My Contribution to the first debate — a draft of an opening statement for any who want it

I spent some time in my career as a speechwriter, so as a service to those 20 candidates who might need some help next week, here’s a draft opening statement for you.

As the first speaker in this first debate, I’d like to set the scene for tonight, and tomorrow night, and for the months to come.

I’m not going to talk about programs and plans and policies. I’m not even going to talk about why you should support me.

Instead, I’m going to talk about our country. We live in a world turned upside down. Just think about it. Two years ago, we had strong and close relationships with our allies and friends — the U.K., France, Germany, Canada. These alliances were important to achieving our goal of curbing those who would destroy America as we know it.

Today, we treat those countries as they are our enemies, starting fights and brushing them off. They don’t consider us reliable friends. Instead, we make nice to brutal dictators in Russia, Saudi Arabia and North Korea, who use endless flattery of Donald Trump while working to undermine us.

We were once a leader in international diplomacy. No more. Today, all we do is bluster and threaten and start trade wars and impose tariffs around the world. Who gets hurt? American farmers and American manufacturers who see markets for their products drying up. Or worse, we could be on the way to a real shooting war on the most flimsy of evidence.

We once liked to think of ourselves as a nation of laws. But what does the law mean when no one enforces it? When a law says that the President “shall” turn over tax returns, and is ignored? When Congress issues a subpoena for someone to testify, and is ignored? When top officials are called on their political conduct, and the offenses and the law is ignored? When the Constitution, which says public officials should not have private gain from holding office, is ignored? Or when officials feel free to obstruct justice and attempts to investigate are covered up, or ignored? Or when the President thinks the Constitution gives him the power to do anything?

That’s where we are today, and that’s why there are 10 of us here tonight, and another 10 tomorrow night. We are here to put our country back on track. We will disagree with each other, and that’s OK. It does not mean that we are “Democrats in disarray,” as the media usually reports. It means we are human.

We each bring our own experiences and knowledge and thoughts to defining problems and solutions. There will be lots of time tonight, tomorrow and for the next few months to get more specific, and we will.

But tonight, tonight as the world is watching, is the opening of our effort to make America ours again.

Thank you.

Communications consultant, recovering journalist

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store