12. A Presidential Candidate’s Introduction
The 2016 presidential election in the USA required the introduction of the candidates.
Here is a proposal what a candidate could have said.
© H. Schwab, Princeton, USA at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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Our thoughts can be organized on various levels of overview or detail.
On the most general level, what is the situation our country finds itself in at this time?
Church attendances decline, addictive drug usage has reached dangerous levels, our youngsters prefer spending time watching the screen of a digital device, Wall Street investors make billions of dollars while too many of our citizens still live in poverty, big money buys politicians by way of PACs – which is called corruption in other countries, our two political parties fight vitriolically against each other while their candidates are both of limited attractiveness to the citizens.
My first priority as president would be to lead our country toward a greater view of its spirit, its values, the meaning of life as a citizen and enthusiasm for our lives. Are “E Pluribus Unum” or “In God We Trust” or “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness” still adequate formulations of the meaning of life in our nation? We live in a world of evolution. Where do we stand with the goals of our nation now? President Thomas Jefferson already demanded a review of our constitution from time to time! For me, the themes of “Growth, Service and Culture” have meaning in my life – also the Reduction of Suffering and the creation of Increased Opportunities Fairly for All – see the essays I wrote on these subjects. I would form a commission of the most outstanding individuals in our country to work on this task of redefining the spirit we want our nation to implement – to let our youth, all those in the most active phase of their lives, and our maturing seniors enthusiastically fulfill their lives in our country.
On a more specific level of concerns for our nation, we have to address:
· Our international, national, and local security
· The economy and opportunities for a fair well-being of all in a balanced society
· Health care – specifically in support of the suffering in financial need
· Education – from earliest age through our professional life and old age – and its cost
· Our “Culture”, immigration and the change of our national identity and “culture”
· The functioning of our government in Washington, DC
· The Federal Budget – its yearly definition and long-term goal
The management of these seven themes – and you may have more – requires the building of an excellent national management team in Washington – this being my greatest and ongoing priority upon arriving there.
Security: The problems with Islam’s evolution into the modern world are obvious. We may have to stimulate and work closely with all theological and political efforts within the Muslim world, in order to let Islam grow out of medieval cruelty and infighting and let it shine again (see my essay on this subject). In practical circumstances, we must give forceful support for those who fight to do so – preferably through distributed special forces – which should be strengthened and increased – with action in rural areas and behind enemy lines in inner-city environments – openly and secretly. That is the warfare of the future. Additionally, more effort should be devoted to internal psychological warfare and the internal deterioration of our enemy. In fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan, one must see that the opium drug trade, from the poppy fields in Helmand province to Pakistan’s business clans and on to Europe, is the driving force and must be suppressed first.
In a broader view of international security, our world has lost the path toward democracy. More and more dictatorial leaders take or have already assumed power in various countries, such as Venezuela, Egypt, Turkey, Russia, Iran, or several others in Africa – or, worst, in North Korea. Russian President Putin seeks linkage with Iran, which already has dangerous connections with North Korea. Putin is anxious to leave a mark on the world stage rather than improve the standard of living and world view in his own country. He should become motivated to seek cooperation with Europe (if not leadership within it) and become more trustworthy – to be motivated by incentives rather than by sanctions – to rather be remembered as a noble individual in history. China should be motivated to solve the problem of North Korea – which otherwise one day will bite it. China, the fastest growing and biggest super-power, should be discouraged from seeking fame through military strength in an expensive and internationally destabilizing arms race. It is well on its way to becoming the next leading power of the world. Social stability in South America requires attention – and so does the turmoil of the many young nations in Africa, some with excessive population growth!
The Economy: Enough good ideas circulate in Washington that require coordination and, mostly, implementation. Presidential leadership is called for – and special interests should not prevail but should be more forcefully subordinated to the common interest! A balance between the “classes” – upper, middle, and lower – is required in our concept of a democratic country! Growth, with limited internal consumption and natural limits may require engagement on a more international level – as China demonstrates by forcefully progressing in world affairs! Employment benefits, a substantial hiring argument but an increasing element of cost as health care and increasing age augment obligations, are also at the core of union demands – leading to problems of social stability and international competitiveness. Political leadership of our country must provide guidance, but in moderation. US-financed research must bring economic benefit primarily to our economy. Trade agreements must be renegotiated, if necessary, so that they represent balanced interests.
