A mom’s letter to the presidential candidates

By Lisa Sugarman

Dear Mrs. Clinton, Mr. Cruz, Mr. Sanders, and Mr. Trump,

(Mr. Kasich, I’m neither for nor against you, but you’re the only candidate who has tried to stay out of the fray. Good for you.)

No disrespect to all of you, but, on behalf of all the parents out there desperately trying to teach our kids how to be upstanding, gracious, thoughtful human beings, I’m revoking your Manners Club membership cards and giving you all a collective and indefinite timeout until you can all learn to play nice together. Because what’s gone on up to this point in this presidential race has been completely redick.Manners-Club-Membership-card-side-11

I hope the rest of the gen pop doesn’t mind me speaking for them, but the undercutting and bullying and dirty politicking you’re all doing has to stop. It’s time you all grew up and stopped setting such a pathetic example for your future constituency—our kids.

This contest, for lack of a better word, has become more of a bizarre sideshow act than a legitimate political race and I, for one, am completely done trying to explain to my daughters what the hell is going on. The problem is, you’re all acting like idiots (some decidedly more than others) and it’s time you start behaving like adults and show some respect for each other and the office you’re vying for. Not to mention the people you’re hoping to represent—the American public.

Look, as a parent, I’ve invested an awful lot of time, effort, and energy teaching my kids to play nice, be gracious, and respect other people’s opinions, even if they differ from their own. And quite frankly, all your ranting and fighting and smack talk is undermining everything Dave and I have spent the last eighteen-plus years teaching our kids. Not okay. So I’d appreciate it if you’d all just take a deep breath and start over.

Like most modern children, our girls were raised to believe in fairness and due process and equal opportunity. But your behavior is contradicting all of the values and principles that they’ve grown up with and I just can’t sit by anymore and watch you act like children without voicing my opinion. (Opinions are my thing, after all.)Teenage boy and girl stick out tongues to each other

Because I think you’ve all forgotten that, in the end, you’re all just vying for a job. And the way you’re behaving is not how anyone in their right mind should conduct themselves when applying for a job.

Granted, this is an unusual employment opportunity because, if you’re elected, you’ll be reporting to roughly 323,190,000 supervisors, but it’s still a job. And I don’t know anyone who’s ever interviewed for a position by vocally and disgustingly slamming their competition.

Both of my daughters have jobs, and, like most parents, when they applied for them, we encouraged them to highlight their skills and strengths and focus on why they were the best person for the job, not why their competition sucked. Which is exactly what all of you have done and continue to do. You’re attacking and slandering the competition and spending little or no time highlighting what you bring to the table. And therein lies the problem.

In case you haven’t noticed, this presidential race is in freefall. The whole world is disgusted by the spectacle you’re making of yourselves. And I think the biggest reason why is that you’ve all forgotten that one of the most important criteria of the job you’re applying for is presidentialness, i.e. the quality of being presidential. And that’s ironic because you’re all acting about as UNpresidential as candidates could act.

This letter isn’t about revealing a party affiliation or favoring one candidate over another; this letter is a non-partisan, completely neutral reminder to all of you to please start behaving like grownups and respectful candidates, and remember that the entire free world is watching your every move. And we’re not amused. If anything, we’re all bemused and that’s not a good thing.

See, my kids have to live in the country that one of you will ultimately oversee, and if you’re more concerned with taking potshots at each other than with the status and well-being of the nation that you’re trying to represent, then you should beef up your LinkedIn profile, cause you’re going for the wrong job.rsz_shutterstock_391252138-566x401

Now I’m trying really hard to stay politically agnostic here. But it’s tricky because some of you are standing out more than others for particularly bad behavior. And now that one of my daughters is old enough to vote for one of you, I’m at a loss for how to talk to her about the political process because you’re all acting like such babies. You’re focusing on tearing each other down instead of standing on your own merit and running a clean, respectful campaign.

So, as a voter, as one of your potential bosses, and, most importantly, as a parent, I’m asking you all to take a step back, breathe, remember what and who it is you’re campaigning for, and get your act together. We all need you to set a better example for us, for our kids, and for the rest of the world. Otherwise I’m moving my family to Canada.

Thank you and may the best person win.


Lisa Sugarman

Mother of two, wife, and registered voter

Lisa Sugarman lives just north of Boston, Massachusetts. Read and discuss all her columns at facebook.com/ItIsWhatItIsColumn. She is also the author of LIFE: It Is What It Is available on Amazon.com and at select Whole Foods Market stores.



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