08/28/2012 05:35 pm ET Updated Oct 28, 2012

Conference Attire: Decisions and Choices

Well, as predicted in my last blog, you just never know -- hello Isaac! Can't say I did not warn you. I did tell you to grab a hurricane guide and pack rain gear. Did you take my advice? Did you make the right choice? Decisions and choices, I know what you are thinking; well here we go, she is going to start talking politics. Romney vs. Obama, blah, blah, blah. Nope, I will be talking about other decisions. I know you think I am going to write about the decision to hold a political convention during peak hurricane season in Florida. No, I leave decisions like that to the "experts." You know the ones that hold hundreds of meetings in which Groupthink takes hold after two hours and everyone talks about risk-benefit analysis and polling data, etc. I am sure meetings like this are taking place right now just across the bridge from where I sit writing this blog. Today's topic is Romney's speech and Tropical Storm Isaac; "talk amongst yourselves." It's like a scene from "Coffee Talk with Linda Richman" on Saturday Night Live. For those of you who are too young to remember, Google it.

No, I am going to write about other decisions. For example, I was at the mall yesterday and saw a group of delegates walk into a restaurant. How did I know they were delegates? The red shirts the whole group was wearing with bold blue letters across the front "blank state delegates for Romney" was a dead giveaway. I thought after a certain grade in middle school you just stop wearing camp T-shirts. I wonder, who in this group thought this was a good idea? How was this decision made? Was anyone given a choice? It only gets worse -- because we are in Florida for some reason everyone thinks you must pair the T-shirt with Bermuda shorts. It's like a Jeff Foxworthy-esque sketch, "You know someone is just here for the RNC if..." You fill in the blank. I am sure you can think of a million things to say.

Which brings me to today's lesson, I told you I would let you know which past U.S. presidents had visited UT. Theodore Roosevelt is probably the one who most people associate with UT. During the Spanish-American War the U.S. military used Plant Hall, UT's main building, as a base of operations. Back then Col. Teddy Roosevelt and his Rough Riders had their headquarters in Plant Hall. Have you seen pictures of this man and his Rough Riders? Somehow I cannot picture him in cargo shorts and sandals. Not even on a hot day in Florida -- the man seemed to have standards.

The 26th president of the United States was a republican and a conservationist. No really he was, I promise. Such a person did exist at one time. Yep, hard to believe in the world we live in today -- those two words are rarely associated with one another anymore. Most of our national park land including Florida's own Everglades National Park is conserved because of President Roosevelt's love of the outdoors and his need to preserve it for future generations. Kids now visit these parks virtually through the Internet.

There are hundreds of pictures of Teddy with his "kill" after a hunting trip. Can you imagine what that would look like today on YouTube?

President Roosevelt was a military man who fought in foreign wars but knew the cost of war. I teach a course on mediation. For me, one of President Roosevelt's greatest contributions was his initiative in using the International Court of Arbitration at The Hague, although it had been founded in 1899 it had not been used by any world power, until he decided to use it to mediate a dispute between Mexico and the U.S. We mediate issues on campus all the time. Peer mediation is even used at times to settle issues on what constitute proper attire in class -- just kidding!

Seriously, this was a republican president who was also an environmentalist and believed in conflict resolution by finding common ground with the opposing side through mediation. No way, this is not possible. Are you sure he was a republican?

Enough said, take this small lesson in UT history as an opportunity to think outside the box when making your own decisions. You do have choices; don't allow others to make them for you. If you are interested in learning more about President Roosevelt and UT visit the Henry B. Plant Museum located on the first floor of Plant Hall.

Now let's get back to what really matters. Visitors please make the right choice when it comes to attire during your RNC visit. We don't wear Hawaiian shirts, Bermuda shorts are not cool and nobody, and I mean nobody, wears socks with sandals.