Dear Candidates: An Open Letter to Democrats and Republicans Aspiring for the Presidency in 2016

The recent announcements that Senator Hillary Clinton, Senators Rand Paul, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, along with Governor Scott Walker are all running for President in 2016 are the context for this special letter. Even though their particular positions vary widely – especially between Clinton and the rest, I address these thoughts to all of them as a concerned American and one who cares for the world. I welcome civil debate as we gear up for months of campaigning – with our nation’s future in the balance.

This letter is written in the manner of Socrates – a series of questions that imply particular concerns and positions, but compel clarity on the issues.

Dear Candidate(s),

Thank you for having the courage to run for this office. Others might cynically say that you are all supreme egoists for thinking you can do the job. Time will tell the proportions of altruism and ego, principle and pragmatism in your ideas and policies. The job of President of the USA is the most powerful and stressful job in the world. In 1839 Alexis de Tocqueville declared that the best persons do not run for President because of the compromises involved in getting elected! I hope such is not the case with any of you.

Here are my questions:

  • What is your vision of a healthy, prosperous nation? What key ideals are guiding your policy proposals? How can you inspire hope and sacrifice among a cynical and disengaged electorate suspicious of all politicians?
  • What is your sense of America’s uniqueness and her humble and wise partnerships with other nations?
  • What is your understanding of the “separation of powers” in the US Constitution and your interpretation of Amendments 9 and 10 that limit the federal government and place ultimate sovereignty in the hands of the people of our nation? What are your boundaries on Executive Orders? How will you be accountable to Congress? Recent history in both parties makes this a vital issue for our future.
  • Will you stand for Israel’s right to exist as a recognized Jewish State and freedom of conscience and religion around the world? Put another way, will you challenge Islamic states to open their societies and treat women and minorities with dignity?
  • Will you be completely pro-life and defend unborn children, the aged and the physically and mentally challenged?
  • How will you reform Social Security and Medicare so that they are protected for the needy and administrated justly?
  • Will you begin a new conversation on medical care and articulate what facets should be local, state and federal and what should be in the hands of the people? How will you assure compassionate delivery of quality medical services without an impersonal Leviathan of government bureaucracy?
  • How will you move us toward a balanced federal budget, a just tax system and reduction in the size of the federal government?
  • What is the government’s role in the economy and how will your policies helps millions find sustainable work?
  • How will you help our nation welcome millions of legal immigrants that desire hope and opportunity while screening for terrorist and welfare cheats?
  • How will you restore America’s global leadership role? How can we help lead the world away form the hegemonic agendas of China and Russia, as well as the threats of a nuclear Iran and her terrorist clients?
  • How will you position the USA at the United Nations? Are you comfortable with UN control over any territory in the USA and global courts attempting to trump our national ones?
  • What current federal structures will you decentralize or eliminate? How large a role should Washington, D.C. have in public education, the administration of welfare and food distribution and provision for other needs?
  • What is your transparent communications strategy? Will your Administration be open (apart from critical personnel or national security issues) or as opaque as the last 80 months? Can we find out about the influences in your upbringing and the educators and mentors that have shaped you into the woman or man you are today?
  • Will you stand for marriage as the union of one man and one woman, while allowing for other arrangements that afford partners legal recognition?

Candidates, I sincerely pray that you will humbly depend upon the Almighty, listen to all the people (not just the big donors) and articulate your values and vision well. Please help us reverse a half-century of moral decline, forty years of political polarization and a generation of economic mismanagement and deception.

A nation is listening.

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