Saturday, May 9, 2015

It is finally spring in New Hampshire. Flowers are starting to peek warily from the earth, and trees are turning that soft green that fills the heart with hope.

It is also that time when presidential candidates are springing forth. Enthusiastic heads are popping up in meeting halls and coffee shops all over our fine state, followed quickly by associates with hands searching our pockets for the fertilizer that will make them grow.

It is true that we are blessed to have these visits. But, in truth, it doesn’t seem like we have done a very good job in recent years in weeding the garden to assure that we wind up with a functioning and effective leader of the free world.

I wonder if our citizens have lost some of our unique skills. Lately we seem to support anyone who can spin a good yarn and looks pretty when the sun is shining.

What happened to our traditional ability to cut through the bullshit and figure out who can actually run the farm and who just eats the produce?

A few years ago I wrote Leaders of the Free World (Granite Grumblings, Life in the “Live Free or Die” State,  2011). In the ensuing years, the need for some of my suggestions seems to have become even more compelling.

Our country and the world desperately need a leader with perspective and common sense.

We are an important part of the nominating process. Please do your homework folks, and make these candidates show they have the skills to handle the job.

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 results.

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 or President is earning his or her 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 paid for by the government.
6)      Personally fill out and file a federal 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 of those involved in the election process.