I’m fed up with the debates. The posturing and the pointing, the incessant smirks and endless CNN commentary. Tired of wondering why both presidential candidates are so thin and so sick to death of their words, I could spit.
So I’m suggesting that instead of the next debate, we have a contest. Let’s say a three-part test to see who is the most capable, competent person.
Test #1: The candidate, using only available community resources and not his own wealth or connections, who can get a middle-aged homeless man with no job, and serious addiction and mental health issues into safe, stable permanent housing with a sustainable income first wins the first round. Bonus points for a non-violent criminal history, no high school diploma or a learning disability, dealer’s choice.
This test goes right to the candidate’s ingenuity and persuasiveness. Can he connect with the homeless man? Can he convince him to accept help? Can he figure out what he needs first and what can wait? And then how does he decide where to go for help? When there’s a 2-year waiting list for housing, how does he get his guy in next month? How does he convince the employer to forgive a criminal record. How does he keep the homeless guy trusting him through all this?
Test #2: Each candidate goes to a cabin in the mountains for 48 hours with two young men – say age 20-24 – one a Palestinian and the other an Israeli. The candidate, without using force, coercion, or bribery, who emerges with a signed agreement that each man agrees that it’s ok for the other man to marry his sister should they happen to meet and fall in love wins this round.
This is a test of deep listening and talking and of a candidate’s ability to realize that all politics are personal. Can he get the two young, probably pretty volatile, guys to think about the bigger picture? Put themselves in each other’s shoes? See their place in the world? Big test, this one.
Test #3: Each candidate, using only what would be found in the average suburban garage, must invent something that would significantly improve the lives of subsistence farmers in Africa for the better. The one whose invention is judged most useful by said farmers wins this round.
To have a good invention, the candidate will have to go listen to the farmers. And study their methods. And appreciate their culture. And be modest, humble, yet creative and ambitious. Arrogance won’t work here. Only careful listening, planning, execution, and feedback. This applies to so much it makes my head spin.
Do we know what skills one needs to be a good President? I only know that it’s about more than talking, bragging, lying, and cajoling. Can, for once, the proof really be in the pudding?
Could we ask these guys to make some damn pudding for us and let us taste it?
Is that so nuts?