Friday, August 29, 2008

  If you don’t know who you’re voting for yet then you probably haven’t been paying attention. If you have then you’ve no doubt heard discussions about what makes someone qualified to be President. This is about when somebody yells something about experience and if you’re still listening then you’re already heading down the wrong path. The question you need to be asking yourself up to and until you cast your precious vote, is not who is the most qualified, but who will actually make the best president. It’s true that what makes up the most qualified candidate and what makes up the best choice for president often overlap, but in the end they are different questions.

  Not always, but often enough, when someone votes for who they think the most qualified candidate is, what they are really doing is voting against someone else, someone they believe or fear does not have what it takes to be our president. This is not the case when someone genuinely votes for who they think will be the best president, when they vote for the candidate they think will take our nation the furthest, the person they believe will do the most to better their own life and the lives of their friends and family. That person has truly voted for someone.

 Another problem with giving an inordinate amount of weight to being qualified is that qualification is largely determined by experience and no one is more experienced than a sitting president. This of course goes against a fundamental principle of our democracy, makes up part of the reason why we actually hold elections in the first place and is the defining reason why we do not elect kings.

 It’s easy to see why qualification is such an overvalued factor. There is, after all, no test a presidential candidate can take to show what kind of job he would do and if elected and only time can tell how good of a job he actually did. We can, however, look at history and see that some of our greatest presidents were not necessarily the most qualified candidates. Our greatest president, Abraham Lincoln, did not attend college and his highest office prior to becoming president was congressman. His opponent, Stephen A. Douglas was a college graduate, a senator, and it I’m sure it was argued, the most qualified person for the job.
 In this day and age it is safe to assume that if you’ve made it as far as your party’s nomination you are adequately qualified to hold the office. Trying to determine which candidate is more qualified should be a brief discussion among discussions about who will be the best person to lead our nation.


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