The president, more than any other elected official, is America’s image of itself: the one who represents us on the world stage. It is the president’s job to embody our national character. The heart of that national character, borrowed from civilizations going back to ancient Greece, by way of the Enlightenment philosophers of France (although recently disparaged by one of our own Senators as “not the objective”), is democracy.
In the beginning, one of the things that set the United States of America apart, in a world ruled by monarchies, theocracies, and warlords, was the belief that the people, given a decent education and accurate information from a free press, have all the tools they need to rule themselves. Technology has changed how we learn, and what we learn, but nothing has changed the virtue behind the belief that we can know the truth and rule ourselves.
We were never a perfect union. That is understood. But I believe that most people, even those on the “opposite” side, want to make this union more perfect. More just. More honest. More free. And as close as we can get, in our time, to a perfection that will be forever out of reach. One way to do that is to vote for people who share our values. I hope everyone votes, and votes their conscience. It is a duty – not just as citizens of a nation, but as sentient beings on this heartless but beautiful planet – to make all of our unions as perfect as we can. Because no matter who “wins” on election day, nothing is going to change unless we make it. We are going to rise, or fall, together. E pluribus unum.