My prayer for strong 2 (or more) party system

I am a Democrat who is praying for the Republican Party. I am sure I am not the only Democrat doing so.

I am praying for the Republicans despite the fact that some of my Democratic friends are celebrating what they consider the demise of the Republican Party. For them, Donald Trump and Ted Cruz are time bombs that will leave the Republican Party in such chaos that the party cannot possibly survive.

While some of my Democratic friends are gleeful, I am trembling. American citizens need two, and perhaps even three or four, strong political parties.

The genius of the American system has been that voters have a choice between at least two positions on key issues. Citizens in our democracy are expected to weigh the two positions and determine which position is the more reasonable, for the essence and base of democracy is not bluster and name-calling, but rational thought. The goal of democracy is not simply for citizens to vote but for voters to think deeply before they vote.

While many people seem entertained by the Republican primaries, I would draw our attention to six reasons why we all need to wake up and wake up soon to the dangers facing us.

One, the next president on her/his first day of office will be handed the keys to the largest nuclear arsenal in the world. And let us make no mistake about it; it is we who will hand those keys over to the next president. We and the rest of the world are literally putting our lives into the hands of that person.

Two, should America elect Trump or Cruz, we should know the international consequences of that decision. World leaders have already expressed their shock and outrage at the current Republican circus.

Know this — if Trump wins, America will forfeit its role of leadership in the world. America will have put itself into another category — a superpower that can no longer be trusted to lead, a country that will be described from the day of election onward as a second-class power.

Three, Americans are already viewed by other nations as those who do not listen well. That is not simply my opinion, but what a U.S. ambassador has gone on record as saying. We are known for assuming we know best and not heeding the viewpoints of others.

Recall the decision to invade Iraq in 2003. We lectured the world rather than listening to sage advice not to take a step that caused the deaths of hundreds of thousands of lives, Iraqi and American. Even Jeb Bush, the brother of the president who made that decision, has admitted that this was a mistake.

Four, the problems of the world are becoming more, not less, complex. Historically, we are still coming out of the Cold War mentality and trying to understand the new reality of globalization. We need someone at the helm who has experience in government, especially in collaborating with others.

For example, it is easy for a candidate to say in a debate that he/she will be hard on Iran. But the reality is that in the fight against the Islamic State group, we and the Iranians are on the same side and are, in the conflict, presently fighting side by side.

Five, by the year 2050 there will be more Muslims in the world than Christians. What are the implications of this for our country, our immigration policy and our leadership in the world? The day after 9/11, President Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair offered a brilliant joint statement that the war on terror would not be a war against Islam, but a war against extremists who do not represent this religion.

I tremble that Trump has thrown this wise position overboard and is now labeling all Muslims as potential terrorists. That is exactly what the Islamic State group wants.

Six, the one issue that the Republican candidates have completely avoided what may be the most important issue of all — race relations in this country. What we have learned from Ferguson to New York City to Charleston to Texas to Florida to Baltimore is that black lives do not matter, or at least do not matter as much as white lives.

When candidates pretend that race is not an issue in order to attract white voters who benefit from continued racism, they leave our society sitting on a powder keg.

If I am praying for the Republican Party, I am also hopeful. In the end, I do not believe that the Republican Party will throw our country under the bus by nominating Trump or Cruz.

Before November, I believe that thoughtful Republicans such as Richard Lugar and Lindsey Graham will recommend that Republicans abstain or even vote for the Democratic candidate rather than tear our country apart.