“I’ll be back,” Arnold Schwarzenegger, another celebrity-turned-politician announced at the end of his blockbuster movie, “The Terminator.” It was a welcome promise. His pledge of loyalty was a sure bet to produce successful sequels.

“I’M BACK,” announced by the 45th president, does not have quite the same appeal for a sequel. His first installment left many feeling threatened, even though a third of the Republican base feels exhilarated.

Yet, the political system is ratcheting up for a sequel that it knows less than half of the voting public want to see, or hear.

At this point, history will be the best judge of the former and current presidents.

I am more interested in how this country will use its political currency, here at home and abroad, for the greatest return in the future. My grandchildren deserve to have their fair share of the promises inherent in our democratic republic, accompanied by world peace to enjoy those promises .

Not empty promises such as “40 acres and a mule,” cash reparations, government handouts, etc., but promises for open, equitable access to the American dream, on whichever path they choose.

Though not an endorsement, here are my criteria for vetting candidates.

I think the next head of the government ought to be a qualified person (born in the USA, over age 35, who permanently lives in the country) who can help my grandchildren get their fair share, in a peaceful world.

Their piece of the democratic promise includes being able to peacefully embrace freedom of expression in the marketplace of ideas, i.e., in classrooms, textbooks, libraries, between consenting adults, across diverse media outlets, and remain unmolested in the voting booth.

The promise should never include censure, nor eliminate words and ideas because they provoke personal discomfort, but only if they cause direct harm. For example, using the Nword in anger is an assault, a direct threat to personal safety, akin to pointing a loaded gun. (Yet, if someone calls me “woke” or “liberal,” it merely makes me want to further engage in deep debate about different points of view).

Therefore, I want a representative who can calmly address matters of diversity and hate from a studied perspective, or from personal experiences, while avoiding namecalling.

Who can that representative be?

How they use their body should not be anyone’s business, or should it? While Japan’s dire lag in reproduction has become an issue for that nation, why is the US government so interested in controlling its women’s reproduction rights? We are not headed toward zero population replacement!

I want a representative who should know to tread very lightly on this subject unless they have directly experienced a spontaneous abortion (miscarriage), a voluntary termination, or have been coerced to have a legal or illegal end of pregnancy event. Any female candidate ought to know better than to adopt public policy that would deny a woman’s agency over her body, PERIOD.

Who can that be?

The world is already armed with enough nuclear warheads to wipe out every living creature on earth. We can’t put them away and the so-called arms proliferation treaties have not stopped our enemies from securing the necessary resources to build their own arsenals.

We are mighty. We are strong. We can blow everyone up. But war games don’t always end well when the players decide they don’t want to play nice anymore. Our allies and enemies are aligned to wipe each other out.

I want a representative who doesn’t want to study war no more. Who can that be?

I allow for people’s singular experiences; there is always some reasonable explanation for why certain beliefs are held: religion, family of origin, cultural environment, propaganda from hate organizations, etc.

Yet, if given an opportunity to travel, people often report how their points of view changed. I suppose we just need to go more places, experience different cultures, learn a different language, eat more foreign food, etc.

Wait! There are neighborhoods in Miami, Chicago, San Francisco, and other large US cities, where you can experience all that here is the USA. Why then aren’t we living more harmoniously?

Some argue that humans are born to suspect the “other,” that we have not evolved from the dog-eat-dog instinct. That is sad, and true. Except, since we are all connected via the internet, and our growing dependence on AI helps to elevate the human experience, we must have gotten over that primal mistrust and fear.


Over the past 60 years of expanded civil rights and greater access to voting, we still have not learned enough. Yet, we know what to do.

I want a representative who has studied the past, who understands how to build on the successful pieces of former policies and legislation, work for the greater majority, without further alienating the minority, who can communicate without using harmful words, and who can work across the political spectrum toward compromise in order to keep us safe from threats to our democratic ideals, and who is not eager to throw the nuclear football. Who can that be?

Please keep flexing your powerful democratic gift and VOTE. Vote, vote. Toniwg1@gmail.com