By John Maruskin
Politics: the art or science of government; the total complex of relations between people living in society. (Merriam-Webster Dictionary)
Because of next month’s presidential election, politics is on the minds of most Americans. If you have a Facebook page or converse with the person near you in a check-out line, you know the country is filled with political experts.
That’s the way it should be. To follow, form an opinion about, and discuss politics is a fundamental principle of democracy. And it’s fun. We love the “srategery,” (real word, look it up) broo-haw and pageantry. Said broo-haw has been going on as long as people have been getting along. At the next session of the library’s Meeting of Minds at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 30, in the library community room, we’ll carry on that great tradition.
In September, group member Harry Enoch turned us on to a wonderful collection of videos, available free online, by Harvard political philosopher Michael Sandel. He teaches Harvard’s most popular class: “Justice: What’s the Right Thing to Do.” The videos are taped lectures complete with student interactions. They are intriguing, enlightening and instructive because they allow viewers to see and hear discussions about the political philosophies that are the bases of our contemporary political discourse.
On Oct. 30, group member Phyllis Wagner will lead the discussion. We’ll be talking about the second video in the Justice series (you can see it at www.justiceharvard.org/2011/02/episode-two/#watch). We’ll also be reading the second chapter of Sandel’s book “Justice.” If you would like a copy of that chapter, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the library at 744-5661, ext. 110, and I will be glad to either email you a PDF file of the chapter or have a hard copy ready for you to pick up at the circulation desk.
Watch the video, read the chapter and come in to talk. Meeting of Minds has no political agenda; no one is an expert. We just like to think, and believe it’s important to share ideas. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.
At 2 and 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Kentucky Picture Show presents a movie that ties in with the National Alliance on Mental Illness display in the library foyer. The Winchester Chapter of NAMI created the display. It is full of pertinent and inspiring information, so be sure to take a look at it the next time you’re in the library.
Wednesday’s movie concerns a news reporter’s discovery of a mentally ill, homeless street musician who possesses extraordinary talent, even using half-broken instruments. When the reporter tries to help the musician, he runs headlong into the hard realities of the musician’s personal demons and the larger social injustices facing the homeless.
On Thursday, Oct. 11, from 5 to 9 p.m., Community Education presents Basic Life Support for Healthcare Providers in the library community room. This course shows healthcare professionals how to recognize life-threatening emergencies, how to provide CPR, use an AED and relieve choking. Upon completion, students receive a certification card good for two years. Certification is through the American Heart Association. Instructor Neal Oliver is a retired paramedic with the Winchester Fire-EMS with 21 years of experience and has been an instructor for the American Heart Association for 20 years. There is a $50 registration fee. To sign up, call Community Education at 745-3946.
Don’t forget ghost hunters Ron and Lori Coffey will be at the library Oct. 16 at 6:30 p.m. to reveal startling discoveries from their Gateway Paranormal Society investigations. Dig ghost hunting? Sure, it’s heady as politics. This program is filling up quick, so call soon to register to attend.