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True value of an honest businessman

I have heard so many people use an explanation for voting for Donald Trump: he is better for business.

Indeed, Vice President Pence remarked during the recent vice presidential debates that President Trump is a businessman.

OK. I get that business owners might indeed be glad that a businessman is the leader of the free world.

I personally think diplomacy is a more important requirement.

But what about being an honest businessman? Is that not also a requirement?

I do not think leadership in this country calls for a businessman who lies, cheats and steals. All of which are not only part of Trump’s dubious business record (a New York Times investigation of Trump’s tax returns revealed that he has only paid $750 in income taxes in recent years) but also a part of his character.

This president’s comments and conduct present a personality profile of a man who cares more about the Stock Market and profit margins than about people. I, for one, am tired of reading and listening to the rants on Twitter and other media of a man who obviously does not think before speaking or listen to timely and sage advice from others. A wise man called Rumi once advised that before speaking, one’s words should pass through three gates in the mind: Is it true? Is it necessary? Is it kind? A true leader would do well to heed this advice.

I am the daughter of a small business owner: Ray Clark. He was the owner of a small corner grocery store, and a life-long Republican. He also had a big heart. I understand many of my dad’s concerns about government restrictions and their impact on a small business owner. We had many conversations over the years. But I do not believe my father would have voted for Donald Trump because in my dad’s assessment of a person he always took into account the person’s character. This is something I have learned to do as well.

As a former teacher of social studies I also know that character is an important quality of leadership. And I believe it is possible for the United States to have a strong economy and a good leader.

It seems to me that 2020 has been a year of reflection for many people. During the lockdown, I have read that many small business owners have had to re-think their strategies for staying open and available to help their communities. Also community members have come together to help small business and show their appreciation for services provided. Both have benefitted from this reciprocal relationship. In this age, a new vision of economy is called for, in which sustainability and respect for workers are driving forces — not just profit at all costs.

If you are undecided about your choice for the next president of the United States, I encourage you to vote for a leader who will heed advice, think before speaking and be willing to listen. Together with open hearts and minds we can create a kinder, more just and less divided nation.

Susan C. Long

Buckhannon

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