Candidates can brag about their years of experience, exciting new plans for government, and flashy optics. Without an ability to heal the broken in America, we will elect a president in 2016, not a leader.
The field is off and running, all chasing the 2016 White House. Each will tell us why he or she is best to become our next Commander-in-Chief.
Sure: there are plenty of international issues that they must keep their eyes on. There are complex interactions going on between the United States and Iran concerning nuclear talks as well as the crisis playing out in Yemen and throughout the Middle East. There are the rising tensions between the United States and Russia with the actions of Vladmir Putin in Ukraine and the developing relationship (and rivalry) with China. Of course, there is the ongoing fight against ISIS and al-Qaeda, working each day to ensure that the War against Terrorism does not become the next world war, one that ends up playing out on the playgrounds of cities throughout America as much as they have been on the battlegrounds overseas.
Yet, with that in mind, the winning candidate in the race for the 2016 White House must do what the previous 3 presidents could not: they must unify this nation in a significant fashion for an enduring period of time.
With controversies playing out over the past few years in Baltimore, Philadelphia, Oakland, Ferguson, and Pittsburgh, urban tensions are rising at a time when people simply cannot find good jobs. The education, incarceration, and economic disparities continue to widen, even with the changing dynamics in the Oval Office over the past 20 years.
President Clinton oversaw a period of peace and economic gain while considered the “first Black president” by many Americans across the country due to his upbringing. Yet, Clinton was also the chief executive that signed into law the devastating “three-strikes law” that has led to the devastating results that has impacted many black communities. President Bush ushered in one of the most diverse cabinets in the history of the presidency, including the first 2 African-American Secretaries of State. Yet, the man that campaigned as the “Compassionate Conservative” was labeled as a bigot after Hurricane Katrina. President Obama is the first African-American president, yet our nation has not been this bitterly divided on race and socioeconomic matters since the Civil Rights Era. That’s due – indirectly – to our incomplete journey on the issue of race in America. Obviously, much of the racism that has surfaced since his Inauguration in 2009 has not been his fault. However, policies that include cutting education funding to pool students in Washington, DC and Louisiana at the grade school level and HBCUs at the collegiate level are his fault, leading to instability in our collective fight for education equality.
Regardless of whether it’s another Clinton or Bush (or some other candidate), the sentiments of #BlackLivesMatter and a “rising tide lifting all boats”, the American Dream must become more accessible across our diverse nation. Equality for both genders and all races must be paramount domestically if the next Commander-in-Chief is going to keep America prominent and safe internationally. Continuing this domestic unrest – with its accepted of socioeconomic disparities and dualities of justice – we simply cannot maintain the pace of questionable police actions and we must not broaden the chasm between the haves and the have-nots. We cannot condone civil unrest and inequality here at home and fully expect to keep our borders secure and keep the peace aboard.
Peace must begin at home. Prosperity must hit the streets currently filled with anger, unrest, mistrust, and hopelessness. That prosperity comes through equality, jobs, opportunities for advancement, and embracing what makes us great, not just what makes us different. Each candidate over the course of these next 2 years will tell you that it’s about their resumes and results. For the true leader, it must be about the insight necessary to inspire and invigorate these items in order to get America back to being United States.
Lenny McAllister is a political analyst and commentator that hosts and produces NightTalk: Get to the Point on the Pittsburgh Cable News Channel Friday nights at 8pm and hosts “The Lenny McAllister Show” each Saturday at 2pm ET on Newsradio 1020 KDKA in Pittsburgh. He is also featured on various local, national and international outlets including the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Al Jazeera America, CNN, theAmerican Urban Radio Network, and Sun News Network. You can follow Lenny on Twitter and Facebook.
PHOTO CREDIT: Getty