Monday, December 24, 2012

Open Letter to VP Joe Biden

Mr. Vice-President:

In the 2008 vice-presidential debate, you mentioned that your dad told you, "Champ, when you get knocked down, get up." Right now, America has been knocked down by the tragic events in Newtown.

I teach after school enrichment classes on chess at five elementary schools in New Jersey, similar to Sandy Hook Elementary School. The way I see it, America is a sick society. The name of our illness is violence. I write these words, not to bash the country that I love, because I want America to get better.

My prescription for restoring America to mental health is to make chess a part of the curriculum in all elementary schools. Chess is an aggressive game; yet there is no violence. Contrary to the notion that chess players are nerds, chess players are the coolest people I know because we rely on our wits rather than resorting to violence. Chess is cool; violence, not cool.

I realize that teaching chess in our schools will not solve America's problems overnight. But, as the hallway posters in the school buildings say, a journey of a thousand miles starts with one step.

National Master Jim West