With midterm election recounts underway and lawsuits pending in Arizona, Georgia and Florida, I remain viceroy of nothing. Not that I’m fit to govern but I just might rule at legislating.
I’m an Army brat who was born on Veterans Day. And for my birthday I would like to give the gift of some of my insomniac ideas to improve my country.
I offer you what I would like to call the Colonel Edwards Constitutional Amendment. Rather than one more holiday hijacked to hawk slashed-price whatever, what if employers were required by law to give Veterans the day off on Veterans Day? Paid.
K-12 students and teachers get the day off. Most government employees get the day off. But there is no statute granting the Veterans themselves get Veterans Day off. Do they get to celebrate their service and sacrifice with their friends and families?
My dad worked every Veterans Day I can remember growing up. He never seemed to mind but the hypocrisy of it always hurt my heart.
I especially want this for Veterans who work retail. Imagine being told ‘thank you for your service’ by someone enjoying the day off in your name while you have to ring up their purchases or bring them food or serve them drinks. It’s obviously not the worst thing in the world but it just doesn’t seem right.
And if small businesses can’t afford to pay Veteran employees for the day off they can apply to the civil forfeiture charitable trust for a scholarship or reimbursement, whichever they want to call it. But the bureaucracy of any paperwork cannot fall to the Veteran. Or said Veteran should also be given a $25–50 gift card to a store of their choosing and a free “foofy” coffee, as my favorite Veteran calls any non-Folgers type beverage with espresso.
And small-town salute to Buster’s Main Street Cafe in Cottage Grove, Oregon for offering a free meal to Veterans every year on Veterans Day. They are one of the few non-chain strip mall-type restaurants that take this financial hit in order to honor Vets with great food. My dad will be there today with some of his buddies from the 104th Infantry Division.
And so, dear Veterans, I’d like to thank you for your service. But not in any way that requires you to work or interact with strangers in any way you don’t choose. It is my fervent hope that you can enjoy Veterans Day from your couch or road trip or Buster’s or wherever you choose.
And if you’d like to consider my other propositions should I ever be crowned Queen of Cascadia I have a few ideas that keep me up at night around election season every year.
Your typical Oregon ballot runs amok with bond measures to repave streets and finance basics that our taxes should already be funding — public safety, libraries, schools, and fire districts. But even those perennial asks are outnumbered by the slate of constitutional amendments. Few will suffer the malleability of statutory measures. They’re too easy to change and people want staying power.
- Columbus Day will be changed to Indigenous People’s Day and schools can celebrate traditions of local tribes as an interactive way for students to learn about the respective history of tribes indigenous to the students’ areas.
- Election Day will be a federal holiday until all states have mail-in ballot options.
- Approval voting or ranked-choice voting for candidates. I can’t decide which so this idea might itself require its own ranked-choice vote.
- Civil forfeiture in all jurisdictions with approval voting for how all seized assets are redistributed. I suggest allocations should be made from endowment dividends to NGOs and public services both.
- Motorists should be fined no less than $2,500 for driving with dogs in open-bed trucks. Chaining your dog to some part of a truck when it’s still open-bed would still be illegal.
- Drivers of transport vehicles should be fined no less than $2,500 for any uncovered material that could fly out of or off the vehicle — sand, gravel, bark chips, mattresses, whatever. If we’re all required to affix that road-soiled red flag to anything that extends past the length of the vehicle, drivers should also ensure that whatever they’re driving stays in their vehicle and not smashed/sprayed/splashed/chipped all over the windshield(s) behind them.
- No Christmas decorations or music before Thanksgiving. Businesses violating that will be fined $500 for each day that violates that and all money will be donated to the civil forfeiture charitable endowment.
- In the bloated fiefdom that is the US Congress, I have long had a dream that won’t pay off the federal deficit but it will at least quit metastasizing it. My own congressman, Rep. Peter DeFazio, long ago declined the self-serving pay raise congress gave itself in one of the ballsiest heists that ever took place in broad daylight. He diverts that money to college scholarships for Veterans. Swoon. But my dream goes a leap beyond. I think legislators should only get paid whatever the current median wage is in their district. And they absolutely should not earn their exorbitant salary for life. They will be enrolled in PERS and will be eligible to collect that after they are vested. They, of course, will also be eligible to earn whatever social security is left over. But they will not be getting gold-plated health insurance. They can pay the same market prices the proletariat does for coverage until we have Scandinavian-style universal health care.