Policy, character, and competence were the exact markers that I used to determine who I would vote for during our last presidential election. I had not necessarily framed it as succinctly as former Department Homeland Security Official in the Trump administration, Elizabeth Neumann had described it on a news program, but it was in fact just that.
Are those markers equally important? I actually think so. Which of the three would you be willing to forego, and what do you think the impact of that would be?
In the area of policy are the issues of how one would govern. Do their policy positions align with my beliefs, my biblical beliefs? What policy issues are most important? There are many things to consider. Should there be a litmus test, and would or should one wrong policy position take one out of consideration? Of course, not all policies carry the same weight. What if their policy positions were right on for eight out of ten or nine out ten that are important to you? How important are their policy positions? How do you know their policy positions?
This year, the Republican Party decided to not put out a new platform which would inform us of where they are on positions as it pertains to policies. The Republican National Committee, instead adopted a resolution to support President Trump’s America First agenda. The Democratic National Convention did release their party’s 2020 platform.
Honesty, trustworthiness, integrity, fairness, respectfulness, humility, and empathetic are all character traits that might be important, along with curiosity. The candidate who is honest can be trusted to speak the truth and prove their trustworthiness. The candidate with integrity exercises being honest regardless of the circumstance. The candidate who is fair exercises impartial treatment. Respectfulness is seen in how they treat all image bearers with dignity and respect. The character trait of empathy allows the leader to understand and or share the feelings of another. Curiosity will never leave the leader satisfied but always with a desire to know more. Given that brief description, how important would the candidate’s character be?
Regarding the last marker competence, a leader who is competent has the knowledge, judgment, ability, and skill necessary to on day one execute the duty to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. A competent leader will ensure that he/she has highly qualified advisors and staff. A competent leader will be able take in information from various sources and distill the information to make sound decisions. How important would it be for the candidate to be competent?
Recognizing that no one is perfect, which marker if any would you forego if the candidate still possessed two of your markers? Would either be enough alone? Policy? Character? Competence? What impact might it have? Of course the ideal would be that the candidate perfectly aligned with your beliefs and/or positions on policy, and had great character and extremely competent, but that’s almost never the case, which leaves one having to decide what matters most.
4 thoughts on “Policy, Character, and Competence”
Character is the most important because they make thousands of decisions and judgment calls that will never be judged by the public or contained in a platform. I rate competence least important for the same reason. Most of the work that gets done is entirely untouched by the elected official. No involvement is the norm for most actions.
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I too agree that character is most important, but I believe competence is important as they must know how to make sound decisions/judgments based on their knowledge, skill and ability and they have the bully pulpit.
Ooo, good discussion! I think character is most important. If I had to ditch one it’d be competence. Presidents have access to the best and brightest to work for them. If they’re not prideful they’ll recognize where they need help. Policy would go next. Checks and balances are the most brilliant political invention in the history of the world 🙃
I think character is too, but next for me is competence. Yes they do have access but they need to know how to use the sources to make decisions. Should have a grasp of foreign policy, how federal government works, the military and economy too.