My not-ready-for-prime-time platform

I admire how hard the presidential hopefuls are working to deliver impassioned speeches and engage in heated debates about the IRS, budget surpluses, and deficit-reduction plans. But while those topics play well in the media, I'm dubious about their impact on average voters.

I just can't believe many citizens wake up at night and exclaim, "Hey! Income tax rates for the wealthiest Americans really do need to be increased (or lowered)."

History also indicates that no president can make these decisions unilaterally.

He'll need lots of help from the legislative branch, which makes all the pre-election rhetoric even less compelling.

Meanwhile, as I plod through the daily duties of life and work, myriad smaller issues buzz around me like a swarm of angry hornets, producing intense indignation.

Granted, my list of complaints would not be the lead story on any newscast, but I do believe many of them could be swiftly resolved by a strong leader who isn't afraid to take out a pen and start writing proclamations.

If, by some electoral cataclysm, I ever find myself sitting behind the big desk in the Oval Office, here are some political promises that would have immediate and lasting effects on the entire American population:

*Standardize the daily schedule for work and schools, and make the hours 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Doesn't it make sense for everyone in the family to leave home and return at the same time? I also know from personal experience that leisurely quality time in the morning is the key to higher, happier productivity.

*Establish a President's Council on Parallel Parking. The widespread lack of this ability is a disgrace, and perhaps a national emergency. Anyone who's been stuck downtown behind someone trying fruitlessly to angle their vehicle into a curbside space can feel my pain.

*Lean on the FCC to stop TV programs from flaunting their characters milling around in public bathrooms. I know the producers of "Ally McBeal," "ER," and other hit shows think bathroom encounters are smart and edgy, but in fact those scenes only prove that some people in the entertainment business never grow out of their junior high school voyeurism.

*Use federal funds to hire 100,000 new grounds keepers to repair municipal athletic fields all over the country. As a former volunteer coach, I visited too many venues comprised of patchy, limp grass, arrays of hazardous holes, and soil harder than granite. Every public park doesn't need a field of dreams, but the current situation is a nightmare.

*Issue an executive order requiring all supermarkets to offer patrons at least one tabloid-free checkout line. I'm tired of my daughter standing cheek-by-jowl with lurid headlines about Monica, JonBenet, Princess Di, and JFK Jr.

Call me a censor, but extremism in the name of good taste is no vice.

Everyone reading this column probably has similar pet peeves that call out for presidential action.

I wish some of the big names would think the same way, instead of promulgating their complicated fiscal policies and benefit packages. But maybe the simple, everyday issues are more intellectually taxing than any of us realize.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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