Out of the Box

     It’s time for some unconventional thinking.
     I say this because the Republican National Convention was going on last week and I didn’t watch any of it. But its existence was sort of in the back of my mind.
     Hence, unconventional thinking.
     I’m not being partisan when I say this. I fully intend not to watch any of the Democratic National Convention this week. I highly recommend not watching to anyone interested in maintaining their sanity.
     Still, there’s something about convention time that makes me think. Here are some of my thoughts from the past week:
     
     State as church. Mitt Romney, the Republican presidential candidate, seems (at least in his current incarnation) to think taxes are bad and so is spending on the poor.
     Mitt Romney, the Mormon, pays a tithe to his church, which, in turn, runs a gigantic welfare system.
     The logical Republican position, then, should be to turn the government into a giant church so we can feel good about paying taxes – er, offerings – and taking care of each other.
     This doesn’t have to be difficult. A lot of the trappings are already there. We have a hymn and a prayer (national anthem and Pledge of Allegiance) and a lot of guys who love to give sermons.
     I really want to see Congress sing Gospel songs.
     
     Equal speech protection. There’s been an awful lot of concern about the impact of enormous sums of money – I mean, speech – on this year’s election.
     It doesn’t have to be a problem.
     After all, if spending money is speech, it ought to be treated as speech.
     You have a right to talk among yourselves, but you don’t have a right to hire a truck with a loudspeaker that wakes up the neighbors. Think of all the reasonable time, place and manner court rulings you’ve read over the years.
     And isn’t there an equal protection lawsuit here somewhere? Do we protect the right of some billionaire to speak millions when millions of non-billionaires can’t do that?
     We need some imaginative litigation.
     
     Donor stroking. The Aug. 27 issue of The New Yorker contains an article about how President Obama has lost out on funding because he hasn’t gone out of his way to be nice to rich people.
     Your initial reaction may be similar to mine: “Aww. Poor rich people.”
     It’s easy to forget, though, that the wealthy have feelings too. Just because someone has houses on multiple continents and a reality (as opposed to fantasy) sports team to play with doesn’t mean that person doesn’t need love.
     My recommendation is that the Obama campaign immediately begin distribution of puppies to significant potential donors.
     Some chocolates couldn’t hurt either.
     
     Occupancy. So where’s the Occupy movement?
     Maybe I missed it – being unconventional and all – but the Occupy protest hasn’t surfaced much during a Republican convention that nominated a guy who’s definitely in the 1 Percent.
     The Republican response to an economy that has separated the really rich from everyone else has been to nominate a really rich guy. So why aren’t there huge protests?
     Obviously, it’s because the 1 Percent outnumber the rest of us.

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