a most benevolent dictator.

Sometimes, my neurons fire in just the right pattern, and I crank out something like Why The Gun Is Civilization. Whenever that happens, I usually have a few people suggesting I run for President.

That, my friends, is never going to happen. Even if you were to eliminate the Constitutional barriers in place (I’m a naturalized citizen, not a natural-born one), I wouldn’t want the job. Who in their right minds would trade in their privacy and ability to shop for a few books at Borders without a platoon of Secret Service dudes and a regiment of reporters in tow for the privilege of being national whipping boy (or -girl)? Also, I’m aware of the constitutional limitations of the job (unlike everyone in the Oval Office since, oh, Calvin Coolidge), and while I wouldn’t try to act outside my authority, I’d still get assassinated within a week of taking office. That’s not just because my interpretation of executive authority is rather narrow, but also my interpretation of Congressional authority. I’d basically sit in the Oval Office with a big red stamp that says “VETO: I see no constitutional authority for this law,” and I would go through gallons of stamp ink every month.

A while ago, Rachel Lucas picked up a meme about ten things you’d pass into law if you were elected Temporary Supreme Dictator of America. I only have five rules I’d put into place, and I consider them sufficient to keep the Republic on the straight-and-narrow for a while. My list is rather less specific than hers, but I feel that they’re comprehensive enough to take care of all the piddly stuff like marijuana legalization.

So, assuming that the Temporary Supreme Dictator gets to start with a blank sheet and unlimited authority, I’d make just a few changes to our political system. I don’t even need all ten slots–half of them will be more than sufficient. Here’s my list of Five Things I’d Pass Into Law:

Congress will meet once a year.

This full-time lawmaking business is not good for the country–that’s how we end up with 800-page laws and regulations dealing with the permissible size of oranges. To further ensure the passage of only the bare essential business, Congress is also relocated to the most inhospitable places in the country, on a rotating basis. One year, it might be the outskirts of Nome in January, the next year it might be Death Valley in August. Put up a bunch of tents, give ’em some hand-held fans or pocket heaters, and let them go about the business of Making Laws, and see how quickly they find the ability to distinguish between essential and non-essential business.  It’ll also free up all that nice real estate in D.C. for more useful purposes…we could turn the Capitol into a totally awesome library, for example, and stock it with all the books that have ever been banned, censored, or burned.

All laws are vetoed by default unless they are qualified.

You pass a law and put it on my desk, and I will veto it unless these three conditions are met:

1.) The proposed bill has a cover page citing the exact Article and Section of the U.S. Constitution that describes Congressional authority to pass a law on the subject matter.

2.) The cite is precise, relevant, and unambiguous–none of that “commerce clause” or “general welfare” crap that has been serving as a Universal Constitutionality Adapter until now. If I roll my eyes or laugh when I read the cover page, that VETO stamp is coming out faster than a pack of Oreos at a Weight Watchers meeting.

3.) The proposed bill has fewer pages than the Constitution itself, and can be read in the same amount of time without consulting a legal dictionary. No more obfuscation–if the Founding Fathers were able to draft the legal foundation of our nation in comprehensible English and on less paper than needed for a Pizza Hut sales flyer, then Congress can pass concise laws that aren’t designed to obfuscate through language inflation.

Congress is elected by lottery.

We put the names of every eligible citizen into fifty huge hats, one for every state. Every two years, we fill the allotment of Congressional seats at random by pulling names out of those hats. We can make it a TV special, or something. Whoever is nominated gets to serve one term in Congress, which should take a week out of their schedule every year, tops. (See the preceding item on the list.) That will eliminate the vote-whoring, and the incessant stream of campaign ads, two of the most annoying aspects of the current system.

You abuse your public job, you die.

Any public servant found to have used their position to a.) enrich themselves unjustly, or b.) deprive a citizen of their civil rights without due process will get a blindfold, a last cigarette (or celery stick, depending on preference), and a public date with a firing squad.

All federal laws and statutes other than the Constitution are repealed.

You think your law about ethanol subsidies or the size of oranges is a great idea? Resubmit it, under the new guidelines listed above, and see whether it makes the cut, but don’t come crying to me if your fellow legislators beat you to death for making them read an 800-page draft at a House session in the middle of the Everglades…in July.

That’s it–those are your five new rules when I am Temporary Supreme Dictator of America. I’d like to think they’re sensible and balanced, and I sure wouldn’t mind living under those rules myself.


22 thoughts on “a most benevolent dictator.

  1. Michael Philbrick aka SemperGumby says:

    Marko for prez.

    Yeah, I despise politics and want nothing to do with it either. Sucks for the country that those of us who would actually do good things with that power don’t want it and those who would do bad things crave it. It’s a messed up world…

  2. Got THAT right, I’m here to tell ya.
    You ought to run for pres…
    Errr, never mind.

  3. perlhaqr says:

    Ok, you could just be my speechwriter, instead… 😉

  4. Tam says:

    It’d never work. People want to be told what to do…

  5. sasu says:

    You would get my vote.

