It makes no sense to zero in on one criteria for a president. This year, there’s a general wish to boot out politicians from office and vote in relative outsiders to take their place. This is a dreadful idea, as it relies on a simple theory as a motivator: non-politicians are more trustworthy and more in-tune to us little guys.
This is like saying you’re only going to vote for a candidate because you’re both blonde, or voting for someone because they play golf and you happen to like golf as well. In fact, no one quality signifies good leadership, not even courage or intelligence. These attributes often help, but they can also fail at the best of times. A president needs to be well-rounded to be fully prepared to lead a nation, as the role of president is split into many parts: commander, negotiator, devil’s advocate, caregiver and many more.
The idea that simply because a candidate deviates from their peers in their career background means they will make a president is absurd. If a candidate comes from a business background, instead of a lifelong political career, how are they in any way less corrupt than their opponent?
There seems to be ties between our obsession with nonpolitical politicians and the opinion that Washington D.C. and the current government are somehow corrupt, cheating us and no longer working well. According to the Washington Post, D.C. is known as “corrupt” and “arrogant” now more than ever, despite its rich cultural and historical significance. Distrust of politicians rises mostly out of their contradictions, not only contradictions of known facts (which we rely on fact checkers to keep an eye on) but also contradicting themselves and going back on their word.
We assume that this is something only politicians do. Yes, politicians often change their minds and say something different each day. And yes, we can often pull records and call them out on it.
However, the people aiming for political office who lack political background are often richer than most of us, adding to the growing majority of millionaires in Congress. In fact, the average net worth of our congressmen is over $1 million. In comparison, people working technical, sales or service jobs have an average $260,000 net worth. Obviously, our congress does not represent our nation in many ways, least of all working people. The problem of personal wealth, corruption and fraud all tie in together. We don’t trust people with money in government, but we like rich business people at the same time. Where is the line drawn?
Finding the truth from politicians can be aggravating and we should demand more transparency in our government. Voting for someone without any political experience into the highest executive office our great democratic country has to offer is not the first step we should be taking. Transparency and authenticity will have to start at the lowest levels, led by grassroots campaigns, not by electing a commander-in-chief who knows more about hosting a reality TV show than international affairs. We cannot fix one extreme by utilizing another. Simply put, two wrongs don’t make a right.