McCain or Obama? Prior to Tuesday, November 4, this popular question flooded both the halls and classrooms on a typical day of school. It sparked countless debates, as students and teachers alike argued in favor of either McCain’s experience or Obama’s policies. And yet, amidst these contrasting opinions about the election at hand, individuals, regardless of their chosen candidate have opinions about the characteristics that would shape a successful president.
Putting his political preferences aside, the ideal president, according to sophomore Adam Yabroudi, is someone who is “strong, dedicated, competent, and truthful,” he said. “He has to do what’s best for the nation.”
“The president should be honest because if he lies about one thing, people tend to assume that he’ll lie about everything. It’d be impossible to rally behind him,” junior Anthony Lin said.
Others agreed with Yabrooudi and Lin, stating that in order for a president to be successful, he cannot only have good policies and ideas, but a strong and reliable personality as well.
“Proposed policies are the most important, but clearly personality traits are also very important,” history teacher Bill Boericke said. “They will reveal the extent to which the president is able to respond to circumstances he did not foresee and make wise decisions.”
“I want someone who doesn’t fool around and pays attention to the people’s interests. They have to have reasonable goals. Some goals that the candidates are presenting aren’t very reasonable,” freshman Helen Yeung said. “I want a president that actually has a desire to achieve something good and make America rich again.”
Just as a candidate’s policies need a good personality to back them up, students believe the reverse is true as well. According to senior Anissa Mak, a president should not only be well-spoken, but he should also “have a direction where they’re heading, and not just changing direction along the way,” she said. ” I want someone with a plan for real and who’s not just relying on the people around them for financial plan.”
“He should plan deeply,” Lin said. “Someone with a plan is bound to help our nation more than someone who’s making stuff up as we go along.”
“I am looking for first and foremost experience in the executive seat,” junior Henry Lin said. “No matter how well drilled you are in politics, you need to be able to adjust and think on your feet especially on the international stage.”
Many were specific in which policies they feel a president should engage more heavily in, such as foreign and economic policies. Junior Owen Duffy said he would like a president who implements “an economic policy that protects ordinary Americans, like fair trade policies as opposed to free trade, and a stable foreign policy that emphasizes diplomacy as opposed to unilateral action.”
“The president should support alternative energy sources,” senior Eric Lee said. “Also, we have to stop things that just perpetuate violence through reckless spending.”
“The way the president deals with the environment is a very pivotal issue in our nation’s history,” senior Jeffrey Shiaus said.
Some students, on the other hand, said that they are influenced more by their experience with previous presidents than by anything else.
“I hope the president won’t become another George W. Bush,” freshman Chris Hao said. “I hope he will be able to find a way to solve the economic crisis.”
“No one really likes what Bush is doing with our country,” freshman Matthew Liu said. “Regardless of who wins the election, everyone would like to see a change [in leadership]. Many people have disagreed with how he’s dealing with the war in Iraq and the economic problems.”
“Virtually every facet of America is wrong. [...] I’m not expecting the next president to do anything major. I just want the president to be a responsible person,” junior Matt Leiwant said. “It’s very important that America gets the respect from other countries that we used to. Before, if the president spoke, people were going to listen. That doesn’t happen now.”
In the end, despite party differences among students and teachers at Stuyvesant, everyone strives for the same characteristics in a president—someone who is honest, reliable and most of all, a good leader. As junior Aleks Nekrasov said, “we need somebody who’s competent and has stable formulations.”