Thursday, September 1, 2016 Is Experience Enough, or is it More Important to be Gracious?

Micaela Marshall

A basic "requirement" to be the next POTUS has been challenged this election. The requirement I am referring to is political experience.

If someone were to look at Donald Trump's resumé they would find that he became an American phenomenon by earning his billions in the business world as a New York real estate developer and from his reality TV show: "The Apprentice." The 2016 Republican nominee has no prior political experience.

But, does that matter?

Some voters are actually drawn to Trump because he lacks experience. They believe he can provide a voice that matches more of what the people actually want, instead of what a politician says the people should want. In some cases, political experience and political corruption go hand-and-hand. Which leads me to the other presidential candidate: Hillary Clinton.

Clinton has been in the public eye as a Democratic political figure for decades. Her experience stems from her time serving as a New York Senator, the first lady of the U.S., and she most recently served as the secretary of state under the Obama administration.

The Art of...
A New York Times Op-Ed columnist, David Brooks, wrote a piece he titled: The Art of Gracious Leadership.

In the article he discusses the idea that it is not enough to be experienced to win this election--the public only trusts people who "turn experience into graciousness."

Brooks uses examples of gracious leaders such as "Lincoln, Gandhi, Mandela, and Dorothy Day" to claim that Clinton is not one; she never confronts her scandals in a straightforward manner. She sidesteps situations, withholds information, never admits the truth, and refuses to ever come clean.

Her experience doesn't seem to be enough for some people to believe her and give her their vote. She is making the decision to be a leader that values control over trusting the public. Brooks concludes his piece with "It's never too late to learn from experience."

Reader's reactions were emotional.

There were few Trump supporters that made their opinions known in the hundreds of comments. This could mean that only those who disagreed with Brooks felt compelled to voice their opinion. But it could also mean that those who loyally support Clinton do so in spite of her flawed character. Many of her supporters that commented agreed she has made many mistakes. They argue that her experience makes up for it.

#ImWithHer supporters defended her, claiming the column was sexist. Some stated that she needs to be tough in order to survive as a woman in politics, and that "grace" has never been a requirement to be president. writer, Dayna Evans, wrote a sarcastic spoof in response to the column that she titled: The Art of Writing About a Female Presidential Candidate.

Evans disagrees with Brooks entirely. She criticizes Brooks using the exact same language he used in his article to discuss Clinton.

Fewer readers left comments on this piece, but almost all of those who did defended Brooks.

One stated that the idea that we must be "gracious" when writing about female presidential candidates is sexist because they "deserve the same amount of scrutiny that any other presidential candidate deserves."

Regardless of the viewpoint, both articles are getting the public worked up and angry; just like this election has been impacting Americans from the start. It is still unclear what matters most to the voters: experience or grace. I suppose we will all find out in November.

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