These never-ending election cycles should produce some outstanding leaders, just as the progression of sports figures pass through their youth, high school, college/minor league sports programs. Our forefathers were overly optimistic by allowing just about anybody - with few exceptions - to run for the highest office in the country, now world, without going through a similar series of "tests" to prove their competence and character.

Allowing this demeans the enormity of the tasks associated with governing, especially in this age of advancing scientific discoveries available for exploitation across the broad spectrum of industrial, medical, educational, military, transportation and even the staid, backward-viewing political world.

For many voters, governing looks like cushy, overpaid jobs requiring little skill except the work of getting the job in the first place, which, in this age of money-controlled politics, requires some shameless oratory skills and abandoning personal values.

Twenty-first century governing easy? Nothing could be further from the truth.

Social and news media have made distribution of baseless information, irrelevant to real world issues, virtually instantaneous. The noise from this barrage of information, true or not, is overwhelming and in long election cycles turn people off the entire election process. Not good. Our elections are our voice in the core of democracy.

So how does one who is busy with the daily tasks of making a living, sift through the chaff to find the seeds of truth? Can't spend valuable survival time reading hundreds of books and other literature and watching TV. Political ads don't cut it either, but we do have a way to assimilate sufficient information to make informed decisions when voting. I found one several years ago watching "The Ed Show" on MSNBC. An esteemed economist, professor and former Secretary of Labor, Robert Reich spoke plainly about issues and approaches to solving them for the common good of all people, not just the few.

Since then, he has transformed themes of the day into short, educational video clips with illustrations that collapse the mountains of information into focused, pragmatic and progressive approaches our leaders should consider to meet 21st-century challenges.

Prominent political leaders in both parties favor moderate or conservative approaches to stay within their donor support bubble they believe will help them keep their jobs. Reich is considered a progressive pragmatist and Democrat supporter, as I am, so there is some bias, but opposing views are welcome.

With our computers and smartphones, the internet and search engines, like Google, voters can quickly gain access to sufficient information to make informed decisions at the ballot box. In order to make it even easier, I invite interested, all ages and political persuasions to join me in a group session at the Park Rapids Library on Saturday, Sept. 29 at 11 a.m. until about 1 p.m. or whenever we run out of topics. Don't worry if you can't be there at 11 a.m.; drop by for whatever time you have. Videos will be selected primarily from YouTube and run for 2-3 minutes, with opportunity for follow-up discussion. You can also just get on your TV or smartphone, go to YouTube and search Robert Reich videos.