In recent times, the level and tone of the words, actions and behaviors that come from some of our leaders have reached new lows. This should be noted and remembered, as we observe, select and support the leaders of the future.
Our leaders should possess a number of qualities that reflect American Values before they are even considered for higher office. The values and qualities we deserve and should require of our candidates include:
1. A well-known history of honesty and integrity
2. A willingness to be held to the highest standards of ethical behavior
3. People who are courteous to and respectful of others
4. People who can be trusted because their words and behaviors are consistent
5. People who always act in the best interests of Our Country
6. Stand-up people who admit mistakes and take responsibility for them
7. People who are stable and reliable
8. People who have a record of positive performance with results that matter and are significant
9. People who stand up for the Principles and Values of Our Country
10. People who have a high regard for the Rule of Law
11. People who are straight forward and effective communicators
12. People who make logical decisions after considering the facts, history, research and trusted advice
All candidates for higher office should be judged on these qualities before they are put on a list of possible candidates for political office. I am confident that we can find people who meet these requirements and still hold a diverse range of beliefs and goals that will give voters from every political party a choice of candidates with whom they can align with and support.
When we ignore these important standards of behavior and performance and select candidates simply on our agreement with their stated goals, we will may get highly flawed candidates who:
1. Place little value on the truth and the facts
2. Put themselves first
3. Act like bullies and dictators
4. Make poor choices and decisions
5. Harm Our Country internally and around the world
6. Push the bounds of decency with their words and behavior
7. Consider themselves to be above the law
8. Rely on alternative facts, misdirection, obfuscation and lies
9. Surround themselves with people of questionable character
All college students, regardless of their political leanings (liberal, moderate or conservative), should recognize the need for honest, ethical, trustworthy and highly principled candidates. As the newest generation of voters, they have the power and responsibility to raise the quality and reliability of the candidates who will compete for higher office in our country by creating a personal vetting process that fully exposes each candidate's past behavior and performance in each of the twelve qualities described above.
If each of us can become more objective in the early stages of political consideration, we can begin to hold candidates to the standards that should be expected of those who wish to lead our country forward. However, if we blindly support any candidate who uses the words we want to hear, we are doomed to suffer the severe consequences of self-serving leadership.