An Open Letter to the 2016 United States Presidential Candidates
Dear Candidates of the United States Presidential Election,
Greetings! I am just a small-time editor from a small town in a state that probably will have no little to no bearing on your race to become the next Commander in Chief. Nonetheless, I am writing this open letter to you, not in hopes that you will change your campaign tactics (because it's a very foul game that must be played) but in hopes that I will appeal to your conscience - especially that part that your Momma should have taught you at an early age: respecting other human beings. I'm also writing this for the group of American citizens reading this who are not mindless little sheep, so they will know they are not alone in their frustration. Hopefully, that's all of you reading!
Though my grandfather was born in the United States, in his home growing up they spoke German. When he started school, he could not communicate with the other children. Fast-forward twenty years and my grandfather found himself overseas fighting against his family's homeland, possibly against his own family.
What was he fighting for that was so important? As in all wars, there were factors that we as normal citizens will never know about. But, I like to think my grandfather and so many other veterans went overseas to protect. He was protecting those people who couldn't protect themselves - including me, though I wasn't even born. He was protecting our freedoms and our way of life.
One of the great rights that I enjoy as an American citizen is the right to vote; to choose government and leadership that I think will best guide our nation.
With the upcoming presidential election looming, the primaries have brought out the absolute worst in almost everyone. It has been a longtime goal of mine to always treat others with respect, no matter what the circumstances. I, like most, fall short of this sometimes but do try to make it a priority in my life. I want to be a role model for my daughter and those around me and teach her that even bad situations can be handled with graciousness.
But, it seems like every time I turn on the news, coverage of the presidential race mimics a bad reality show. Candidates are throwing out low blows and blame on each other in droves. They form fake alliances and garner endorsements from individuals and groups to sway the American people. Some have even resorted to name calling. REALLY? All I can think about is that it seems like the person who sells their soul for the lowest price will become president. I don't think this reality show spectacle is what our founding fathers had in mind.
Now, I'm not sure that some (if not all) the blame is actually placed on us - the citizens, the voters, and the media. Sure, we have a limited amount of candidates to choose from. We are backed in a corner and we must choose the lesser of two evils. However, we also eat it up. We cheer on candidates when they make nasty remarks about others. We share mindless memes on Facebook with "facts" that we haven't validated. We eat up what the media reports about candidates' bad behavior and support candidates because they align themselves with groups we kind of identify with so we don't have to actually find out about who the candidate is and what they stand for. The information is out there and I know it's becomingly increasingly difficult to distinguish these characteristics when you have to wade through a pool of slop to get to it but it's necessary.
I think long and hard about who will lead and guide us for the next four years and how it will affect our next generation. Will this person be someone my daughter can look up to and count on? Or will she see someone who bullies others when under pressure? Will she see someone who will do whatever it takes to win including lie and cheat? I ask that you, Candidate, will be the person not only a small child, but our entire nation can look up to and remember as one of history's greatest leaders.
Integrity, honesty, character, and the boldness to stand up for what is right is what my grandfather stood for. Is that too much to ask for in the candidates who are asking to be the next leader of our country?