What does being “presidential” really mean?

Early one morning last week, a big news networks interviewed yet another Republican official about the rise and fall, and then rise again, of the eclectic Donald Trump. The particular reporter constantly used the adjective “presidential” when posing her inquiries. This article is not an appraisal of Trump’s actions, nor is it in support of him. It poses a question far beyond the scope of individuals running for the oval office. Exactly what do we consider presidential? Is this a quality a person possesses, or is it an attitude? Perhaps it’s an action or an assortment of them when actually in office. Does it apply to the person all the time or only in the limelight?

This word will mean something a little different to everyone, forgetting party alignments and following the trail back to our basic morals and beliefs. Just like we have different opinions on our candidates, we all will view this situation in a unique way.

I wouldn’t call sneaking cigarettes into the back of the White House presidential. Yes, President Barack Obama said he would quit. However, for a man whose wife campaigns for country health improvement, it seems counter-intuitive. But what would I know that the majority of America doesn’t?

It seems the media wants to make the word “presidential” synonymous with the word “perfect.” When electing anyone, being perfect is a task that is utterly impossible. It does, however, provide a perfect target for attacks on each candidate. It is yet another word used to degrade each and every opponent. There isn’t one candidate in the field that doesn’t have flaws. Perhaps presidential simply means acceptable flaws, amended mistakes and the proper handling of said situations.

You can judge a person by how they manage themselves. Yes, there were hidden messages, Hillary. Sanders has offended multiple groups and then changed his view over the years. And yes, Mr. Trump, Marco Rubio is a very petite man.

Professionalism and presidentialism go hand and hand. A leader who has the ability to face adversity without taking personal offense from any criticism will make the best leader, especially with today’s global events. There are many clashes of cultures, and there will be many more to come. Differing views does not mean one must get defensive. Yet that seems to be all many of the candidates seem to achieve when asked a question.

Presidential is not a one-size-fits-all term; it’s the awkward one-size-fits-most: that awkward hat that only sits on half of your head, of terms. It fits everyone just a little differently. Therefore, our opinions are all different. Putting all criticism aside, maybe we should not only look at the mistakes made but how the individual handles the situation at hand. Maybe then we can see the true character of the candidate. Let’s not see too much of the candidate. Yes, Trump, please keep the pants on.

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