Archive for November 1st, 2016

When the push of a button may mean obliteration of countless humans, the President of the United States must be forever on guard against any inclination on his part to impetuosity;  to arrogance;  to headlong action;  the expediency;  to facile maneuvers;  even to the popularity of an action as opposed to the rightness of an action.
He cannot worry about headlines;  how the next opinion poll will rate him;  how his political future will be affected.
He must worry only about the good — the long-term, abiding, permanent good — of all America.
The nakedness of the battlefield when the soldier is all alone in the smoke and the clamor and the terror of war is comparable to the loneliness — at times — of the Presidency.  These are the times when one man must conscientiously, deliberately, prayerfully, scrutinize every argument, every proposal, every prediction, every alternative, every probable outcome of his action and then — all alone — make his decision.
In that moment he can draw on no brain trust;  no pressure group;  no warehouse of trick phrases, no facile answers.  Even his most trusted associates and friends cannot help him in that moment.  He can draw only upon the truths and principles responsible for America’s birth and development, applying them to the problem immediately before him in the light of a broad experience with men and nations.
He will be face to face with himself, his conscience, his measure of wisdom.  And he will have to pray for Divine guidance from Almighty God.
And that is exactly where every thoughtful American will be, and what he should do, when he marks his secret ballot next Tuesday. *
     —    President Dwight D. Eisenhower
From the book:  “Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Dwight D. Eisenhower
[* The emphasis is mine and does not appear in the original.    —    kmab]
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