My dream is a test to get the best leaders

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I, like many Americans, am completely fed up with our Congress. The latest stupidity by the GOP House in shutting our government and causing undue hardships for many Americans is unconscionable. My concerns go beyond this act. There are too many in Congress who make stupid statements, distort facts, lie and often prove they are clueless regarding key issues.

It is time for a change in our system of elections, though the changes I suggest would undoubtedly not be in compliance with the Constitution. My unattainable dream: Before a person can become a candidate for national office he or she is required to take a test drafted by legal experts, respected economists, college professors, retired military flag officers, retired high-ranked Foreign Service officers and health care professionals. Ethics and geography would be included. The candidates who failed in key areas would be required to improve their knowledge before being placed on a ballot.

It was astonishing to hear a presidential candidate state that Syria was Iran's gateway to the seas during a period when Syria and Iran were (are) the hottest topic of the day. It was astonishing to hear a presidential candidate so confused she didn't know the difference between Africa and the Middle East. These are not casual mistakes that have no impact on the U.S. government. They are crucial to our defense.

Many lack the ability to conduct cause-and-effect analysis where short-term actions create long-term problems. The budget fights are a prime example. Instead of seeking solutions, they seek publicity with -- well, let's tell it like it is -- stupid and senseless arrogance and pomposity.

ALEX J. VALLAS
Plum


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