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A Simple Message to the 2016 Presidential Candidates

by CJ Clark, Featured Contributor

PLEASE DON’T TELL ME what you are going to do when you become President. Tell me instead how you are going to engage the citizens in defining the America of the 22nd century. Tell me instead how you are going to bring people together to figure out the best we can do for our country. Tell me that you realize that your personal agenda may not match mine, and that someday you may have to point the country in a direction with which I don’t agree, but if you  do it will be for the greater good of the country as a whole.

2016-United-States-Presidential-Election-SchedulePlease don’t tell me that you stand for any one issue. By telling me that, you tell me what I should believe and that if I do not, I don’t count in your eyes. As President, you cannot make promises to accomplish a specific agenda. America IS a melting pot; the very description of which we have been so proud. As a melting pot, we honor all ideas and beliefs. Since all of our beliefs and ideas are different, it stands to reason that there will be conflict, and we won’t always agree.

Please do not tell me that your opponent is wrong. Even if your opponent stands in a polar opposite position from you, tell me that you respect his or her position. By telling me your opponent is wrong, you alienate me if, by chance, I happen to agree with his position. In a land where we are free to believe what we believe, I don’t need my President taking sides.

A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus.

          – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Please don’t use the words “win” or “lose” because in a country with so much diversity, we will not always have our way; sometimes the decision will be different than we hoped. But we have not lost if the decision was made thoughtfully, carefully and with the good of the country in mind. Words are powerful, and to allow people to think they have “won” or “lost” is irresponsible. Instead, help them see why the decision was made, and consider options.

Let me know that you are smart, caring and thoughtful. Please don’t spin and please don’t blame. Let me know that you realize that our country has serious challenges ahead, and that you will address those challenges based upon the priority established by those who (should) represent me – my elected officials in Congress. It is not your decision to prioritize; you have been elected to represent the people and it is your job to look more deeply at the issues than a donors’ positions or lobbyists’ pleas. If you want to be a supreme ruler, go buy an island somewhere.

Please do not tell me that you think we can achieve peace by being weak. Show me that you understand the critical importance of strength, embraced by kindness to those who do not fight. Tell me that our strength is not evil, but is instead a deterrent to those who might want to hurt us.

What I want you to tell me is that you are prepared to be a real leader with a vision for a strong, united and compassionate country. Tell me that you are willing to make hard decisions. Get me excited about the possibilities. Let me know that you respect my beliefs.

Tell me you understand America is a melting pot; that you understand we are as diverse as any nation on earth. Tell me you understand that leadership of such diversity takes great courage, inspiring vision and honesty. Let us not slide backward to a time when women could not vote, blacks were owned as slaves, and gays remained in the closet. Let us not get so wrapped up in religion that we forget that religions preach tolerance, understanding and respect.

I really don’t want to hear claims or boasts or promises in this campaign. I want to hear a candidate tell me that he/she has the best interest of the country at heart, has the talent and will to bring people together for positive and productive dialogue, and is willing to hear the voice of the collective American people.

Tell me you commit to being the President of the United States…Is there not someone out there who can and will do this?


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CJ Clark
CJ Clark
EXPLORING issues beyond the sound bites of today’s news coverage and challenging the status quo. It’s about questions, issues and answers. And it’s about time …

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