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Early one day this week NPR transmitted a segment about the presidential candidates and a needed skill set. I hadn’t downed my first cup of coffee yet so couldn’t focus on any subject let alone those folks vying for the top spot in the presidential battle. After coffee, I thought about it a bit. I’m still thinking.

“Skill set” is a relatively new phrase. We used to talk about “talents” or even God-given talents to make people (especially kids) aware of their uniqueness. Aptitude is rather important. Skill set sounds pretty tiresome. One needs to develop competence in a particular area and then transfer it into a means of accomplishing certain tasks. Right? Of course!

If we look back into our country’s history, we’ll find our presidents had various abilities or at least had cronies who had a few and got them elected.  

Whoops — that’s snarky. Have any of our presidential elections been on the up and up where one vote per person took place and every one entitled to a vote had the opportunity to exercise it? After all these years, it still doesn’t happen.  

So, what was NPR talking about?  If one is a neurosurgeon or a real estate mogul, are those transferable skills for the skill set? Where do you put together the skill set if you don’t begin with certain abilities or life/career experiences?  

There are a couple of people from both parties with experience which could be transferable to the job of president. Those with some political know-how would be in that group. Even with political experience, nothing can match the daunting amount of background and skill one would need to become President. Ask any of our former Presidents, and if they’re honest, they’ll agree.

The job is too big. The issues both domestic and global are complicated. The “know nothings” exist throughout the land and fill the halls of Congress. Politics seeps into (or permeates) Supreme Court decisions. “For the greater good” is seldom the highest priority. 

After chewing this over for a few days, it dawned on me. MONEY. It isn’t skill which is necessary. It’s more like “I’ve got the money, Honey, if you’ve got the time.” What a sad state of affairs.  The root of all evil shows its ugly face once again. Forget all that self-congratulating “greatest country” boasting. We’re not there yet.

Sandra Brian Lore

Sandra Brian Lore had a typical small-town and suburban life outside Chicago — until she served for 32 years in the Foreign Service.

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