Thursday, August 30, 2012

What makes a President?

As the Republican Convention and soon the Democratic Convention play out on the TV set, I find it interesting as a former Political Science major. I majored in this in the 1960's when Kennedy was running and it was an exciting time. I can only imagine what it has been like since to sit in a Poly Sci class!
I was delighted to hear Condoleeza Rice speak. She reminds me so much of my political science professors back at Hunter College. Not that she actually resembles them, but it reminds me of the great discussions and points of view that we had. We sat in class during the Cold War with the Russian Embassy right across the street. I can remember us all rushing to the window to look over when some incident took place. Condoleeza (love her name) is a wonderful speaker and a true intellectual.
 There was some talk also of who was the greatest President. I suppose that will be debated until Judgement Day. But then I realized that all the great ones had characteristics in common. Those I believe to be: courage, integrity, and leadership. With those you could not go far wrong, In fact, I believe you could not fail.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Required reading

It occurred to me that it might not be a bad idea if we paused around the age of forty and made a kind of plot outline of our lives. At that age, we are in Act Two of a Three Act play, so to speak. A lot of action is probably taking place. The events in Act One led up to this moment. So, what will happen in Act Three? Maybe a character outline will help. What characteristics do I have, and what is my "fatal flaw," as they say in mysteries. Hopefully not actually fatal, that is, but something that holds me back. What about the people who influence my life? And what influence do I have on them? All this will have a bearing on Act Three. Hopefully, you have some idea of where you want to be at that point. So write the story the way you want it to turn out. At forty, you still have options. Act Two is full of possibilities. Act Three is the plane landing at the airport. OK, now I'm here. I hope you're where you want to be. Buy the ticket now.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

There is an answer

It's funny the things that come back, the memories that seem to come from nowhere. When you grow older, you are haunted sometimes by certain memories. They don't always make sense. Why do I remember this? Why did I forget that? Wouldn't it be great if we really understood how our brains work? It sounds as though there's a story there.
I have a memory of a school. I can see the hallway, polished linoleum floors, wooden walls, tall ceilings, and I go into the classroom. Inside is a math class and I am failing it. The male instructor probably doesn't know that I missed something vital in a transfer of school to school and I seem unable to tell him. It's like a dream but it is not a dream. It happened. I repeated the class. If I had been able to tell the teacher that we never covered square root in my last school, I would probably have got the help I needed and passed the class. But I remained mute and had to repeat it. He never asked and I seemed frozen in place, unable to call for help. Maybe that's why I remember it.I suppose there's a reason why things happen. At least, that's what we tell ourselves. It helps to make sense of chaos. And maybe there is total order in the universe. We just don't always know that.  Maybe that's why I like mysteries. At the end, there is an answer.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Your Political Opinion? Puhlease!

It's a crime, yes it is. What? To post your political opinions on social media sites. If everyone on the site is of the same opinion as yourself, why bother, unless you want to get into a discussion.  If their opinions differ, you are going to irritate them. You are certainly not going to change their opinions by coyly introducing a little quote of your own. If they have any sense they will not lash back at you with their own quotes. If they do, you have started a "flame war" as they used to say. So, please keep your opinions to yourself, or at least, use them in a more appropriate place, such as a site where such opinions are solicited. Social sites are like dinner parties in a way, where it is said that religion and politics are NOT dinner table conversation.
So, no matter how strong your burning convictions are, please keep them to yourself if they are politically charged. If you don't know if you are touting a political agenda, please stop and think. As we run up to a presidential election, opinions are going to be more heated, no doubt. Each person is entitled to vote their own conscience and that's the way it should be.