Yes, the Democratic presidential candidates on Monday night did a good job of discussing a number of important issues. Healthcare, jobs, climate change, education, tariffs and the rest.

But it was one of the pundits after the debate who hit the most crucial issue. Regardless of how many good and badly needed proposals candidates come up with, none will come to fruition as long as the federal government is so broken it’s dysfunctional. Our country isn’t stagnating because of a lack of good ideas, it’s stuck, and has been for almost ten years, because Congress and the President have turned the federal government into a well-oiled machine of obstruction. What our government does best is—nothing.

There’s no immigration policy, no energy policy, no policy on climate change, agreements and relationships with foreign countries are trashed, instead of damping down armed and nuclear saber-rattling, we proudly tout that our sabre is more deadly than anyone else’s. We have a public education system that has gone from one of the best in the Western world to one of the worst. One-third of our young people have no chance of moving beyond high school, if they’re fortunate enough to get that far.

While we came out of the sixties and seventies with significant progress in race relations, we now have verbal attacks against African-Americans and other minorities as if racism is the new norm. We strongly support religions that teach justice, mercy, love, and peace, but segments of those religions have been hijacked and turned into pulpits preaching intolerance and hate.

Our current situation is a defunct government and a divided populace. So as we look at congressional and presidential races for 2020, we face a monumental challenge. To us, it’s in league with the founding of our country, the divisions and conflict over slavery, the Great Recession, and wars hot and cold.

What we desperately need is candidates for national political office who can best transform our dysfunctional Congress and White House into wise, courageous, and forceful leaders to make up for what we’ve lost the past ten years and provide leadership that will put us on the offensive as we deal with the challenges to come.

If you ask how that can be done, our suggestion is to elect a president who, when confronted with congressional blockage, will take to the bully pulpit and urge the people to force Congress to do what is needed, and needed now. That candidate will need to be articulate, forceful, and relentlessly persistent. Yes, it will take a Washington, or a Lincoln, or a Franklin Roosevelt, but if we don’t set the standard that high, we will never know if there’s a candidate who can meet it.

There are times when we need a giant, nothing less. At turbulent times in our nation’s past, such individuals have arisen. We need one now. Not just to get rid of the incompetence that reigns in the White House and Congress. That isn’t enough. We need to rise to meet the dire challenges before us, find the best solutions, and implement them with courage and fairness.

The elephant is the broken system. Unless we fix it, debating policies is useless hot air.

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