Dear U.S. Presidential Candidates: Tell Us the Truth About You

Dear U.S. Presidential Candidates: Tell Us the Truth About You

Lauren PesinTuesday,3 November 2015

As I watched the recent presidential candidate debates, I found myself asking, “Do we really know who the candidates are? If not, what types of questions would speak to the character of the candidates?”

The key is in the truth of the answers.

If you could ask the U.S. presidential candidates a question (and receive an honest answer), what would you ask?

According to a random sampling of friends, family, and a few select strangers, the following are questions they would like to ask would-be presidents:

1. “Why do you really want to be President?”
2. “Why should people vote for you?”
3. “If you weren’t a candidate, who would you vote for? Why?”
4. “What is your favorite memory or proudest accomplishment (personal and political)?”
5. “When is the last time you got drunk?”
6. “What was your most embarrassing moment?”
7. To Trump: “Are you actually running for President or is your campaign a billion dollar bet on how stupid Americans are? Do you really believe you can win?”
8. To Jeb: “Are you only running for President because your mom wants at least one son to not be a complete f**k-up?”
9. To Hillary: “Are you only running in an attempt to make history as the first woman U.S. President?”
10. “What would make you not vote for someone? “
11. “In what ways (if any) do you think the U.S. government has failed the U.S. population?”
12. “If you were to describe yourself (your character) in three words, how would you describe yourself?”
13. “Is there something about you that you don’t want people to know?”

The U.S. population would find out the truth about the candidates and each other, if only we could for one day (even one hour) set up a political amnesty room. This room would be a welcoming and comfortable space filled with overstuffed couches and throw pillows; filled with wafting, soft, inspiring, popular alt-rock; dimmed lights; and lots of adult beverages (perhaps craft beers on tap and organic wines served in stemless glasses). All politicians and non-politicians would temporarily forget the impact of words (and how many votes were up for grabs) and rather speak unfiltered, as friends. For just a little while everyone would get to know each other, and for just a little while people would speak only the truth.

Unfortunately, the political amnesty room will never exist. Subsequently, we’ll likely never know the truth about the candidates. Due to the way politicians gain support (and funding), the factors that impact political campaigns (and outcomes), and the ebb and flow of public opinions, politicians are postured to lie. Perhaps as a result of being a puppet in a representative democracy, politicians speak the words of others (be it their supporters, their potential constituents, or just people they owe something to).

I try with each election to convince myself that political debates, voting records, and public speeches represent the true character of a candidate. Sadly, that’s not likely the case.  Regrettably, it’s all we have to go on.

Do you think you know who the candidates are?

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Image Credit: Dave Newman on Flickr

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