No Child Left Behind.

OK.  I’m coming out.  Now I can say it. I’ve held my tongue, remained professional, and impartial for nearly a decade: To say the least, the last 7 years have been interesting. The entire time I’ve been teaching, George W. Bush has been president.  I can’t wait — hear this, I can’t WAIT — for him to leave office.When I began teaching in 2000, the country was optimistic, and life was fun, exciting, and full of promise.  I couldn’t decide whether I wanted to practice architecture, start my own design firm, or teach.  Each choice was filled with promise, and each was a sure fire ticket to a successful and stable career.  I chose teaching, and it has been a splendid 7 years of meeting wonderful students from all around the world, but during that time, I’ve watched closely as the mood of the students has changed from one of hope, outlook, and opportunity, to jaded, disconnected, anger over a “country on the wrong track” — and there are nary a few left that believe that our country isn’t on the wrong track.As emerging designers that are in tune with not only the demands of their profession, my students and I often discuss current events, the state of the world, and the larger vector of where “we’re” going.  It’s been curious — seven years ago, my students were split.  About 50% were proudly republican, and 50% were ardent democrat.  Those numbers have shifted. Even my most staunch republican students (and friends) have toned it down, and some (like the one former young republican chapter president that graduated last year) have jumped ship all together.  Most of my students, republican or not, believe the country is on the wrong track and nearly all agree that this presidency has been a bust.Oddly too, that perspective has rubbed off.  For the first time in ages, I really couldn’t care less who wins in 2008, because even the most miserable, gay-hating, hard-headed Republican (arguably Romney) and the most confused, deer-in-the-headlights, avoid-the-issues, Democrat (arguably ________ — fill in your own blank), beats the heck out of the last 7 years.  Regardless of who gets elected, whether it’s Barack, Hillary, Mike, John, or Mitt (or even Mike Bloomberg), the next president will be little more than a federal janitor, cleaning up a hell of a mess in the Oval Office.The election is an open game, and it’s one of the very few in history that hasn’t been largely predetermined.  If you’re a student and reading this, YOU SHOULD GET INVOLVED.  Volunteer for your candidate (you’ll learn a lot), vote (not only in the “big one” but in the primaries and caucuses for your state (get an absentee ballot if you need to), wear a t-shirt for your candidate, start a Facebook group, talk about it with your friends.  The dark days are over kids, it’s time to reignite the national mood of hope and promise, because it’s your future. So today, I have 377 links left in my paper chain.  That means one more time around the sun, and a few extra days, and George will be a blank page in history, scribbled with blood and misery and footnoted with dollar signs.  Adios George, don’t let the Oval Office door hit you on your way out.