Our problems are not intractable -- they're not even all that difficult. If only we could think about them in new ways, ways that make sense (to me), ways that will work (for me), ways that cannot possibly have bad repercussions (for me), they could be solved. We may call these new ways of thinking the Elliot Doctrine, because I've always wanted a Doctrine, and "Adult males should not wear shorts -- ever," while utterly and profoundly true, simply isn't cutting it for me in the Doctrine line anymore. As such, I have reached deep inside myself to provide the quick fixes that America so desperately needs and yearns for. You're welcome, America. Just spell my name right. Two "l"s, one "t."
Proponents of gun control argue that we are safer if the law limits who can have guns. Opponents pooh-pooh this idea (often with real poo-poo -- they're a feces-throwing bunch, those gun-control opponents, like chimps, but often hairier) and claim that the Second Amendment allows you to buy and own all the guns you want and also bazookas, tanks and the occasional spare tactical nuclear warhead. (I keep mine in the backyard, next to the grill; I just hope the sparks don't set it off one day, but hey, so far so good.) So the Elliot Doctrine (and if I were the kind of humorist you truly deserve -- that is to say, a good one -- I'd embed a little sound of French horns that would play every time you read that phrase) takes a daring step beyond both positions: Buy all the guns you want, but you will only be allowed to take them home shoved up your ass.
Alternately, you could just sit through a gun-rights lecture or concert by Ted Nugent (same thing, really). I'd go with the anal-concealed-carry, though. It'd be far less painful.
America's recent debilitating wars
As Rachel Maddow notes in her recently-released Drift, we get into a lot of wars because we've separated most of the population from war. The U.S. is like the war champion of the world (we took the title from the Germans after they retired undefeated except in the two world wars they started), which is kind of cool (I mean, we're about 39th in math; it's good to be tops at something) except for how getting into a lot of wars costs a lot of money and... what was that other thing? Oh, right: getting into a lot of wars kills people! Lots of people! I knew I'd remember. Because we have a professional military, we the American people don't really have to think too much about going to war, because it's not our fat asses getting shot at and blown up, or even slightly inconvenienced. Afghanistan? Take 'em down! Iraq? They tried to kill my daddy! Blow 'em up real good! Iran? They might maybe have nuclear weapons one day, and plus, they're Iranians, for god's sake. What more do we need? And then we'll lower taxes to pay for the war! Yay!
Wars have to cost us, the people at home, something, the way World War II did; it's not a real war without a scrap-iron drive and sugar rationing. So I say, from now on, whenever we go into a new war, we have to ration things. Invade Iran: no Big Macs for the duration. Ramp up our troop strength in Afghanistan? Disneyworld closes until the boys and girls come home again. (Have fun at Disneyland. I got stuck in the Haunted House with my six-year-old once, and later had to provide her with expensive trauma therapy.) Economic war with China? No Chinese food! Let's see how we like celebrating Christmas without our traditional Yuletide meal.
The Elliot Doctrine speaks simply and clearly on this one: if you're not gay, shut up about gay marriage. There will be fines and possibly even jail time. If you are Newt Gingrich and have been married three times and cheated on two of those wives, shut up a million times about gay marriage and the sanctity of marriage. Two people who love one another marrying does not somehow degrade your shams of marriage, Newt, nor will any gay man force you to gay-marry him. Most gay men have better taste than your wives.
Abortion and contraception
Similarly, if you can't actually get pregnant, you have nothing of interest to say about abortion or contraception. A central tenet of the Elliot Doctrine is: If you are a male and have an opinion about abortion or contraception that you do not keep to yourself, you will get punched in the junk. (Adopting the Elliot Doctrine will create a need for a large force of junk-punchers, helping ease unemployment.) Unless you Congressmen want the American people to start talking about cutting off funding for your boner pills, you really should back off this subject and let the women talk -- and if you Congressmen are like most guys (just older and dumber), you don't want anyone talking about "cutting off" and "boner" in the same sentence. (Plus, we will have junk-punchers just waiting for you guys outside the Capitol building.) Women have -- literally -- skin in the game, while you are just a bunch of prurient old farts. And unless you're investigating bar jokes, you do not need to get together a priest, a minister and a rabbi to testify about contraception.
Also, and just as an aside? It's so nice that we're back in the mid-'60s having this conversation. That Bobby Kennedy is such a nice boy; I think he's going to make a great President!
The Elliot Doctrine holds that we must tax the rich -- because they have all the freakin' money -- and not the poor, because of how they have none of the freakin' money. Get it? People with money pay taxes; people without money don't. I'm sorry to have delved so deeply into macroeconomic theory there, especially since we Americans are 39th in math. Also, if you make over a million a year, you have to wear a clown nose. Look, I don't make the rules... oh, wait, I do! And it's awesome.
Finally, I, Floyd Elliot, am hereinafter and in perpetuity exempt from taxes.
What? It's my doctrine.
Follow Floyd Elliot on Twitter: www.twitter.com/FloydElliot