Monday, November 14, 2005

The Wrong Reason to Vote for a President

The people of Liberia have chosen their president, the first woman to lead a modern African nation and the first woman to be elected on the continent. I extend congratulations to Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf and wish her a prosperous and historic presidency.

However, in today's USA today there was an editorial cartoon based on this election that kind of annoyed me. It was done by Joel Pett of the Lexington (Ky.) Herald Leader and it was a woman reading the newspaper, where the headline trumpetted Johnson-Sirleaf's election and her little girl asks if America will ever catch up to Africa, because America has yet to select a woman for president.

Now I have no problem with a woman or a minority serving as president; what matters is the person's abilities, experience, integrity and beliefs. I would vote for a clone of Maggie Thatcher in a minute, but the thought of Madam Hillary in the White House is the stuff of nightmares. At the moment, I am positively inclined to Condi Rice, but I really don't know enough about her to say vote for her. A co-worker of mine, who is a decent guy but mistaken on this issue, thinks we should choose Hillary simply because it's time we had a woman president. I oppose Hillary, not because of her gender, but because of her politics. Gender and race are two of the dumbest reasons to sellect or reject a president.

The presidency is far too important to be left to the whims of affirmative action and tokenism. Select the best person for the job, without regard to race or gender. When I perceive that a woman is the best candidate, that woman will get my vote, and if it is a man, then that man will. I feel the same way about race. The presidency is too important to be left to the candidate's physical description.

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