Education, experience, life – what is really important when choosing a President. Morality, integrity, honesty, compassion, empathy – we could go on with our hopes for the next President – but for now, let’s look at education.
John McCain “…graduated, United States Naval Academy, Annapolis, Md. 1958, and the National War College, Washington, D.C. 1973…” From Congress Biographies.
Barack Obama “…received a B.A. in 1983 from Columbia University, New York City; worked as a community organizer in Chicago, Ill.; studied law at Harvard University, where he became the first African American president of the Harvard Law Review, and received J.D. in 1991; lecturer on constitutional law, University of Chicago…” From Congress Biographies.
This writer believes that when all else is equal the better educated person has the upper hand. The level of education a person has is relevant only in the full context of their life. We have written before on having a leader, not a beer buddy in the White House. And we believe that education is relevant is developing leadership skills.
So let us look at the current candidates:
1958 – fifty years ago McCain graduated 894 out of 899 – we only mention this here because some people think it is relevant in this election. This writer is just short of McCain’s age and we sure would not want to be measured by what we were like when we were 22 years old. Youthful disappointment in education is only relevant if the pattern follows through life.
Everything we read about John McCain suggests that he is a reader – John McCain has educated himself out of a pure sense of curiosity – We find that quality to be admirable. John McCain has been in the congress for twenty six years – we submit that a person of McCain’s curiosity could not have served that time without gaining a magnificent education in government and world affairs. McCain’s formal education was not impressive – but that was fifty years ago. We have fifty years of information about McCain – all of which is more relevant than the McCain experience at Annapolis.
Barack Obama has the best education that America has to offer. Raised in the lower middle classes, Obama earned his education with academic scholarships. Both Obama and McCain attended elite private schools before college. McCain gained admission with the support of his family, Obama gained admission (at ten years old) because of his intellect. Obama took three years off from his education to work in the social support system. His return to school, at Harvard, speaks to his natural curiosity.
There is merit in formal education. Formal education provides structured and purposeful learning. To use a sports analogy – a gifted athlete will perform better with coaching than the same athlete without coaching.
Both Senators in this Presidential race have demonstrated natural curiosity, the willingness to study and learn, and a grasp of the world around them. Each of them recognizes their deficiencies and each of them surrounds themselves with experienced learned advisers.
The question in this election is not about the candidate’s education – it is about philosophy, it is about temperament, it is about leadership.