So what to discuss... how about our recent election. I never understood why politics is such a hot button for so many people: being an employee of a large fairly, stable, and by nature risk averse company (insurance) probably insulates me from the volatile issues somewhat, but as I've gotten older I've come to appreciate a few things about politics and how people react to the political process.
1) Discussing politics without divulging your particular political tendencies is nearly impossible
2) Anyone who chastises someone else for being a radical is most likely just as radical in the opposite direction.
3) Post election I don't believe for one minute that the loosing party feels that the winner is "their President."
4) Two parties cannot possibly represent the full spectrum of political ideology. It leaves all of us with some degree of compromising to do.
5) The industry of politics is much larger than it should be. How much money did these two guys spend on this election?
6) How Central Mass became the home of bass fishing and country music is beyond me. Admittedly not political, well sort of political, but just something that has always puzzled me.
Was I successful in keeping my political leanings hidden?
If not, then you probably guessed that I supported Barak Obama. To my fourth point, neither candidate really got me excited personally. There is one issue that is enormously important to me: public education.
I cannot for the life of me understand why educating our future isn't the most important thing on every single American's mind. I mean every single American. Generally we love our kids, right? Some people struggle with that, I understand, but ask 100 parents what the most important thing in their lives and 98 of them will tell you that it is their kids. Why aren't teachers the highest paid jobs in our society? Why do we have to count on someone's good nature to take a job with substandard pay to teach at schools where they spend the majority of their time being parent's to kids who's mom and dad are working 80 hours a week and sending them to summer camp after summer camp? I'm bleeding over into another topic that gets me excited... the rampant consumerism that drives Americans to chase the brass ring at the expense of the human relationships that really do matter. Moms, Dads... one of you stay home with your kids... or at least be there when they are. Ok, back to education.
Imagine a society where teaching jobs were highly sought after, and candidates had to keep coming up with new and creative ways to communicate with and challenge their students. Where teachers were motivated to continue to improve not because of the specter of standardized testing but because of the love of the craft and the rewards of a satisfying and prosperous career. Where programs like music, art and physical education weren't cut, but were overflowing with resources, exposing kids to culture and personal performance beyond that which is contained in the program of a hand held gaming device. Where schools were glimmering cathedrals to learning, not make-shift over-crowded relics of a generation ago. Schools should have money sailing around their halls and shooting out the chimney like leaves blowing around the yard on a dry and windy autumn day.
Why this isn't the basis of our society cannot be explained rationally to me.
So I start there, and while Obama won't get us to that place we have to make compromises come election day (again see point #4 above). Every other social program supported by the democratic ticket is of little to no importance to me, and were it not for this one issue I'd probably vote Republican every time.
The overhead that comes with voting for the Dems is worth it.
The only other issue on my mind this election is the war in Iraq. I feel it is time to bring our soldier's home. For them, their families, and for the sake of our country's global image, which has been damaged perhaps beyond repair.
Race reports to start up again next week.