I Should Run for President

I Should Run for President

Let us slice the military budget in half, and give our teachers a raise!!

I’ve decided that I should run for president.

I think I’d make a pretty good president. I have no experience, but as we can all see that doesn’t matter, does it?

I’ll be the change candidate. But unlike our current change candidate, I promise real change.

I’ll slice our military budget in half and put that money into education.

How’s that for shock value, huh? Slice the military budget in half. Radical, isn’t it? Who wants a smaller military… we don’t want to fall behind there, do we? Maybe I’ll get some free publicity.

But let’s think about this. The United States spends more on national ‘defense’ than anyone else. We spend more on national ‘defense’ than the next top ten spenders combined, in fact.

And what do we get for this value?

Here’s one example of our signature tank, the M1A2 Abrams, being compared to its Russian counterpart. If you don’t want to watch the video, I’ll summarize: our tank is heavier, less versatile, less defensible, less powerful, less advanced, and costs about twice as much. And don’t get me started on the notorious F-35 project.

Let’s face it: whom do we need all this for? What war are we fighting against which rival, global superpower? And for all our super-advanced weaponry that we don’t need to fight against an enemy we don’t even have, we actually have REAL threats – threats that massacre people in nightclubs in Orlando, or hack into public services like MUNI. These threats cannot be answered by stealthier planes or more armor on our tanks. They can only be answered by being more intelligent. Period. That means being ahead of our enemies in fields like computer science, and being able to penetrate foreign terrorist organizations. At some point, we have to wake up to the reality that education is a national security priority.

Here’s an exercise for you: walk into a recruiter’s office. Any one, doesn’t matter, Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, INS Division 6, doesn’t matter. Ask them two simple questions.

  1. How many kids come into your office who can score a 95 or better on the ASVAB?
  2. How many would you like there to be?

The fact is, the quality of intelligence services in our military is woefully inadequate, and it’s not hard to see why.

But go beyond this. Military might isn’t the only area in which we falter. It is well known that economic turmoil has been responsible for more problems than any military posturing ever could be. WW2 and the rise of Hitler is directly related to the Great Depression. And right now, we are suffering from a wealth disparity on par with a third world country, and our current president-elect now plots with congress to make it even worse. It’s as though there’s a concerted effort by political elites to defund public education, as this makes it easier to fleece the general public.

Drain the swamp, indeed.

No. Our teachers are the front lines. While our soldiers protect us from the enemies of today, our teachers protect us from the enemies of tomorrow.

When I started teaching in 2007, I made about 39,500 working for Miami-Dade County Public Schools. At the same time, the median income in the US was $49,568. This means that HALF the US made over $10,000 MORE than teachers starting out. Today in 2016, MDCPS starting salary is $40,800, while the US median income is $55,775 last year. In other words, in the time that the cost of living increased by 15%, average salaries went up by 12.5%, while teacher salaries went up by 3%.

This is how much we value our future.

I find it funny how the same culture that motivates teachers with feely-good phrases like If you can read this, thank a teacher, and Teaching is the profession that creates all others also coined phrases like Put your money where your mouth is.

Vote for me in 2020, and I’ll change all that.

Michael Patrick Lewis is a teacher, and bestselling author of Edge Of God, and Preferred Rewards. He’s also leaving open the possibility of a presidential run in 2020.

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