I graduated from Long Island University in 1991 with a bachelor’s degree in political science. In the years since, much of the specifi c material I learned has been forgotten in the whirlwind of family and career life. Even so, there are some important lessons I still recall. Dr. Donald Baker often told us undergraduate students that states are the product of both their history and geography. In other words, both experience and natural characteristics are to be taken into account when evaluating political decisions. As I look back upon my own life, this statement rings true not only for states but for individuals as well.
As a child I remember watching the news with my father. Like most young children, I wanted to watch cartoons, and I made this abundantly clear to my dad. Sensing an opportunity to teach me a life lesson about responsible citizenship, my father took the time to explain each news story to me in terms that I could grasp. Soon this became a regular activity, and, when combined with my dad’s historically based bedtime stories and books, my interest in current events, history, and politics soon blossomed. While other kids were watching Captain Kangaroo, I was watching Good Morning America.
Today, people may argue about whether kids should be exposed to such material, but looking back, I fi nd that my early interest in current events set me on a career path. The fi rst news story I remember following on a daily basis was the kidnapping and subsequent murder of former Italian Premier Aldo Moro by the Red Brigades. Terrorism from across the sea was brought directly into my living room. Even at such a young age, my sense of fair play and knowledge of right and wrong was offended.