I am more conflicted about this year’s presidential election than I have ever been before!
Because no one candidate represents all of my views, and because I’m getting punchy trying to figure it all out, I’m creating an Imaginary Candidate who does. I’ll call him Jean Luc Picard…because I’m nerdy that way.
In my imaginary world, Picard is pro-all-life, not just pro-baby-life. He believes in making adoption more affordable and accessible. He believes the pregnant women who chose abortion are just as valuable as those who do not and acts from a position of mercy rather than condemnation. He knows that winning hearts is more important than throwing stones and decides to use his influence to do so.
Picard also opposes the death penalty because it irrevocably ends a person’s chance at redemption, and he acknowledges that two wrongs don’t make a right. He also sees that for every ten people on death row who are executed, one person on death row is exonerated. The chance of executing an innocent is too high.
Picard recognizes that refugees and illegal immigrants have something in common: they are drawn to this country so they can build safe lives for their children. Picard will pledge to fix our vile immigration system so that people who yearn to become Americans can actually have a LINE to get into. The current laws only allow people to come to America only if they are highly educated or if they already have family here and have the money for the draconian fees that are impossible for those who need help the most to scrape together.
Amnesty is not a dirty word in Picard’s vocabulary. He recognizes that hardworking people who broke civil laws in crossing the border without permission should pay civil fines and fulfill other requirements, such as back taxes, in order to remain in the country on a probation basis. Those who are convicted of breaking criminal laws, however, should go back to their countries (or planets) of origin.
Picard sees that families who are living and working in a garbage dump like this one in Tijuana will never have the means to navigate to a better life in America legally, unless our laws change from a family-based entry to common-sense and humanitarian entry.
Refugees and Security Concerns
Picard knows that terrorists who pulled off coordinated attacks would not choose the refugee program as a conduit to place terrorists on our soil. This is because the refugee program is complex and multi-layered. Applicants to the UN program don’t even know which country will pick them. They have a higher chance of being accepted to China or Russia than they do the United States. There are easier avenues for a terrorist to come to America. The 9-11 hijackers didn’t use the refugee program. They used student visas. Picard knows it is humane to help the people whose homes are now rubble, whose daughters are being raped and kidnapped, to come to a place of safety within the arms of Lady Liberty.
School choice is also important to Picard. He sees that the public school system needs to change in order to provide more choices and innovation to match the diverse ways in which students learn. Picard knows that all powers not explicitly given to the federal government is reserved to the states, even in education. This means the Vulcan state that wishes to impose astronomically high mathematical standards can do so. The Klingon state that values hand-to-hand combat and honor can focus on those skills without the Feds telling them they have to keep up with the Vulcans. The Betazoids who wish to use their telepathic skills to educate their children at home can do so without Federation curriculum or interference.
Picard knows that climate change is real but is not arrogant enough to assume that humans are the only cause. The earth itself is a natural resource that should be valued and cared for. Mankind should always be in search of cleaner energy sources, exploring new frontiers and going where no man has gone before.
Picard boldly goes where no man has gone before. American interests are protected when we stay on the cusp of innovation and technology that will one day expand our horizons to a real Enterprise. This means investing Federation money into space research and development and working alongside private spaceflight companies.
Picard knows that high taxes ultimately damage the economy. All citizens are equal in the eyes of the law and should pay the same percentage of tax. Taxes on businesses should be competitive with those of other countries and planets so as to entice businesses to stay in America rather than moving overseas or to the moon.
Picard knows that a balanced budget is essential to upholding a country’s integrity and strength.
Picard wouldn’t be first to send American troops off planet to fight in wars unless there was a clear objective and a resolve to stay and finish the job, as long as is needed. He knows that ISIS arose partly because American involvement and then quick withdrawal left a power vacuum. Picard understands that operating from a position of strength is important but equally important is extending a hand up to those who need American help. He learns from history that it is best to keep your friends close and your enemies closer. Humanitarian missions should become diplomatic tools that demonstrate the benefits of remaining friends with America.
Picard understands that privacy is paramount. He does not think the Federation court system should compel private companies to jailbreak private cell phones with rouge operating systems (looking at you, Apple!) in order to obtain data. He doesn’t think the Fed should be gathering phone number data or any other data on law-abiding citizens. He would never instruct Data to hack into a law-abiding citizen’s phone. To do so would violate the Prime Privacy Directive.
