[Hopefully, my only political blog post of the season -- and it's pretty pathetic]
I must confess something that has been eating at my conscience for some time. It’s one of those guilts that haunts you. You can see it, in your nightmares, bringing you to a halt at the pearly gates, forcing you to examine your deepest and darkest of sins. [Image ((Beale, Scott. “Animatronic John McCain & Barach Obama Presidential Dolls.” Laughing Squid’s Photostream. 1 Sep 2008. 29 Sep 2008 <http://flickr.com/photos/laughingsquid/2818719072/>. ))]
In my speeches, these days, I enthusiastically promote increased attention to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. In balance to that, I hopefully make an effective case for the critical need to help students learn the creative skills of art, music, drama, creative writing and all of the other expressive arts. I do not, however, make single mention of physical education.
To me, however, this seems almost too obvious to even need mentioning. But I am wrong. The importance of physical health, in my own life, is obvious to me in that I know that I have walked five miles in the two days that I have been home — two walks to the store (1 mile each way) and two walks of the dog with Brenda (at least a mile). Rasta the dog use to be good for four miles a day — but she’s old now.
What grates on me even more is my almost conspicuous omission of the social sciences. This sin is rendered even more difficult to bear by the fact that I was a social studies teachers. This omission became all the more obvious in two conversations I had during presentations in China were we concluded that context should be considered a literacy skill. What’s the use of being able to use information by exposing what is true, employing the information, expressing ideas compellingly, and all within an ethical framework, if we do not know anything about the sequence of events and social, cultural, geographic, and economic nests that it rests in.
I am not sure what the connection is, but I woke up early this morning with a realization that is going to make me seem like the most ludicrous of hermits — and wholly irresponsible as a citizen of a democratic society. But…
With just over a month before the election, I can not recall having seen a single campaign commercial from any candidate who is currently running for political office – this entire season. It’s pathetic, I know. But the millions of dollars that have been contributed to the candidates and have been spent on the campaigns have not touched me, at least as canned messages designed to tell me what I should believe.
I don’t watch Fox News. I don’t watch CNN. I don’t watch any news. I read the newspaper (pretty weird, huh!) and I read the news sites.
I was forced by circumstance to watch Giuliani’s speech at the Republican Convention. I also watched Obama’s Race Speech on YouTube. I won’t mention which one disgusted me and which inspired me.
The rest of it seems to me to be a shameful effort to tell me what I should believe, and much of that is based on twisted truth. I’m pretty disgusted by the whole thing. I was not even compelled in any way to watch the debate. Just more opportunity to deliver campaign incantations.
You see, I use to be a history teacher. I cared a great deal about the context of our times. I tried hard to convince my students that they should care. My measure of success was when students walked out of my classroom continuing to talk about what we were discussing in class. And largely because of this…
I can connect the dots. I don’t need anyone to tell me what I should believe. I can see it for myself.