Co-Sign the Patriotic Millionaires Open Letter to Lester Holt of NBC News.
Dear Mr. Holt,
As the moderator of this year’s first presidential debate, you have significant flexibility to select the topics you chose to cover. While there are a number of critical policy differences between the candidates, there is one subject so fundamental to our future — so essential to our national identity — that its inclusion in this debate must be guaranteed.
The candidates must first debate democracy itself.
The gap in this country between the powerful and the powerless is growing faster than we have seen in 100 years, and faster than we can sustain much longer. The contentious nature of this election cycle has laid bare the cracks in our foundation. The country is out of balance and unstable. Too few elites hold too much power, and they are using it to amass even more.
Specific issues that affect the health of our democracy range from voting rights to an independent judiciary, from gerrymandering to money in politics, from the rule of law to the guarantee of basic freedoms. Each of these topics deserves a full inquiry. Each affects, at the most fundamental level, who has power in this country and who doesn’t.
Power — more specifically, the distribution of power — in this country affects every aspect of American life from trade deals to criminal justice from water quality to access to medical treatment. In the most extreme cases, power decides not only how people live, but if they live.
You have a keen understanding of the essential role the free press, the fourth estate, plays in a functioning democracy. You have seen firsthand that freedom come under attack. You know that citizens cannot make effective decisions without access to accurate information. In this fractious time, you have a grave responsibility to your fellow Americans. We urge you to use this unique opportunity to demand answers to our most essential questions from the individuals who seek to lead us.
You must help us learn whether or not each of these candidates actually believes in the essential equality of each and every citizen. You must ask exactly how they plan to address the gross imbalance of power that has cracked our foundation and threatens to rip our society apart. How will they match the idea of equality with the realities of American politics?
Who has power and who doesn’t? Ultimately the future of our country and the well-being of our citizens rests almost entirely in the answer to those basic questions.
It is up to you to not just ask the questions, but to demand the candidates answer them.
The Patriotic Millionaires