since they state they want “less genocide”. One of America’s issues is a vague Constitution. Come on, people! Let’s not start off with the same problems as America 1.0. The “from last time” clause could be interpreted as allowing genocide, just so long as it doesn’t affect the same populations (indigenous peoples). Instead it should be clear: No genocide of any sort at all. Sheesh.
Lastly, from the original post, I had to look up “Gasolina”, which appears to be a track by Daddy Yankee from 2004. (I fail to see the nationalist value of the track, but increasingly am concerned with the poster’s infatuation with celebrity. America 2.0 would presumably be raised from the ashes of reality star’s failed Presidency – and we don’t want that shit to happen again. A basic threshold of ability and experience required, please.) We would need a new anthem, though. Ideally one we could all sing. If Daddy Yankee wants to write it, fine, but let's make something new.
These are my thoughts on the original post.
Beyond that, here are things I’d like to see, in no particular order, for America 2.0 which, may, upon reflection, be a little more important than carving a statue of Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson:
A representative, blended presidential-parliamentary system (along French lines) with two proportional houses makes sense. State boundaries aren’t valuable unless we make it explicit that they are flexible with demographic changes – one of the gravest problems we currently face. Elections need to be publicly funded and our Bill of Rights needs some more explicit language, a la Justice Stevens’ Six Amendments. Make alcohol, weed, and tobacco 21 across the board (unless, like, you’re actively serving in the military, in which case, sure – you can have your cigarettes and booze). On the subject of age, perhaps a nationally-agreed upon age defining adulthood, consent, etc. since 2/3 of the states have an age of consent under 18, and every state currently allows child marriage exemptions, and you know. That’s a huge problem. Perhaps lower the voting/adult/consent age to 17 as a compromise (or keep it 18 like civilized society, but I doubt much of the country would be on board with that. Too many people start having sex as teens. A good compromise should leave everyone feeling bad, after all…) Making whatever consenting adults do legal so long as they’re not harming others. That can include prostitution (sorry Nevada) and an acknowledgement of differing sexualities, gender identities, and legalizing non-monogamous relationships (for survivor benefits, etc.). Ensure education is free or affordable, and providing 21st century alternatives to that college/masters combo. Incentivizing a three-fold path after college: enlisting in the armed forces for two years, two years of Peace Corps, or two years of AmeriCorps. Gets people moving around, interacting, helping out the country and helping others. Change prison culture to rehabilitation (when possible) and get rid of private prisons and private military contractors. Making it really very clear that we can’t get involved in military conflicts without Congressional Approval unless we’ve been hit first and need immediate retaliation – and clearly legally defining war so that things like Vietnam and Korean ‘police actions’ don’t happen again (at least not without Congress’ approval). Other definitions are needed for strong privacy and data laws, the nightly news being commercial-free, and the internet a public utility. Also need to fix our bonkers copyright and patent laws. A cap on CEO, President, and all other corporate salaries – proportional to their own employees. All of the stuff I mentioned a couple of months ago regarding the institutional failures of the Presidency. A Federal living minimum wage. Stricter laws on guns, which I’ve also talked about before. We can let religions keep their tax-free real estate, but on the condition that they stay the heck out of politics. If they get involved, as George Carlin noted, then they can pay their taxes like everybody else. Speaking of which, the pledge of allegiance – if we keep it, it can’t have religious language. Think tanks with defined partisan agendas, also, cannot register as NGOs, but must be publicly funded, or become corporations. Universal healthcare, and more access to health services, especially in schools and rural areas, and doubly especially access to Planned Parenthood and like services. Paid parental leave – basically anything Michael Moore brought up in his recent documentary Where to Invade Next. Getting rid of homelessness (even voluntary – sorry wand’ring gypsy children, you need an address. The census is important, and we need to know who the heck lives here. Also: get a job, long-hair!). We can also fix our infrastructure and make more green solutions to deal with climate change (some painful. New Orleans and Miami…) and rejoin the Paris Climate Accord.
So, you know, just a few things. A couple of small fixes - if we decide to Make America Again.