In my water aerobics class the other day, we did an unplanned regression.  We played.  We sang ‘Farmer in the Dell’, did the Hokey-Pokey and giggled rebelliously when asked to tone it down. We were still giggling when we went out to face the day.

After consulting with friends on Facebook (where most comments on my blog are made) I realized that this needs to be another plank in my platform.  Congress, lighten up!! You guys are suffering from lack of play.  Now, getting in the pool every day probably isn’t a good idea, especially considering the problems so many have with sexual stimulation.  But there’s no reason why we couldn’t have a nice game of dodge ball, or red rover to get out aggressions.  And teams would not be allowed to form on party lines, except on Friday when there would be a weekend to heal.

Afterwards, everyone would go in for milk and graham crackers, followed by a nap or at least quiet time on our own mats.  If anyone thinks it would be impossible, I have some kindergarten teachers for you to meet.  Once we institute REAL childlike behaviors, maybe Congress will grow up.  That’s what I shall propose when you elect me.

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I know I haven’t been campaigning very hard lately.   It’s been too hot to think about politics, although that hasn’t stopped the big kids from crisscrossing the country.   I am wondering if it’s worth a summer in Washington DC to get that pension and health care.  But a public servant does have to make sacrifices.

Just in case you’ve forgotten what my platform is, and I hope you haven’t because I can’t remember some of it, I’ll list them.

  1.  Grammar shall be taught in all public schools and remedial classes established for those no longer in school.  No one may become a journalist or commentator unless they have passed this course and know when to use an objective pronoun.  That goes for sports announcers, too.
  2. Forget vouchers and the Affordable Health Care act.  We need cradle to grave national health.  I really don’t think it would cost more.  After all, Medicare kicks in just when we’re getting old enough to be paying the price for 65 years of high living and not paying attention to our health.  Wouldn’t it be better to let everyone have a free physical every year so that we could prevent things like diabetes, blocked arteries and cancer?  This is so self-evident that I don’t understand why everyone isn’t on board with it.
  3. By popular demand, men shall have the same control over their reproductive organs as women.  This includes having to spend a month in sole charge of a two-year-old before getting Viagra.  They should also have to prove publicly that they need it.
  4. Tax money should be put in at the bottom.   We all know that the rich just get richer so I believe that the rest of us should have some fun with it before it gets to them.  This is another thing that makes complete sense to me.  Those who think more jobs will be created if we give money to the wealthy just aren’t thinking logically, unless they mean in the service industry – butlers, chauffeurs and maids.  But, if poor people get money, they buy things like TVs, cars and hardcover books.  That’s what creates jobs.

 

That’s all I’ve come up with so far.  Now, someone explained to me recently that they didn’t want the government to be in charge of these things because “they always screw it up”.  I’ve thought long and hard about this and finally found the flaw in his argument.  Actually TWO flaws.  The first is that this man wants to let the same multinational companies that stole pensions, wrecked the housing industry and are polluting the planet to be in charge of our health, education and welfare.  In response to a letter of complaint I sent to Mobil Oil some time ago, the company informed me that it didn’t make moral decisions.  Other companies have made it clear by their actions that they are also amoral.  So why does this guy trust them to do what’s best for him and do it better than the government?

Which brings me to the second logical flaw; WE ARE THE GOVERNMENT.  I may not seem like it sometimes, but everyone who votes is part of the government.  If we elect crooks then it’s our own fault.  But at least we can vote them out, if we care enough.   I have voted in every primary, general and local election since I turned 21.  There were a lot of depressing results but I still had a chance to cancel out the vote of someone who obviously didn’t understand the issues as clearly as I did.

So, while I really want you to vote for me, if only in the interest of improving the quality of English spoken in the country, the main thing is for you to vote.  If we don’t remember that we are each a part of the government, then one day we won’t be.  America will officially become an oligarchy instead of a republic.

 Before I’m accused of coming up with opinions just to get elected, I thought I’d share a helpful letter I wrote to Pres. G. W. Bush before his last inauguration.  Oddly, he neither answered nor took my advice.  When I’m in the Senate (one term only, please) perhaps my cost-saving ideas will get more respect.
Dear Mr. Bush; I understand that there is some concern over the cost of police protection and crowd control for the inauguration. I have a suggestion that would take care of that and honor a group that has supported you for years.
Just invite the NRA to take over the job. They all have their own guns and assure us that they know how to use them safely. They are extremely well organized and would probably enjoy a chance to use their militia training. Finally, they would stay at local hotels, eat at local restaurants and therefore help the economy.
I’m very surprised that you haven’t already invited them.
Sharan Newman  (Dec. 2004)
Remember, vote for me!  No agenda, I just want the benefits!!!

What Ever Happened to Critical Thinking?

I recently have been put to a great deal of trouble based on information that someone got from a website that I hadn’t updated in over two years.  It would have taken less than five minutes to find out if the information was accurate but the person took the page as current and never bothered to follow up, even though logic would have told him that it put me in two places at the same time.

This was annoying but it also brought home to me how much we believe these days from only looking at single sources.  Part of this is, as someone explained to me, “People like to believe things that confirm their prejudices.”  If what you read does, why bother to check further?

One result of this is that people are happy to base their votes on the certainty that Mitt Romney personally hired Chinese peasants to take jobs from Americans or that Barack Obama is on the payroll of the Israeli government. (I’ve heard both of these. DON’T cite me as a source)  Which you believe depends on how you already feel about these men.  How many of us are happy to hit “share” without finding out if there is any truth in the statements?

We have always been inclined to do this.  Word of mouth has been a source of “accurate” news for thousands of years.  Advances in the means of communication has only accelerated this and not just recently.  As I say in THE REAL HISTORY OF THE TEMPLARS, King Philippe IV had broadsides read throughout France telling of the crimes that the Templars confessed to.  These were so successful that some people still believe them. 

But now anyone with internet access can find both totally unsupported gossip and also, with more work, the facts behind it.  The problem is that few people bother.  One of the things I notice most, as an historian, is the way in which myths root themselves like stinkweed and can’t be eradicated.  I know for a fact that there are people who believe everyone in the Middle Ages was five feet tall, didn’t live past thirty, thought the earth was flat, never bathed, put women in chastity belts and believed everything the pope told them. (Of course my readers are smarter than that)  All of these things have been proven many times to be false but, because so many people WANT to believe they’re true, they never bothered to find out.  Even worse, they are sure that historical and archeological reports to the contrary must be fabricated.

Why is it that so many people thought/think that the Mayans predicted the end of the world?   How many are certain that aliens have visited earth?  All rich people are heartless and greedy.  All poor people are lazy and don’t want to work.  We love thinking in generalities.  I include myself in this, but I have also been trained as an historian and that means finding more than one source to prove my assumptions.  It also means being able to accept that my first impressions and preconceptions might be wrong.

I’m posting this on both blogs and my fan page.  It covers everything.  I suppose it’s a sort of manifesto against fuzzy logic.  Along with the grammar police, I intend to submit a bill in the Senate requiring schools to emphasize analytical thinking.  I shall also establish remedial classes for anyone entering politics.  Any out-of-work historians or experimental scientists like to apply to teach them?

Agatha and I thinking analytically.Image

 

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