With the presidential race neck to neck, the elections in a couple of weeks, and the debates in full swing, it’s now down to the wire for voters to make up their minds in terms of who will be the President of the United States for the next four years, the person who will mold this country for many generations to come.
While some would argue that debates don’t really change anyone’s mind about which candidate they are planning to vote for, looking at the online chatter or the media’s frenzied coverage of every possible minutiae in regards to the candidates can prove downright confusing. A good solution may be, in my opinion, to simply go back to the basics. When faced with a decision, whether to buy a new car, find a school for our kids or choose what shoes to wear for a specific event, we tend to analyze it and weigh in different options and pick the one that most closely fits our needs for the occasion. Why should picking the leader of the free world be any different?
Looking at it from this perspective, it is essential that we look at what criteria we use to judge someone who is running for office. Unlike any other coveted high position, there is no clear career path to becoming a President, no aptitude tests, no minimum experience requirement to be fulfilled, no magic bullets. Is it about likeability or looks? Is it about the issues? Is it someone’s past experience or about policy priorities and how s/he would set them? Or is there a better way to evaluate our presidential candidates, and come to more reliable conclusions about which one is more likely to have the skills actually required for the job?
While I personally tend to decide based on the candidates’ stance on the issues, everyone’s different. Obviously, I’m not here to tell anyone how to vote. But I’ve been very curious about what people think are the main characteristics one should be looking for in a President, so I took my question online. Below are some of the answers I got to this simple question from some of my friends on Facebook: What kind of qualities do you look for in a potential US President?
To clarify, my intention in sharing these comments is not to prove that these are the only characteristics Latinos look for in a President, but rather to provide a window into the kind of particularities that go into personal voting decisions. Different people will invariably reach different conclusions based on personal experiences or the issues that affect them most, and certain presidential attributes may overshadow others depending on what that person views as the most pressing demands of the country at a particular moment.
What I’m saying is, that instead of getting swayed by the latest partisan spin, candidate scandals, contradictory polls or others’ opinions, perhaps a good exercise to help us reach a more objective personal decision come election day, may be to question ourselves in terms of what our priorities when it comes to chosing the next Leader of the free world, for example:
- What qualities may these presidential candidates actually need once in office?
- Is a particular candidate honest enough to deserve a voters’ trust?
- Does a particular candidate have the strength of character to handle the unpredictable pressures of the main office in the country and the erratic turns of events in the world at large?
- Where do they stand on the issues that affect you, your family, your community?
Leadership of the free world seems to be gauged as the sum of many attributes. Any voter, whether Latino or not, should be looking for substance and policies that are balanced and actually create a solid infrastructure and sustained commitment for America. At a time when the ideologies of the main candidates seem to be hanging at the opposite ends of the spectrum, it is important to remember that whatever decision we make in November will determine the future of the country for generations to come. For our own sake, and that of our country, let us please VOTE, and do it wisely.
What about you? What kind of attributes do you look for in a President? What other questions would you ask in order to reach an objective decision? Let me know in the comments!
Elianne Ramos is Principal/CEO of Speak Hispanic Marketing and Vice-Chair, Marketing and PR for Latinos in Social Media (LATISM). Under LATISM, she is also Chief Editor of the LATISM blog, and hostess to weekly Twitter chats reaching over 18.8 million impressions. Follow her on Twitter @ergeekgoddess.