Valencia Ronerby Valencia Roner

Insanity is often defined as doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting a different result. It can be said to be one of the reasons Donald J. Trump has so much appeal to voters for the upcoming 2016 presidential race for the United States.

Seemingly — as with every major election — people are looking for the new and different to address and solve the nation’s ills. I get it. I hate taking the same route to and from work. I’m attracted to the idea of discovering something new and exciting, particularly if it results in my being more efficient, functioning smarter and allowing me a better quality of life. Therefore, it would only make sense to believe that a new kind of leadership will result in new outcomes. The question becomes, at what cost are these outcomes achieved?

The craving for the new and different seems to the appeal of Trump.

One of the many aspects of being an American that I appreciate is having freedom of choice. I can shop where I want, live where I want and vote how I want. I’m acutely aware that such luxuries exist at a price to those who came before me, and I’m grateful every day. Therefore, far be it from me to tell others how to vote. Live and let live is my personal credo. It’s up to the candidate to convince me why he or she deserves my precious vote.

With that said, an awful lot goes into my choice for president. I sort of view this decision for president like a temporary marriage that can have horrific consequences if I fail to choose wisely. My vote for president affects the country economically. It affects the efficiency and productivity of the federal government, educational quality, healthcare accessibility, foreign affairs and a host of other issues.

Here are a few characteristics I consider when casting my vote for president:

Competent leadership
This is big. When choosing a president I look for a demonstrated track record of effective, competent leadership.  One’s ability to get things done with beneficial outcomes for all concerned is very attractive. The ability to convene, access and consult the best and the brightest minds with a diversity of perspectives gives me comfort in a politician’s decision-making and problem-solving capacity.

Diplomatic consensus builder
The reality is that we live in a democracy. However painstaking, a system of checks and balances masked in bureaucracy is often the price of admission to ensure quality distribution of services intended to benefit American citizens. Those at the bargaining table rarely get everything they want. An effective president must possess the tools to communicate a mutually beneficial value proposition when negotiating terms of agreements both on a national and international level.

It’s important to me that an effective and competent leader talks and carries him or herself as an effective and competent leader. In a world where a mere sneeze has a chance of “going viral,” a leader needs the discipline and self-control that says he or she is presidential. The president of the United States has always been considered a model of excellence in which future leaders — namely our children — could aspire to and emulate. America is viewed as the crown jewel in the world’s crest of freedom. It’s important that our leadership reflects this standard.

James Brown said it best: “Papa don’t take no mess!” I look for a president who exudes strength. He or she doesn’t necessarily have to tell me how strong he or she is because the track record speaks for itself. War is ugly and brutal and should never be entered into lightly or unadvisedly. Being strong is about more than just beating one’s chest and issuing a round of threats. Strength is demonstrated in one’s ability to balance communication with action, with significant regard for the short- and long-term consequences of proactive and reactive strikes. The president should have as much of a commitment to combating domestic terrorists as well as international terrorists. I want to feel safe everywhere with everyone under a leader who is recognizable as one of the good guys.

Emotional and professional maturity
You can’t win them all. Expecting to win all the time is unrealistic. While I expect the president to lead us in a series of far more wins than losses, I’m interested in a leader who knows how to lose. No one likes to lose — I hate losing. However, the law of averages indicates that losing is inevitable. Connected to temperament, my president has to be the adult when everything and everyone around him or her is coming undone. Someone who is steadfast in a crisis and possesses the capacity and maturity to execute focused precision in resolving complex problems with the skill of a political surgeon is what I require in a president.

So, as I consider Trump along with the host of other candidates, this is the combination of qualities I need for a candidate to successfully win-over my vote for president of the United States. History illustrates that these are the characteristics of the world’s most effective, successful and beloved leaders. It’s the only recipe for leadership to make America the best it’s ever been.

Valencia Roner is the author of Chasing Joy: Principles for Making Joy a Core Life Value. She lives in Greensboro.

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