The clashing political views polarizing our society will reach a fevered pitch as the debates draw near. No doubt each campaign will prep their candidate with facts and figures, pulling from the political histories of the candidates and their VP choices. Candidate Romney will hammer Obama over the $3+ trillion debt padding and Obama will remind Romney that Romneycare was the archetype for Obamacare. Romney’s missing tax returns will counter Obama’s missing economic recovery. The dark lord of Bain Capital versus the neo-Socialist, advocate of big government. The candidates will serve up predictable, rehashed critiques of their opponent’s record that come October will be the well-worn subject matter of ads paid for by overfunded superpacs.
For my money, give me one debate that prohibits the candidates from criticizing prior votes, prior budgets, prior statements, plans or positions. Give me a debate where the past is prohibited. (I understand that prior conduct and statements are relevant when deciding who to vote for, but by October we will all be super-saturated with the records of these two men). What we need is a debate where we hear in the clearest possible terms what these two guys are planning to do for us. I want to know how they will deal with our national debt without pushing us back into recession. What do they see as the biggest challenges facing our country? What are the real threats to our security in the next decade or so, and how should we realign our forces to deal with them? What should be our relationship with China be? What are the goals of our educational system for the next 25 years and how will they mold it to make us competitive in this rapidly changing world? What sacrifices are you asking for from the American people?
I don’t know about you, but I am ready to sacrifice, provided I understand the context of the ask. What vision for our country am I being asked to get behind? I don’t want to hear about liberals who want to undermine our freedoms or the conservatives who favor big business over the underprivileged. No stereotypes please, no shameless appeals to the unsupported assumptions based on barbershop wisdom or email chains Uncle Roy sent you. I don’t have time for us versus them, because I work with “them”, I am related to “them”, and I am protected by “them”.
I want to know what plan these future Presidents have for our country. I want to be inspired, I want to be led. Tell me how we will tap into the incredible capacity for work and unmatched productivity of this country. Don’t blame the most recent wave of immigrants for our problems. Please tell me how you will tap into the drive and energy that brought these people here and make them part of the solution. No more blaming. We don’t have time anymore. Give me a realistic assessment of where we are, and a fair plan for how we get to where we need to be. Be brave gentlemen, our country needs courage right now.