Divided nation? I’ve got this.

I’m thinking Mitt Romney could use a drink about now.

And if only we the people could yank back the $1.6 billion the two campaigns spent on their drawn-out duel and use it for something a bit more pressing. Not to mention the $556.5 billion spent by super PACs to needle and wheedle.

Wait. I am gonna mention that. That’s a freakin’ lot of dough. Together, it’s about $558 billion.

Ways I could spend it:

  1. Sewing up last year’s U.S. trade deficit. The tab for 2011 was exactly $558 billion.*
    (*My husband clarifies this is not something you can throw money at, rather you need to increase exports/labor. Couldn’t resist the $558 billion symmetry. But yeah, it could make a dent in any of our debts or deficits. Thanks, Mr. Know-It-All, Dear.)
  2. Caring for the needs of the nation’s preemies for 21 years. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, “prematurity rates have increased by almost 35 percent since 1981, and cost the United States $26 billion annually, $51,600 for every infant born preterm. Additional research can help drive down these rates, saving dollars and lives.”
  3. Reducing incarceration rates while increasing public safety. The Justice Policy Institute notes that a broken criminal justice system costs federal, state and local governments $68 billion a year, but there’s not enough available to fulfill each American’s Sixth Amendment right to a public defender or to thoroughly investigate crimes or to properly police streets. It also suggests that more money spent in impoverished areas to thwart young people from crime in the first place would be, in a word, amazing.
  4. Adding something useful to each of the 98,817 public schools in the U.S.
    I dunno, be creative. That’s about $5.6 million per school. Get tons more teachers? Pay the teachers tons more? Hire some therapists, sex-education/sexuality counselors? Anti-bullying coaches? Upgrade technology? Fund more arts programs?

A peace offering: Cup of Joe (not Biden)

If you break down $558 billion and spread it out evenly among the 313,232,044 people living in this country, it comes to, approximately, cancel the 9 and carry the 2 … $1,781 a person. Some stimulus. That could buy a lot coffee.

Maybe, today, those who feel like winners should buy lattes — or something stronger — for those who feel they lost ground in last night’s election results. Have a friendly chat, get to know each other. Let’s patch up our country’s divisiveness person to person, one on one. No disrespect to Mormons: Make it any drink you allow yourself.

Better yet, travel. $1,781 would pay for every American to take a little trip to an opposite-color state … or county … or neighborhood, seeing as how we’re splitting hairs.

Examining the Electoral College red-blue map, it seems our political persuasions are all so bunched up. (I’d be curious to see a map also showing the non-voters, the black holes of engagement.)

In short: We need to SPREAD OUT. Mingle a little.

Better yet: Move. The answer here? Leave your comfort zone. Or expand it.

That’s how we can finally break down our divisions, among urban-suburban-rural peoples. Location, location, location. It’s outlandishly simple. Stop being so provincial and suspicious of the other side, peoples.

We’re all in this together. Happy Interdependence Day!

Only in America: You can order coffee tables in whatever color. Imagine, a red California! This is from the latest Uncommon Goods catalog, uncommongoods.com

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