I planned to blog about politics and the upcoming election this week. I thought it might be helpful to provide a brief civics lesson about the two-party system in America, and warn about hysteria and paranoia running rampant in the streets of Bellevue. I planned to urge people to remain calm and think before going to the polls.

Then my life got rocked by an unforseen crisis or two, and my desire to be the voice of reason waned just a bit.


A friend and I joke during our conversations that we have to "change hats" in order to discuss different topics, because we are both involved in so many different things, and take on so many different roles.

That, of course, is true in most of our lives. We are at different times in the same day -- sometimes in the same conversation, as with my friend -- a parent and a child, a professional, a volunteer with several groups, a sibling, a friend, a neutral observer.


"These are the times that try men's souls"

When Thomas Paine wrote these words during the American Revolution, well over 200 years ago, I wonder if he had any inkling of how deeply they would resonate throughout the centuries? Did he have any idea that, perhaps, the worst was yet to come? That men would create bigger and better ways to torture each other?


Imagine the following scenario:


Recently I was rummaging through a closet looking for something, and came across a photo album that featured scenes from my high school and college years.


I hate winter. Even the mildest of them wear me down mentally and physically. By February, my tolerance for cold temperatures, dreary days, and snow and ice is pretty much nonexistent. This year, however, it appears that we all are going to have to dig a little deeper when it comes to putting up with a winter that has shown us no mercy.


I should have known that something was wrong Wednesday morning. It was much too quiet in my house.


In law school, we liked to call it advocacy, and litigators-to-be practiced and polished the various techniques of presenting a position in a compelling -- and hopefully convincing -- manner. Bottom line, though -- it was arguing. :Lawyers elevate arguing to an art form, but it's still arguing. Two sides present their reasons why a specific conclusion should or should not be reached -- you know, they argue.


It was clear from the comments at Monday night's Northgate School Board meeting that many people were not grasping the full story about why the school board and administration felt it necessary to furlough so many teachers and aides. In large part, that is due to the fact that the board and administrators, by law, can't tell you a lot of things you really need to know. In equally large part, it is due to the fact that a whole lot of people have been ignoring the very large handwriting on the wall for a very long time.