Monday, March 2, 2015

Presidential Attributes

The Mystery within...
Listening to some of the presidential hopefuls test the waters this past week made me want to make a list of the human qualities I want my next president to have.  So far I have listed: 1) is emotionally intelligent; 2) is reflective in decision making; 3) knows our children are the future for our country; 4) has empathy and compassion for those struggling; 5) understands the pursuit of wealth for wealth alone will destroy us all.

I have recently finished reading, “The Body Keeps the Score:  Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma" by Bessel Van Der Kolk, M.D.  He says there are choices to be made for a healthy society for which we all have a role.  He cites northern European countries successes with lower health care costs, guaranteed minimum wage, parental leave for both parents after a child is born, and high-quality childcare for all working mothers.  Outcomes from these countries are reflected in his following statistics: 

“Could this approach to public health have something do with the fact that the incarceration rate in Norway is 71/100,000, in the Netherlands 81/100,000, and the US 781/100,000, while the crime rate in those countries is much lower than in ours, and the cost of medical care about half?  …The United States spends $84 billion per year to incarcerate people at approximately $44,000 per prisoner; the northern European countries a fraction of that amount.  Instead, they invest in helping parents to raise their children in safe and predictable surroundings.  Their academic test scores and crime rates seem to reflect the success of those investments.“

From October 28 – December 16, 2013 I blogged my way through the evolutionary biologist and anthropologist, David Sloan Wilson’s book, “The Neighborhood Project—Using Evolution to Improve My City, One Block at a Time.”  My closing question for each blog read:

“What if we all focused on ways to apply the laws of nature to improving our lives?”
“What if we all bumped into the more paternal and maternal among us more often?”
“What if we all learned the right questions to ask that lead us to become more healthy and productive citizens?”
“What if we all belonged to a trusted small helping group and reflected each day on our struggles?”
“What if we could all stop and reflect when bumping into unpleasantness?”
“What if each day we challenged our self to catch someone doing something right, praising him or her, and smiling more?”
“What if we all looked with evolutionary eyes that go beyond self-interest; eyes that respect and highlight diversity, and search for ways to end global poverty?”
“What if we all understood the role we play in each other’s evolutionary process?”

What if you made a list of the human qualities you would like to see in our next president?  What would it look like?

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