Thursday, May 24, 2007

A President Other Than a WASP?

Among the many candidates for president are Catholics, an African-American, a woman, a Latino, an Italian-American, and a Mormon. Those of us of a certain age remember the fuss that was made when John F. Kennedy, a Catholic of Irish heritage, ran for president in 1960. Now we have a diversity that is remarkable (and long overdue).

This diversity is good because it indicates that certain groups now have opportunities that had been denied to them, or had hurdles that were difficult, if not impossible, to overcome. Let us hope that this is a sign that the old barriers are falling, and everyone will have equal opportunities in all aspects of American life.

There is also a wide diversity of worldviews and positions on issues. I encourage you to focus on the issues, and not on peripheral things such as a candidate’s gender, ethnicity, or religion. We need to make sure the candidate we vote for:

(1) Clearly articulates his or her positions on issues that are important to you. I might also suggest that you shouldn’t be a one-issue voter, but look at all of the positions of the candidates. Make sure you understand a candidate’s values, character, and stands on the key issues, not just your favorite issue.

(2) Has a history that is consistent with what he or she claims are his or her positions on issues that are important to you.

(3) Has doable solutions to the major long-term problems facing this country: energy policy, social security, health care, unfavorable balance of trade, and exporting American jobs overseas (especially to China). All I hear is complaining about these – never a workable solution.

(4) Is, in fact, thinking strategically and long-term about such problems as Iraq and the Middle East, and is not suggesting quick fixes that will ultimately do more long-term harm than good.

(5) Is unwilling to be swayed by opinion polls, but is ready to stand up for his or her principles and beliefs despite what the polls say.

Let’s pray that the next president will not be a “politician” but will be a true leader that will address the critical issues facing us. And let’s also elect senators and congressmen who have vision, who will tackle the tough problems and not just take potshots from the sidelines. We have enough blowhards in Congress who are doing the public a terrible disservice by their lack of action. We owe it to our children and grandchildren to make them accountable.

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