Kevin D’Amato | United States
Going into 2019, the political scene has undergone massive change. Following the 2018 midterms, in which the Democrat Party regained a majority in the House of Representatives, tensions have been rising. The president allowed the government to shut down over the lack of funding for his border wall. He also is already threatening to potentially do it again on February 15th. Needless to say, relations in the government are poor. This leads me to ask: What are some policy goals that the country can still pass in this political environment?
1. Criminal Justice Reform
Of course, the First Step Act did just pass. However, this is just the beginning; to assume that one bill can fix a system as bloated and broken as ours is absurd. The First Step Act, as the name implies, is a “first step” to solve our problems.
We still need to take dramatic moves in the prison system. Some things to keep in mind should be:
- Abolishing mandatory minimums
- Focusing less on punishments such as solitary and more on rehabilitation programs
- Cracking down on officer malfeasance towards prisoners
2. Pull Troops Out of Military Conflict
The President stunned many, including me, when he abruptly announced he was pulling troops out of Afghanistan and Syria. The non-hawkish American population was ecstatic. Now, the only thing we need to do is hold him to it.
Mixed statements from several other Trump Administration officials have openly contradicted the President’s own words. It is Congress’s and our duty to hold the President to his words and bring our troops home.
3. End Government Spying
It often seems like the United States government outright ignores the 4th Amendment. Agencies like the NSA and FBI have made the illegal spying of American citizens commonplace. All accountability is lost when you are not aware of your own government’s actions.
The Patriot Act and FISA courts require, at the least, massive reforms. Ideally, we should move to abolish them, but this is not necessarily likely. Regardless, you have an inherent right to reasonable amounts of privacy.
As a bonus, a pardon for Edward Snowden would be nice, too!
4. Term Limits
Term limits are the most reasonable policy to enact in the United States right now. Virtually everyone that you talk to, regardless of political persuasions, believe that some sort of limitation is necessary.
Besides just getting old, crazy politicians out of office, term limits get new ideas in Washington, stop the constant fight for reelection, and partially get money-tied politicians out of the spotlight.
The Supreme Court’s 1995 decision essentially deeming term limits unconstitutional does make things complicated, but not impossible. The way forward for this plan is a rare but necessary constitutional amendment.
5. Federal Legalization of Marijuana
Let’s be honest, it’s bound to happen sometime soon.
I don’t need to go on a diatribe to inform you of the benefits of marijuana legalization. The economic, social, and political changes that would form are life-changing.
It’s about time that we let adults make their own decisions; whether it be to drink, gamble or smoke weed. As long as you’re not hurting your neighbor, freedom is absolute.