Anne Golden was splendid in her moderator's role. Her outfit reminds all that she is the referee. SC photo by David Staver
Anne Golden was splendid in her moderator's role. Her outfit reminds all that she is the referee. SC photo by David Staver

Anne Golden came to Current Events at Schein Hall Monday, Feb. 5, beautifully dressed in a black-and-white striped top. It was a subtle message that she was referee of the day.

A recipient of the Order of Canada from her home nation, the winter resident of Sanibel was more than comfortable in her role as Current Events moderator. She proposed questions and then navigated the more than 100 participants through them in a lively two hours that found no shortage of opinions.

President Trump's State of the Union address was first to go under the knife and views were all over the map.

It was incredibly boring. Just like all the other,” Gene Rothman said.

It was a very positive speech about the direction he wants us to go and is going,” Corky Boyd said.

Cut the speech to 20 minutes,” was Hyde Tucker's suggestion.

It was an excellent speech and the tax bill has been excellent,” Doug Mitchell rose to say.

So it goes at Current Events. Other venues might find themselves on a disorderly road with divisive topics that President Trump and Congress – not to mention crafty Current Events moderators like Golden – can serve up at 10 a.m. 52 weeks a year on Monday. Not the Current Events crowd. Veteran Monday debater Herb Rubin, took a respite from the topic at hand and said, “I'd like to say how proud I am of this group which shares its views freely and with respect.”

The State of the Union could have filled a half hour or more, but like 60 Minutes, Golden didn't let that happen and moved on. She had plenty up her referee's sleeves, like, “in view of the tax cuts, where will the money come from?” Another stampede.

The plan is to bleed the government of money so there is nothing for social programs,” offered Jim Lavelle.

The other piece of the plan is to cut the non-military budget,” added Bob Terry.

In Washington there is no appetite to cut spending and there is no appetite to raise taxes,” Rothman chimed back in, to which another person deadpanned, “The Republicans care about the deficit, but only when the Democrats are in office.”


Russians Would Have Preferred Clinton, Current Events Hears from Ex-CIA Employee

Golden moved on to the investigation of the Trump White House by Special Counsel Robert Mueller and the opinions were lively, informed and all over the map. Golden, president of the United Way of Greater Toronto for 14 years, is used to speaking her mind. “I feel so constrained,” she said at one point with a big smile.

She stayed in her lane as arbiter and took her audience into the age of technology. Should time on mobile devices be regulated for children or anyone else? What about Amazon's Alexa that learns about its owners? What about the future of store clerks if checkout becomes completely automated through one's phone?


(Right) Edina Lessack said, “When kids are watching movies on their phones in restaurants, that's the parents' fault.”

A lady from Chicago who works with children was passionate, “I see smart kids have a hard time functioning and have anxiety.”

One man made his point that “every time something new comes along there is fear associated with it.”

Neither side could disagree with Edina Lessack's observation, “When kids are watching movies on their phones in restaurants, that's the parents' fault.”

Then a lively two hours was over. On Monday, Feb. 12, Tucker, the new president of the BIG ARTS board, will be the moderator and, like Golden this past Monday, will have to sit on his own opinions for two hours.

Current Events starts at 10 a.m. in BIG ARTS Schein Performance Hall and is open to all.