Living Columns & Blogs

Anyone can become president, even someone without experience

In this Nov. 20, 2013, file photo, Oprah Winfrey listens in the East Room of the White House in Washington, during a ceremony where President Barack Obama awarded Presidential Medals of Freedom. Faced with the presidential buzz surrounding Oprah Winfrey, President Donald Trump is steering clear of nasty nicknames and colorful insults, though he’s making clear who would win a celebrity showdown.
In this Nov. 20, 2013, file photo, Oprah Winfrey listens in the East Room of the White House in Washington, during a ceremony where President Barack Obama awarded Presidential Medals of Freedom. Faced with the presidential buzz surrounding Oprah Winfrey, President Donald Trump is steering clear of nasty nicknames and colorful insults, though he’s making clear who would win a celebrity showdown. AP

One of the assurances that American kids have always grown up with is that in the United States, anyone can become president.

The possibility that President Donald Trump and Oprah Winfrey may challenge each other for the job confirms that axiom.

Isn’t it ironic that the most important job in the United States, if not the world, requires absolutely no experience?

However, some of you may contend that where politics is concerned, inexperience is an asset, rather than a handicap. Actually, partisan politics in general is a bit suspect, as are most candidates by members of the opposing party.

Also, few presidents have been liked universally.

Likable, if not lovable, Ronald Reagan, another Hollywood product, is one of the exceptions. Gerald Ford also was tolerable, even if Lyndon Johnson did once say of him, “He’s so dumb he can’t walk and chew gum at the same time.”

Johnson, himself, was not very popular, primarily because of the continuing Vietnam War, but also because of the incident in which he picked up his dog by its ears. It caused national furor.

Richard Nixon lacked charisma, even before the Watergate break-in scandal that led to his removal from office.

My dad was a dyed-in-the-wool Republican, as were most of his children. When we were kids, listening to one of Franklin Roosevelt’s fireside chats on the old Philco could earn us a severe reprimand or even a paddling.

My mother was non-political and, in my memory, voted in only one presidential election, casting a vote for Dwight Eisenhower. She said she wanted to thank the World War II general for bringing home safely her four sons who simultaneously served in the armed forces during the conflict.

When she went to the polls to vote, the registrar could not find her name in the Republican registration book. It was finally determined that someone had changed her registration from Republican to Democrat, not an uncommon occurrence in Surry County politics at that time. In fact, Democrats were generally looked down on as some kind of second-class citizens.

Changing flats

I’m not surprised that this winter’s uncommonly cold weather has cut into church attendance. It would take a truly hellfire-and-brimstone sermon to warm the congregates, if the church furnace were to go on the blink.

But as a minister friend once reminded me, “We shouldn’t measure our religious faith by the time we spend in church. If it’s the real thing, it permeates our lives, every hour, every day, as we live positively as an example for others,” he said.

He told the story of little Willie, age 5, who was dressed and ready for church when his mother told him they’d be delayed a bit because the family car had a flat tire and Daddy was outside changing it.

“I want to help him!” Willie declared and rushed for the door.

“No,” his mother said. “You’ll get all dirty. And besides, you don’t know the first thing about fixing a flat tire.”

“I do, too!” Willie argued. “I watched Daddy fix a flat last week. And I learned all the words!”

Hog killing

I was a bit surprised at the reader response to the recent item on hog-killing weather.

For example, Glenn Keever remembers when his dad would be called on every year to assist a neighbor by shooting the neighbor’s fattened hogs. Keever was fascinated by how the farmer would strew shelled corn along the path from the pen to the hogs’ ultimate fate.

So much for hog killing weather.

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