Letter to the editor

“Knowledge is, in any nation, the surest basis for happiness.”

 

Thus did President George Washington address Congress, January 8, 1790—a call for simple study, without  political party lines. Congress respected the president’s clear commitment to education—its properties and purposes—to lead in pursuing America’s happiness.

 

More than two hundred years later, uncomfortably close to another Election the majority of Americans are cynical about information made available the public, openly condemning the insulting lack of integrity practiced by elected officials. “Well they didn’t ask ME!” is a common retort by unhappy and impatient citizenry begging to be heard and counted in the greater scheme of things. What ARE the options for actively participating in a meaningful process of representing individual concerns voiced at home and school, at senior and community levels?

 

It is never too late to START WITH YOUR OWN POWERS OF REASONING. READ. Gather sufficient information to be able to ask and answer informed questions about the issues you value. Then GET TO KNOW THE CANDIDATES who are running for office in your district. Dennis Evans of Reinbeck and Tracy Freese of Dike are new to local politics and offer a refreshing desire to LEARN in tandem with the skill of good LISTENING—observable traits that invite sharing honest thoughts and ideas.

 

BE NOT INTIMIDATED BY CURRENT RHETORIC. For instance, the word “democracy,” used and misused regularly, deserves a background check! How about creating a family breakfast table dictionary/encyclopedia for frequent conversation entries? To kick off such a project you might try Ann Jones’ readable summary of contemporary social problems in Scandinavia and how ”democratic” solutions there differ from those here at home. Full of interesting facts, this article can easily be pulled up on your favorite search engine.

 

Good learning and good listening,

 

Crispin Spaulding

Reinbeck