I have become increasingly discouraged with the leadership of this country. We have become a petty, backbiting nation that abuses power, has no respect for freedom of speech or individual privacy, and uses power for vengeance against political enemies rather than to work for the greater good of the country.
We also show almost no competency in actual management, the art of negotiation or the ability to bring our diverse population closer together. We emphasize differences rather than similarities, and it seems our politicians have lost touch with the ability to compromise.
We send people to Washington who are so full of themselves that they find no room to understand others. Party politics has become the driving force, and has evolved into a take-no-prisoners war in which negotiations can only involve unconditional surrender.
We need to develop leaders who actually understand the breadth and depth of this country: that understand that it is not one-size-fits-all.
I think the only way to do that is to demand some minimum qualifications from those who want to run for President: things that would ensure that they have some understanding of the real world and the needs of our citizenry, rather than just the needs of the most powerful lobbyists or special interest groups.
Leaders of the Free World (Granite Grumblings: Life in the Live Free or Die State, 2011) was my attempt to establish some possible parameters for our presidential candidates and also our voters. It seems even more critical today.
Glenn K. Currie
Leaders of the Free World
Did you ever wonder how we got to be the “leader” of the free world? It is hard to believe that it is the result of the quality of our politicians.
Most of our leaders seem to be in Washington because their other careers went dead, or maybe they never had another career. And a lot of them aren’t able to apply themselves well at this job either, based on the amount of time they actually spend representing us at the various legislative meetings.
But once elected, they don’t appear to have much to worry about, because our voters don’t seem to care. Apparently our voters are so dumb they can’t even figure out a butterfly ballot, let alone determine if their representative is earning his paycheck.
No wonder the rest of the world is a little worried about us. Our election standards are even lower than our education standards.
Right now, any idiot who is a natural-born citizen and is at least thirty-five years of age, can run for President. And a lot of them have taken advantage of that opportunity. The election process isn’t doing a very good job of culling the herd. We, as voters, keep putting people into office and then complaining that they are in office. Then we nominate an even bigger idiot to try to replace him or her.
I think, as keepers of the first real primary, we have some responsibility to ourselves and the world, to establish a few minimum requirements to be eligible to be a leader of the free world. And maybe we should also impose a few demands on our voters as well.
For our would-be presidential candidates, I suggest the following eligibility standards:
1) Live in an apartment without a doorman for at least a year.
2) Serve at least one year in any combination of the following non-supervisory jobs:
Food service, manufacturing, sales, health care, transportation, construction, or education.
3) Complete two years of service in the military, the Peace Corps or an equivalent (without a valet or PR person to assist).
4) Ride a public bus across country, stay at least one night in a flop house, and spend at least two weeks in a place without indoor plumbing.
5) Demonstrate the ability to successfully run an organization that is not inherited, funded by family trusts, or classified as a non-profit.
6) Personally fill out and file a federal income tax return.
7) Demonstrate a sense of humor and the common sense to recognize BS when it is up to the ankles.
8) Read at least one trashy novel and watch a week of daytime television.
9) Demonstrate a working knowledge of baseball and football.
10) Spend a month as a teacher’s aide in an inner city public school.
As for the voters, my expectations must be much more limited. But even with that realization, it seems that there should be a few basic requirements, none of which are currently being enforced.
Voter standards should be as follows:
1) Prove they are United States citizens.
2) Only be allowed to vote once in each election.
3) Be required to identify themselves at the polls. (If they don’t know who they are, they probably shouldn’t be voting.)
4) Be declared ineligible if they are convicts or persons legally rendered incompetent.
5) Be a human being. (No more dogs or parrots getting the vote).
6) Have a pulse.
7) Be able to state the last name of the person for whom Washington, D.C. was named.
None of the above requirements are particularly demanding for either the voters or the future leader of the free world. They might, however, go a long way towards ensuring the humanity and common sense of those involved in the election process.