I won’t coach a leader with an untreated mental illness. They need to be in a different room with a different person.
It’s a basic standard in executive coaching.
I never thought I’d need to apply the same principle to voting for President. Every major party candidate in my lifetime has been relatively sane. I may disagree vociferously with their politics, but I don’t fear giving them access to the nuclear codes.
This year it’s different.
That’s why I’m choosing today to write to you today about national politics. It’s a topic I rarely bring up in my work with leaders because our success together depends on mutual trust. Talking politics can get in the way of that.
But the choice we face in this year’s Presidential election isn’t about liberal versus conservative, Democrat versus Republican, or even light versus dark.
It’s about sanity versus insanity. Having a balanced temperament versus constantly coming unhinged.
One candidate in this race has, at minimum, an untreated personality disorder. When he speaks for more than thirty seconds, I think to myself, “This man is not well.”
Do you know what I’m talking about?
I’m confident you do.
The other candidate is unmistakably sane. You may or may not love the thoughts in her head, but it’s clear that her head is on straight.
This difference matters. A lot.
For example, the President of the United States has access to many things that you and I don’t. One of those is the codes to launch nuclear missiles. These codes follow the President around everywhere he or she goes. When the President chooses to use these codes, big stuff happens.
Saying “big stuff”sounds funny but we all know it’s not a joke. That’s why we want the person with access to the nuclear codes to have steady hands and a sane mind.
It’s the bare minimum prerequisite for the office, more so even than relevant experience, knowledge of how government works, aligned worldviews, or basic competence.
Steady hands and a sane mind. This description applies to only one major party nominee in this race.
She happens to be a Democrat. And her opponent, the one whose mind is not well, is running in this race as a Republican. However, for once, those party distinctions don’t really matter to me. If he were running as a Democrat (which is not implausible given his current views on trade and past views on social issues), I’d vote for the Republican.
That’s why I’ve chosen today to speak up. And why I’m starting a group called Leadership Coaches for Steady Hands on the Nuclear Codes.
Yeah, I know, that’s a long name, but it’s a start, and it captures what we stand for:
- People with expertise in leadership speaking up at an important moment in history
- Naming the key distinction between the two major candidates
- Applying it to a monumental power of the Presidency
- Doing this in a way that emphasizes we are for something good rather than just against something dangerous
Stay tuned for more as this group takes shape.