Community Interests

Qualifications and Characteristics of a President

Today is President’s Day and the birthday of George Washington. It is said of George Washington that he would always lead or be elected to something. At a height of 6 ft. 2 in. tall, he was typically one of the tallest men in the room. President Lincoln was the tallest at a height of 6 ft. 4 in. tall.

As the Nation is now debating the qualifications of our next President, it has to be asked, “What are the qualifications for becoming President? Are the personal qualities and experience of the candidate relative to electing the next President of these United States? Or, as chance has shown, the Vice President may become President under circumstances such as assignation or death of the President, and the direction of the Nation could change in unperceived ways.

What are the personal qualities and qualifications that an individual running for President of these United States of America should have? Having viewed today’s Democratic and Republican candidates and their debates, the American public appears to be as traumatized, or mesmerized, as to who or why any of these candidates should be elected to the Office of President. Because of the unfortunate death of Supreme Court Justice, Antonin Scalia, another dimension has been added to this political public theater.

There are many opinions as to the personal characteristics and qualifications of a President. A question of who were the great presidents and specifically what made them great is also of interest? Was it their individual characteristics or was it the fact that being President at a particular time called for extreme personal fortitude and character in matters of consequence, where incorrect choices or political direction could destroy a Nation and its People?

Consider these characteristics of one President. “As a child, he was timid; cut out of school by illness, wealth, and private tutors. He labored with weights to build up his strength. Simultaneously, he built up his courage “by sheer dint of practicing fearlessness. “He had been a published author at age eighteen, a husband at twenty-two, an acclaimed historian and New York State Assemblyman at twenty-three, a father and a widower at twenty-five, a ranchman at twenty-six, a candidate for Mayor of New York at twenty-seven, a husband again at twenty-eight, a Civil Service Commissioner of the United Sates at thirty.”

“He was a Police Commissioner of New York at thirty-six, Assistant Secretary of the Navy at thirty-eight, Colonel of the First U. S. Volunteer Calvary at thirty-nine. He was a war hero, and two- weeks before his fortieth birthday he became the Governor of New York State. He had fought all his life for supreme power, for “that highest form of success which comes…to the man who does not shrink from danger, from hardship, or from bitter toil.”

“…with a star on his breast and Tolstoy in his pocket; he founded a finance club, a stockman’s association, and a hunting-conservation society; reading some twenty-thousand books and writing fifteen of his own; climbing the Matterhorn; promulgating a flying machine, and becoming a world authority on North American game mammals.”

“His political and consistent features of the political landscape were fault lines running deeply through divergent blocks of power. Potential chasms lurked between Isolationism, and Expansionism, Government and the Trusts, Labor and Capital, Conservation and Development, Wealth and Commonwealth, Nativism and the Golden Door.”

Like today in the political arena and the People, “The extremes of society are being driven further and further apart.” Listening to the debates of this year to date, it is certain that there is a dysfunctional government and a divided country along political and ideological lines. Functionally, there is a consensus among the American people that our government does not work for the American people.

Witness today the extremes of language, the excesses of reporting incorrect and misleading articles that support and embrace illogical and irresponsible National and World political posturing. Political platforms based upon apprehensive and mistrust of both individual and government behavior which further instigates intensive conversation on media outlets deliberately expanding and corroborating of lies as fact is now common practice.

It is under this cloud of extremes of a political circus comprised of sound bytes where ideologies take precedent over public necessities, and where the desire for election and power for political purpose may destroy both political parties and the necessities of the country are not considered as relevant in the conversation.

It is understandable why a candidate’s character may be flawed by human nature. However, an understanding of the necessity to protect a Nation and its People is why a President’s character matters, but it is also important that any candidate has to be considered for their aspirations for the Nation while understanding the social complexity and economic limitations of the American people.

Once it may have been possible to understand the aspirations for the Nation and its People when the qualities of the political candidates were known and understood by the public. In today’s political environment, it is difficult to not only understand the candidate’s character but it is impossible to understand their irrational behavior and their lack of conceiving a direction and a hope for the American people. One line outbursts of, “Liar, liar, pants on fire is not a political platform.” Candidates with their undefinable interests in the future of the American way of life looking forward is reprehensible.

Where is the Country’s leadership? Where is our Nation and our people going? The qualities and personal characteristics of the President are essential; but the American People are struggling and suffering under the weight of terminal political cancer.

Congress and the political parties may be terminally ill. The demise of our once powerful Nation may be on the brink of destruction because of self-inflected and irrational injections of society’s political extremes that continue to divide the Nation’s people further and further apart.

Few of the previous words are my writings but are taken from author and historian, Edmund Morris, whom I have grown to admire over many years of reading his writings.

However, this man, this child that, “was timid; cut out of school by illness, wealth, and private tutors was Theodore Roosevelt, whom the Author, Robert Morris, wrote in a bibliographical writing titled, “Theodore Rex.” The title of the book is aptly named and is a welcomed read in these present times.

Theodore Roosevelt was far from perfect, but he was true to himself and the American way of life. He did what he could, when he could; no man since his day has had the mental capacity and personal tenacity to lead the country as when the “Trusts or Combinations” were monopolies making the rich…richer while the poor struggled.

Sound familiar? It should, as the times are not so different. The world is in a clash of ideas where society’s conflict between religion and laws bring turmoil amid cries for peace. Where economies of the western world collide with countries struggling under the weight of poverty and no viable economy.

It is why consideration of the next President of these United States cannot be elected in an atmosphere of a three-ringed circus; there is much to style but there is a must have quality of substance, not only to the Candidate, but also to the platform of that Candidate that will give the American people hope for their future.

Presently, a circus is entertaining, but the President is not an entertainer but the Leader of one of the most powerful Nations in the World. Presently, there is an elephant in the room, (no pun intended) and nobody is talking about it. However, the dialogue has to start, and the personal characteristics of the candidates are as significant and just as important as who is qualified to enter the Office of the President.

On this President’s Day, read about our Presidents. Visit the Wixom Library as there are many well written books on the Presidents. Edmund Morris has written on Theodore Roosevelt, and I guarantee you a pleasant read and an enjoyable experience knowing the man: President, Theodore Roosevelt.

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