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How Politics Should be Like Teaching

By       Message Daniel Geery     Permalink
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A number of people have asked me for more information on comparing running the country to running a classroom, the latter of which I did for twenty years. I had planned to do more articles on this than the few I've already done, but of course that takes time and there is only so much of that in a day.

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But it occurred to me last night that the essence of this comparison might be summarized simply: My primary goal in politics would be the same basic goal that it was in education (though of course I had several goals, such as exposing kids to the beauty of nature, expanding their curiosity, and genuinely reflecting on the world around them).

That primary goal was and should be to encourage thinking at all levels, in all areas.

Politicians should be doing the same thing, as should scientists, inventors, writers, actors and actresses, and, well, every human being, all the time.

This simple goal has multiple meanings, all the more so the more you ponder it. But let's stick with the basics: There is no real thinking coming out of Washington D.C., or at least none (or remarkably little) that benefits humankind.

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If elected, I would ask questions, demand answers, never stop bringing up topics that are routinely ignored, explain to the public what I learn in comprehensible terms--about the behavior of individuals in power, and about what the U.S. is doing in general. I would clamor incessantly for removal of the veil of secrecy that we operate under. I would encourage and reward whistleblowers in every way possible so we CAN think clearly about what is going on.

I also note that teaching IS politics, the first step in creating a society that can handle a democracy, along with the scientific and technical fruits that are regularly, indeed furiously, coming our way, in a manner that could help us all, as opposed to destroying us. This could come about with a few ounces of wisdom that would come from honest thinking and broad reflection.

The overwhelming majority of teachers I've known really do strive in their own way to instill caring, compassion, empathy, cooperation, critical thinking, and recognizing that we are one people with but one planet and the same ultimate fate.

Yes, we absolutely need to encourage thinking at all levels. Failing to do so will be our epitaph.

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In my run for U.S. Senate against Utah's Orrin Hatch, I posted many progressive ideas and principles that I internalized over the years. I'm leaving that site up indefinitely, since it describes what I believe most members of our species truly (more...)

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