My series of endorsements for 2008 was very enlightening. I learned a lot about my political leanings and what I thought was required of a president. I hope to capture some of what I learned here.
One thing that I learned was the value of time. When I began the endorsement process I had different expectations for what I was looking for than when I finished. There were a number of candidates who I did not reach the conclusion on endorsement that I had anticipated. I noticed how my own attitudes and perceptions about the political health of our country affected my perceptions about where different candidates stood as far as how I perceived their ability to lead the country. Also, as I continued to look at the candidates I found that my perceptions of them changed over time. I was no longer making judgments based on a snapshot of their positions, but I was also able to determine the trajectory of their positions and adjust my judgments accordingly.
I learned that timing is important. There were a number of candidates I could not endorse simply because they were not a fit for the needs of the day.
My appreciation grew for the work that is required of citizens if they are to make informed choices. making informed choices requires being informed about the candidates and the issues as well as understanding your own assumptions and values.
I have come to believe through this process that the rigors of campaigning are good exercise for a potential president. They are seeking a position that is challenging and unpredictable. The job requires them to consider the present as well as the future, knowing that their decisions can affect the lives of people everywhere. It makes more and more sense to me why we frequently select men (so far) who have been governors and generals, and less frequently select men who have spent time as legislators.