Voting — by Party or Character?
‘A Political View’ By Sherry Holliman
Political leaders are not just people who govern during peace time but also during times of crisis. They are people who are responsible for making and implementing strategies and policies meant to better serve the interests of the nation, state, or city they govern. These leaders are chosen by you with your vote. It’s important for us to start being aware of why we vote the way we vote.
With the November elections quickly approaching, deciding which candidate to vote into office for some voters may simply be a matter of party affiliation, but for others, casting their votes may depend on specific characteristics that they look for in their candidates of choice — which will vary depending on the contested seat. So what are the qualities or characteristics good political leaders should possess?
They should be honest, which may sometimes be difficult because it makes individuals vulnerable. It reveals who we really are and discloses our mistakes, which gives others the opportunity to criticize or reject openly. Honesty develops character and builds credibility and trust, which are the foundations for evoking confidence and respect from those around you, and in the case of political leaders, teammates and constituents.
They should show compassion, which is a humane quality of understanding the suffering of others and wanting to do something to alleviate that suffering. While many see compassion as a weakness, true compassion is a characteristic that converts knowledge to wisdom. Good political leaders use compassion to see the needs of those he or she leads and to determine the course of action that would be of greatest benefit to all those involved.
They should possess integrity which is defined as “the adherence to moral and ethical principles; the soundness of moral character.” It is a synonym for honesty and uprightness, and is a vital characteristic for those in political leadership. Political leaders who possess integrity can be trusted because he or she never veers from inner values, even when it might benefit them to do so. A leader must have the trust of followers. This requires the highest standard of integrity.
Maintaining a high level of confidence (but not arrogance) is very important in a political leader. It is about having faith or belief that he or she will act in a right, proper, or effective way. A good political leader needs to be both confident in himself or herself as well in their ability to lead. Leaders who possess this quality inspire others, drawing on a level of trust which sparks the motivation to get others on board and get the job done.
Finally, flexibility for a political leader is about understanding the giveand- take aspects of politics, and the ability to find the common ground. Good politicians listen carefully to all sides, to not only hear their arguments but to especially learn what it will take on behalf of all parties involved to reach a consensus. This characteristic allows political leaders to recognize setbacks and criticism, to learn from them and move forward.
Great political leaders should have all of these qualities and more. All leaders should seek to respect different views, analyze problems, and identify the best solutions not based on loyalty to any one political party, but rather based on what is right and in the best interest of the whole voting party.
Sherry Holliman is a concerned citizen of Crittenden County and has some views on a variety of topics that she wants to share with her neighbors.