Last night we saw the final presidential debate of this campaign. Today, while the pundits and pollsters and spinners attempt to declare a winner, I wonder if the candidates actually will turn now to the American public and engage us in our future. As they did again last night, the two candidates have repeatedly bemoaned the avalanche of negative ads and their toll on themselves and the public. They each have said their opponent simply is in attack mode and failing to offer a path forward. Each of them seems to be exhausted by the endless acrimony and divisiveness that they, and we, have endured.
In the closing weeks of this campaign, will they offer us anything to vote for, or only something to vote against? Will they ask any sacrifices from their supporters, or only of those they know will support the other side? Will they call us to do anything, together, or simply suggest that we stand idly by while they make promises to do things for us?
No doubt, “pulling the country together” at this late point is not in the cards; and it is not even something a president can do alone, especially given current conditions. But these candidates can begin to change the ugly nature of this campaign. This wouldn’t mean forfeiting their critique of one another, or pulling punches. That won’t happen; and it shouldn’t.
But what can happen is a move in a better direction. It’s not too late to engage us. We want to be for something. We’re hoping.
What do you want to hear from them moving forward?