Saturday, June 22, 2024

Which side of the coin does your candidate fall on?


As time has passed, the leaders in education have adjusted and altered curriculums to align with the perceived needs of contemporary society. Two generations ago, a traditional education included a healthy dose of the sciences, civics, mathematics and traditional languages like Latin. As a young man, Latin was available to me as a course in junior high and high school, but even then, the number of students interested in the subject was limited. Not sure if any of our public schools still offer Latin as a class. Is this a good thing or a bad thing?

I am not advocating that teaching Latin is necessary to produce a qualified and well-trained workforce. I am not suggesting studying a variety of science and math courses is essential to hold a job or to succeed in today’s world. But it seems schooling should be about education and that involves more than simply creating job skills for a specific trade or task. Education should be about more than knowledge of how to do a job, it should also be about the ability to think and reason about how to make decisions in your life. At least a portion of our formal education should be about learning to discern truth and fact from allegations and untruths. We should embrace free thinking and celebrate growth and change, which new discoveries and information can create. Perhaps the most important discernment is the difference between truth and political spin.

Learning to question and interpret what one hears, reads and is exposed to is essential to having a free and independent society. Occasionally, we must be willing to consider evidence that contradicts our beliefs and admit the possibility that preconceived notions may be wrong. To be intelligent, one should understand what they do not know and then determine how to inform themselves and become knowledgeable.

As a young boy of the early ‘60s, in a time prior to the Civil Rights Act and integration, there were ideas I was exposed to which were contradictory to the “knowledge” and information I heard on the street or saw from the behavior of my neighbors. As I grew older, I had to make decisions about what was “right” and what was best. There was discernment, doubt, questioning and a desire to find the truth. I found knowledge was constantly evolving. What may have been accepted 20 years ago was not necessarily right considering knowledge and the changes that came with time. While segregation may have been a “truth” in the 1930s, I would hope few would believe it is appropriate or “right” in today’s world. It was something I learned, rather than simply accepting what the world around told me was true.

As the election cycle spins on there are a lot of statements being made by politicians. It would seem no matter what is said — whether it be a misrepresentation or a downright lie — much of the electorate seems to accept assertions at face value. There seems to be a desire to support party rather than hold politicians to standards and make them accountable for their actions and their words. I refer to both major political parties when I say, show me how your political positions will make my life better. Show me how it will improve the future of the world around me, how it will make me safe from foreign aggression, how it will protect the rights granted in a free society. Earn my vote. Stop basing your policy on positions on the requests of your biggest donors. Have a vision!

What a political “party” stands for is even in doubt. Members of the same party cannot agree on their core beliefs. There is infighting, name calling and political posturing, but little discussion about a specific and measured plan. Rather, there is only discussion about the past, its failures and who is to blame.

There appear to be no consequences for politicians who seek to divide and blame, rather than have a vision for the future. Whoever is elected to political office must lead and govern. Leadership requires leading all the people, not just the ones who donate to you or follow you blindly. How can this be accomplished if when there is a disagreement, those who disagree are the “enemy?”

As the candidates go forward, listen to those who have a plan, who can explain their vision of the future, and are seeking to represent all the electorate. Those are men and woman who are statesmen, and statesmen are what will keep us safe and prosperous. For those who seek only power and control and to divide us, let them be cast aside. The question for all of us is which side of that coin a candidate falls on. That is why we vote.

Thought for the day: Being smart is not knowing everything, it is knowing what you don’t know and seeking the truth.

Until next time…I will keep ridin’ the storm out.