Opinion: Qualifications for the Office
As the political season starts to wind up into its standard frenzy, the inevitable "attack" ads will start to be shown on television in high rotation, and posted on social media sites. We've seen this time and again, so there's really no surprise as to what these ads will say.
For the presidential race, the Democrats and their ilk point to "evil incarnate" Trump's obesity, perceived physical infirmities, and questionable mental condition, and (using these perceptions as a qualifying criteria for 'fitness for the office') claim that he is obviously unfit to be President. The Republicans and their ilk point to "Sleepy Joe" Biden's history of incomprehensible speech, apparent longtime hypocrisy on issues, and his inappropriate behavior, and (using these perceptions as a qualifying criteria for 'fitness for the office') claim that he is obviously unfit to be President. I suspect that in the race in my own congressional district, the ads will be very much along the same line, some of them perhaps even directed at me.
What these ads don't want you to notice is that, most of the time, they don't actually list any thoughts about what would (or should) qualify a candidate for the office, or how the sponsor's chosen candidate meets those criteria. They show you what they don't want in a candidate and how the vilified candidate exemplifies those criteria, and leave it to you to presume that their chosen candidate does the opposite of their complaint. Essentially, these ads only sling mud at their opponents, but do nothing to highlight what their chosen candidate brings to the table.
So here's a question: what if they're both right? In the presidential race, if all of the condemnations that the Democrats are heaping on Trump AND all of the villainy with which the Republicans are skewering Biden are both true, then why would anyone want to vote for either of them? And again, in my own congressional contest, if those are the kind of ads that the establishment candidates are going to post - and you know they will - why would you want to vote for either of them?
Here's another question: what do you (the voter) think should be a qualifying criteria for 'fitness for the office' (depending on the office itself)?
Take a few moments to separate yourself from the partisan bickering and look at what the office requires of its holder. Write them down if you have to (always a good idea, in my opinion). If you can, look at past office holders that you thought were successful and list the qualities you think made them successful. Only after you've done that then should you go back to the candidates and evaluate them based on your criteria. If you're actually being fair and honest with yourself, the choice should be relatively simple.
For the record, I will not be running attack ads (nor would I support any being run on my behalf) because I don't particularly find them useful or beneficial. If I do create a campaign ad, I will list what I think are qualifying criteria for the office and how I think that I am qualified; I will leave it to you (the voter) to make the comparison against my opponents yourself.
Remember, it's YOUR vote. We should be required to EARN it.