How Do We Choose the Right Leader?

November 4, 2011

Dirty Hands


As the presidential election nears the American public is faced with the decision of who is best fit to run the country.  In hopes of being elected, each presidential candidate tries to portray him or herself in a light that appeals to the majority of the population because bluntly laying out what any single candidate could accomplish in office would offend and scare away much of the electorate.  In trying to avoid losing voters, a candidate has to bend and exaggerate his beliefs and goals.  Watching the presidential debates and reading about different candidates in the news, most claims they make are more than just little lies, they are unrealistic ideas that just sound good in theory, but because they are so appealing people are willing to listen and even believe what is being said.

If a candidate chooses not to partake in this activity of exclaiming exaggerated truths then he will appear as an incompetent and an unable president choice.  When candidates are suggesting diminishing the national debt or ending poverty, a suggestion to only cut spending slightly and create only a few thousand jobs a month does not compare.  His chances of actually winning an election off proposals like this are slim to none, so all candidates begin to stretch the truth.  According to factcheck, in a recent presidential debate candidate Perry falsely claimed he had made ten times the amount of jobs than he had actually made during a specific time period.  Ron Paul proposed going back to the gold standard, a very far fetched claim.  In the article Why are Candidates Disappoint Us the author says, “THE ability to “read” the emotions of the electorate and to speak to those emotions in a compelling way do more for both electoral success and legislative success than I.Q.”  This suggests that the candidate that gets elected has nothing to do with his qualifications or ability to lead the country, but rather by his ability to manipulate the  American population. This says a lot about our society as a whole.  We have created a culture where deceit is necessary to succeed.   Machiavelli says, “The ends justify the means.”  If any candidate is exaggerating what he will be able to do, but still intends to help and do good for America in some ways, does this make his actions okay? 

The role of running a country is a tremendous responsibility.  The president’s actions affect the lives of every single citizen.  This makes the decision of choosing the right president, one that will serve the population’s needs, a farely big deal.  The question then becomes since we know that all politicians are going to lie and decieve us in trying to obtain and keep office, how do we pick out the politicians that are willing  to dirty their hands(still have our best interests at heart) from the ones that are just going to act in their own best interests?



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