Election Dysfunction

When my grandson expressed concern about the election, I realized he was older than his years. What kind of America will he inherit?

Dear O,

I’ve always been impressed with how smart you are—okay, you’re my grandson so I may be biased, but I was genuinely surprised with your interest in this presidential election. 

When I was your age politics and TV news seemed boring—so when you asked thoughtful questions about Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton and you even knew about Donald Trump, I was really astounded.

I wish you weren’t inheriting a debt-ridden nation from me and my generation. We haven’t done a good job stewarding our nation’s resources or making good choices in how we spent our money.

We haven’t solved the hardest problems, but it’s not because we didn’t have smart leaders. We just couldn’t work together. We even failed in helping the poor not be poor anymore. When I was a child our president started the War on Poverty. We’re still fighting that war and have spent 11 trillion dollars failing to win it.

We’ve also spent trillions helping defend people around the world. There’s plenty of disagreement on those decisions.

Then there are millions of people without jobs. America owes a lot of money and we need more of us working to help pay off the debt. Our leaders don’t agree how to solve this either. Maybe that’s why there is so much anger this election.

Even so, I’m sorry that you’re seeing riots and people screaming hateful things at campaign events. It looks like we’ll either have our first woman president, or the first president who has never held an elected office before. Even though it’s a long time before you can vote, you’ll always remember this election.

My prayer is that our nation will become more united again. I’m not sure how that will happen, but if what I see in you—your thoughtful interest and willingness to listen is multiplied across your generation, then unity will rise again. And with unity, even the hardest problems can find solutions.


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