We are 19 months away from electing the next president of the United States.
Four candidates have already declared—one Democrat (Hillary Clinton) and three Republicans (Ted Cruz, Rand Paul and Marco Rubio). Others will soon enter the campaign.
Historically presidential races are a mixture of all that is good and bad about America.
We hear appeals to patriotism, national pride, freedom of expression, cultural and racial diversity, sexual equality, and religious values.
We also are subjected to voices of xenophobia, calls for isolationism, discrimination and intolerance.
Various groups will try to cast the presidential hopefuls in narratives that further the goals of the candidate and denigrate the proposals and qualifications of the opposition.
In such an environment it is difficult to separate truth from lies and sincerity from disingenuousness.
All of us will be tempted by modern-day versions of the snake oil vendors of yesterday.
The best we can do as voters is to demand that candidates give specific answers to our questions and concerns instead of feeding us canned bromides from a well-rehearsed stump speech.
For that to happen citizens, journalists and politicians have to engage in honest and forthright discussions about America’s future.
We all have a role to play and no one is well served when the campaign degenerates to a litany of angry innuendos, distortions, hyperbole and lies.
I concede that the task is difficult because many of us feel passionate about certain issues and personalities.
But we owe it to ourselves and our nation to try to resist the easy emotional kneejerk reaction to the inevitable assertions in coming months from candidates, supporters and opponents.
My presidential campaign promise is simple—I pledge to be civil and respectful yet demand honesty and clarity.
I’m not asking for your vote. But I hope I’ll have your support.