Let’s get clear about something: Some things can be learned, taught and studied. They are a matter of information, memory and ideas, a matter of intelligence. Other things, not so much. They are more a matter of ‘who you are’ as a person things like personality, empathy, intuition, flexibility, patience and self-control have less to do education and more to do with innate qualities. When you think about a presidential candidate, a world leader who has to lead this country and be respected across the globe, you have to think beyond the kind of ‘issues’ that candidates debate. Those things, while important at the moment, vary from generation to generation and from country to country.
As thoughtful voters we can not afford to get stuck on single, emotional, social, political or financial issues no matter how important they may be. Because those issues change with the social and political climate. What is more imporant and what is universally ignored, what goes beyond opinion and proposals is the nature of the person’s character, morality and personality. It’s not about how smart or well informed they are – yes it’s impressive when candidates can rattle off facts and figures and pronounce the name of every leader, country and capital with searing linguistic accuracy, what’s most important has not been addressed except in passing, slurs or inferences delivered in mini-soundbites.
Here’s the thing.
In addition to intelligent, our president needs to be:
Mentally stable – have a clear, rational, focused thought process. Balanced is the keyword here, we need a leader who is reasonable, able to express him/herself well, able to cope with disagreement and differences of opinion. A president needs an excellent mastery of language, concepts and theories. A good leader needs to have a thoughtful approach to problem solving, be able patiently listen to and sort through many viewpoints without becoming impatient or jumping to conclusions without an adequate foundation.
Emotionally sound – a leader must have a balanced ego-structure, solid psychological defenses, good self-awareness, good self-control and insight. We can not afford to have a president who is narcissistic, egotistical, grandiose, self-absorbed, narrow-minded, immature, misogynistic, misanthropic, defensive or reactive. A president must possess a good understanding of human behavior and have an ability to form enduring, constructive relationships.
Socially skillful/Communicate Effectively – A global leader needs to have an unconditional respect for all people and has to form alliances, negotiate effectively and relate respectfully to people of different nationalities, religions, cultures, socio-economic and ethnic groups. In addition to being able to inspire and direct others, a leader needs to have a cooperative attitude, be able to understand different points of view and still make decisions with clarity and courage.
Ethical – Values are essential. A leader must possess integrity, honesty and strong character. Intrinsic human values are essential for any world leader. Leaders must know, understand and most importantly live consistently with those beliefs. Ethical and moral clarity is not to be interpreted as religious or spiritual beliefs. The qualities of which I speak are independent of organized religion although they can be subsumed into most religious constructs. In today’s world the US President can never be dogmatic about personal beliefs, should never proselytize or try to superimpose those personal beliefs on others but accept other peoples’ rights to their own beliefs and ideas.
A Unifier – A leader should be able to unify, inspire confidence and generate mutual respect and a sense of cooperation in others. Conflicts abound in a world as divided as ours. Across the globe terrorism ignites violence and threatens international, economic and political stability.
We can not afford to elect a leader who by virtue of personal flaws and inadequacies will further destabilize our already delicate governmental structures.
Think about this before you vote.