THE BLOG

A Modest Proposal

11/16/2012 12:28 pm ET | Updated Jan 16, 2013
  • Bill Allen Retired Editor-in-Chief of 'National Geographic'

In light of the Petraeus situation and the scrutiny it has received I have a modest proposal to solve several of the nation's problems at once. These are the main points:

Section 1: Beginning with Members of Congress, every elected official -- male, female, undecided or undetermined -- at all levels of federal, state and local governments, those appointed to any position in those governments, and any government employee of any jurisdiction above the grade equivalent to a federal employee at GS-10 will be removed from office due to actions listed in Section 2.

Section 2: Anyone who has ever had an extramarital affair, has profited from information obtained while in public service or as a result of any regulatory decision of which they had prior knowledge or any role whatsoever -- no matter how slight -- in passing such a law or regulation, has told a joke or made derogatory remarks about anyone or any group of people because of their race, religion, sexual orientation, country of origin (even the Irish), level of income, appearance, driving ability, education, mental capacity, has ever smoked marijuana or taken any drugs -- prescription or other -- not legal for them at the time of consumption, has been arrested (not necessarily convicted) of any felony or misdemeanor, has ever fudged a golf score, improved a golf ball's lie however slightly, has been stopped for speeding or any other vehicular activity or has more than three unpaid parking citations, has inflated their resume at any point in their career, has uttered or caused to be uttered on their behalf any lie in their effort to win an election/obtain a job/gain a promotion/score at a bar near closing time or has immediately failed to disassociate themselves from such remarks or to escape punishment for some action, has cheated on any exam, has bet on any activity in any State where such activity would violate that State's law, or has done anything so surpassingly stupid that it wouldn't even be believable in a sitcom will be removed from office.

Section 3: No one who has done any of these things will be eligible for any position described in Section 1.

Advantage: This will immediately reduce the size and effectiveness of government beyond even the wildest dreams of the most ardent Tea Party, Moral Majority, Libertarian, small-government advocate.

Challenge: Difficult to put together any governmental body composed of people over the age of eight to put such a proposal into effect.

But this great country has always overcome enormous problems. We can bear this burden willingly. In the words of a former president, "Ask not what your officials can do to you, but rather ask what you can do to your officials."