Dear Parents, I am having a hard time with America right now.

Like many of you, I am having a hard time with America right now. The country is at the edge of a precipice. It is the reason I am posting this letter publicly for all to read. We have two presidential candidates with entirely different values and views on how to move the country out of a global crisis. Whatever path we take will impact us, however our children will be the main bearers of our choices.

The last four years have strained relationships by bringing into question our values, the truth and common decency. Everything is politically charged. National pride is in the toilet. The American flag has taken on a different meaning. It has become personal. Yet, have we changed that much in the last four years? For me, the answer is no.

I still believe in making the best of every waking moment.

I still believe in justice and the truth.

I still believe in dignity and decency.

I still believe in equality and diversity.

I believe in the American dream that helped so many of us succeed and pave a better life for each passing generation. I love this country. I gave four years of my life to the US Military as a testament to that. I am successful today because of the opportunities and freedom we as a nation have relied on. Although the country is far from perfect, we are a shining example of prosperity, freedom and leadership in the world. With success and freedom, comes responsibility that falls on every citizen.

As a parent, I feel the weight of that responsibility multiply. I have two small boys at home, who are wide-eyed and hungry to learn the world around them. The guideposts of their upbringing will be the ideals my wife and I believe in.

The same goes for my parents who raised my brother and I with a strong set of morals. From my mother, I learned to do my best in even the smallest matter and to be kind to others even if kindness is not reciprocated. My father taught me that preparation, diligence and fortitude ensure the job is done right the first time.

The belief system in which we all try to impart on our kids is the reason why I am so perplexed at what is going on right now. I want to model how to be truthful, thoughtful, hardworking, successful and kind to one another. If we are aligned on that, how did we become so openly divided within families, friends and the community?

Our ancestors immigrated here from all over the world, seeking freedom and justice for all. They fought in WWI and WWII to protect our democracy from fascist dictators and evil. Fast forward to today and it seems we have forgotten this common bond with resurgence of anti-immigrant and racist rhetoric. Children are separated from their families at the border as punishment to the pursuit of a better life. Black men are murdered in the streets by “a few bad apple” police officers who are sworn to serve and protect. White supremacists are emboldened more than ever, marching with tiki-torches shouting, “the Jews will not replace us.” Foreign nations are offering bounties on American soldiers.

And yet the President of the United States responds with “There are very fine people on both sides”. He refuses to condemn white supremacist groups who support him, conspiracy theories like QAnon and Russia’s meddling in our elections and US Military.

America’s global image is in shambles too. Our oldest allies say they cannot rely on us. Trump admires foreign strongmen like Putin, Kim Jong-un and Xi in China. Pew Research Center in January 2020 released a survey of 32 countries that showed a median of 64% said they do not have confidence in Trump to do the right thing in world affairs, and just 29% expressed confidence in the president.

He lies deliberately and consistently, about everything. In just 1267 days he made 20,055 false or misleading claims. That’s 15 lies a day, rounded down! He cheats on his wife with porn stars and illegally bribes them with campaign funds. He attacks whistleblowers that are career Army officers. He called war hero and POW, John McCain, a loser. He disparaged a Gold Star family still grieving from their son’s valiant death. He and his family solicited help from Russia and Wikileaks in the 2016 election. His campaign advisor Roger Stone, personal lawyer Michael Cohen, campaign manager Paul Manafort all went to prison. 8 people in Trumps inner circle, 13 Russian nationals, 12 Russian Intelligence officers and 3 Russian companies were charged with Federal crimes.

He was third president in history to be impeached because he urged Ukraine to launch investigations into his political rivals as he simultaneously withheld about $400 million in congressionally approved military aid from the country, which is fighting an ongoing war against pro-Russian separatists.

In February, Trump lied about Covid-19 saying that it was like the flu and that we didn’t need to worry. Then we find out he told Bob Woodward in January that he knew it was airborne and deadlier than the flu. He contracts and spreads the virus because he doesn’t wear a mask to protect himself, his family and the staff. His rallies are mask free zones. He disregards science and the facts. No wonder there are 218,000 Americans dead! Yet, not once has he taken responsibility for his ignorance, lies or blunders. The buck does not stop with him. Instead he chooses to blame everyone else but himself.

And probably worst of all, as the next presidential election approaches, Trump busies himself casting doubt on its legitimacy and throws up impediments within the U.S. Postal Service that are aimed at suppressing the vote, a tactic common in the most corrupt developing nations.

All of this is just too much and a bridge too far. I’m am brokenhearted and grieving the loss of common sense in people who I look up to. Because every step of the way, I’ve heard people close to me, rationalize, or enable him and the politicians around him. It is so far outside of anything remotely logical. I just don’t get it.

Are we willing to put up with this because we want lower taxes and less regulation? I’d rather die a little poorer in a moral society, than live in a dystopian world made up of lies, hypocrisy and hatred.

Are we fearful that America will become a socialist failed state if Trump is not re-elected? Progressive leaning democrats couldn’t swing this country that far left even if they had a majority. There are too many down the middle conservatives to sway the consensus.

Are we concerned that minorities are becoming more represented in the population? Think about how your descendants immigrated here. They were outsiders, who looked and spoke differently. Many times, they were less educated and wealthy than the others who came before.

Are we thinking constitutional freedoms like the right to bear arms will be taken away? How many democratic run administrations successfully did this?

Are we spellbound in believing that Trump really cares about us and our issues? Besides continuing the stock market rally, what has he improved for us? The way I see it, there is more stress, fear, tension and uncertainty in our lives now, than ever before.

In every way, the current Commander in Chief is misaligned with who I am as an individual, a husband and a role model to my children. He is the antithesis of everything I grew up knowing is true. Still, I hold on to hope for us and America. I believe in good hearted people like my Mother and Father. So, please let’s take a stand and end this madness. Let’s unify ourselves, our kids and this country around something we can all be proud of. Please, I am dying inside waiting for the ones I love to stand up and speak out on hatred, deceit and division. If not for me, do it for the next generation.

Love Josh

Husband | Father of twins | Product Executive at VMware | Micro-Batch Coffee Roaster | Ex-Tech Consultant | US Veteran