Coffee with Frank

Discussions about responsible leadership

It’s not about politics…

I’ve put off writing this for some time and I can’t put it off any longer. I’m going to be blunt. In this challenging time for our country, I don’t believe that we can remain silent. Silence is complicity, and complicity is something that none of us can afford. It is not “okay” to re-elect Trump to another four years in office. Period. Full stop.

Most of you have no intention of voting for him. But many of you know at least one person who is going to vote for him, or may be considering it, and you likely won’t confront them in a serious and deliberate way. I understand the desire to avoid the discussion, but that has to change.

As a Veteran who has deployed to a combat zone, I know what it means to take an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States; to protect our values and our way of life. And while I have a deep love for our Country, I recognize that it is far from perfect. Change, on many fronts, is needed and it is needed now. But this President is not the person to deliver it. He cannot lead us there. Real change requires strong leadership and strong leadership requires a moral compass that guides the way. No adult man or woman can say, and be taken seriously, that this President has set an example for us and for our children. He has taken this country’s moral compass and smashed it against the rocks.

I’m not suggesting that you need to change your views on policy issues, domestic or international. There will be disagreements – there needs to be. Only through civil debate and respect for one another’s views and opinions will we arrive at the best possible solutions to our most complex issues.

What some view as “far-leftist” policies are not the most serious threat to our democracy. An elected official who is incapable of setting the example in actions and words, who has no concept of service to a cause greater than himself and who has no respect for the foundational elements of our democracy IS the most serious threat. An independent judiciary, a free press, and a belief in equal rights for all are not optional. These are the things that I put on a uniform to defend. I don’t consider myself a “loser” and I certainly don’t consider those who gave their lives in service to our country to be “suckers.”

Many people that I admire have voiced their concerns about our current President. Admiral Mike Mullen, General James Mattis and the late Senator John McCain are just a few who have done so publicly. Some will say, “great, more wisdom from a bunch of old white men.” But the list doesn’t end there. It includes male and female business leaders of all colors, backgrounds and ages. And it includes plenty of people, like myself, who are far from perfect, but haven’t voiced those concerns in a way that can influence others. We can’t let the fact that we have made mistakes, individually and as a country, relieve us of our civic duty to say something when we see something so grossly against the very grain of our nation.

Sadly, many current elected officials have chosen party and president over country and have remained silent on this gross dereliction of duty. But plenty have spoken out; far too many to be written off as “fake news.” Even if you like the results that this administration has delivered or the agenda that it is trying to further, you cannot look the other way and excuse the lies, the incompetence and criminal behavior.

I am afraid for my daughter; afraid for our country and the world we will leave in her generation’s hands. Selfishly, I feel like I need to be able to tell her that I did something, that I spoke up. I know I am not saying something that you haven’t heard before – but you haven’t heard it from me. We have to talk about it beyond the people we know agree with us, even if we think they can’t be swayed. I’m asking you to stop avoiding the discussion. For those of you who aren’t avoiding it, thank you. I had to start somewhere and I figured I would start with the people I know.

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