IN MY OPINION

Reflecting on the lost art of writing letters, cards

Have you ever just stopped for a quiet moment of introspection and wondered to yourself just exactly how we got ourselves into such a socially-convoluted mess? Half of this great nation literally hates the other half because of differing political views. A large portion of the younger, college educated generation — as well as some who should know better — think everything should be provided but have no idea about where the hell the money would come from. “Just take it from successful people.”
In one of those moments of contemplation, I found myself sitting and wondering what ever happened to that majority of our population who once actually hand wrote letters and sent cards. There was truly a personal involvement in messaging, and we visited with each other and routinely sat down and talked. People actually took personal ownership of thoughts and utterances. No one stood behind the curtain of anonymity provided by the internet.
We lost something special in dealing with interpersonal relationships when pen and paper disappeared, only to be replaced with a keyboard attached to some electronic device with someone on the line to monitor, data-mine and sell our personal information. Penmanship was actually taught in our public schools and the ability to write and read cursive handwriting was an accepted fact.
This has little to do with the lost art of writing and everything to do with education in the proper use of such an exciting new technology. No one can get a full grasp of the challenges without fully comprehending how we reached this point. History no longer is really taught and yet, where it is, it has been so thoroughly sanitized by the textbook writers that there is little resemblance to actual events and what caused them.“Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”
My heart breaks for some of the teachers one sees, seemingly everyday, on television or in the newspaper who must endure the incivility that infects a school when discipline is unenforced. Administration bends over backward to assure that no one is ever suspended or expelled because the average daily attendance money paid to each school for each student who is in a classroom on a daily basis is so important in the budgeting process. Recognition of the damage caused to others in that classroom seems to be getting lost.
Political correctness is rampant on high school and college campuses, where students are forced to acknowledge dogma that is counter to proven scientific fact. A handful of academics and a handful of screaming crazies should not be sufficient to alter science. Once again, with a granddaughter attending Fresno State, I regularly hear horror stories about how much of that very expensive academic time is used by professors for personal political agendas which, in many cases, promote causes that are historical failures or scientific impossibilities.
The United States Department of Education is a relatively recent addition to that list of agencies staffed to oversee everything we do by people who are “far smarter than we.” The department was bestowed on the American educational process by President Jimmy Carter on May 4, 1980 and, despite a budget of $70 billion a year hasn’t accomplished anything which we can identify. My opinion is that it would represent a good starting point — along with the Department of Energy, but that’s another story — if we were to shut that agency down and send the money back to the state or, even better, leave it to local school districts.
The stakes are entirely too high to entrust the minds and education of our children and grandchildren to those who are so bold as to announce their political agendas and then tell us we can’t do anything about it.
But, as always, that’s only one man’s opinion.