Paucity of choices indicate a better pool of candidates is needed

Miami Times Editorial Department | 10/31/2013, 9 a.m.

As we consider who will get our vote next Tuesday, several races whose outcome will have a long standing impact on both the City of Miami and Miami-Dade County confirm something that many of us have only whispered about — we need a better selection of qualified candidates willing to run for public office.

Let’s make it even more plain. We need more competent, educated and honest men and women of color that come to the table having been mentored by more seasoned politicians. That is the way that government has evolved in the larger community since the days of Lincoln — if not before.

Even the ancient political systems of the Greco-Roman world realized the importance of working with those who were interested in serving the Republic and then grooming them for the rigorous tasks that lie ahead. The competition went on prior to the campaign among those who aspired for public office and the best emerged at the top. In many ways this practice helped to reduce the need for slander, backbiting and unethical dealings — something we’ve seen more than enough of here in Miami.

But we tend to do things much differently and it doesn’t appear to be yielding the best of fruit. Candidates often come forward because they have a bone to pick, have a group of supporters urging them on or because they have grown weary of one profession and have decided that political office is a logical segue before retirement. However, just as you cannot “run a mule in the Kentucky Derby,” there are some who while making very good sideline players should never enter the real game.

Sometimes, however, when the candidate pool is a bit thin, one must go with the “best of the worst.” That’s the reality in politics because whether we like it or not, someone is going to win. However, it’s time that we stop letting such scenarios become the rule and make them the exception. We need better candidates across the board — and we need them to truly be prepared — not just interested.