The Most Important Quality

Last time there was a presidential election I was asked to answer this question: “What is the most important quality for a president?” Since we are in the midst of presidential election season again I have been thinking about my answer. Turns out, I still think the answer is “candor.”

I believe that there are so many qualities that are important for someone to be a good president that it is difficult to choose just one as the most important. But, if forced to choose, I would say that the most important quality for a president is candor. Candor has three possible definitions, according to Webster. All three of them are applicable to the qualities necessary to be a good president. The first definition is “brilliance,” and is often used in reference to a candle. Just as the United States should be an example to the rest of the world just like a shining city upon a hill, the president should be an example to the people of the United States. His light should shine brightly for all of the people to see. That does not mean that everyone will necessarily agree with him or even like him, but it does mean that he should lead in such a way that he is a shining example to the people of someone who has accepted the responsibility with which he has been entrusted and is doing his best to carry out those responsibilities to the best of his ability.

The second definition of candor is “freedom from prejudice or malice.” The president certainly should satisfy this definition as he must completely put aside any prejudice or malice he may have and seek to make every decision by reviewing the facts, the information that is available, and the input of his advisers and then acting in the best interest of the country and in accordance with its laws. By no means does this mean that the president cannot disagree with a law, if he feels that the law is not in the best interest of the people, and it does not prohibit him from working to change such laws. But unless and until such laws have been changed the presidents must act in accordance with the law without prejudice or malice.

Thirdly, candor means “unreserved or honest.” The president should always be honest and forthright in word and in deed. The president should make his positions known and he should stand by them; they should not change with the polls or with the audience. A president who has candor respects the citizens, speaks to them honestly and stands by his convictions. He is open, honest and real.

If I could choose only one quality for the president, it would have to be candor. What do you think…what’s the most important quality in a president (or someone who would like to be president)?

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