Soaring Spirit with Tears


Election 2004

As you all know, I'm an astrologer. Years ago, I said that the best president America would ever have would be a woman and probably one with a lot of Aquarian energy. So, here's my nomination:

Oprah Winfrey

Why? If a country wanted to win an Olympic gold medal, it would put together a dream team. If it wants to recover its national identity and pride, address sociological and political imbalance, provide meaningful health care and education, detoxify the air and water, restore the environment, it needs not only a leader but a dream ticket.

Ever since Bobby Kennedy was assassinated, I've been a dissident voter. I voted for Independents and Rainbows and Greens, but Oprah needs to start a political party; and I even think she should call it Stars and Stripes, not reform or unity or patriot or liberal or new, but something really American that can assimilate all our differences and keep this country from spiraling any further into hell.

Nader has integrity, but he simply doesn't have the charisma to win and besides, even if I'm Green, I would be a fool not to notice that most of the country isn't and even Nader isn't very Green. He has been a candidate for corporate reform, not an environmentalist. Our country needs change. Like an old motor that has parts that are worn out, we need a major overhaul. So I nominate Oprah and suggest that she get a running mate like John Robbins, maybe not him but someone with some of his qualities. Heck, she doesn't need help choosing a running mate because she knows everyone: she's been through the school of hard knocks and come out a knocker and a proven organizer who can achieve big things without forgetting that whatever isn't done with heart probably isn't worth doing.

So, who will second my nomination?

Not to be uppity or anything, but Oprah needs a platform and platforms don't come together in ten minutes so I have a few suggestions for starters, but I know she doesn't need my help because she has interviewed almost everyone who ever had a good idea:

Oprah needs to run on a ticket that says we can get through these times with important values in tack, without bloodshed, and with dignity, cooperation, and a renewed spirit.

Governments need money so she should make the tax system fair: abolish the income tax and replace it with a consumption tax, no more loopholes, no more special shelters for the rich, and no more eroding of the middle class by heavy taxes on the working public. I assume Oprah is rich, but I suspect she is also generous which makes her very different from the Enron executives and other megalomaniacal heads of corporate America.

Oprah can suggest revamping the notion of competition. There isn't much real competition in the corporate world. It's all been replaced by collusion. I think we need to indoctrinate people with the idea of cooperation. We can do this from grade one: no more education based on the ability to outperform others on the SATs, but education based on finding what children are interested in so they can become who they want to become and find the world opening up to them. I could go on and on about education, but our system barely works for the disciplined and fails completely for those who are bored or disinterested.

But, get the federal government out of education. Education, except for the military academies, is a state affair. Return this power and responsibility to the states.

Prison reform. All prisons should be converted to rehabilitation institutions. Start with non-violent offenders, like people who are behind bars for possession of a little bit of pot or crack. Put addicts through proper detoxification programs, job training programs, and then give them their freedom the day they have self-respect and the skill to function in the world. Even those who are hardest to rehabilitate should be productive: start organic farms so prisons are self-sufficient and maybe even income generating. Voting rights should be restored to anyone who stays clean for two years after release. Make John Walsh of America's Most Wanted Attorney General.

Close down all our foreign military bases unless we are truly begged to maintain a presence. How would we feel if Spain still had bases in the U.S. even though the Conquistadors have been gone for centuries. This is a carryover from days that are history. Onward. Make Bill Moyers Secretary of State.

Countries need defense but make it real. In the meantime, build the sense of character by having the military do useful things domestically, like repair bridges and roads. Shut down the research laboratories that produce bioterrorist weapons and put Leonard Horowitz in charge of the dismantling of the programs.

Close the FDA. It performs no public service, is in bed with the pharmaceutical industry, and is not supporting relief for illness. Medical choices belong in the hands of medical experts, people trained to offer services: doctors, chiropractors, acupuncturists, gifted healers, etc. We need professional organizations that are composed of academicians from schools that train people to become health care practitioners, practitioners themselves, and researchers. Let them decide what products and therapies are efficacious and let the test be in the outcome, not the $125 million of paperwork it takes to get a patent on a drug that has never been used to treat a spontaneously occurring condition. Since licensure is a state matter, get the federal government out of the regulation business. If a state can decide whether or not to license massage therapists or naturopaths, it can decide whether chaparral or kava kava are legal within its borders.

Corporate reforms. When a company like Enron is caught with its pants down, there is an agonizing investigation that is preceded by endless denial of realities. When a company siphons off cash and pads the pockets of the executives while depriving the employees of their jobs and retirement income, the exposure is followed by an all too familiar ordeal that involves trying to re-create Humpty Dumpty from the rubble. In this process, the company somehow survives. In fact, it usually continues to do business while it is allegedly belly up. The company should become employee-owned and operated. This is a way to spread responsibility and enthusiasm for recovery over the shoulders of those who were most injured by executive malice. The executives should go through a judicial system that has the teeth not only to find them guilty but to dispossess them of their ill-begotten gains.

The environment is in a pitiful state. Put Robert Redford in charge of the EPA and get some serious restoration happening!

I could go on and on and on, but no one asked me to do so. Nevertheless, what the country needs is a leader who will lead a direction that is safe for others to follow, a leader with passion and imagination, and it needs a new party because the boundaries between the parties that are run by and for corporate interests have been eroded. It's really difficult to start a new party so one needs a candidate who can actually be elected and I think Oprah is the woman who can lead, administer, and refocus this country.

Go Oprah!

Ingrid Naiman

For reasons that are explained on the next page, I am withdrawing my nomination for Oprah, but I stand by the need for all the reforms and leadership proposals on this page.





Poulsbo, Washington