With the general election just a year away now, the candidates who legitimately stand a chance at becoming our next president are becoming few and far between.
As a second year political science major, my knowledge on our government, economy, domestic policy and foreign relations are minimal at best. I don't have a solution for every problem America currently faces, and I doubt our next president will either.
With that being said, I think I have an idea on a good place to start. I'd like to allude to something I came across on YouTube a few months back.
It's a video of George W. Bush throwing out the first pitch at Yankee stadium for game three of the World Series. The date was October 30, 2001, and it was the first World Series game to be played in New York since 9/11.
Bush came out to a roaring crowd which acknowledged him with a patriotic standing ovation. He saluted them, and delivered a pitch straight down the middle of the plate. The crowd went wild.
When I watched the video for the first time, I was in awe by the sense of unity it evoked. Pride in being an American and everything for which that stood for, was rampant not just throughout Yankee stadium, but also in the living rooms of those watching at home.
9/11 was a tragedy, but it was also something else. When we look at the events that transpired afterwards; how our nation came together and and helped each other through difficult times; how firefighters selflessly entered collapsing buildings fully aware that they might not make it out alive; how our president stood atop the rubble and gave a rousing speech which not even his most cynical critics could snub; it was a testament to the willpower of our nation to overcome adversity.
Only afterwards would it become an opportunity for Americans and their government to become unified.
You might not like Bush as a president; he surely wasn't perfect, but don't let that prevent you from seeing the bigger picture. After 9/11 our congress quickly worked together to pass legislation that was aimed at fighting the war on terror.
I just used "congress", "quickly" and "worked together" all in the same sentence. Something that is nearly impossible to do today when writing about our current legislative body. However, given the severity of the situation 14 years ago, combined with pressure from our president and his people, congress became efficient.
So the point is this. Our next president needs to fix our economy, tax system, immigration laws, and domestic and foreign policies. That's important. But he or she can't do it with an oppressive, partisan, self righteous legislative branch that is more concerned with party lines and maintaining a majority than what's in the best interests of the people who they're elected to represent.
We need a president who is respected by Republicans, Democrats, Independents and everyone in between. Someone who might have a D or an R after their name, but doesn't let that compromise their ability to do what's best for the American people.
We need a president who the majority of the population admire and respect. A president who not only has executive powers, but has further leverage with congress because he or she has the backing of our nation.
This might be a utopian ideology, and it's sad if that's the case. But given how politically embattled our government is right now, we truly need someone who can, if nothing else, make a gridlocked congress consider crossing party lines for the betterment of the country. Honest debate is healthy when politicians listen to every argument. Partisan deadlock, for the sake of party unity, is counterproductive.
So to our future president: Be more loyal to the people who elected you, than the party you ran with during the election. Earn the support and approval of the American people, and congress might, like it once did, feel pressure to get the job done.