Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Missing Out On Some First-Rate Candidates

Every four years, I find myself consumed by politics. I love the whole process. It's thrilling to live in a country where any citizen can run for President. So, why is it, if any citizen can run, that so many of the best of us do not even consider running?

Look at the current batch of Republican hopefuls. It's doubtful that anyone would say that our best Republicans are running. It's a sorry lot indeed. Where is today's Teddy Roosevelt or Abraham Lincoln? For those of you who know me, and know that I tend to vote for the Democratic candidate, you may be wondering why I care about the Republican candidate. Well, pure and simple, the Republican might win the election (or be given the election by the Supreme Court), and if that happens, then I want the best of the best running our country. But, where can we find the best of the best?

It just so happens that some of my friends would make an excellent President of the United States. Dave stands out as an superb choice, as does Tricia, John, Lisa, Nils, and Olga. Each is over 35 years old and a citizen, each is intelligent, thoughtful, and well-spoken, each is a people person and good at delegating (a useful characteristic because no one can do it all), and, best of all, each cares about ALL people (the 99% plus the 1% equals 100%). They are inclusive, not exclusive people. Each is attractive and charming, so why can't any of these friends be elected President? Because not one of them is outwardly religious.

These friends, who are Republicans, Democrats, and Libertarians, are agnostics, atheists, and quiet, non-church going believers. They act more Christian than most Christians I know, and certainly act more Christian than the current Republican Presidential candidates, whose aim is to divide rather than unite the citizenry. Even my church going Christian friends, Cliff and Jane, would make great Presidents, but they tend to put their faith into actions instead of just words, so the citizenry who vote in the primaries probably wouldn't pay attention to them.

How did we get to this sorry state of affairs? After all, our Constitution guarantees freedom of religion as a basic right. Religion is defined as a personal set of beliefs, and, let's remember, that means not just Christian beliefs but any set of beliefs. So, why do we ignore those among us, who may hold differing sets of beliefs, as potential Presidents? Because people like black and white answers and fear difference.  This fear of difference and ambiguity is hurting our country. We are ignoring and dismissing excellent potential candidates at our peril.

If we continue to ignore individuals, who are not Christian (and specific types of Christians at that--because Mormons are Christians too) or who do not loudly vocalize their beliefs, as potential Presidents of our United States, then we are missing out on some of the finest minds and kindest hearts on the planet.

Take care,


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  1. Though I agree that *both* parties demand religious conviction be part of a candidate's life, I'm not sure this is the biggest problem with getting quality candidates.

    I'll also disagree with you a bit as regards your definition of "religion". Religion is not just a set of beliefs (what I call a "faith" or "belief system"), but it's also the public practice of those beliefs that make one's faith a religion. It is interesting that to get nominated by either party, one must attend church regularly.

    Lastly, I don't think any of the Republican candidates would say that their aim is to divide the citizenry, any more than our President would say he is. But all too often, division is the *result*, even when not the *aim*.