Considering all the fuss — to put it mildly — that has been made about Donald Trump’s executive order banning certain immigrants and refugees from entering this country, and then learning about Judge Robart’s ruling and all the ensuing fuss about that (banning the ban), I was kind of interested in all the other executive orders our new president has been enacting, and was pleasantly surprised to see two that I could personally relate to.
First, there was an order instructing agencies that whenever they introduce a regulation, they must first abolish two others. Wow! What an idea! Although this may not even be possible (let’s hope that this can bring out the best in those who do the abolishing), it reminded me of two things regarding the idea of “paring down”: 1) when I was a little girl, there was a comic book store near where I lived that had an interesting policy. A person (and it was usually a child or teenager who took advantage of this policy) could bring in and trade any two comic books for one of theirs (although the brand new, latest issues were not included in that deal). Sometimes the trade got me a barely used copy of the latest edition of the comic book of my choice, or sometimes it got me a back issue that I somehow missed reading. But either way — or even if I got a totally different comic book I didn’t know I’d be interested in — it was all okay with me, since I would have already read the two I was going to trade in and really wanted a new one that I hadn’t read yet. It seemed like a good deal to me, and it was also okay with my parents, since it helped to keep the pile of comic books I was saving at our house down to a more manageable-sized collection.
Out with the old, in with the new, just as our president wisely suggested doing with government regulations. (I am, however, wondering — just a smidgen — what could go wrong with that executive order!)
Second, in keeping with the above way of paring down my comic book collection, I remember someone once telling me that the way to keep my closet from getting overcrowded and my wardrobe from getting out of hand is to get rid of at least one piece of clothing every time I bring home something new to wear. That made a lot of sense to me, and my closet has never been crowded since. I so like logic and therefore imagine that that plan would work for the government as well (by substituting regulations, of course, for the items of clothing), provided — in my opinion anyway — that those agencies abolish the truly no-longer-needed regulations and replace them with those that are meaningful and do not do any more harm than the ones they are replacing.
Can we imagine how great it would be to have our regulations pared down before any new regulations could even be brought to the table? Agencies would be compelled to do some deep thinking in regard to the ones they’re required to abolish (and one might hope they would be the obsolete and unnecessary ones that are clogging up the books and possibly causing an untold amount of wasted time and money in the enforcement of them; as well as all the annoying and aggravating ones, and even the ones that cause pain and suffering to those caught up in them, to say nothing of enforcing those regulations to no good or even useful end.
So maybe our president is really onto something with that one.
The other one that really got my attention was a memorandum directing the Secretary of Defense to draw up a plan within 30 days to defeat ISIS. Imagine if he could pull that one off!
When I was in the military, on recruiting duty, I was directed by my commander to draw up a document that stated something that could not honestly be stated at that time. And, I was asked to have it ready by the end of the week. I told my commander that even if I had six months to prepare that document, it could not be done — not from the information I had. In other words, plain and simple, what was asked of me was impossible to do. But wouldn’t it be something if such a plan to defeat ISIS could be drawn up… and it worked?
What I had discovered in my own situation was that the idea behind the situation was exactly what the commander needed, but it just couldn’t be done because the information I needed did not exist and the information already at my disposal was not accurate. (I know some people might say the “difficult” takes a little more time to accomplish, but the “impossible” just takes a bit longer. However, my assignment was not just a challenge — such as the challenges facing the team on “Mission Impossible,” who always managed to come through, no matter what — it was really impossible in my case. In order for me to fulfill my given assignment, I would have had to lie, in writing, and sign my name to it — something I was not willing to do. It was really impossible. (In case anyone is wondering how I handled that situation, I simply refused to create a false document.)
If anyone out there would have been willing to do that, please raise your hand.
I often wondered who, if anyone, was willing to do that in my stead, or if my commander finally decided to live with the unvarnished truth that would’ve made him appear far less than a shining star in the eyes of his superiors.
So while all eyes are currently pretty much focused on waiting to see if the ban on the ban will be lifted (on whatever grounds), I decided to see what else our president has been up to — and I’m glad I did.
Great minds generally think alike!
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Maramis Choufani is the Managing Editor of the Las Vegas Tribune. She writes a weekly column in this newspaper. To contact Maramis, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.