The Truth and Tragedy about Racism

Hello from back in PA,

As I spent the evening trying to catch up on the unending stream of craziness that seems to dominate the world, but what we call news, the irony of the day was as Starbucks closed its doors for a corporate training on what they euphemistically called implicit bias training while one of the top rated shows this season, the reboot of Rosanne was summarily canceled for a rather explicit bias and seemingly-untrainable tweet about Valerie Jarrett by Rosanne Barr herself. Earlier this evening I read a really thought provoking and painfully truth piece by Joy-Ann Reid, a political analyst, who today wrote, “Being black means constantly rendering yourself unthreatening to white people. [and she also states,] “To be white in America is to assume ownership of public spaces. To be black is to live under constant threat of removal” (NBC Think 29May18). Both of these statements will offend some; they will resonate with others; but regardless of how you respond, it is probably most important to search in your heart for the truth contained in them. As a 60-something while Anglo-Saxon Protestant male, there have been times where I wanted to argue the infamous reverse-discrimination card, but about four years ago, I wrote a blog about being confronted by a student and significant person about my privileged status. I remember feeling offended because I had worked hard to achieve what I had. I argued that no one gave me anything. Yes, while I had received help along the way, working as a GTI, managing a restaurant, and being a full-time doctoral student was no picnic and so I was not willing to be labeled as privileged. Certainly, I have received more help than some, but at least through school, I merely worked.

Now four years later, in a country where division and disrespect seems to be the rule rather than the exception, we have elected a President who seems to show little respect for anyone, anything, at anytime, and his election seems to be a direct consequence of the fact we had a black President preceding him. I also believe, in part, it was because the Democratic candidate was both female and named Hillary Clinton. I also believe those are all separate issues. President Trump’s remarks at Arlington National Cemetery were both discouraging and disgraceful. As I ponder the place we seem to stand as a society, as the melting pot created from the Grand Experiment, I am not sure I can give the founders of this country much credit for establishing a society where life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness included all people. Without a doubt, Abraham Lincoln stood tall, literally and figuratively, in an attempt to create a more equitable country with both the Emancipation Proclamation and the 13th Amendment, but until the quest of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Civil Rights Legislation of the 1960s, there was not concerted effort to really accept the true racism of separate, but equal doctrine that was a fundamental element of our mid-20th Century America. I believe I was as naive as the next who somehow believed the election of Barack Obama signaled we have turned a corner for real. Finally, as a country, I thought we realized the racial inequality that held our country in our own collective stocks and put our democracy up for sale to the highest bidder. When President Obama used his office to ask us to thoughtfully reflect on the killing of Trayvon Martin in February of 2012, I again hoped his being a Black President might help us see the difficulty of what young black, Hispanic, Asian, or other non-white males endure daily. Unfortunately , after some initial reflection, it seems it accomplished little, or I might even go as far as to say it was probably counter-productive. I would add this was little fault of the President, but rather because we have such an untruthful and chicken-shit racist underbelly to our country that few are willing to honestly and thoughtfully call to task.

I have stated this before, but I think I write it with more emotion than I have in the past. If you see someone who looks, acts, speaks, worships, or loves differently than you and that is how you first view them, or you consider that to be the most distinguishable quality about them, you are mostly likely acting in a discriminatory manner. The person who can honestly say in their heart they do not notice or even consider the difference is a rare individual. For the great majority of us, we are more likely to be that implicit racially biased person, and that is if we are lucky. The present atmosphere in the country, where disagreement makes the other the enemy, means most of us have probably moved beyond the implicit to the explicit. When we hear about daily incidences of rancor, disrespect, and downright hatefulness from the White House to the neighbor, can there be any surprise that corporations are requiring an entire workforce to receive training about their innate (but actually taught) prejudices or a company that is part of the Magic Kingdom of Disney cancels one of its two most popular shows. What does it say when one of the most popular sit-com people of a generation can refer to the senior advisor of a President as the cross between the Muslim Brotherhood and the Planet of the Apes? Not only has what she tweeted reprehensible, the fact that such stereotypes are still promulgated is tragic beyond compare. It is those very stereotypes, the jokes, the whispered humor (which is anything but) that we allow to go unchallenged that keeps such bigotry alive. It is the stares seared into the psyche of our minority students in the small Pennsylvania town or warnings given when the monster truck show comes to the fairgrounds admonishing our black or biracial students to not be alone on the street that illustrates how pathetic our thoughts, words, or actions can be. It is when a avowed Nazi can run for Congress unopposed in Illinois, ironically both the Land of Lincoln and Obama, that should cause us pause as ask, what the hell are we thinking? . . .

