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Op-ed: Yearning for better

I yearn for a president who is not devoid of honor; who has integrity; who doesn’t lie as easily and readily as he breathes.

I yearn for a president who gets his information from books, journals and briefing papers rather than cable news and social media.

I yearn for a president who understands the modern world is not a Darwinian dogfight pitting nation against nation, but an interdependent arrangement of economic and political forces separated by a few keystrokes.

I yearn for a president who has studied history and appreciates history, not a president who is disdainful, dismissive and disrespectful of history; one who understands the complexity of the post-World War II geopolitical structure.

I yearn for a president who respects war heroes, not war criminals; who has read, respects and honors the Constitution. I yearn for a president who respects the rule of law; who does not consider himself above the law.

I yearn for a president who is not an ethical infant; who is not pathologically insecure; who is not a draft dodger.

I yearn for a president who does not demonize the press; who does not normalize bigotry and racism; who is not a blatant demagogue, cynically employing the crudest of tactics upon a naive and unsuspecting political base.

I yearn for a president who is not pathetically addicted to self-aggrandizement; who does not require an endless parade of toadying sycophants to assuage his fragile ego.

I yearn for a president whose speaking currency is not the petty insult, nor name-calling; who does not build his political fortunes by exploiting our cultural divisions, but rather by uniting our citizenry.

I yearn for a president who is not an international embarrassment and laughingstock — easy prey in the political chess game. I yearn for a president who understands the importance of diplomacy, statesmanship and the skillful management of affairs of state.

I yearn for a president who believes in science; who doesn’t dispense happy talk, false hopes and crackpot medical advice. I yearn for a president who doesn’t think using nuclear weapons against a hurricane would somehow be a good idea. I yearn for a president who doesn’t believe that wind turbines cause cancer.

I yearn for a president who has a conscience; who has a functioning moral compass.

I yearn for a president who puts the country before himself. That’s what leaders do. They put others before themselves.

I am reminded of words spoken by Harry Truman, the 33rd president. In the mid 1950s Truman said “The American people can always see through a counterfeit. It sometimes takes a little time, but eventually they can always spot one.”

However, we’re not the same people we were in the 1950s. In the 50s we were a society that had been tempered by hard physical labor, a worldwide economic depression and a worldwide war that had taken 70 million lives.

Now we are a nation of poorly educated consumers, woefully unschooled in history and government, addicted to small electronic screens, holding aggrieved and resentful worldviews and lacking any vestige of critical thinking skills. That combination leaves us ripe and easy picking for the propagandists. The con man, the scam artist, the reality TV personage.

Sadly, many of us have never read the Constitution nor have any idea what’s in it. I urge my fellow citizens to procure a copy of the Constitution and study it. For a government of and by the people to work, it is imperative the people are knowledgeable regarding the framework of that government.

I fear for my country. I hope our republic holds. I the upcoming general election, we shall see.

***

Mark Cochran is a lifelong Mid-Ohio Valley resident and retired chemical worker and welder; he now serves as a member of the Wetzel County Solid Waste Authority board. He is a registered Independent, who lives near New Martinsville.

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