Letters to the Editor

Competent tradespeople, why not leaders?

If your body has a fever and irregular heartbeat, you see a personal injury lawyer for treatment, right? Of course not. You seek a certified physician.

Our body politic is ailing, so we should seek leaders experienced in the lessons of history, political philosophy and moral judgment. Incredibly, we’ve chosen not to, opting instead for candidates who don’t know Plato from Pluto. Are we really this nuts? Specific preparation and certified competence are required of a nurse, teacher, tradesman, accountant, while little is expected of elected officials beyond puffery and promises.

We’ve managed pretty well in spite of this, up to now.

Perhaps our founders omitted competency requirements to avoid having only wealthy landowners in high office, so it’s possible for the less privileged to vie for political office at the risk of opening the door to know-nothings and scoundrels. But the need for leaders both motivated to serve the public good and competent to do so has become urgent. We have academies to train the leaders of our military. Similarly, there’s no reason a democracy cannot have competency requirements for civilian office without infringing on anyone’s rights. As is, we risk everything.

Ernest Henninger