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What’s great about the United States of America

As I meditate on the upcoming presidential election, I realize that the stakes are very high for our country, our future, our children’s place in the world in a distant tomorrow.

Yes, we hear a lot of meaningless rhetoric from the candidates. Most of it, they don’t understand it themselves. Some are mere sound bites to capture the evening news.

And, yet, most of the candidates lack a vision for what will make our country great again.
I remember the apathy that Americans felt after the presidency of Jimmy Carter. Although a good man, he was a disaster as a leader. And it was President Ronald Reagan – regardless of your political affiliation – who restored the can-do attitude and optimism that the country needed desperately to move on.

While going over my Saturday morning musings, it helps to review some wise sayings to restore the compass that has been missing from the uncivil discourse of our politicians.

The great and wise Abraham Lincoln wrote in 1859 that “Republicans, on the contrary, are for both the man and the dollar; but in case of conflict, the man before the dollar."

"Tony" Campolo, an American pastor, sociologist, author and speaker, wrote, "The reason why I buy into the Democratic Party is because there are over 2,000 verses of Scripture that deal with responding to the needs of the poor."

Lincoln and Campolo were on to something. It is precisely at this moment in our history when we as a nation have no faith in our leaders, when there are very few role models to emulate, when we have lost faith in our ability to compete with our global competitors, when political appointees think that the best way to manage the federal workforce is by generating more and more meaningless metrics, when decision makers ignore the saying that what really, really counts is not countable – that it is helpful to remember that what is needed to ignite the engines of success is to revert to what is good for the people, all the people, and not what is good for a few individuals and their stock portfolios.

So, as we go back to who is the best candidate in the 2012 election, I will leave that decision up to you. Yes, I know that this is a personal decision. One of the most important ones that you’ll make.

But, let me offer a few suggestions.

The candidate who earns your vote and your trust should be the one that reminds you that before you learn life’s important lessons, you will have to strike out a couple times. To grow and to find new way of doing things differently, you have to make plenty of mistakes, and you must learn from them.

That candidate should be the one who paints a picture of where everything ought to be in a few years, rather than where things have failed in the past.

It should be the one who articulates a vision and, most importantly, who has the experience to implement it.

It should be the one with the wisdom to realize that the welfare of the many is preferable to the greed of a few.

It should be the one who remembers that the United States of America is an empty promise without its people, all the people!

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