Those whom we elect as leaders of the various levels of government will set into place the policies, programs and people who will address many of the critical issues/opportunities that need resolute action: healthcare, climate change, Supreme Court, international relationships, economic policy, inequality, affordable access to higher education, lack of affordable housing, gun control, reproductive rights.
And, we will look to them to ensure that quality early childhood, primary and secondary education is available to every child in America.
South Carolina Congressman Jim Clyburn put the magnitude of this election in perspective with a reference to his arrest during a 1960 civil rights protest, “When I sat in jail that day, I wondered if we were doing the right thing, but I was never fearful for the future. As I stand before you today I am fearful for the future of this country. I am fearful for my daughters and their futures, and their children’s futures, and their children’s futures.”
John Mulholland, the US editor of The Guardian, a British newspaper, offered a similarly ominous reflection: “America is at a tipping point, finely balanced between truth and lies, hope and hate, civility and nastiness.”
The Choice is Clear
From my perspective the choice before us is clear. Do we continue along a path paved with lies, crudeness, alternative facts, spiteful belligerence, and fractious leadership? Or, do we do we begin a journey to instill a sense of decency, civility and truth into our national governance. Do we continue on the four-year journey toward a dictatorial kleptocracy, or do we change course and rebuild our democratic republic?
Like Congressman Clyburn, I am fearful for the future on this country. But I do not fear for myself. At 76 I am in my twilight years of life and probably will not experience the dire consequences of continuing on the current path––– or the great benefits of changing course. Instead, the results of this election will set the future for my children, their children and their children’s children.
What I am Seeking In a President
In choosing a president I want a truth-teller who has an acute sense of integrity and who relates to people with a deep-seated compassion. My ideal president would understand that this country is a member of a broad community of many nations and that we are stronger when they are all strong.
She or he would have a discerning intellect supported by a reservoir of wisdom; a proven ability to govern; a humorous, self-depreciating personality; a commitment to balancing the economic inequities that exist today; and would be a person of great courage who is committed to the practice of servant leadership.
I want a president, vice president and cabinet who look beyond their tenure in office and embrace the responsibility of nurturing and employing the next generation of leaders.
Finally, I hope for a president who fully grasps Hubert Humphrey’s moral test of government: “how it treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the elderly; and those who are in the shadow of life, the sick, the needy, and the handicapped.” Whether or not we live in a country that accepts and passes this test will be determined by us on November 3.
Bill Jamieson’s career has included leadership positions in business, government, and education. He was also an ordained deacon in the Episcopal Church and his ministry centered around advocacy for low-income families and children.