1. Seeing the republican warmongers get their collective asses kicked in the coming election. I would love to see a woman president. Maybe she would surprise us with more diplomacy and less saber rattling when it came to conflict resolution...? Along that line of thinking, I believe it would be an excellent idea to require every young man (regardless of health, economic status, etc.) to serve a mandatory 2 years in the military. If senators and congressmen and Haliburton executives had sons (and perhaps daughters) serving in the military, perhaps we would be less likely to rush into armed conflict in the future...?
2. Move towards universal health care. I would happily pay more taxes if it meant an end to the corrupt and broken system we have now that has left 40 million without health insurance, and those of us with it in the worst shape ever. There are several countries that have successfully implemented this -- Sweden and Norway come to mind, and they have some of the best doctors and medical technology in the world (not to mention the highest standard of living). We have some of the best and brightest minds here in America, and more resources than just about anyone. I truly believe we could carefully and thoughtfully put something together that would implement the best of what's out there, and avoid the worst aspects of the rest. Hey, when insurance executives are billionaires, something is definitely broken, and money targeted for actual health care is obviously going into the wrong pockets. The number one reason for bankruptcy in America is medical bills. The number one reason for homelessness is, you guessed it...
3. Extend public education all the way through college. Imagine any person from any economic or ethnic background being able to pursue their educational dreams as far as they can be taken. Imagine for example that anyone who wanted, and had the skill set, to become a doctor could do so, regardless of economic background, and actually graduate from medical school debt-free. If a student has the grades, and demonstrates the ability, let them go as far as possible with their education! Imagine the positive impact on the US economy if, say, 87% of adults over the age of 25 had a college degree, instead of the current 27% (citing Wikipedia, 2003). And imagine those same graduates that begin their families without being 20-30 thousand dollars in student-loan debt at the outset. I can also imagine that college costs could be dramatically reduced if we invested in on-line curricula, free of charge to anyone who wanted to take advantage of it (think "Wiki University"). Imagine getting pretty much most of your education at your own pace; leaving classroom time for hands-on labs, teacher Q&A, etc. How to prevent kids from being careless with such a gift? Maybe implement it like some of my employers have -- require a passing grade from them, or they pay a hefty "fine" (the normal cost of the class for example). You get the idea...
4. Imagine taking a good percentage of our "defense" budget and, instead of spending billions on WMD's and munitions to destroy life and property, rather invest in alternate energy research. Imagine the world impact if some clever mind were to discover a way to cheaply and efficiently separate hydrogen from sea water. Or perhaps return to the moon with an international team with a common purpose -- the establishment of a manufacturing facility on the lunar surface that could make solar collectors that would beam (via microwave transmission) unlimited supplies of energy back to earth. What would happen if power was dirt cheap, readily available to everyone, and was non-polluting and didn't adversely impact climate? How might that impact world peace, dependence on oil (and the global conflicts associated with that), etc.?
Other, more personal wishes for the coming year include:
- My nephew beating his recently diagnosed cancer.
- Finding myself in a loving relationship again with a good woman.
- Getting my finances in order.
- (Assuming the previous wish) Doing some traveling.
- Getting my book finished.