A president’s job description

© 2010 angela n., Flickr | CC-BY | via Wylio

Presidential races and the incessant talk of poll numbers felt like an episode of Celebrity Apprentice long before Donald Trump became a serious candidate. I’ve had a sneaking suspicion that many people are just looking for someone who says things they want to hear, regardless of whether it has anything to do with their ability to lead the country.

Facebook acquaintance Sarah Knight said something recently about the job of president that I thought was very clear, simple, and self-evident, yet represents a line of thought that one almost never hears when it comes to presidential politics. We all have certain priorities and things we want, but how often do we go to the polls thinking about the actual job and function of the President? Do people even know most of what the job entails? Here is Sarah’s comment, shared with her permission:

As an employer, I feel confident in saying that I vet MY ASSISTANTS more appropriately than most of America evaluates presidential candidates. Has anyone looked at the President of the United States’ job description lately and thought to consider who has the best training and experience to fulfill the demands of the job? Compare and contrast candidates’ qualifications and references and accomplishments to the job description…The president should have political acumen, excellent diplomacy skills, respect of and connections with colleagues both at home and abroad, intensive working knowledge and hands-on experience with all branches of government, dedication to constituents, practical and compassionate plans for addressing societal ills and governmental failings; excellent problem solving, grace under fire, savvy, scruples.

That’s a good list. There are others that could be added: historical knowledge, emotional intelligence, exposure to many different cultures and people groups, impeccable knowledge of the Constitution, specific and proven policy positions, etc.

Oh, and don’t forget my proposal that everyone running for public office should have to pass the U.S. history and civics exams that are given to immigrants seeking citizenship.

If our next elected president could have even 50% of those qualities, I could stomach a fair amount of ideological disagreement.

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