As I prepare to vote in the eighth decade of my life, I recall my first opportunity to exercise this privilege. I trusted my dad’s judgement, so I asked him what criteria he used for voting.
He responded by saying, “Always vote for the individual, not the party—you want to know who to hold responsible if you are later disappointed in your candidate. A single politician may be honest and trustworthy, but a group of politicians? No way.”
However, that’s not all. He added, “Make a list of positive traits you would like to see in the candidate of your choice, and another list of the negative traits you wish to not see.”
I asked to see his lists, but he said, “Don’t be swayed by others. Make your own list and adjust them as more information becomes available.”
I have always followed my dad’s advice. My candidate doesn’t always win, but at least I know why I voted the way I did.
My list of traits has changed over the years, but a few always pop up election after election These include: honesty for a positive, lying or cheating for a negative. I want a president who takes the people into his confidence and tells them the truth about matters that concern them. I don’t want a cheerleader, who tells the people what he wants them to believe rather than what they need to know.
My candidate has to understand the Constitution and protect it at all costs. My candidate needs to realizes that he or she is the representative of all the people and is answerable to them.
In his farewell address, George Washington warned of the danger of political parties in his farewell address. Parties in power often seek advantage over progress. We need a government that produces results, not gridlock, and compromise rather than ideology. The president must lead the way.
A candidate in today’s environment needs to admit that the U.S. has long been a racist nation and work to change this cancer on our national character and honor. I also want my candidate to enforce the separation of church and state.
High on my pro list is a person who understands and honors the balance of power of the three branches of the federal government.
Will my candidate choose individuals to occupy positions in his or her cabinet, as well as staff members, ambassadors, and judges that are well qualified?
Consider the title of historian Doris Kearns Goodwin’s 2005 book, “Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln.” Lincoln first stunned the nation when he won the Republican nomination for president by prevailing over three prominent rivals. Perhaps equally surprising was that, after elected, Lincoln appointed all three rivals to his cabinet.
I consider myself a feminist. The candidate I choose needs to champion the just causes of women. It’s been way too long that half the population of the world has been denied the full rights to which they are entitled.
It’s important that the candidates of my choice exhibit leadership based on reason not emotion, on patriotism not narcissism, kindness not bullying, humility not self-aggrandizement, and modesty over boastfulness.
Robert A. Nowlan, Ph.D. Emeritus Vice President for Academic Affairs and Professor of Mathematics and Marco Island resident. Among his many books, “Bring Back The Real Republican Party” is out now.