  6. Jeff says:

    “It’d never work. People want to be told what to do…”

    I’d be happy to tell people what to do if that’s what they want. In general, I have no problem with leaders (church leaders, scoutmasters, club organizers, etc) telling people what to do. The problem is when they tell people what to do *or else* and have a goon squad to back it up.

  7. BRB says:

    “Benevolent dictator” is an oxymoron. Your writing and ideas are generally far above such pandering to the crowd. Even though I disagree with most of your political essays, I enjoy reading your posts. This one is weak.

  8. Why would you stock the capitol with burned books? Isn’t it enough of an ashtray the way it is?

  9. MikeW says:

    Here are some of my changes.
    1. There are a maximum of 1000 statutes in the federal code (can’t remember the proper tern at the moment.) When you want to enact the 1001st, you must repeal one to get within the 1000 limit.
    2. The 17th Amendment that provided for direct election of Senators is repealed. Henceforth, Senators will be appointed by the states as originally provided in the constitution.
    3. The 24th Amendment is modified to add that voters must provide proof of US citizenship in addition to a certified photo ID.
    4. The 16th Amendment is modified to state that the maximum amount of income taxed will not exceed 10% of an individual or corporate total net income. Net income to be determined after all other governmental, federal, state and local taxes and fees are deducted.
    5. The constitution will be amended to state that English is the national language and all governmental and business transcations and documentations will be written and conducted in English.

  10. CrankyProf says:

    Can I be your Press Secretary? I’ve been longing to call David Gregory an over-coiffed, self-absorbed, hyper-whiny fucktard.

    (Wish I could find LawDog’s old “If I were elected” post. It was a beaut, too.)

  11. studmuffin says:

    Titus Polus for President

  12. brotio says:

    Mike W’s first three are spot-on, so from there:

    4. The Sixteenth Amendment is repealed.

    5. The Department of Defense will be renamed the War Department. (We won a lot more wars when it was thusly named.)

  13. T.Stahl says:

    Well, Marko, you could still come back to Germany and become chancellor…

  14. Marko says:

    No, I couldn’t. I lost my German citizenship the moment I accepted that Certificate of Naturalization at the Federal District Court in Chattanooga.

  15. Well, I think they’re all pretty good ideas. I especially like the bit about putting Congress out in the boonies. Actually, that’s why DC was picked in the first place. Don’t forget that it was a swamp. They don’t call part of it “Foggy Bottom” for nothing.

    The “shoot ’em” idea is a more drastic version of a thought I had some time ago. My feelings are that if they misuse their power, they are traitors to their country and therefore, don’t deserve their citizenship. It should be stripped along with their wealth and they should be put on the next boat to where ever will take them.

    The “Congress Lottery” kinda spooks me though. With out trying to come across as too elitist, there are a lot of bottom feeders out there who might not be able to grasp even your basic rules.

    Good post though!

    Turkish Prawn

  16. John says:

    “VETO: I see no constitutional authority for this law.”

    I like it. God bless Coolidge…

  17. Rogue Medic says:

    Celery stick or cigarette?

    I guess I would have to behave. 🙂

  18. sasu says:

    Turkish Prawn:
    >there are a lot of bottom feeders out there

    That is why Marko suggests a lottery instead of voting. A random sampling of the population would reduce the number of bottom feeders in positions of power.

  19. T.Stahl says:

    Yes, Marko, I know. But we could re-patriate you, at least theoretically.

  20. Truly, sir, this is brilliant. Big Red Veto Stamp.

    You should at least make a bumper sticker of it and make a mint.

  21. Assrot says:

    Very well said and very well thought out. It’s too bad that you can’t run for POTUS. You would get my vote based on this blogpost. Maybe you should rethink the whole writing bit and run for governor, senator, etc. of the state you live in.

    If we could get a few good folks like you into Congress, maybe we could get this country at least started in the right direction. By right I mean correct not necessarily “Right”.

    I’m afraid that you are correct in your assumption that you probably would not last though. It seems that we have a nasty habit of killing off anyone with good ideas that are brave enough to actually speak about them.

    Good post Marko. I really liked that whole “Gun is Civilization” post as well. I see great things in your future. Good luck.


  22. Joshua says:

    I believe it was George Washington who said that anyone who would actively campaign to be elected to the office of president doesn’t deserve said office.

    I agree with you on 1, 2, and 5. I, personally, would alter 3 to make it so that House Representatives are elected by popular vote (so that they represent the PEOPLE, and not the high-and-mighties who get chosen for the electoral college), and Senators are chosen by the States (as per the Constitution). Number 4 I would change so as to have the public official who abused their office suffer the same fate they inflicted. For example: If you lock someone up without due process, you spend the same amount of time in prison that they spent there.

    Despite disagreeing with you on those two matters, I still agree with sixty percent of what you’ve said here, and that’s much higher than the percentage of agreement I feel with what has come out of the mouths of any of our current Executive choices.


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