Time to put a doctor in the (White) House
A few weeks ago, we heard a statement on a radio talk show that we feel needs to be echoed to a larger audience: “A politician plans for the next election — a leader plans for the next generation.” How profound and so true.
Our great country has had several leaders who genuinely cared about and planned for the future of the country and its people. Lately, however, we believe our country has too many politicians and not enough real leaders. As a result, we feel our country is no longer trusted by other nations as the great world leader it once was, is no longer considered a “nation under God,” and it is more divided within than ever in its history except during the Civil War. We believe our nation, while still great, is in need of healing — and in need of a real leader who can help that to happen.
In reading the lists of potential candidates of both major political parties for the 2016 presidential election, we have seen only two who are not career politicians. One of these men, Dr. Ben Carson, a world famous neurosurgeon who has also had many years of experience in budgeting and management of large corporations and foundations, has formally announced his desire to run for the presidency.
Dr. Carson has also written several books, including; “America the Beautiful,” “One Nation,” “One Vote,” “Gifted Hands” and “Use Your Brain.” In his books and in media interviews, he has expressed his views on the issues affecting our country.
We believe we have had enough “politicians,” who care more about elections, money and control than they do about the millions of individuals who they are supposed to represent. Could it be that Dr. Ben Carson is worth looking into? It seems that he might very well be more of a leader and less of a politician than other potential candidates.
Agree that Obama is not serving America
Re March 26 letter, “Obama, not GOP, is real traitor to U.S.,” by Marc A. Smalkin: I say a high-five to Marc. Without going further, my feelings are the same and also with the past opinions from George Pratt of Altamont.
I’ll be 90 in September, an AAF World War II vet — single engine pilot. Not bragging, but proud of it. My father got me interested in politics in 1933. Yes, 8 years old. Honestly, this B.O. in Washington is the worst commander-in-chief I can ever remember.
Of course, many reasons dictate this. One that really sticks in my craw is the Bergdahl case — a deserter. Tell me, what kind of brilliance is it to release five Taliban commanders from Guantanamo Bay for this guy?
A few more things: Our present Secretary of State John Kerry is another Neville Chamberlain. If these people think we can settle this nuclear situation at the table with Iran, well, we better think again. A nation that wants to destroy Israel, hates the United States and backs a lot of what’s going in the Middle East — ISIS, etc.
As I have said before, wake up, America.
Offended by editorial on opt-out initiative
The April 12 Gazette editorial, “Be aware of influences before opting out of tests” is a lame, deeply flawed and poorly camouflaged attempt to demean teachers and their unions.
The author begins with a warning to parents to “… make sure they’re doing what’s best for their children, and not what’s best for the state teachers’ unions.” This premise, the centerpiece of the editorial, is fatally-flawed, i.e. what is best for the children just so happens to also benefit their teachers; they are not mutually exclusive.
The real, cynical intent of the editorial is revealed in the outrageous accusation that, “Parents and their children are being used by the teachers unions against Gov. Andrew Cuomo as political leverage for what the unions want to accomplish … ” I am deeply offended by the author’s blatant ignorance of the profession of teaching and our organizations.
I believe the author of this editorial needs to be “schooled” in who teachers are and what we do. We genuinely care about our children and their growth. They are our lifeblood. That is why we teach. We don’t “use” children or parents as “political leverage.” That is beyond cynical; it is slanderous. We devote our lives to helping our students develop their minds and their hearts.
Furthermore, we do not fear evaluations, but we vehemently oppose being measured by an insidious, feckless, counterproductive, high-stakes exam, which does our students no good whatsoever.
Many of my students found the classroom to be a refuge, a safe place from terribly dysfunctional families and dangerous neighborhoods. Their academic skills were severely limited and they often suffered from low self-esteem. But they do respond to genuine caring and personal attention.
My “successes” with these children were often subtle, but real — and not measurable by a state test. Motivating a student to become more interested, to want to improve, to feel better about him or herself, to treat his classmates more kindly, to begin to develop self-confidence — to begin to feel some hope for the future — this is the essence of a teacher’s heart. The real value of a teacher cannot be measured by a meaningless state exam and often involves intangibles that come to fruition years later.
Finally, the editorial attempts to justify evaluating teachers’ performances the same way, i.e. outcomes, as sales teams, managers in business and politicians. This bean-counting, cookie-cutter approach is beyond clueless — it reveals the glaring lack of understanding of the dimension and complexity of educating our children, and the efforts of our teachers. Shame on you. Our children are much more than sales quotas, and our teachers cannot be measured by profit margins.
The state exams measure neither student progress nor teacher competency. Opt out and let’s end this charade.
The writer is a retired Schenectady school teacher.
GOP undermines our commander-in-chief
Why should Iran trust the United States? While the president of the United States is negotiating a peace agreement, leaders of the majority party in the United States are officially meeting with the prime minister as a guest in the U.S. Capitol to bomb them.
Then 47 members of Congress — almost half of the Senate charged with overseeing Foreign Affairs — write a letter undermining the president that is recognized, by the rest of the world at least, as the commander-in-chief of the U.S. forces.
The previous president of the United States invaded and decimated its neighbor Iraq to find weapons of mass destruction that didn’t exist, while the United States continues to subsidize and pledge support for another neighbor that is supposedly being temporarily restrained from destroying their country (Iran) with United States’ provided aircraft and bombs in a “preemptive strike.” Add to that the fact that the United States is leading the sanctions effort to destroy their economy.
And what is the crime that they have committed? It seems that their neighbor, one of our allies, thinks that Iran might possibly get an atomic bomb that would equal their power of an atomic bomb and neutralize their bully power in the Middle East. Is there any possible solution to this problem other than to bomb Iran’s peaceful atomic energy industry, which might develop an A-bomb, and bring on another “Cold War” to attempt to avoid World War III?
The “preemptive strike” approach is consistent with our “wage war to gain the peace” approach and is so much more intellectually mature than the “impractical love one another” and “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” approach that has become politically unacceptable by the “supreme law of the land.” Who can argue with that?
It is unfortunate, however, that a major political party can openly show such disrespect to our duly elected president and commander-in-chief of our military forces before other nations and even charge him with “not loving his country.”
I believe that this president has proven that he loves this country and its people so much that he is trying to keep out of war. His opponents are proving that their love is not for the country, but for control of the country.
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