The run up to the nominating conventions for the presidential candidates is all arithmetic. Delegates must add up to the proper numbers or the nomination isn’t there. Enthusiastic voters, popular votes, none of that matters if the arithmetic isn’t there. American electoral rules are strange, indeed.

Please use the open space below to share your first 50 words on the topic “arithmetic.”

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I didn’t do well at arithmetic, nor any other math & science courses. I ended up with an M. A. in British Lit, which, as my mother LOVES TO SAY means I have no marketable skill. But she’ll tell you I can’t boil an egg…I can boil an egg, it’s just I have no desire to eat a boiled egg, so what am I boiling it for?

Arithmetic – never one of my favorite subjects while at school. As an adult, I came to realize that it’s a universal language. Everyone can understand numbers, and they have existed since the beginning of time.. The Egyptians used numbers in the building of their pyramids and so did the Aztecs and many other civilizations. Now I have a different concept of arithmetic and all the uses it has.

Like most females of my era we weren’t encouraged to excel in arithmetic and/or science in the same way boys were. That, combined with the fact that my mother was always bragging about how she exceled in math, just absolutely turned me off about numbers. I stopped studying math as soon as I was able so that I only have the basics. Yet, it’s the funniest thing to me because I wound up married to someone who owned three retail operations and did all the bookkeeping at home for quarterly review by the CPA. Then when I returned to the business world post divorce I still wound up using math skills in my jobs and I did very well. Not only that but in both my marriages I juggle all the budgeting. Both husbands were/are careless when it comes to living on budgets. My forte and passions have always been art, music, history, writing, geography. Yee Gods, I can’t possibly compare those with math. Except certainly in one area. Joke’s on me: I read extensively about investing for retirement. I sure do like counting my money!

Arithmetic continues to be the universal bugbear, so far as academics are concerned. We are to be held responsible for this anti-maths mindset. We are all terrified of mathematics and we seem to bequeath this to our offsprings, siblings, neighbours etc. The common refrain being “I am good at science/arts /philosophy/astronomy/all other ologies, except mathematics”.

An acquaintance was once told by a car salesman on phone , that an offering of 25% off was on cards on recent purchases,and when asked as to what amount that meant, there was a profound silence on the other end . The poor guy apparently had no calculator/ calculating ability at hand . After a long pause , he cleared his throat and said-“You can see it for yourself ma’am , how much you profit from this sale !”

Needless to say, my maths-phobic friend slammed the phone . This ultimate insult of being reminded of her rudimentary arithmetic skills by a total stranger pissed her off big time , and she retaliated by telling all and sundry never to buy any car/ automobile from this particular showroom.

A hundred years ago the goals for a good education centered on the 3 R’s: reading, ‘riting, ‘rithmetic.” Now they’ve morphed into the “STEM” curriculum: science, technology, engineering, mathmatics.” Arithmetic is the common thread though. At rock bottom, mathematics is a language, a method for expressing reality. The problem lies, however, in the fact that it doesn’t require critical thinking nor valuation which are essentials for life in the 21st century. That’s one reason (and there are many more) why I strongly support the voices who call for a STEAM curriculum. STEAM connotes all that STEM does and the “A” adds Arts to the mix.

Arithmetic and the road to nominating candidates for the parties political conventions somehow don’t add up. The popular vote for “we the people,” and the Delegates that represent “we the people” can change if the presumptive nominee does not reach the magic number of 1237. Let’s say the presumptive nominee has 1230 Delegates and is 7 short of getting the candidacy. He or she could lose it by 7 Delegates. How? If the Delegates vote and can’t reach agreement (for whatever reason) and it goes to a second or more ballot it is the Delegates call. The result: it could be another candidate or someone all together new, ignoring the will of “we the people..” Sounds like the makings for a new book, “Arithmetic of the Political System.” What do you think?