Date: October 28, 1930
Location: Northampton, MA
(Original document available here)
When we carefully examine it the wonder grows that, under the political practice we have developed, our government is so good. We do not give enough attention to nominations nor elections. We let our choice turn on some immaterial personal characteristic that has nothing to do with the qualifications for the office. We heap so much abuse on public servants that many with every capacity for office will not subject themselves to the ordeal. Conspicuous success in private life is often considered a bar to public recognition. In response to some whim we support candidates who can only succeed in office by disregarding the reason for which they were elected.
All of these practices put our government at a disadvantage. We are only saved from a complete disaster because the average person rises somewhat to responsibility. With our increasingly intricate system of government and business we must give more attention to the capacity of candidates. Their decisions affect our whole national life. Public service is a most exacting profession. Honest and good intentions are almost useless unless they are supplemented by ability. When we vote for anything but the best we cheat ourselves, our families and our country.
Citation: Calvin Coolidge Says: Dispatches Written by Former-President Coolidge and Syndicated to Newspapers in 1930-1931 (Calvin Coolidge Memorial Foundation)
The Coolidge Foundation gratefully acknowledges the volunteer efforts of Craig Eyermann who prepared this document for digital publication.