Race Relations and Civility
Picard values civility. Law enforcement officers and government employees should treat the public equally, with respect and courtesy. Those in law enforcement who violate the civil rights of others should be held accountable in a court of law. No one person is above the rule of law. No one person should be made to feel targeted because of the color of his or her skin. After all, an Orion inside its green skin is just as valuable as a Klingon inside skin of darker hue.
Since I can’t really vote for Picard in the upcoming primary, I have examined the current Republican candidates with regard to my own positions on these issues. The most important “litmus test” issues for me are their positions on life, immigration reform, education and foreign policy. As a speech and debate mom, I also pay close attention to communication skills.
Donald Trump disagrees with me on nearly every issue, especially immigration, refugees, the environment, privacy, foreign policy, and (of course) civility. In the Star Trek world, he’d be as trustworthy (and as civil) as a Ferengi always looking to cut a deal. In other words, not trustworthy at all. He will not get my vote.
Dr. Carson disagrees with me on nearly every issue. I admire him but his stances on immigration, refugees, vaccines, education and privacy mean I cannot give him my vote. In the Star Trek world, he’s a male version of Beverly Crusher: smart in his field and earnest, but stubborn even if proven wrong.
Many of my homeschool friends and neighbors support Senator Cruz. He will not get my vote because I disagree with his stances on the death penalty, immigration and refugees. I’ve also pondered his assertion that education is a civil right. Although I admire his passion, I’m puzzled at this stance because the self-proclaimed, staunch Constitutionalist is claiming a right for which there is no amendment. Does he want to create another amendment to the constitution? In terms of communication skills, Senator Cruz often appears condescending and overbearing. In the Star Trek world, he’s a dead ringer for Wesley Crusher. Underhanded tactics in his campaign (the campaign-sponsored photoshopped image depicting a fake handshake between Senator Rubio and President Obama, sending out the “voter report cards” in Iowa and refusing to apologize for it, telling caucus-goers that Carson was dropping out, pulling the ad with the woman who was a soft-porn star, refusing to answer constitutional questions about his ESSA bill and his desire to have federal dollars follow every student, distorting the records of his opponents) also make me an anti-fan. It is sad to me that the one candidate who wears his Christianity on his sleeve is also the one who engages in such dirty political maneuvers.
Governor Kasich agrees with me on most issues, even immigration. But the criminal charges recently filed against two separate sets of homeschoolers in Ohio tells me that Kasich may not be a friend to homeschoolers, and that makes him not a friend to me. He hasn’t been successful thus far in communicating his message (although the fault may lie partly in the media which seems to have forgotten he is a viable candidate). In the Star Trek world, Governor Kasich would be The Doctor on Voyager — a capable holographic entity who holds to rigid standards [as in education]. Although I’ll keep my options open should he openly address homeschooling and parental rights, I’m not leaning towards giving him my vote.
Governor Bush agrees with me on some issues. He is reconsidering his stance on the death penalty, and as far as I’ve found he’s the only Republican who has admitted so. While I like some aspects of his education plan (agreeing that one size does not fit all), I am concerned that making federal education dollars portable will ultimately lead to federal control. My main concern with Governor Bush is that his plans seem so complex. He does not appear to be a great communicator. In the Star Trek world, he’s like Data: highly intelligent but unable to connect on an emotional level. I’m not leaning towards giving him my vote but will keep my options open in case he clarifies his education stance.
Senator Rubio agrees with me on nearly every issue except Syrian refugees and the death penalty. The fact that he was part of the Gang of Eight makes him a hero, in my eyes. He supports school choice, a path to legalization, and foreign policy with an eye towards protecting human rights. The more I learn about him, the more I like him. Because of the stage of life I am in, I especially like his ideas about building a website that helps students evaluate the relative costs of different degrees at different colleges and universities and his plans to make higher education and vocational education more accessible.
More than any other candidate, I can see him getting stuff done. I can see young people and women giving him another look due to his youth. I can see Latinos of both parties giving him another look because of his heritage and his demonstrated willingness to work with his colleagues on the other team. In the Star Trek world, Senator Rubio would be Captain Kirk…a little wild around the edges, but willing to take a stand against the establishment whenever the cause is just.
True, he is no Picard. But at this point Captain Rubio will have to be good enough.