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Julia Edwards: U.S. rapidly losing our place of moral authority

Op-ed pieces have appeared in The Union urging us to give Trump a chance. Shortly after the last plea appeared, an article appeared in the L.A. Times on the qualities of leadership that the U.S. Army strives to give its officers. The current occupant of the White House was never in the military, rarely reads anything longer than a tweet, and was raised by a man who was a member of the KKK. This may explain some of his deficits.

Here are qualities the U.S. Army trains its leaders to have.

Trust: According to the Army Field Manual, a leader develops an ethical atmosphere that encourages trust among his team members. They trust the leader and each other; in-fighting and group competition is discouraged.



Discipline and self- control: The Field Manual requires a leader to show self-control and behavior that matches the core values “loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity and personal courage.” Many of these values are echoed in the Boy Scout values, and in Scripture. We have not seen much of that in our president. Where is the self-control when he receives unpleasant news? Instead, we have a man who asks for two briefings a day on the positive reports on him in the news.

I am almost 91. I have lived through World War II and subsequent wars, and I am afraid. I have never felt afraid for America, until now.

Judgment and critical thinking: The manual says a leader “seeks to obtain the most thorough and accurate understanding possible.” He should think about “first, second and third consequences of multiple courses of action.” This president just wants to win, whatever that is, and tweets out his latest spontaneous thought.




Self-awareness: The manual says, “Self-aware leaders know themselves, including their traits, feelings and behaviors … They recognize their effect on others.” The manual notes the consequences of lack of self-awareness, “he unfairly blames subordinates when failures are experienced … rejects or lacks interest in feedback.”

Empathy: The manual includes this characteristic as an important element in leadership. Without empathy, an individual is unable to understand or have concern for another person’s point of view or feelings, and is unable to accept another perspective. See tweets on Jeff Sessions.

Everyone who votes is entitled to his or her opinion on a proper leader. This country is diverse, made up of people of many different backgrounds, training, ethnicity, religious attitudes and political points of view. We have been a divided people for a long time, but we have been able to go forward together with respect, believing in similar attitudes of fairness and responsibility, caring for each other, caring for people of other countries.

This man, Donald Trump, (I refuse to call him president, as I believe he has failed to be a president, even though he received the votes that give him the title,) has taken us down a path peopled by those who support hatred, violence, bigotry and death. He has demonstrated the qualities that led to the evil that Adolf Hitler delivered to the world. The Nazi horror is not dead, it has been sleeping since 1939, and is now back in virulent form. If you want a picture of the rise of evil, try Erik Larson’s “In the Garden of Beasts,” an American ambassador’s account of life in Berlin when Hitler came to power.

I am almost 91. I have lived through World War II and subsequent wars, and I am afraid. I have never felt afraid for America, until now. Donald Trump has let evil into the White House, and unless we stop him, you will see more evil on our streets. The group in Charlottesville was only the beginning. They are raising money and plan many more demonstrations.

If you voted for Trump, are you supportive of these demonstrations? Do you still think he is a good guy? Are you so taken with the idea of lower taxes that you cannot see what he stands for? Do you still think he has an ethical foundation? If you are still a supporter, we are all at risk, and we will all go down.

The United States is in danger, we are rapidly losing our place of moral authority in the world. And we will all be responsible. God help us.

Julia W. Edwards lives in Lake of the Pines.


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