It is now 24 hours since I was writing here and pretty well every news source has pontificated on the situation. SHS, who boggles me beyond compare, went on her own rant of why other forms of racism have not been called out to the same degree. I guess the positive is they did not support the egregious comments, but, as usual, deflected to argue something else was as terrible. I am continually stunned by the rhetorical strategy of the White House. Some will argue there is no strategy, but I will disagree. It is like being consistently inconsistent. The President calls our values, morals, and standards into question daily through his seemingly off-the-cuff tweets. Make no mistake, his questioning of all standards, standards which generally support a status quo as well as offering support for some sense of equality and justice, allows some of those who have been supposedly marginalized by this same status quo to believe a President listens to them and speaks their language. Nothing could be farther from the truth. The scripture of notes even the dogs get the scraps from the master’s table comes to mind. . . . Another day and another version of America or the global community doing a collective smh. If you do not know this acronym, which I did not until perhaps a year ago, it means shaking my head. The unprofessional or completely void of decorum comments about an ally or Prime Minister of our closest ally as well as showing up late (twice) as well as leaving early from something that affects every citizen in our country. Issues of trade, cooperation, national security, and most everything that requires international give-and-take seems to have been ignored by our President. Where is the line between “America First,” the established Trump Doctrine, and America as a global leader? Between withdrawing from international agreements and the suggesting the re-inclusion of Russia in the G-7+1, what has the President actually done? The global order is changing, and the move to globalization itself has created an interesting backlash. This is also an interesting sort of discrimination. The global identity has often been those who have (the United States, Canada, the EU, and, yes, Russia) and those who do not (third world countries-most of Africa or Latin America, still developing countries from the former Central or Eastern Europe, and other geopolitical places left behind for whatever reason), but that might not be the most significant malevolent consequence of globalization, nor the most complex.

What about a disappearing middle class in the haves and a much less likely possibility for those in the countries of the have nots? I believe many citizens in a number of countries of the EU or in parts of the United States have joined the bandwagon of the rising nationalism because they believe nationalistic philosophy somehow gives them voice. While there might be some truth to this, I do not believe in the long run, nationalism serves any one country. Furthermore, when nationalism becomes the rule rather than the exception, those who have power will have more power and the ideal of democracy becomes more difficult to maintain. While Hitler was elected as chancellor in 1933, his consolidation of power and what he did from 1933 until the outbreak of WWII upon his invasion of Poland on September 1, 1939 is well documented. Perhaps it is time many read. When power is consolidated, those on the outside become powerless. When countries are so busy working to protect themselves, everyone else becomes the other. Certainly what has been demonstrated lately is being the other is not a good place or position to hold. It still stuns me that the number of Latinos/as, blacks, LGBTQA, Muslim, dis/abled individuals, (and there are people in each of these groups) still believe that the policies put in place recently will not hurt them, from trade, to tariffs, to taxes.

Issues like the #MeToo movement,the #BlackLivesMatter , the #OscarsSoWhite, #RapeCulture, or #NationalAnthem all  demonstrate that we are on a verge of a very substantial paradigm shift, but to where are we shifting? What is positive in the conversation and what is not? This is part of the struggle. There is so much more that we need to ponder and understand. From where did some of the actions, the attitudes, and the practices we now find so abhorrent originate. I listen to a number of veterans most mornings. They are a good group of people, but I am quite sure that I am the only person who did not vote for our current President in that table of 10 or 15 people. Some of the things said will shock me from time to time, but what I realize more and more is that I am pretty liberal in a very conservative area. I am not liberal in my own practices, but more so in my attitudes. What I know is while I might not agree with them, I still respect them and their opinions. I can see beyond some of the differences, and I can still sit and even disagree at times. Most of my disagreements are posed and what about another possibility. I believe we have lost the ability to speak about the other whether it has to do with race, politics, religion, socio-economic class, education, ethnicity or any other thing that might create a difference. Rather than seeing difference as an opportunity for growth, our nationalistic, xenophobic, homophobic, sexist, or any other ism that elevates difference, we see the other as the enemy, something to discount, disavow, disrespect, discharge, and, somehow hope they will disappear. The resulting fragmentation of who we are as people is certainly not what I believe our heritage has been most held up to be. The words on the statue of Lady Liberty seem to have been ignored. The problem is very basic in understanding what it is, but incredibly complex when it comes to changing it. Most of us are afraid to admit, or too ignorant to realize just how racist most of us are. Until that changes, we are relegated to hashtags and outrage.

With that in mind, I offer this video and thank you all for reading.

Michael (the summer person who is not teaching for once)

Learning Begins Again

Hello from my corner of the office,

It always seems to be the case that when I believe, or begin to believe, I have in some shape or fashion figured out what my life is about, the fastball of fate whizzes by my ear. Not only did I miss it, I am not sure I saw it to begin with. The only reason I really know it happened is that I hear the snap of the ball in the catcher’s mitt and realize holy crap something just happened. I think life is much more often like that versus you see it all clearly coming down that 60′ 6″ in slow motion so you can knock it out of the park.

