Decency and Responsibility, Please

I believe in America, and I believe in Americans. I am also a strong proponent of deeply rooted values such as dignity, integrity, and equality.

But, in this moment in time, I'd like to humbly remind all of us that decency, responsibility, and honesty must continue to be valued and celebrated as well. We are, after all, made in the image and likeness of God. Or, if you prefer, beautifully and wonderfully created. And, yes, we are members of an international community as well as proud Americans.

So, America, we are not powerless. We are resourceful and we are strong. And, we have overcome a great deal of adversity over our lifetime, and historically. For instance, The Greatest Generation still embodies courage, resilience, and opportunity. These men and women defined, in part, what was and is best about America. I am grateful.

Now, in the 21st century, and as 2015 comes to a close, we have experienced a particularly horrific year of senseless killing and radical extremism both at home, in our great country, and abroad with our global neighbors. I sense that we are afraid. I think many of us are feeling insecure and unsecured? This is my small opinion--there is no judgment here. All the more reason we need each other!

I'd like to suggest, however, that no matter how afraid, nervous, or anxious we feel about our person or our boundaries, we cannot be a people who elect those who play to our fears or who make uninformed promises or unconscionable threats.

Of course, all of us have a right to our opinions and beliefs; and, thus, I am expressing my own. But as I follow the political landscape and presidential candidates, I am saddened by politicians who arrogantly seem to promote themselves but cannot articulate an evolving plan or policy that even remotely reflects presidential leadership and knowledge. It's my two cents; but I believe we are intuitively smarter and innately kinder then many of our presidential candidates.

Invoking your goodness, then, we cannot elect persons who are taking advantage of a public platform and who are conspicuously playing to some of our understandable anxiety. These very candidates are barking offensive rhetoric that does not represent our collective values. Furthermore, excluding other human beings from our country because of their religious beliefs is dishonorable.

Is this really who we are as Americans? Again, I know that many of us are perplexed over the issues and the complexity of the solutions, but we cannot turn our right to vote into the violation of others and their rights--whether God-given or protected by the principles of the Constitution.

I believe we are a kind and smart people. We are a people who are proud of our country. We are a people who believe in opportunity and possibility. Ours is to respect others, and frequently in spite of our differences. Please be patient and become more informed. Dig deep within your best self and give thanks. Explore your conscience and celebrate your person. But, let's also be mindful of others and their own innate dignity and longing for opportunity. No presidential candidate, exercising poor personal leadership, should hold sway over your valued vote for a better, principled America.

In this country, and as a proud American, I am mindful of a great lady, Lady Liberty, who, to this day, still proclaims and represents our very best selves:
Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me:
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.

We are golden; let's not tarnish the quality of our collective character by being uninformed or afraid for our future. We have all that it takes to safeguard its worth.