Pin It
Favorite

Presidential Litmus Test 

With the presidential election upon us, here are some age-old virtues for voters to think about as they consider the candidates

Starting now and running through 2016, Americans will be searching for qualities in candidates that would make for a good president. Serious consequences will follow if voters choose incorrectly.

There are many legitimate presidential candidates now available for voter consideration. With an underperforming American economy, international developments in disarray, consumer confidence faltering and citizens disgusted with political dishonesty, candidates have high standards to reach if they are to receive broad support. Here are some time-tested traits, assuming that each candidate possesses the requisite intelligence, recognized leadership and a strong work ethic that may help voters sift through the field and arrive at a reasoned choice for 21st century leadership.

click to enlarge nethercutt.jpg

HUMILITY A lifestyle of service without self-exaltation is rare in candidates, but the combination is a necessary trait for which to strive in this next election. Candidates must know themselves well and show confidence in their public policy beliefs. Yet presidential candidates who genuinely convey heartfelt commitments to human struggles will generate followers and demonstrate a humble nature, in spite of their natural self-assurance. Americans are hungry for a leader who can effectively wed compassion with humility.

AUTHENTICITY Getting what we see in major candidates is a modern political necessity. Political campaigns are scripted so that we rarely get to "know" the candidate who seeks our vote. Public debates are usually a series of sound bites or broad platitudes. We often only see the images (through TV ads) the candidates or their teams want us to see. When we don't get the leader we expected, approval ratings drop and the political system is diminished. Authenticity and political transparency generate trust and can reverse the trend.

COMPASSION Deeply caring for people and their circumstances means a candidate has keen insights into their problems and would work for effective policy solutions. Even though President Franklin Roosevelt was a wealthy, accomplished New York blue blood, his common touch helped him lead America through the Great Depression and on to victory in World War II. He sensed what was good for both the common man and our whole nation. Deep caring is instinctive, but can also result from broad experience.

HONOR One who lives an honorable life, free of deception, possesses a trait that marks a good leader for greatness, for only when leaders are trustworthy can they fully expect broad support. Citizens should only elect candidates whom they trust, because an untrustworthy candidate often becomes an untrustworthy leader.

HOPE Leaders must inspire hope in those they lead and encourage others to greatness. If citizens conclude that their leaders do not share their hopes for a better world, they'll have little to strive for. Hope is inspirational and aspirational. If acted upon by leaders, it can truly motivate. A hopeless people soon become a hopeless nation, with leaders lacking enthusiasm that leads to leadership stagnation, with neither patience nor kindness. Citizens can tell when leaders aren't committed to the greater good or the issues at hand.

PATIENCE True leadership in a political setting demands patience. Few leaders accomplish their policy objectives immediately. Work and patience eventually persuade other leaders to follow a preferred public policy course. The American government's constitutional system expects and requires patience. President Abraham Lincoln withstood a long Civil War, showing extraordinary patience accompanied by kindness and perseverance. Had he been impatient, a broken, irreparable nation may have resulted. Since the American system is generally not built for speed, a presidential leader's patience is essential — not only to keep pursuing sound policy objectives, but to patiently tolerate and work to resolve policy objections.

FAITH Belief in community, in unity, in people — and their goodness — is essential. Any leader who doesn't love the nation led is unworthy of leadership. Citizens need to know that their leaders love America and want to make it better. Believing in a nation's people, their goodness and self-interest in the communities they form and the possibilities they represent, means a leader is equipped to be a nation's unapologetic standard-bearer: reliable in times of stress; proud, without being arrogant, in times of triumph; and always recognizing the hard work of others.

WISDOM It usually comes with age and experience. It leads to statesmanship and reassures all who deal with America, engendering confidence and success.

For the sake of America's future, each voter must examine the 2016 presidential candidates with caution and discernment. In our examination, are we finding humility, genuineness, compassion, honor, hope, patience, faith and wisdom? America deserves no less in its next president. ♦

  • Pin It

Speaking of Comment, Election 2016

  • OK, Hold Your Nose
  • OK, Hold Your Nose

    Everything you need to know before Election Day
    • Sep 22, 2016
  • Base of Support
  • Base of Support

    Polling local leaders and opinion-makers about presidential politics
    • Sep 22, 2016
  • Don's Ultimate Con
  • Don's Ultimate Con

    Trail Mix: Trump's birther problems and Johnson's polls
    • Sep 22, 2016
  • More »

Latest in Comment

  • Class Act
  • Class Act

    Seeing through money differences can build relationships focused on fairness
    • Sep 22, 2016
  • Don's Ultimate Con
  • Don's Ultimate Con

    Trail Mix: Trump's birther problems and Johnson's polls
    • Sep 22, 2016
  • Transparent Motives
  • Transparent Motives

    One candidate's an open book; the other is shrouded in secrecy. Guess which one isn't transparent enough
    • Sep 22, 2016
  • More »

Comments (3)

Showing 1-3 of 3

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-3 of 3

Add a comment

Today | Wed | Thu | Fri | Sat | Sun | Mon
Washington State Chinese Lantern Festival

Washington State Chinese Lantern Festival @ Riverfront Park

Through Oct. 30

All of today's events | Staff Picks

More by George Nethercutt

  • Puppy Love
  • Puppy Love

    Burned out by politics? Winston and his kind can help
    • Sep 8, 2016
  • Road to Nowhere
  • Road to Nowhere

    Donald Trump has taken the low road in his campaign, and Republicans of character simply won't follow
    • Aug 11, 2016
  • Across the Pond
  • Across the Pond

    A Fourth of July spent in England offers a reminder of the genius of the American system
    • Jul 14, 2016
  • More »

Most Commented On

  • To Kill the Black Snake

    Historic all-tribes protest at Standing Rock is meant to stop the destruction of the earth for all
    • Sep 8, 2016
  • Murrow's Nightmare

    Debate moderators need to be much more than an onstage prop to make our democracy work
    • Sep 15, 2016
  • More »

Top Tags in
News & Comment

election 2016


trail mix


Briefs


green zone


marijuana


Readers also liked…

  • To Kill the Black Snake
  • To Kill the Black Snake

    Historic all-tribes protest at Standing Rock is meant to stop the destruction of the earth for all
    • Sep 8, 2016
  • Defending the System
  • Defending the System

    The American criminal justice system guarantees a defense for all; dedicated professionals make it happen
    • Mar 25, 2015

© 2016 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation