I am not debating in the presidential debate tonight. I am not running for office. But you have to give credit to two men who desire the job of POTUS given the status of our country. Whether you believe one or both of these men to be egotistical maniacs, gluttons for punishment, or eager ambassadors, they both want this job badly.
So badly that the 2nd debate was unnerving for many Americans. The constant interruptions. The disregard for boundaries. The snide comments.
And now, we arrive at the 3rd debate tonight. I already have my mind made up concerning how I am voting. And so have you. And so has the rest of America. Tonight’s debate is likely not to change many minds as much as it will fire up both camps to blitz Facebook and Twitter with everyone’s biased review of the men’s performances.
I tried to imagine how I would respond if I was being portrayed by my opponent as a liar to millions of people. Sure, I would want to interrupt and set the record straight. I wouldn’t want to be characterized by something I am not.
And so, it made me wonder: “If I was in the presidential debate tonight, how would I close out my argument?” Here’s a shot:
“The man across from me is my opponent in this presidential debate and in this presidential election. I dislike the term ‘opponent’ because I do sincerely respect this man. I disagree with him greatly, but I really do respect him.
“From what I can tell, he loves his wife greatly. In our times, that is a rare quality in men. He still treasures his bride years after their vows, and I respect him greatly for that.
“He adores his children. Even more so, his children adore him. It’s obvious that their eyes light up when their father comes close. In a nation full of fatherless heartbreaking situations, he is a really caring and consistent father.
“I don’t really see this man as an opponent. We both want the same outcome. We both have the same desire. We both love the United States of America. He has dedicated a majority of his life to seeing this country flourish and improve. He cares for people regardless of race or socioeconomic background. He is brokenhearted when he receives news that a soldier dies. He is burdened when he meets an unemployed father trying to make ends meet. He is overwhelmed at the legitimate needs in our country. And the stress concerning the insurmountable task of unifying this broken country is something that keeps him up at night.
“I know this about him: he really wants this country and its citizens to thrive.
“The two of us share that desire, but we disagree significantly on how to achieve that goal. [Turning to ‘opponent’] I respect you, and I am thankful to have someone like you in leadership in our country because you will work relentlessly to achieve a better America. I am thankful for you, but I simply disagree with you. We do not agree on how the money should be spent. We do not agree on how to handle leaders of other countries. You and I define marriage very differently. We both believe in the freedom of rights and choice, but we disagree concerning when a life receives those rights and choices.
“I respect you, I am thankful for you, but due to these significant differences, I want to be the President in 2013 because I think my path will be more successful for America than the path you are proposing. [Turning to camera] America, you have two choices before you this election, and I can promise this: we both want this country to succeed. I firmly believe though that the direction I am proposing is the best direction for our country as a whole. And that is why I am asking for your vote.”
Doubtful it will happen, but a fella can hope that civility, courteousness, and humility could invade the political stage, right?
Travis Agnew serves as the Lead Pastor of Rocky Creek Church in Greenville, SC. His most recent book is Just (About) Married.
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