Dear Barack, or: How to make your presidency not a complete disaster

I like Barack Obama about as much as I liked the George Bushes or Clinton... okay, I liked Clinton a little more, but only because he had a deadlocked congress to not do his bidding. Now that I'm getting over the shock of the fiscal insanity that is going on, and reserved to watching the dollar lose 3/4 of its value in the next 10 years, I'm trying to find subtle sparkles to the touches of grey. I'm thinking there are a few things that might go the right way with this administration, if they have any of the balls or vision they keep telling us they have. So here goes:

#1: End or significant softening of the War on Drugs. The WoD has been an abject failure - it has not changed the proportion of people who do drugs, it has made the drugs that are on the streets less safe, it has created a huge mafia-run black market, it has made us into hypocrites and bullies on the world stage, and it has created millions of lifetime criminals by locking up non-violent offenders. 25% of the world's prisoners are in American jails, and we have the gall to talk about China's political prisoners. It won't be a sweeping dismantling of the DEA, but I can see these steps being taken:
  • A bill that passes jurisdiction over to the states for marijuana (or better, all drug) control.
  • A bill that eliminates mandatory minimum sentences for non-violent drug offenses
  • A tax on legal drug transactions - I don't like taxes, but making something into a source of revenue is a sure way to make sure it doesn't become a source of prisoners
#2: Pull the military back onto American shores. Obama seems keen to target military spending. I think that's the last thing you should target, but there is good military spending and there is bad military spending. American might is all about kill ratios: you might kill our guys and gals, but they'll take out 40 of your before you do. It is based on technology, logistical superiority, and the ability to communicate the field of battle before your enemy can. In this context, maintaining an umbrella of bases and a standing army in Europe, and securing their oil supply with the same in the Middle East, makes no sense. Asia too. The world is a tinderbox; but right now we are standing with an ever-weakening garden sprinkler trying to keep it from combusting. We need the equivalent of a good pair of binoculars and a bucket of sand. We'd be better off with a force based on "shock and awe" rapid response than one based on blanketing. This transition was started by Bush Sr., and I hope Obama cuts in the right places.

#3: Bring back civil liberties. I have seen no sign that Obama intends to do this, unfortunately. If anything, he will retain the massive executive powers that Bush Jr. gathered and "choose" not to use them - a situation that the founders would have called insane. I guess we see the Dems' true colors now - with them in power, where is all the outcry about rolling back the PATRIOT Act? Where is the urgency to extract ourselves from Iraq (and now we're going into Mexico...) Of all his broken campaign promises, this is the one that will destroy him.

#4: Stop minority victimhood. If nothing else, and I think I see it around me even now, I hope that having a black president removes the cult of victimhood that is a blight on minority, and especially American Black, communities. We can all grow up to be president now, so hopefully everyone can stop complaining about their societally-imposed disadvantages and use them as a motivating tool. Like, you know, every immigrant group that has ever come into this country.

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