John R. Hawkins III
The first presidential candidate debate is over. While it was informative and even entertaining, from my foxhole, most importantly it was insightful. While actions and failures to act in the past as well as plans for future actions are important, to me, the most important information I can gather from a debate has to do with getting insight into the character, veracity and demeanor of the next person to be our Nation’s domestic leader, representative to the rest of the world and Commander in Chief of the most powerful military on the planet. As the saying goes, “You can’t change the stripes on a tiger’s back.”
Showing insensitivity or lack of commitment to basic American values and laws is inconsistent with being fit to run the United States of America. Not manifesting a belief in equal justice is unacceptable for any American, let alone the next President of the United States. Not displaying an understanding of basic constitutional law and court rulings, while at the same time showing an insensitivity to the concerns of African Americans by answering a question about ones views on civil rights by answering that “…stop and frisk should be used,” as Donald J. Trump did during the debate is inexcusable and should be a red-light. Further, it shows a lack of understanding of what to say and when to say it, something a president must be able to do.
For Trump to respond to Hillary Clinton’s observation that he did not pay federal taxes “that makes me smart” reveals not only that he thinks those of us who pay taxes are either dumb or not as entitled as him, but shows once again that he has no clue about what to say when under pressure.
When Trump was reminded by Clinton that in 2006 Trump stated that he hoped the economy would falter so he could get real estate cheaply, he said, “And that’s called good business by the way.” Is this an attribute you want in the next President?
While Clinton has faults and has made some mistakes in her past, who hasn’t? One thing is clear, one fault that she does not have is the lack of the realization of the importance to be prepared for future actions and doing what it takes to prepare. It was clear during the debate that Trump was not prepared for his audition to be President and Commander in Chief. This lack of understanding the importance of an event is not an attribute desirous of the next leader of our nation. Moreover, his intonation and non-verbal communications ranged from anger to surprise to reacting to fear; not something you want in a President.
So now what? From my foxhole, whoever you want to be elected to office on Nov. 8 must receive your vote, and you must do all you can to get those registered but unable to get to the polls, to the polls. If you do not and the people that you do not want in office get elected, suffer the consequences and do not complain on Nov. 9.
Maj Gen US Army (ret) John R. Hawkins III, JD, MPA is President and CEO of Hawkins Solutions Intl., a government relations and lobby company. His last military assignment as a “two star” was Dir., Human Resources Directorate for the Army world-wide and prior to that Deputy Chief Public Affairs for the Army, world-wide.