Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Back to School

This time of year fills me with conflicting emotions - feelings of both melancholy and excitement.

Melancholy because
the end of Summer is the end of carefree times with friends and family. The end of watching my granddaughters frolic in the swimming pool. The end of watching my dogs run for hours in the park. The end of dining outdoors at my favorite cafe. And to top it all off, it gets darker earlier.

But I'm filled with excitement at this time of year also. The same kind of excitement I felt as a young man preparing to return to school. Who will I meet? What will I discover anew? What will I learn that will help me grow? What challenges lie ahead? What victories can we achieve?

A lot of people call this time of year "Back to School."

"Back to School" marks a time of sober thoughtfulness as we look toward the immediate future.

And our immediate future is filled with both uncertainty and promise.

The presidential election in November is one of the most important we have faced in years. The U.S. is dealing with international conflicts and war on multiple fronts, and with disasters, both natural and man-made, at home. National pride and confidence are at an all-time low. We simply cannot afford a continuation of the failed policies of the last 8 years.

Yet the promise of a new beginning is in the air.
And if we go "Back to School" to learn new skills we can assure that the promise of a new beginning will be fulfilled.

We must learn how to urge people to vote for their own best interests. We must learn how to educate people about what is at stake for women. About what is at stake for reproductive health and rights, for equal pay for equal work, for access to health care and education and for affordable housing and good jobs.

At the New York State level we must learn how to educate people about the need to pass the
Reproductive Health Act which will guarantee a woman the right to make her own decision about when or whether to become a parent. We must learn how to educate people about the importance of turning the New York State Senate into a pro-choice body. And, we must learn how to educate people about the need to re-envision the Healthy Teen Act and finally get our kids real sex education that will positively impact their lives.

So let's recommit ourselves to learning and to teaching as best we know how.

Let's give ourselves, our kids and our grand kids a new beginning.

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