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Thursday, October 25, 2012

It's Time...

After having watched the third "debate" between Gov. Romney and President Obama, I have come to the conclusion that the vote for President matters less than the elections of Senators and Congressmen.

The situation is simple: if members of Congress can seriously work together for the betterment of our country, either presidential candidate could be successful. If Congress remains disgustingly polarized, neither man would succeed in the oval office.

I really do believe that if our Congressmen were taking the best interests of the country to heart, they would be appalled at their behavior over the past 20 years.  In the words of Alexis deToqueville (as translated by Henry Reeve): "In the heat of the struggle each partisan is hurried beyond the limits of his opinions by the opinions and the excesses of his opponents, until he loses sight of the end of his exertions, and holds a language which disguises his real sentiments or secret instincts." He was referring at the time to France, but the description fits the good ol' USA now.
 
To put it simply: our politicians have gotten into the habit of taking positions merely because they oppose the other party's position. It seems to me to be a "groupie" kind of thing, where undecided or moderate politicians get sucked towards the positions of the more vocal extreme members of their party out of a need to "fit in." Woe be it to the Republican or Democrat who disagrees with the party line!!!

What each party needs is congressmen with strong opinions and strong speaking skills and a strong sense of self who are strong centrists. A political magnet must be put in the middle to draw others in and create a mood of civility. It is only when congressmen truly have a desire to work with ALL their colleagues that things will improve. They have to relearn how to talk WITH each other rather than AT each other.

If you, as a voter, expect to vote for a congressional or senatorial candidate because of what they can do for you,  your vote for president is irrelevant. If you intend to vote for a congressional or senatorial candidate because of what they can do for the country, maybe then your presidential vote will take on some meaning.

Friday, October 19, 2012

AMTNYS

The Association of Mathematics Teachers of NYS has its annual conference at the Rye Town Hilton in Portchester, NY on November 8-10.

I highly recommend this conference for any and all who have anything to do with math education, whether in New York State or not.
More information at www.amtnys.org

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Fairy tales

1st pitch in 9 minutes.
Fairy tale prediction: Rodriguez hits pinch hit game winning homerun.
Smack on the back of the head prediction: Tigers win World Series.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Poltical Ads

This year the political ads have been the biggest garbage I have seen.

I have yet to find a single ad where a candidate says anything of a positive nature. By positive, I mean something he/she would try to do or establish with the goal of fixing society's ills and making this world a better place. All I see are slams at an opponent, generally with fictitious stories or out-of-context comments or just general blather.  Dozens of ads about "gutting Medicare" that demonstrate a willingness to not communicate the truth in order to help slam an opponent.

If a candidate needs to lie to try to gain votes, they've lost mine.  I am no great fan of those in office, but I am no great fan of their opponents, either. Maybe someday someone will run somewhere in a manner I can commend on a platform I can support.

I am still waiting for a candidate for any office to acknowledge that their village, town, county, state, country all go together and are part of the big wide world and cannot be treated as disjoint. If we are to thrive in this world, we have to get our act together as a country, and fast.

When you vote this year, I suggest you strongly ask yourself how your voting choices, taken as a group, will help enable us to live and grow in the world as a whole.

As a matter of fact, before you vote this year, at least read Friedman's and Mandelbaum's That Used to be Us.  Although I for one don't agree with everything they are after, I strongly agree with the way they place everything in a global context.

The very first question you should ask yourself is this: will my candidate selections work together in a positive way? If you find that you select your choices because of single issues and without considering the overall context, then you are part of our polarizing politics, and have nobody to blame as we continue our downward spiral.  Remember: two people rowing in opposite directions will not move a rowboat no matter how strong they are. Yet, one will claim success because the current for a time will help move the boat in his/her direction.