Like any thinking person, I am heartsick about the events of the last few days. Police are killing black men and people are killing police in the nation I love. I want to believe our nation is better than this. And, perhaps in vain, I seek answers and inspiration from our leaders.
While these events tear apart local communities, the confluence of hatred, violence, and bigotry is now a national issue. It transcends New York, Baton Rouge, Ferguson, or Dallas. Our relationships with each other have become toxic, poisoned by hate, inflamed by media, and aggravated by partisan politics.
None of us alone are intelligent enough to solve this problem, or we would have solved it by now.
We need leadership.
I look to President Obama to define a path forward. He must define a future that will enable law enforcement and those they serve and police to engage each other with respect. Guns, training, and oversight are all part of the problem, but we need a more comprehensive solution. I look to congressional leaders of both parties to find common ground in a moment of crisis, as we have in crises past.
This is Hillary Clinton’s moment to transcend platitudes and reach out to the whole nation — not red or blue states, not black citizens and blue-clad officers, but the whole nation — and use her diplomatic skills to bring us together.
This is Donald Trump’s moment to renounce the hate he has stoked, the same hate that has brought us to this moment. Trump touts a politics of vigorous strength. In this moment, strength comes only from bringing people together. I challenge him to do it.
This is Gary Johnson’s moment to show what a libertarian will do to protect those whose liberty is threatened by police — and those who abuse liberty to kill them.
This is Bernie Sanders’ moment to use the credibility he has earned. In this pivotal moment, Hillary Clinton’s head needs his heart. What he does next will determine the role he will play — or his irrelevance — in the coming years.
Watch our leaders at this moment, when we are all in pain and despair for the state of our country. Seek meaningful words and actions that transcend division. What our leaders say and do in the next few days will determine, not just the outcome of the election, but the course of our nation.