Dear Editor,

I am a retired educator who loved teaching high school speech classes. What fun it was to hear the voices of teenagers as they would listen to and value that which each person had to say and to guide them in their use of reputable facts. The students would also find joy in working together. Empathy, attitude, fact-checking and truth are all a part of the development of a good communicator.

What I witnessed was that students — and all people in general — listen to leaders, just as students listen to educators. If leaders show no respect, are bullies and devalue others in order to "get what they want," then those who listen are tempted to do the same to others.

So what is the attitude of the president concerning the COVID-19 disease? He shows no respect for others by not wearing a mask and demeans reporters who have masks on.

He fails in the empathy check, as he seems unable to extend empathetic remarks to those who have served in the military, calling them "losers." Or his statement when he said the late Sen. John McCain, who fought and was captured during the Vietnam War, "was not a war hero." He showed little care for the late Rep. John Lewis, a true hero in the Black movement. Even he devalues the moments when Black men and women have been killed by police, but yet he speaks of our enemy, Russia leader Putin, with such admiration.

And finally, if I were still teaching speech/communications, I wonder how my students would react to listening to the leader of our country who consistently lies. Yes, just as I teach my students, check your sources! Be certain your sources of information are valid. Don't make them up. Do not believe television and radio that are biased and share propaganda. Check all sources!

So, who would I vote for on Nov. 3? I would choose those that have the qualities of a leader: are empathetic, have a positive attitude, and who tell the truth and care about facts.

It's time to elect Joe Biden for President and Kamala Harris for Vice President of the United States of America! This will be vital for our democracy to continue.

Miriam Kenning, Ottumwa

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