Health care: It is absolutely necessary that America provide health care for all its citizens – as all developed countries do for theirs by now. The cry for abolishing Obamacare is typically Washington stupidity – rather than offering improvements (or a clearly better alternative) to it! The excessive pricing of expensive to develop monopoly medications remain to be solved. The fight against the epidemic consumption of addictive drugs in our country must be a central task and is of primary importance!
Education: Obviously, basic education to the level of better employment qualification must be available at a cost commensurate with students’ own resources. Abuse by either the numerous for-profit enterprises calling themselves universities or the increasingly profit-oriented established schools cannot be the right approach. Vision, ideas, leadership, and action are also required in this area. Could there be an evolution in public school education? Possibly one designed to be more integrative and ever more Internet-supported? What will allow us to raise a world-leading generation and maintain it over time?
Our Culture: The United States, built on Native American land by European immigrants with some black slaves, has lost its European character within a few generations after John F. Kennedy opened the immigration gates to the world. South America, China, India, and more of Africa are coming to participate in and also to form our nation. Should that continue unchecked? Should Chinese women still be allowed to come to California merely to bear their children there, in order to let them become US citizens? This right to citizenship merely by birth should be questioned – as should the right to bring in family at will. Is there any common “culture” left in this country? What is it, what should it be? This is another subject for a high-level committee of qualified individuals to present ideas and proposals! Isn’t “culture” at the core of nostalgia when you are far away or when the world has changed? What is it? What should we preserve or change – how and why?
The Functioning of Washington: Most of us would like to select the best ideas from either of our two parties and combine them in one new and combined package. We have all suffered from the political infighting in our government. Both of our great parties must be held accountable for that! It cannot be that a leading politician finds an approach to his work in Washington primarily by destroying each and all of the opponent party’s proposals, while offering no or few valuable ideas himself (yes, Mr. Mitch McConnell – you may have been the most destructive and least creative man in Washington!). Any proposed idea from one side should be answered with appreciation for proposing it first but also with complementary ideas from the other side or with ideas on how to improve on it – unfortunately also with a clarification of which particularly selfish interest may be behind any proposal – which should be exposed! The political power of PACs is a form of corruption; and, let’s face it, the United States is, therefore, now among the most corrupt countries of the world! Washington must work for the interest of the country and for the need of the citizen! It is the new President’s task to provide guidance and lead to action in this critical area!
The Budget: There is never enough money to pay for everything our population and government want. It is the ultimate test for the functioning of our government to define what the financial health of the country demands or limits within the yearly budget – and, consequently, one of the main tasks of the President. There are two fundamentally different theories: Either strive for a fully balanced budget and a reduction of the national debt over the years, or allow for mild inflation to continue forever – allowing for occasional raises to satisfy psychological needs without actual financial deterioration. The latter is easier to handle by the unions and by political leadership. I am inclined to go for a small inflation over time – possibly 2 percent – and a reduction of our national debt by one-third or one-half over ten years, the world economy and security permitting.
Next: One could proceed to a discussion of each of the above areas individually as on the next lower level of detail – and this could be repeated for several more levels downward. That, however, would be the task of the specific team members of the next president and their subordinated teams – who cannot and should not be experts in each detailed area – leading to micromanagement. In proceeding, one finds that many problems are of gray-zone nature – with a little bit more or a little bit less being discussed forever between concerned parties which either benefit or suffer from a decision. The media and journalists greatly enjoy dragging leaders into such detail areas – providing excitement to their reporting but little benefit for leadership selection. It is largely the fault of the media that our political election process, with all the debates, has deteriorated to such a low level. Some of the best of our citizens do not want to participate in this, thus possibly depriving us of the best candidates.
In Sum: The task of the future President is primarily one of presenting and implementing a vision of the inner meaning and inspiration provided by our country to all generations of citizens, so that they can lead a fulfilling life in a shining country of our time in history. For the seven practical areas of government discussed above, an outstanding team must be formed and guided to action by the President to clearly analyze problems, but, more so, to see opportunities and forcefully pursue those – internationally and right here at home! The present problems and opportunities count most for all of us, and we must keep our feet on the ground, but the continuation of the United States as the world’s leading nation is the greatest challenge for the next President.