I’ve been working on one of those “30 by 30″ lists that are so ubiquitous on blogs (for people who don’t read as many blogs as I do, it’s a list of things you want to do before you turn 30). My 30×30 list is really more of a “Cape Town bucket list,” because our visa expires only a few weeks after my 30th birthday (not everything on it is restricted to or even relevant to our life in Africa, for example, as I tweeted, the first item is “Do a power hour with champagne.”)
I’ll be posting my list soon, but as I’ve been compiling and revising, I’ve been browsing through the hundreds of other 30×30 lists that other wayward late-20s bloggers have put up in the past five years. I’ve been baffled at the popularity of certain items (seriously, what is so great about canning?) and genuinely impressed by others (lots of triathletes!).
But all along, I struggle with doubts that this entire exercise is self-indulgent in the bad way.
So today, America’s birthday, I’m turning things around: I’m writing a 30×300 for the USA. [With certain obvious exceptions, I'm going to try to sidestep partisan politics, but my lefty-pinko-commieness is undoubtedly going to influence this list, so if you are of the Fox News is News persuasion you should ignore this and head out to your barbecue.]
America, here’s the 30 things I think you should do by your 300th birthday, July 4, 2076.
1. Legalize gay marriage.
2. Switch the national anthem to something that regular human beings are capable of singing/remembering the words to. My vote is for “America the Beautiful.”
3. Win the FIFA World Cup.
4. Resume not caring about soccer IMMEDIATELY following said victory.
5. Convince the IOC to reinstate lacrosse as an Olympic event and/or add Ultimate (which I just found out was co-created by movie producer Joel Silver when I was fact-checking that it is in fact an American-invented sport) as an Olympic event. And win gold, obviously.
6. Fix up the national highway infrastructure. It’s one of the things that makes our country great, so we should take care of it. Bonus: this will create jobs! EVEN BETTER BONUS: this will save lives!
7. Open a national museum in Washington D.C. about the history of enslavement in the United States.
8. Redesignate Columbus Day as a holiday to celebrate American Indians.
9. Award Bruce Springsteen the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
10. Be gentle with the Constitution, please. Really, if you’re not going to be reviving the ERA, I think you should just leave well enough alone.
11. Get at least five more Michelin three-star restaurants, at least four of which should be outside New York City.
12. Allow more swearing and naked bits on television. It’s not hurting anyone.
13. Fix the health insurance situation on the reals.
14. Name Bob Dylan the US Poet Laureate.
15. Don’t ruin/end PBS or NPR. “Sesame Street” and “Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me” are vital to our national well-being.
16. Fix a problem the world has. Cure cancer. Cure AIDS. Find renewable energy.
17. Revive the space program. I know it’s a huge “waste” of money. It’s also our manifest destiny.
18. Put Chuck D on a postage stamp, for awesome reasons as much as irony reasons. Ideally, it would be part of a “heroes of hip hop” stamp series.
19. End the Combat Exclusion Policy, or rather, acknowledge that it has ended.
20. Do not remake Casablanca.
21. Give the world another highest-grossing movie of all time, and make it a lot better one than Avatar.
22. I kinda hate to say this, but discontinue the penny.
23. Make it up to me by issuing a quarter series honoring the National Parks. [Holy crap! This already happened! Thanks to Matt Marcotte for telling me! I haven't figured out what to replaced this item with yet. Suggestions welcome.]
24. And by putting a woman and/or a person of color on a denomination of money that people will actually use.
25. Give the District of Colombia actual vote-having representation in Congress. [Obviously, this is another acceptable situation to amend the Constitution.]
26. Get voter turnout consistently above 70% for presidential elections and above 50% for midterm elections.
27. Get to the point where no US citizen living abroad feels compelled to pretend they are Canadian.
28. Get to a point where Congress is willing to compromise and generally prioritize the well-being of the country before the well-being of their party.
29. Elect a woman president.
30. Still be here.