On the Issues: Stealing Another Day of Life

Family, friends, and colleagues often ask me, “Why do you work so long and so hard?” My wife asks me this question when she sees me typing away at my computer at 4:30 a.m. or late into the night. My kids wonder why I don’t kick back and practice my hobbies more or take another trip. Besides, I’m over 70 years old, have a great retirement plan, and can afford to do so. (Click on the title above to continue reading if necessary.)

Maybe I shouldn’t be putting in 10-hour days. Perhaps I should be taking it easy after a long, arduous, and successful career. After all, I earned a doctorate and taught at five universities in two states for 45 years before finally taking a well-deserved rest from the daily grind. Still, I never rested then and rarely do so now. Most outside observers would say I am still working full-time, and I admit that I am. The thing is, I enjoy writing, and this is taking up much of my time nowadays. So, I guess I am heavily engaged in at least one of my hobbies.

What do you hope to accomplish?

As a former teacher educator, I often asked my students this question over the years. Interestingly, they almost always gave the same answer. Before I tell you that answer, permit me to relate a “teacher story.” It’s a poignant anecdote often shared to highlight teachers' profound impact on their students’ lives. It goes like this:

“A group of middle-aged college buddies are sitting around having refreshments. Not having seen one another since college days, many inquired of others what they now do. There are various responses. Some are businesspersons, others are computer programmers, and others are attorneys or CPAs. In summarizing, they all note that they make a lot of money. When it came to the one and only schoolteacher in the group, they asked, “What do teachers do?” Expecting a response like “I teach math” or “I take care of kids,” the teacher says, “Let me put it this way. Every morning, when students come into the classroom, I greet them at the door with a smile. Throughout the day, I challenge them to think critically, encouraging them to ask questions and help them when they struggle. I listen when they need to talk to someone and guide them when they are lost. I celebrate students’ successes and support them in their failures. At the end of the day, when students leave, they know they have spent the day with someone who cares about them, encourages them, and believes in their potential. This is so because I have done my best to make students the best they can be. So what is it that teachers do, you ask? Well, I’ll tell you. We make a difference.”

This story beautifully encapsulates what teaching is all about – nurturing, inspiring, and positively impacting students’ lives. When I asked my students why they wanted to teach, they almost always said they wanted to make a difference in the lives of students. And so they do!

Back to my original question in regard to my writing, “What do you hope to accomplish?” My answer is the same as that of my students. I’m trying to make a difference. I want to help reverse the damage that progressives have done to this country, bringing it to the brink of wreck and ruin. Progressives are destroying America by advocating for governmental policies and social changes that undermine the fabric of society: traditional values, economic principles, and national identity. Here are some of the areas where the radical Left is having a negative impact and where I seek to foment change:

  • Social Policies: I seek to reverse progressive social policies like LGBTQ+ rights, abortion rights, and immigration reform. I see these policies as undermining traditional family values and religious beliefs.
  • Economic Policies: I seek to reverse progressive economic policies, including higher taxes on the wealthy, increased government regulation, and expansive social welfare programs. I believe these policies hinder economic growth, entrepreneurship, and individual freedom.
  • Identity Politics: I seek to reverse the emphasis on identity politics by progressives, which I believe worsens racial and cultural divisions, encourages victimhood mentalities, and fosters discrimination against certain groups, particularly white Americans and men.
  • Cancel Culture and Free Speech: I seek to reverse what I see as progressive intolerance of dissenting viewpoints, often labeled as "cancel culture." I believe this trend stifles free speech and intellectual diversity, especially evident on college campuses and in the media and entertainment industries.
  • Globalism vs. Nationalism: I seek to reverse progressive efforts that enable globalist agendas at the expense of American sovereignty and interests. Critics argue that progressive policies on trade, climate change, and immigration prioritize international cooperation over national sovereignty.
  • Judicial Activism: I seek to replace progressive judges who engage in judicial activism, crafting laws from the bench to align with progressive values instead of interpreting the Constitution as written.

In summary, I seek to reverse progressive policies that undermine the foundations of American society and lead to moral decay, economic decline, and erosion of individual liberties. As a conservative Republican, I do what I can as a writer to change the present situation.

Why do you work so hard?

I have lived from the halcyon days of the 1950s to the present day, and what I have seen happening to my country has been shocking, scandalous, and deplorable. Progressives are undermining traditional values, eroding individual freedoms, expanding government control, weakening the nation’s moral fiber and economic foundation, and destroying any sense of patriotism and belief in God that people have.

I work hard because the progressive Left seems hell-bent on ruining this great nation. I work hard because the goals I have set for myself are worthy and the cause just. I work hard because, perhaps, just perhaps, I might, along with others, make a difference.

Recently, I saw Angel Studios’ movie Cabrini. It relates the story of Mother Cabrini, also known as Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini. She was an Italian-American religious who founded the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and became the first naturalized citizen of the United States to be canonized by the Roman Catholic Church in recognition of her charitable work with immigrants.

There is a point in the movie where Mother’s friend Vittoria asks if Mother is trying to work herself to death. You see, Mother is suffering from significant health problems. “Is it Mother’s will to die?” Vittoria asks. “Are you trying to be a martyr?” Mother replies to the effect that the fear of death grips her because she believes she has not fulfilled God’s purpose for her life; she perceives each moment of rest as taking away from the time she could be dedicating to her mission, feeling death looming uncomfortably near when she’s not actively engaged in her work. So it is with me.

I work hard because I feel as though both this nation and I are running out of time. I don’t want to squander what remains of my life sitting around drinking coffee with friends, reliving the good old days, or commiserating about losses. Far from it! These are the good old days because I am retired and have a nice nest egg set aside to provide for my future income. I also have free time, tolerably good health, and mental acuity that seems not to have lost its edge. I have a chance to make a difference.

An Unexamined Life is Not Worth Living

In Plato’s Apologia, Socrates is quoted as saying, “An unexamined life is not worth living.” I have taken that aphorism to heart and examined my life by comparing it with a list of virtues identified by St. Ambrose, St. Thomas Aquinas, and others. As Aristotle noted in Nichomachean Ethics, “virtue lay in the middle way” between excess and deficit – two extremes that I have assiduously avoided. Avoiding extremes is pretty much how I have chosen to live my life. Still, sometimes virtue is not found in the middle way in certain areas of life. I often think how right Barry Goldwater was when he said, “Extremism in defense of liberty is no vice. Moderation in pursuit of justice is no virtue.”

It is my life’s goal to always seek good and avoid evil. It is my desire to benefit others rather than myself. I do the best I can to set and attain meaningful and worthy goals. I encourage you, dear reader, to reflect on your life likewise. Examine your choices and actions to see if they lead you toward your goals, for an unexamined life is not worth living. As President John Kennedy said, “Ask not what you can do for yourself; rather, ask what you can do for your country.” That advice, even coming from a liberal Democrat, is still valid today.

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