Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Looking for solutions to three major American problems

World peace, social class disparity and America's schools

These are the three topics I previously stated I would tackle upon returning from vacation. Unfortunately, I got sidetracked by talking about the plight of interscholastic sports. But I'm ready now! And while this rant is not intended to solve these three problems, it is written to call to your attention the three books I mentioned earlier. Their authors give me confidence that there are ways these three critical problems can be mitigated.

Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis by Robert Putnam
In interviewing Putnam this week at the Aspen Institute, Institute President Walter Isaacson, said,...”this book is perhaps the most important book of the decade.” That's quite a statement from someone who has written the book on Einstein! Putnam's advise has been sought by the last three presidents and both political parties and he was called, “the most influential academic in the world today” by The London Sunday Times. His previous book, Bowling Alone was best seller as it looked at the decline of community agencies in American life.

Lessons of Hope: How to Fix Our Schools by Joel Klein
You might recall that my rant of February 9 entitled, "Veteran educator reconsiders opinion of charter schools" was written after I heard Klein's talk, but before I had a chance to read the book. I now have some further insights I am eager to share.

Religious literacy: What every American needs to know – and doesn't by Stephen Prothero
At last I have an opportunity to share some deeply felt of my personal beliefs about religion: that (many/most/all) of the world's problems have been brought on by religion, BUT that it is only through (truly understanding and using) religion that they will be solved.

How fortunate I feel to live in a city where I (an average citizen) was able to hear all three of these authors speak for FREE! I'm sorry for those readers of my other blog http://wwwdcfreeculture.com who were unable to hear them.  While I'll have something to say about each of thse topics in the weeks ahead, the most important aspect of this blog is to encdfourage you to read the books and consider the topics.  Just as Walter Isaacson urged the audience at the Aspen Institute, “not only to read Putnam's book but to buy 5 to give to friends and urge their them to do the same”. I'd like to urge readers to give thought to the topics and share them with others on my blogsite: http://www.ronlehkersrants.blogspot.com

I know this departs from my theme of giving advice from the "Greatest Generation”. Yet as I turn 90 retirement enables me to ponder the insight of this brilliant, generation of insightful writers. But I'll still be raving about the “good old days” and want to close with this bit of nostalgia unrelated to the theme of this blog.

Playing with Guns
My father taught me to play with guns. As an amateur woodworker he even made guns for me out of scrap wood and rubber bands made out of discarded car tire inner tubes (we didn't know we were recycling – we thought we were just saving money). What fun my buddies and I had playing war!
Twenty years later, life was so busy for me as a father that I never thought to make them for my children. However, as a doting grandfather, I eagerly made them for my first grandson. How crestfallen I was when my "baby boomer” son and daughter-in-law rejected them as a part of the the generation that disdained our gun oriented society.
And now I am mystified that these peace-loving children and grandchildren are enamored with computer games with titles alone that scare me: Modern Warfare, Hitman and Carmagedom.

There are things that puzzle me!

1 comment:

  1. On 4/7/2015 12:13 PM, Harry R. Sachse wrote:
    > Ron -- Really enjoyed your rants and raves. A thing on my mind these days is Iran -- which I remember as Persia -- and one of the great centers of civilization of the ancient world. Persia may be feared by Israel, but it was also Persia that freed Israel from the Babylonian captivity. I think that if Israel could recognize the West Bank as a Palestinian State, that could be the key to peace with Iran -- as it was with Egypt and Jordan.