(political notebook)

Dick Gale • President of the Democrats of Hemet – San Jacinto

Rain is viewed differently depending upon where you live or what you are doing. Rain is often viewed as an inconvenience, forcing us to change our plans or interrupting our activities. Too much rain at one time causes flooding or accidents on our roads. It sometimes dampens not only the ground but our emotions. With the single line from his song “Rainy Night in Georgia”, “I believe it’s rainin’ all over the world,” soul legend Brook Benton brings the melancholy spirit of the rain home. Ella Fitzgerald and The Ink Spots sang “Into each life some rain must fall but too much is falling in mine”. Most songs about rain imply someone is feeling blue or lonely.  Longfellow’s poem “The Rainy Day” has the famous line “Into each life some rain must fall,” meaning that everyone will experience difficulty and heartache at some point, the “Day” being a metaphor for “Life”. The Carpenters in their “Rainy Days and Mondays” sang “Rainy days and Mondays always get me down”. Some songs ask for it not to rain. One of my favorite songs is “Don’t Rain on my Parade” sung by Barbra Streisand.

But some of us welcome rain and there are songs for us too. “Singin’ in the Rain” by Bing Crosby is a favorite. Californians often view rain as welcome since we don’t get it often. It nourishes our vegetation. It cleans the air and our streets. Sure it sometimes comes at inconvenient times and sometimes it comes too much at one time but for those of us living in Southern California we know how important rain is. Water is life and we get water through rain. Sometimes we even get a rainbow.

I think of rain as a metaphor for life. We all need nourishment. Many children can’t wait to get out of school, out of class but education is nourishment for them, it helps them to grow and mature. There was a time back in the 1960s when California led the nation in quality of education for its children. The downward trend started with Republican Gov. Reagan. California is now in the bottom third of states in almost all educational categories including performance, number of students in each classroom and spending on education. Imagine what would happen to California if the rainfall were cut in half. We have experienced some years like that and it is not pretty. For the education of our children, that is what we have allowed to happen. Educational resources have been significantly cut. When I went school decades ago, almost every school had not just the three R’s but programs like music and art to enrich the whole child. And by the way, science has shown that musical training can change brain structure and function for the better. It can also improve long-term memory and lead to better brain development for those who start at a young age. Just like we need rain for crops to grow, we need to restore adequate funding so our children can grow. We need to provide our children with nutrition not just for their bodies but for their brains. We need to vote for those candidates that support adequate both education funding and nutritional meals for our children.  Let our children experience the rainbow of life. Let it rain, let it rain, let it rain.

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