Thursday, March 06, 2014

If I Were President, by Joseph Loong [Age 12]

A recent visit to the deep archives at the Loong ancestral estate uncovered this document: a handwritten essay on the topic If I Were President, written by my 12-year-old, 7th-grade self in 1984.

It shows that I was basically a neocon with futurist tendencies. Essentially Newt Gingrich with fewer divorces:

If I Were President - 1984

If I Were President, by Joseph Loong

My pool pass from 1985
My pool pass from a year later, 1985.
If I were President of the United States, I would first build up the nation's defenses with modern weapons. I would then phase out the mail system with computer mail and use electronic credit cards to replace cash and change transactions, with no money involved. I would make a space-ground laser defense system to protect the U.S. from missile attack. I would also try to clean up the enviorment [sic] by planting thousands of trees and stop factories from polluting the air. I would install moving sidewalks and promote electric cars with built-in computers and cruise control, and also create American "bullet trains." Large, all weather, indoor farms would be built if I were President. I would also tear down all cities and towns, except for historical areas and build new, modern, fireproof, bombproof, and weatherproof houses and apartments. And, I would get the CIA and FBI to infiltrate the Communist countries, and eliminate them from the inside. Last, but not least, I would try to improve American health, diet, and state of living, and the economy, and eliminate criminals, radicals, and treasonous people.

[Teacher's remarks: "This piece of writing is very well done, gramatically correct, and well thought out. I am impressed with the [illegible] structure and use of words.]


My teacher's remarks to the contrary, I'm chagrined by the structure of the essay, which is a pile of unrelated items with no paragraph breaks. Also, I cringe at the awkward shift to the passive voice I used to an attempt to take a break from all the "I woulds" I'm throwing around. (Had I known about bulleted lists in 1984, I would have been all over that.)

I also see three major influences:

1. Concepts lifted wholesale from the "World of the Future" books published by the UK's Usborne Hayes in 1981 (also published as an omnibus edition, "World of the Future", which you can see in its full PDF glory), and that I probably bought at a school book fair and subsequently devoured.


2. Ronald Reagan's Strategic Defense Initiative, aka the "Star Wars" program. It came out a year earlier, and I read every article about it that Time and Newsweek had to offer.

3. The House Un-American Activities Committee. Seriously, where did the bit about eliminating radicals and treasonous people come from? I sound like a John Bircher. Though I especially like that it's in the same sentence as improving American health and diet.

Actually, if you take the last two sentences and replace "Communist" with "Muslim extremist," I'm pretty sure it would fit in pretty well as a typical Free Republic post, and perhaps be featured in a speech at CPAC.

Ultimately, I'm disappointed because I thought I was further along by age 12. Then again, I was 12. Then again, that's how old Grover Norquist was when he says he came up with the idea for his "no tax" pledge. Go figure.

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