I’m not a politician, but I’m running for President of the United States. I think that’s actually my biggest qualification: I’m not a politician. During every election people talk about change, and hope, and a bright future of cooperation and progress. They dream of a country that’s free and fair, and of a government that actually serves the people it governs. Then they almost always have to side with one of the big political parties, who sow hatred, division, and discontent so that they can win elections.
Politicians may not be bad people–I’m happy to believe that most aren’t–but they make concessions to win votes. They have to sell their support to get the money to campaign. They back whole menus of confused ideas because that’s how they get a party’s “nod.” Politicians don’t have the luxury to do what they think is right or best; they have to do what will get them elected, what they think might get enough of their own party members elected to be able to govern at all.
People from the other party won’t help. Each side has spent so much time branding the other as villains and imbeciles that there isn’t much residue of good will remaining. Whichever party is in power, the other party has to criticize all the more aggressively in the hope that the next election might change their fortunes. The system perpetuates itself.
If the pundits are to be believed, people are tired of it. They’re tired of the arguing and the gridlock and the blaming. They’re voting for one candidate or the other not because they really want to, but because there aren’t other options. Voters don’t want to check out of the election entirely. They don’t want to give up. They still want to vote. They just keep having to vote for politicians, and it’s worn them down.
They should vote for me instead.
Here are the only three campaign promises I plan to make:
First, I promise that I’m not going to pin myself to certain stances on particular political issues. We shouldn’t elect people who commit to a certain course of action before they get all the facts–that’s just a reckless way to make decisions–so I won’t be one of those people. What’s important is whether or not we can trust our elected officials to handle well what information they receive once they take office. Will they pay attention to it? Will they think about it clearly? Will they do what’s best even if it’s hard or unpopular?
Do we really trust any of our current politicians to do what is right if doing so means they lose their next election? I think that the last decade of half-hearted and inconsistent measures proves they won’t. I will, and as a guarantee I offer my second promise.
I won’t run for re-election. I don’t want a job in politics, and I don’t want to become beholden to the powers that influence so much of politics. I want to make a difference and do what’s right; I want to be the sort of change that so many people are hoping for yet so few are volunteering to become. I think it’s clear that worrying about re-election gets in the way, so I won’t do it.
If nothing else this commitment will free up more time for my third promise: I’ll pursue that vision I mentioned above: a government that serves the people and promotes freedom and fairness. I’ll pursue cooperation rather than polarization. I’ll pursue clear and reasonable solutions to the problems we face, solutions in pursuit of that hope of a future.
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