Dear 2016 Presidential contenders –
By the end of this day, one of you will have “won” the prize – the most important, challenging job in the entire world. By the end of this day, one of you will have bullied, cheated, cajoled, lied, and attacked more than the other to convince the plurality of this nation that you are less unfit to be President than your opponent.
Every report I hear and see indicates that voter participation is higher than usual. People are lining up and waiting hours to cast their vote. And yet, from what I’m hearing, no one is excited about either one of you. The majority of people are merely excited to ensure that one of you is kept as far away from the White House as possible.
This is what we have become.
Fake news. False attacks. Tabloid-type exploitation. Emails. Videos. Name-calling.
In the end it will not matter if one of you lied repeatedly, compromised classified information, cheated your primary opponents out of a fair game, sent provocateurs to sabotage your opponent’s rallies and events, and used your media contacts to give yourself an advantage in debates.
In the end it will not matter that you have run some of the dirtiest, classless, disinformation-filled campaigns in history.
In the end, it will not matter if one of you threatened your primary opponents’ family members, made wild accusations, courted racist swine, hired a national security adviser who was obviously compromised by the Russians, or demonstrated a complete lack of understanding of foreign policy, the military, macroeconomic policy, or intelligence.
One of you will be President. One of you will have won, and America will have lost, and lost big.
We will move on from this, because we have to. We are the world’s lone superpower, and we have a lot to contend with. I’m not talking about the deep divisions you have helped foster during this ass show of a campaign. I’m talking about real world challenges that in the end, I trust neither one of you to handle well, but will have to deal with anyway.
I’m talking about a resurgent, aggressive Russia that is subversively undermining the sovereignty and territorial integrity of its neighbors.
I’m talking about cyber attacks and hacks launched by Russia, China, and others.
I’m talking about Middle Eastern conflicts and the burning civil war in Syria that is sending hundreds of thousands of refugees fleeing all over the world and overflowing into western borders.
I’m talking about a fat little despot in North Korea, who is just insane enough to initiate a nuclear conflict.
I’m talking about Iran.
I’m talking about an ever deteriorating relationship with NATO ally Turkey.
As president you will have to not only learn everything you can about this and deal with domestic discord to boot and a Congress that will likely do nothing but ensure one of you fails, but you will have to appoint the best and the brightest to help you. I have no faith you’ll do that either, given the cronyism that is pervasive in your individual campaigns.
And yet, here we are.
My best hope for you – the “winner” of this contentious, ridiculous, rancorous, absurd shit show that is making those outside the United States believe we have lost our collective minds – is that you won’t fuck anything up too badly, that you won’t destroy economic relationships and alliances, that you won’t strip the military, and that you won’t send our forces to invade all the things merely to show how big your metaphorical balls are.
That’s not a very high hope. It’s merely a baseline. Whichever one of you takes office in January, I doubt you’ll represent the majority of Americans, because both of you have already shown that this election is about you, not about our country. It’s about winning, and doing it at any cost possible.
And you’ve won by succeeding at convincing the plurality of this country that you don’t suck as bad as you do.
My advice, for what it’s worth – and I know you won’t take it anyway, so I’m probably talking to the wind – is to listen and learn. Select the best, smartest, and most dedicated people for your administration – not dedicated to you, and not beholden to you, but those who genuinely have the skills, knowledge, and abilities to help you lead this country, and the humility to process and synthesize the information they receive. Choose wisely – not for your ego, but for the good of this nation – not as payback for supporters, but as a nod to their dedication to America and the people who put you in office. Have the humility to put aside your preconceived notions and defer to experts on issues that are critical to our country. This position is not about your ego. It’s about providing cogent, honorable, and mature leadership to the greatest nation on earth and being accountable to the people who held their noses and voted you into the White House in hopes that your brand of disease is less onerous than the other candidate’s brand of disease.
I would love for you to prove me wrong, whoever you are. In four years, I would love to say, “This person exceeded my expectations, and I will vote for them with the confidence that they are the kind of leader America needs.” Please. Prove me wrong. Give me something to hope for, because right now, I’m nauseated at the thought of one of you inhabiting the White House.