In preparing for tonight's colloquium I've been reading The Federalist Papers No. 52-58. The beginning papers are discussing The House of Representatives. They go through basic ideas like qualifications and then move into thoughts on election periods. No. 53 had a statement that made me think of the upcoming presidential election. On page 300 of my copy the last paragraph reads:
"No man can be a competent legislator who does not add to an upright intention and a sound judgment a certain degree of knowledge of the subjects on which he is to legislate. A part of this knowledge may be acquired by means of information which lie within the compass of men in private as well as public stations. Another part can only be attained, or at least thoroughly attained, by actual experience in the station which requires the use of it."
The idea of voting this year is a daunting one for what seems like a majority of Americans. I know I am at odds with myself over whether I will even be able to cast a vote I'm confident of come November. For some reason this little passage made me think. It pretty much gave words to how I'm going about my search for the right candidate. We of course have to look at a candidates prerequisites (as unsubstantial and unexciting as they are at this point), but there has to be a certain element in our vote that takes into consideration a candidates future performance. This can be hard to gauge as the medias speculations have clearly pointed out, but I think it's time we look at things a little more logically.
-How have the candidates adapted to their current positions?
-How have their opinions before and after elections played out?
-How have the candidates handled unexpected events in their respective office(s)?
-What do they proclaim to be their moral stance, and have they lived accordingly? (Notice, I'm not saying that they have to align with everything YOU think to be morally correct, but I do expect them to stand up to what THEY believe is right.... a little integrity goes a long way!)
Maybe a little bit of critical thinking will come a long way. I'm still in the process of my analysis, but for now am feeling pretty happy about a new way to go about sorting the mass of information that comes my way.
I've stated before that I don't expect everyone to know everything about everything, but that I do expect a level of knowledge. Well, that hasn't changed (and I feel pretty happy that my interpretation of Fed #53 says I'm right in thinking so!), but I feel liberated with a new thought that says "how do I think each candidate will perform based on my knowledge of their actions?"
Who is more adaptable? Who is willing to look before they leap? Who can learn from their mistakes, admit them, and be better? Who will be better able to acquire the necessary knowldege needed to be the executive? (George Bush excluded... that apparently was a fluke, turns out you have to know something to add to it, I think we've learned our lesson! Or at least I hope so!)