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History in the making

Current events group draws healthy crowd, discussion each month

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May 5th, 2017
Ann’s Choice current events club moderator Ed Scorpio (left) and club participants Isabelle Dick and Fred Antil do some research for the next meeting.

Ann’s Choice current events club moderator Ed Scorpio (left) and club participants Isabelle Dick and Fred Antil do some research for the next meeting.

Ed Scorpio, who lives at Ann’s Choice, Erickson Living’s retirement community in Bucks County, Pa., presents a compelling reason to participate in the campus current events group he moderates: “Current events is history in the making,” Ed says.

Plenty of people agree with him because although more than 150 campus activities and events vie for community members’ participation, current events meetings always draw a healthy attendance.

Knowledgeable and lively discussions take place because Ed and many of the participants do extensive research on the monthly topics, but the discourse always remains civil.

Meetings resemble town halls where people can ask questions, seek clarification, and give their opinions. 

Ed starts each meeting with a jolt to attendees’ pocketbooks: He updates them about the national debt. “I do this simply to make people aware of the current debt and each taxpayer’s share of it,” he says. Ed’s information comes from usadebtclock.org.

This February, he updated attendees about the increase in the national debt from Inauguration Day to Feb. 12, the date of the club meeting. The increase was in the billions, and a taxpayers’s share of it is eye-opening. 

The national debt changes by the second and can vary depending on waht kind of debt is included or excluded. But the total is in the trillions of dollars.

After sharing that sobering information, Ed moved to the meeting’s main topics. He began with the 22 executive orders President Trump had signed during his early weeks in office. Ed explained each one, then asked his audience what they thought.

The executive order to scrap two existing federal regulations for each new one drew the most discussion. But the Keystone pipeline, the wall between the U.S. and Mexico, the Trans-Pacific Trade Agreement, and sanctuary cities all spawned plenty of questions and opinions.

Next up was a short discussion on the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. Then came equally brief comments about newly confirmed Cabinet appointees. By then, meeting time was up. 

“We had good give and take, and people with strong viewpoints explained their perspective,” Ed says. “People seemed satisfied that they had an opportunity to say what they thought.” 

Diversity of opinion

Fred Antil, an Abraham Lincoln reenactor, most often deals with history from 150 years ago instead of history in the making. As a Lincoln impersonator, most of his activities are off campus, but he always tries to attend the current events meetings.

He’s attracted to its “thoughtful, thought-provoking, and interesting” discussions. 

Isabelle Dick, who has attended current events meetings for six years, agrees: “There’s always a diversity of ideas.” 

With information so much more readily available these days, says Isabelle, “Current events are in our face.” 

That might help explain the campus group’s popularity. “Because we get news faster and it’s available from so many sources,” Isabelle adds, “there’s more news to discuss today.”

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