What can we do to prevent the future havoc and dangers we are experiencing in the Executive Office? What have we learned and what standards must we apply for future chief executives?
1 – Lifelong character is important.
We must never overlook unethical behavior in the past life of our candidates. This means that a fortune or career built upon strong arming (illegal or legal) a fortune or career filled with crude, rude threatening behavior must disqualify a candidate in our minds if not by party vetting.
Yes, many of us have engaged in such behavior in business and connection building and yes the candidate may have ceased such behavior some significant time before the election but nonetheless they must not be considered. We must not seek to elect someone that has the same character weaknesses that run throughout our society. Instead we must seek out the most honorable, the most ethical. Truly our candidates must be beyond any reasonable reproach. A candidate’s ability to ‘fight dirty’ or utilize power to force people to make deals that are unfair, or to their detriment must not be considered a qualifier but instead a disqualifier.
2 – Strong, extensive knowledge of our heritage and our governmental process and demonstrated appreciation of and dedication to the noblest aspects of that process must be a prerequisite.
We must never elect a chief executive who expresses distain for constitutional limitations or governmental process.
Yes, we tire of the slowness and loopholes and of the numerous convolutions our leadership employs but we must never seek to circumvent that process because it protects us from our baser natures. A candidate for the Presidency must be uncommonly knowledgeable and respectful of our constitution, history, and time tried procedures, not dismissive.
3 – Anger and vitriol without specific citation and explanation must disqualify a candidate and rude labeling must never be rewarded.
Our candidates must be temperate, must avoid personal attacks or labeling political opponents as ‘dirty; or ‘crooked’, or ‘lying’ etc. They must project civility and be ruled by the civility that our forefathers discovered allows us to move beyond name calling and deal with those we don’t necessarily like.
Yes, we live in an age of childish name calling, vicious bullying, extreme labeling but our leadership must rise above such behavior because it leads to polarization and paralysis. Our chief executive must be better than the majority of us. In fact it is fair to say that our chief executive must be among the most virtuous of us, not the average American.
4 – A candidate must not have any possibility of compromise or influence by a foreign power or foreign nationals.
A history of extensive foreign business connections, while certainly not illegal and not necessarily morally wrong must still disqualify a candidate. The chances of foreign compromise or influence are too great. Any foreign national attempts to aid a candidate must be immediately reported and denounced and never entertained or solicited. All candidates must be willing to disclose all financial records including tax returns. If a candidate refuses to do so then as voters we must assume that they have something to hide and cease to consider them.
Yes, we have the legal right to keep our financial records private and yes many of us have things that might be embarrassing to us if made public but a run for the highest office in the land necessitates extreme ethics, virtue and uncompromised integrity that must be verifiable. If a candidate cannot bear to allow uncommon scrutiny then he/she is not fit to serve as Chief Executive. Yes, we have the legal right to accept investment and commerce from foreign nationals but such investments and commerce must preclude an individual from holding the highest office in the land. The risk is too great.
In summary we cannot take back past mistakes but we can learn from them.
Our President must be among the most virtuous, most knowledgeable, most temperate, least beholding our country has to offer . Deal making by applying threats or public shaming, ranting, public ridicule, creation of sparing subordinates, demands for personal loyalty and disregard of tradition and civility must never be tolerated and certainly not elevated.
Let’s learn and do better in 2020.