I love mathematics. Always have since I was a little kid. There's a certain sense of security in math--knowing that what you learned as a 3 year old: that 5+4=9 is as true today as it was back then--and that it will be true for as long as man exists.
Math is the second most important element in the development of mankind--behind only language. Math allowed us to establish trade and commerce and to explore our world. Math allowed us to construct bigger buildings, to develop drinking water and sanitation systems, to build roads, invent computers and establish representative democracy. Math is how we know that the average temperature of the planet has been rising for the last 12,000 years. Math allowed us to put men on the moon and bring them back to Earth, Math allows us to plot the course of any object in the universe. And math (thanks to Einstein) allowed us discover how everything was created--and how all objects relate to one another (except at the center of a black hole).
Math is wonderfully consistent and non-discriminatory. For the rich and the poor, for the black and the white, 5+4 always equals 9.
But over the next few months, math is going to come under attack. There will be some that claim 5+4 doesn't equal 9. That it's "unfair" that 5+4 always equals 9. That it is "too important" for 5+4 not to equal 10, or 100 or 1,000,000 or 1,000,000,000,000. And those same people will try to scare others by claiming that 5+4 will actually equal 0. We will be told that 5+4 can equal whatever we want to be--so long as we "feel good" about the sum we choose.
And those that try to defend math will be vilified. They will be painted as "cold" and "heartless". They will be told that they live in a "fantasy world" where numbers hold actual meaning. And that holding on to the principals of mathematics will just "take us back to the failures of the past".
Yes, it will be a rough time for those of us who love math. But we won't let the attacks get us down. Because once all of the yelling and the arguing and the debating are over, the numbers will still be there. All of the words won't change the math, won't change the basis for everything that we have built and learned over the last 4,000 years. Because in the end, 5+4 will still equal 9--no matter how much some wish it didn't.
That's my 145,284,658 divided by 72,642,329 cents.