Sunday, February 21, 2016

This is Political

This is Political

“The best thing that ever happened to the Democratic Party is Donald Trump,” one of my friends guffawed last fall. Everyone laughed; they are not laughing now.

After South Carolina’s primary, Timothy Stanley wrote, Who does Donald Trump have to insult to lose a primary? Jesus? Stanley is a conservative, historian and columnist for Britain's Daily Telegraph. He says time is running out for conservatives to come up with a strategy to defeat a man at odds with their philosophy.

I am both interested and repulsed by politics. I am interested in the process of change and particularly keen on health policy. Like many, I am repulsed by partisan politics, the status quo, the old crony (seemingly wealthy, white) society and the new Jim Crow. I want our Congress(wo)men to negotiate and compromise, to run our country with transparency and justice for all. I doubt I’m alone.
To that end, I have watched every debate and every town-hall meeting of both Republicans and Democrats. I’ve talked to my friends and sought editorials and opinions from news agencies.

Following the New Hampshire GOP primary, Huffington Post writer Ariel Edwards-Levy attacked voters and Trump. “Donald Trump is a serial liar, rampant xenophobe, racist, misogynist, birther and bully who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims — 1.6 billion members of an entire religion — from entering the U.S.”
After Trump’s win in South Carolina, the Huffington Post declared in big bold letters:                     
GOP’s Moderate Wing Officially Dead…

While I am no Trumppet, clearly the Post is attached to an outcome and not the best at reporting with neutrality. 

CNN took a different tact, researching the border wall "Mexico will pay for.” Its a fascinating 2.5-minute exposé worth watching. They estimate construction costs of $10,560,000,000 or just over 10.5 BILLION dollars with construction time of four years. WHO is footing that bill?
Watch it here:

In my search for perspective, by far the most helpful article I stumbled upon was by Retired Lt. Gen. Mark Hurtling, former Commander of US Army Europe and 7th Army. In his article, Judging our Candidates as Leaders, he says candidates should be carefully evaluated on character, presence and intellect.
He points first to character; do they have the right stuff? Do they understand others; would they apply moral principles in serving our citizens? “The key question one should ask: Do we as a nation trust this leader to do the right thing, for all people, in the toughest of situations?”
Second, he turns to presence, “confidence, not arrogance. Presence generates a positive perception from supporters. More important, it garners support and generates respect -- not fear -- from foes and sworn enemies.”
Lastly, he points to intellect, defined as a profound understanding of critical issues. “Great presidents, continuously faced with complex national and global challenges, need to be able to build strong teams to assist them in generating sound strategies, and thus require phenomenal interpersonal skills.”
He closes with this, “As a nation, we have just a few short months to determine who will be our 45th president, so I'm hoping others join me in evaluating that leader with the most potential in these three critical areas.

His analysis has given me another tool in evaluating candidates; one I find valuable and one I wanted to share. I hope you too find it useful. When I look out across the globe filled with civil wars, public beheadings and stonings, coups, executions and the like - I know that the American experiment in democracy, while still in its infancy is neither to be dismissed nor diminished. Despite our foibles, there are reasons people seeking freedom flock to our shores and borders.

Take not your responsibility to be an informed voter lightly. People are literally dying for the privilege and duty.