FREE SPEECH ZONE | If Andy Taylor Were President


After hearing about the death of Andy Griffith and lamenting his passing, I was thinking about what it would be like if Andy Taylor were President on this Fourth of July.

I seriously doubt he’d be a member of the Republican or Democratic party in this era, he had too much respect for himself and others to be reduced to a political caricature. Although he leaned progressive, Andy Griffith, the person, declined invitations from the democrats to run for office on more than one occasion. I think Andy Taylor would have done the same. In speaking about the enduring legacy of the, “Andy Griffith Show”, the actor once said it was about, “love”. It seems there isn’t much these days in American politics that reflects that quality, unless you count the love of money and power. 

I imagine President Andy Taylor would have been a humble, compassionate and strong leader, just like the Sheriff of Mayberry. He would have preferred the Lincoln school to Yale or Harvard. I don’t believe Andy Taylor would would have had much tolerance for gridlock either. Sure he’d have have a tough job cleaning up the beltway bullies and reminding Congress that “public servant” doesn’t mean “public master”, but I think he’d be up to the task.

He’d probably end the expensive wars we’re fighting in foreign lands but remain committed to a strong defense. Andy Taylor would most certainly shut down Guantanamo Bay and bring the perpetrators and collaborators of 911 to justice so we could finally close that lingering wound and begin to heal it for good. 

And maybe it’s just me, but I don’t think Andy Taylor would have seen much wisdom in inviting corporate lobbyists into the Oval office while turning away the poor. He’d say, “What’s small potatoes to some folks can be *mighty* important to others”. 

President Taylor would insist on balancing the budget even if it meant we ALL had to share the suffering. And I don’t think he would leave out corporations or unions, school teachers or executives when he asked us all to take a little less and give a little more. And he would put it to us plain, not in legalese, but in language every American could understand. He’d use the words, “we” and “us” far more then, “I” or “me”. 

And President Taylor would ask that we focus less on our differences and more on our shared values. He would bring us together, because we can accomplish so much more that way then we can when we’re squabbling like little children. That still makes sense doesn’t it?

I don’t think President Taylor would have much tolerance for drones, because he’d say you need to look your enemies and your friends in the eye. That’s the only sure way to measure a person or a people. You can also be certain that President Taylor would put more value into getting things done than talking about getting things done. 

President Taylor would promote working together on energy independence and bring together business, science and government in ways that made sense and promoted innovation. I doubt he’d privatize education, but you can bet he’d start asking some serious questions about how we can fix the broken system we’ve ended up with, and I’m almost certain it would start with personal accountability.

President Taylor would likely end the failed war on drugs but he’d insist we use the money we saved to help rebuild the lives of those effected. Andy Taylor valued restorative justice and the lessons one could learn by simply walking in the shoes of another. I think President Taylor would set up a commission to help address the issues of racism and insist on one simple rule, honest dialog. He’d say, “we’d be a lot better off if we all just talked about things truthfully”. Then we could begin to heal our oldest and deepest wounds. It might not happen overnight, but it I think he’d call it a good place to start.

I think President Taylor would have told the rich men from Wall Street to solve their own mess instead of asking the American people to bail them out. And I think he’d find a fair way to bring the banks and the people to the table to solve the foreclosure crisis. Not everyone would walk away happy, but no one would walk away broken.

America would start to look and feel better with President Taylor in office. We could begin to look our selves in the eyes again, talk to our neighbors, clean up our check books, own our actions and work together. We’d promote business, but never put profits before principle. We’d help those less fortunate because a nation and it’s people is not just measured by it’s wealth or the power it wields, but how it treats the least of its citizens. 

We’d honor success when it was earned but we wouldn’t envy greed. We’d let our kids play outside and we’d read more. We’d welcome debate but we’d remember not to make it personal. We’d visit churches and synagogues, mosques and temples because we knew that learning about each other is no threat to our personal beliefs, but that it can strengthen us. 

We’d value questioning our government and we’d elevate those that did and maybe we’d even call them patriots. We’d realize that marriage between two people in a committed loving relationship isn’t an exclusive privilege, but a choice that remains deeply personal. We’d realize that allowing others the same freedoms we enjoy isn’t a threat to ours.

President Taylor would have a simple approach to dealing with others that he might suggest to us, “When a man carries a gun all the time, the respect he thinks he’s getting might really be fear. So I don’t carry a gun because I don’t want the people of Mayberry to fear a gun. I’d rather they respect me.”

Yes, I think President Taylor would make a great and wise leader and probably just what we need to help fix the parts of us that are broken. Unfortunately, Andy Taylor is a character from an old TV show and not in the current election. But I guess it’s still okay to imagine a better America isn’t it?

Opie – That cage sure looks empty.
Andy – But don’t the trees seem nice and full…

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