I am not a member of any party. I'm just a citizen who — like many other Americans who exist somewhere between the extremes — feels that our political polarization has left me represented by no one.
You, Mr. President, are in the best position to begin a shift in our political culture. You sit at the pinnacle of power, in the position once held by Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln and FDR. The Office of President and all it represents commands the respect of the American people. To disrespect the holder of that office is the same as disavowing "the Republic for which it stands."
If others refuse to treat you — and, in turn, the office of President of the United States — with the respect you deserve, then I pray you will conduct yourself in a way that honors the integrity of your office.
Some of the most extreme attacks against you have been vicious and cruel. They seem to be born of a hatred conceived in Hell itself, because only Satan could cough up some of the racist bile directed at you. And then there's the ongoing nonsense about your citizenship. You, sir, are the duly elected leader of this land, and questioning the citizenship of the Commander-in-Chief is not just ignorant and underhanded, it borders on treason.
The misinformation that people choose to believe about you is mind boggling. But let me be clear about this. The negative campaigning you and your opponent already are engaged in is rooted in the same cowardice displayed by Birthers looking to somehow justify their hatred. Only the degree of negativity varies.
How do we draw the line between acceptable and unacceptable political attacks? The truth is, we can't. That's why I urge you, Mr. President, to practice statesmanship and not politics, and to disavow attacks on your opponent — by you, your campaign and your allies. As an American and as your constituent, I ask that you base your campaign on the principles for which you stand, not on what or who you are against.
Great presidents become great presidents by articulating their vision for America then leading the nation toward the fulfillment of that vision. What is your vision, Mr. President? If that vision is vivid enough, then it matters not what your opponent does or says. The same principle holds true for Mr. Romney.
If you believed, as I do, in the sanctity of the Presidency itself, then I don't know how you could lower yourself to the kind of petty attacks we're already seeing by both campaigns.
In your campaign, Mr. President, I pray that every advertisement you run and every speech you make will be a declaration of where you stand, not an indictment of whom you are against. When others attack you, please correct the falsehoods — and there will be many, of course — but leave it at that. And please don't manipulate the truth until it devolves into a lie.
Mr. President, BE the president. Then maybe, just maybe, it will be the first step toward making our leaders relevant again.