For decades millions of Americans have lamented the Republican and Democratic candidates in our presidential election forced us to choose between the lesser of two bad options. This is a classic Fool’s Choice.
A Fool’s Choice is when we mistakenly think there are only two options, when in reality there are more.
In 2016 the Republican and Democratic nominees have hit a new low. Both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump individually are terrible candidates for a number of reasons, but my primary concern is that they both lack character.
President Abraham Lincoln once said, “Reputation is the shadow. Character is the tree.”
DO NOT BE FOOLED.
Leaders have a responsibility as citizens to vote in our elections. We must participate in the democratic process whether the candidates are ideal, average, or below average.
If you do not vote, then do not complain about the outcomes.
You are unwilling to participate, therefore you have to take what you get. As a role model, if enough others follow your example then you can look forward to the day when you will no longer be allowed to vote. Study history for that lesson.
Therefore GREAT leaders must vote in every election.
Anyone can demonstrate good character when the choices before them are simple and offer a greater reward for being a person of integrity. The true test of a person’s character is when they are amidst hardship or faced with temptation.
Politics is full of hardship and temptation.
As leaders during the most confusing American presidential election of the last 100 years, if not ever, here are some thoughts for you to consider:
#1 – Sincere Gratitude
Be thankful we live in a country that allows us to participate in in electing the people who govern our nation, and issues that affect our lives.
If you lack an appreciation for this fundamental right of all Americans, and many other nations, then this is a good place to start. Even today in many nations you can be imprisoned or killed for complaining about government leaders. Freedom and the right to vote are incredible blessings.
#2 – Role Model
Whether you like it or not, you are role model for others. Therefore leaders must set an example of how to behave like responsible citizens, which includes:
Be educated about the issues
Make decisions based on facts, not emotion or partial truths
Be respectful of other people's views when different
Become as involved in the political process as you feel called to be
The minimum involvement is to vote AFTER educating yourself on the candidates and issues.
#3 – Choose
This presidential election we have five U.S. 2016 presidential nominees (alphabetically by last name, party name) that are on the ballots in at least 20 states. Another option is a protest vote by entering a serious write-in candidate if you prefer.
Darrell Castle, Constitution
Hillary Clinton, Democratic
Gary Johnson, Libertarian
Jill Stein, Green
Donald Trump, Republican
Keep in mind there are other issues and offices you must understand and vote on also.
And remember, voting for a candidate outside the Republican / Democratic nominees may then increase the power of your most hated main party nominee to get elected.
#4 – Wisdom
Have the discernment to understand all media outlets have a bias.
Online commentary is even worse. As you consider information about any candidate or issue, try to "peel back the onion" and get beyond the "symptoms" to discern the facts, or true "disease" / real information to consider.
Our nation and the world in general is in a very fragile state.
Your careful, discerning participation in the democratic process of your country is needed.
#5 - The Team is MORE IMPORTANT than the Candidate
This varies by candidate, but the majority of impact of any candidate who is elected President of the United States will be the people who are appointed to their Cabinet, Supreme Court, and senior government leadership positions.
For instance, Donald Trump may sound foolish at times, but it is highly likely that he knows how to surround himself with at least some brilliant people and let them make the final decisions. Otherwise he would not be a billionaire today.
In contrast, the history of Hillary Clinton's approach seems to be more of a leader who makes most if not all of the decisions, and her minions are simply responsible for implementing and/or protecting her mandates.
I do not know enough about the other candidates to comment on their approach.
My encouragement is for you to PLEASE consider which candidate will surround themselves with more people of integrity and wisdom.
These people, not the candidate, will make most of the tough decisions that need to be made and/or be primarily responsible for defining and implementing new laws. Ideally these men and women are leaders who will enable America to experience a revival of its soul. Their decisions will either miraculously stop our freefall into narcissism, unsustainable government growth, spending, and debt… or accelerate our downward spiral.
I could go on, but let me conclude by emphasizing two key points:
#1 - Leaders have to make difficult decisions.
One of the decisions American leaders have to make this year is who will get their vote for President. Do not underestimate the power of your individual vote. Do not neglect the responsibility to vote.
The wisest teacher who ever lived advised leaders to be, “…as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.” I encourage you to find a similar balance on your ballot choices in November 2016.
#2 – Look deep, be wise
Look beyond your distaste for each candidate. To have that alone guide your decision would be a mistake because you are making a choice based on simply a symptom or the surface of the situation. Go deeper and consider not only their background as a leader, but who they will put into influential government positions.
Their team will either protect you and enable you to prosper, or take away your liberties.
If you are unwilling or hesitant to carefully decide on a presidential candidate, are you procrastinating making the hard decisions necessary to grow your business.