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Monday, March 05, 2007

An Open Letter

An Open Letter to All Presidential Hopefuls,

So you want to be my president?

I know I’m not alone in this, but the level of rancor and disrespect you folks have already reached makes me dizzy. And we’re still a year and a half away from Election Day 2008.

Many of us are fed up with your political diatribes that are being carelessly slung across the national landscape, aided by your willing accomplices and sycophants in the news media.

Now, there may be a playbook for you politicians to consult when it comes to running for election. Maybe it’s just an unwritten rule that gives a wink and a nod to thoughtless and demeaning verbal attacks simply because you’re in the rough-and-tumble world of political careerism. If so, then I’m sad for you. I’m sad to think that a person who would want to be my president would stoop so low.

And I’m not simply talking about name-calling, which is bad enough. What you are engaged in could only be labeled as character assassination. Your opponent becomes your enemy. There are no holds barred when it comes to having your fifteen second sound bite which will be picked up by a media ravenous for any news and then displayed on endless news programs where your remarks will be argued and debated ad nauseam.

You must firmly believe that average Americans are impressed with your lack of character and classless behavior. I do not claim to speak for anyone but myself – but let me say that in my many travels around this great country of ours, I mostly run into people who are not impressed with such behavior. In fact, when I was a kid, if I had said some of the things you folks say about each other, one of two things would have occurred: 1) I would have had my mouth washed out with soap, and 2) I would have been required to personally go to the person I had insulted and apologize. Now that I think about it, both things would have occurred! I didn’t like it, and I certainly didn’t want to do it. But I’m grateful my parents didn’t let me get away with it.

I’ve told you some of the things I don’t like.

So let me tell you what I do like, and what I am looking for in a person who aspires to be the President of the United States, the leader of the Free World, my president, and the Commander in Chief.

· Character matters. I’m only too aware that character was pushed off the political stage not so many years ago, and that’s a pity. You see, character does matter. By definition, character is the person you are when no one is looking. This is why we as a nation have always held in high esteem the likes of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, among other notables. We knew their character. We knew what to expect. What can I expect from you?
· Honesty matters. I do not expect my president to know everything. That’s why he has a staff and advisors. I do expect my president to be truthful and be up front about the affairs of state. If you cannot be honest with your constituency, when will we know when you are being honest? My wife and I raised our girls to always tell the truth. This way we would never have to question them.
· Values matter. There are certain things in life that are worth defending; certain things worth fighting for, even if you stand alone. I do not always expect to agree with your every decision, but I will have a greater respect for you because you were willing to take the heat for standing up for what you believe. That says volumes to me.
· Image matters. Yes, your image does matter. How you present yourself is very important, especially when you represent “we the people.” I expect my president to be presidential. It is beneath you to behave shamelessly before the cameras in an effort to win votes; to pander to particular groups simply for their votes; or to pass yourself off as something you are not just to gain more votes. Win the election on the merits of your beliefs. Do not prostitute yourself before the eyes of the world. We, as Americans, expect better, and we deserve better.
· Leadership matters. As a member of the Armed Forces, I need to know that my president makes decisive decisions so that when I and my fellow service members are asked to go into harms way, you have worked through the issues with your advisors and this is the option left to you. We will gladly step up and answer the call – we always have and we always will - every time. That’s what we do. You need to know this when you sit in the Oval Office.
· Faith matters. What your personal beliefs are is not at issue here. I trust you have a solid faith in the Living God. What I’m looking for is whether or not your faith is important to you. If you are Jewish, then be a good Jew. If you are Mormon, then be a good Mormon. If you are Catholic, then be a good Catholic. If you are an Evangelical Christian, then be a good one. Do not apologize for your faith. Live it. Otherwise, it is meaningless.

This is what I’m looking for in a presidential hopeful. I realize I am only one person out of three hundred million in this country, but I’m fairly certain that most Americans would agree with this list I have provided for you. You would do well to take note and act accordingly.

Thank you for listening. And may the best person win.

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