Lim: Saving ourselves

·2 min read

In 22 days, we will elect a new president. Six years ago, we fell for “Dirty Harry” because he promised to eliminate illegal drugs, crime and corruption in three months. Looking back, don’t we feel a bit foolish for believing in that ridiculous promise?

I don’t normally judge people by their past. But when I have to make a choice that’s critical for our country, I have to judge candidates by their track record to arrive at a choice that is informed, rational and wise.

Leaders are measured by two essential benchmarks: competence and character.

Competence is really just the ability to get a job or task done. But as we all know, getting something done requires more than academic competence or professional experience. It also requires the ability to connect with others called emotional intelligence.

It is emotional intelligence that allows leaders to understand and empathize with the plight of others. It is emotional intelligence that allows leaders to feel and listen to the pulse of the people. It is emotional intelligence that propels leaders to support, develop and nurture others.

So, while education and experience are assets to leadership, coupled with emotional intelligence, leadership’s effectiveness is unparalleled. One cannot underestimate the power of an open mind that listens to the diverse opinions of others and seeks the wise counsel of the better qualified.

Character is one’s moral self, built through time by one’s behavior and beliefs. It is shaped by a person’s words, thoughts and actions. Character is important because moral integrity is crucial in leadership.

To seek the highest post of the land, one must be trustworthy, just and decent. One must embrace the tenets of truth and transparency. One must reject debauchery and disinformation. One must work with tenacity and accountability. One must reject crime and corruption. One must adhere to the rule of law.

When leaders exhibit both competence and character, they inspire, motivate, empower.

Six years ago, we thought we needed a modern “knight in shining armor,” a Dirty Harry, to rescue us from the dire straits we were in. But perhaps, it is not a savior that we need. It is a leader.

A leader who will take on the cudgels of the presidency not to acquire power but to serve the public. A leader who will step up to the post not because of politics but because of patriotism. A leader who will show the world that we are capable of becoming a nation of respectable, honest and law-abiding citizens.

Only we can save ourselves.

In 22 days, we will elect a new president. To make the right choice, we must make this choice from a place of discernment and not from a place of desperation as we did six years ago. Let’s save ourselves by putting the right person into the presidency this May.

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