Education Editorial: basing legislation on fact rather than feeling

By: Bill Bosher - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - For Greeks first, and then Romans, the Aeropagus was a place to debate issues. As we view reports from the daily deliberations of the oldest legislative body in the Western Hemisphere, the Virginia General Assembly, there may be lessons for young people about discourse.

I have been an instrument rated private pilot for 25 years. While not current, meaning that I have not been up recently, I continue to be amazed at the misconceptions about aviation. The song, "You are the wind beneath my wings" is lyrically beautiful but aerodynamically incorrect. The wind beneath your wings is called floating…and the wind above the wing creates lift. It is amazing that much of public debate is wrapped in data that is incorrect. Even worse is to ignore it.

More insidious was a recent comment about a legislative proposal, "it may not be correct but it polls at 82%." Ideas are delivered with passion to receptive audiences, but they often forget to check their information. It is the most frightening part of these editorials…not that someone will disagree, but that I will deliver material that is inaccurate. Perhaps we should teach young people that it is ok to disagree on the application of information, but we should always determine and agree on the facts.

In a society that begins dialog with " I feel", the goal should be to focus on the truth. Whether passing laws or discussing politics around the kitchen table, perhaps we should remember the word's of Dragnet's Det. Joe Friday, "Just the facts, Ma'am."

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