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If we can see past the United States presidential campaign’s diversionary mudslinging and charisma (or lack thereof) we realize we all just want to be safe, and that starts with strength in our leadership.

When feeling unsafe, it’s so easy to fearfully react with one-sided anger and therefore respond to issues simplistically and quickly by overpowering others. But is strength really in bulldozing others when resultant extremist groups who meet fire with fire then emerge in ever greater numbers (not to mention creation of similar divisive subgroups at home)? Do people feel safe with attackers or allies? So, is reactive, divisive assault truly strength that yields safety?

Do we in the United States want a president who is lightning fast to take offense (and lives life on the offensive in general), and who therefore reacts to the world as something for him to win/conquer for fear of getting conquered? What happened the last time someone in power with tremendous charisma felt that way? What could happen today, given all the nuclear weapons in play?

Or do we want a president who is emotionally balanced (even when tested to the limit time and again), and who is therefore able to rationally think through complex, interrelated issues and who also has the experience of a lifetime of successfully finding common ground on the national and the world stage?

It takes self-awareness, compassion, temperamental restraint, knowledge, experience and intelligence to understand that everyone, including the whole world, wants to feel safe (and like it or not, we all need each other to survive).This yields the ability to thoughtfully, instead of reactively, balance the many moving parts of this complex world, a world that often hangs in a precariously delicate balance, to arrive at safe solutions. Real solutions often take time, patience and compromise, include a show of force only when necessary, and are comprised of so much more than we’re privy to for national security reasons.

I sent this letter to newspapers throughout the United States. I’m sending it to newspapers throughout the world to let people know there are many of us in this country who feel the same way I do.

MICHELLE SULLIVAN
SPRINGFIELD, ILLINOIS

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.

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