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The office of the president represents ‘the inner soul of the people’

President Donald Trump surrounded by members of congress and supporters on Dec. 20, 2017, as he speaks during an event on the South Lawn of the White House.
President Donald Trump surrounded by members of congress and supporters on Dec. 20, 2017, as he speaks during an event on the South Lawn of the White House. AP

I recently commented on the record-breaking number of candidates for president. I’m still astounded that more than 24 people announced their willingness to run the country.

Such a decision is bound to require an inordinate amount of self-confidence and some degree of egotism.

A local Democrat, commenting on the number of candidates for president, explained the phenomenon thusly: “I think that all those people running for president looked around at what President Trump is doing and figured that they could do a heckuva lot better. “

My desk drawer recently yielded an amusing, and perhaps timely, comment on the American presidency by H.L. Mencken, one of America’s foremost journalists. Mencken’s piece appeared in The Baltimore Evening Sun back on July 26, 1920.

“As democracy is perfected, the office of the president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people.

“On some great and glorious day, the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last, and the White House will be occupied by a downright fool and complete narcissistic moron.”

Every presidential election runs the risk of putting our nation under the rule of such a president as the one Mencken described.

Over-used phrase

Add to your storehouse of language an expression that seems to be dominating TV panel discussions these days.

“Coloring outside the lines” is used to describe conduct outside the norm, especially in politics.

I can identify with the phrase. In elementary school the only “C” on my report card was for actually “coloring outside the lines” in art class.

Trump is frequently accused of “coloring outside the lines.”

Climate change

I believe in climate change. The nation has been plagued by devastating hurricanes that practically destroy entire communities and raging fires that destroy entire forests.

In Alaska, even the glaciers are melting. Here we are in October, and I see only a few golden leaves on the trees in the woodland behind our house. Throughout September, temperature hung in the mid to high 80s, sometimes soaring to 90 degrees.

A suffering football fan asks in an email, “Why can’t UNC-Chapel Hill get a team that can beat Appalachian?”

“Climate change,” I tease.

Encouraging moment

It was a memorable and heart-warming scene. There’s little wonder it was shown several times on the network news recently. Two little boys — one white, one black — ran toward each other.

When one met the other, they embraced for what seemed a minute or two and then walked off, hand in hand.

This could not have happened during my childhood. We’re not there yet when it comes to racial relations, but we’re on the way.

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