In the summer of 1968, I was going into eighth grade and I weighed all of 75 pounds soaking wet, and holding rocks. While my older brother was heading into his senior year of high school, I do not think he had thought about issues of the draft, the military, or the consequence of not going to college quite yet. He was busy being a high school student and had a girlfriend named Darlene, and she and her family went to our church. Ironically, and as an aside, I actually went out with her younger sister, Janice, once at about the same time (or age). Northwest Iowa was not a particularly diverse area, nor did it seem that particularly political during this monumental summer. Yet, on the other hand, the entire country was much more political than a soon-to-be eighth grader understood, and because college was not yet on my radar, I paid little attention to college campuses.

Some research showed that Ames was more public in their show of shock in Rev. King’s brutal killing versus Iowa City, which actually surprises me. For those of you who are not familiar with the Hawkeye state, or know of it now because of people like Representative Steve King, Johnson County, the home of the U of I, is probably 80% Democrat. On the other hand, ISU, fondly known at one time as Tractor Tech, is a bit more conservative. Ames had multiple demonstrations on that Friday, fifty years ago. What I remember is sitting in our living room of our house, in our very white, middle-class, blue-collar neighborhood. I am not sure I had ever spoken to a black person in my life at that point. The only thing I really understood about race was I should and would never use the N word. My parents were adamant that such language was strictly forbidden. I am not sure I even knew why, but I knew the consequence of such an utterance would be quite swift and it would be extreme. So on that Thursday night as Walter Cronkite announced the killing of Dr. King, and coverage began to show almost immediately the rioting in cities like Kansas City and Chicago, neither that far away or unknown to me, Baltimore and Washington, D.C., my parents did speak to us about the issues of race and safety. I do not remember much of their lecture, with the exception of being careful and being respectful. I have forgotten that we were headed into Holy Week at that time. I am sure the parallels of being a martyr for the poor and downtrodden were made (and appropriately so). At twelve I did not understand the significance of Dr. King’s place in society or what his role in civil rights was. I think there was a parallel between Dr. King for a 12 year old, white, Iowa boy and the significance in 2008, of President Obama’s election for the same basic 12 year year old, white, Iowa, boy. In both cases, I remain quite convinced the loss of one and the elevation of the other was much more profound for a 12 year old black child even with the differences in communication and coverage.

In the weeks since I wrote this first section, it seems there continues to be those moments, specific instances of memory about the significance of dates. On the 11th, my Uncle Clare would have had a 122nd birthday. My adopted father would have turned 103 yesterday. While 103 does not seem that old, 122 does. That 122 spans three centuries. Almost daily my students remind me of how small the time period they understand really is. My uncle actually served in the First World War. I think he did not seem that old because we grew up just down the block and he was always part of our Sunday gatherings. His address was 2213 and ours was 2354 and on the same street. The walk to his place was a regular event. While he had a curmudgeonly personality, he also had a good heart. He possessed a colorful vocabulary that grew more prominently distinctive as he covered the septuagenarian and octogenarian years of his life, and location created no barrier for his very earthy outbursts. When 1968 came along. He was in his 70s and had been a widower for almost a decade. I made the inquisitive 14 year old mistake of once asking him if he was dating a person he had gone to lunch with a few times. Beyond calling me a “little son-of-a-bitch,” the rest of his answer would probably require a parental warning for this blog post. It would be restricted or over 18. The last time I saw him alive in the nursing home, he had injured his hand when he punched his roommate, and he was mighty proud of that. However, he was a genuinely grateful person when people helped him. I think what most astounds me is that in the almost century and a quarter from birth until death, the profound extent or degree of change, which had occurred beyond what most might deem even fathomable. From technology on the large scale to individual realizations about the change in our social fabric, the sort of seismic scale of difference in that time period is beyond the solitary person’s ability to process. I ponder how anyone can realize the magnitude of changes one experiences in a lifetime and simply, as a general rule, I do not believe we are capable of doing it. Moving to the second of the April family birthdays, what amazes me most about my adoptive father is how much we are alike, in spite of the fact that he was not my biological parent. When people tell me I was like him, I am honored and humbled. He was a good person, a caring person, and a person who worked hard and tried to make the lives of those around him better. He was giving and thoughtful. In spite of all, I know he was not perfect. I think he believed if you worked hard and “kept your nose clean,” as he called it, things would work out. I am not much different in my outlook. What I find most important it that he accepted people; he certainly did not always understand them, and he was most definitely a product of his time. There are ways I am sure he would be shaking his head at where we are societally. He was much more conservative than I am socially and I am more conservative than he was fiscally. It is an interesting juxtaposition.

As I noted at the outset, my head is most bobbled when I think I have things figured out, but find out perhaps not. Something happens to change my perspective of get my attention once again. There are two things in particular that have happened. The first I will address, though this does not mean I believe it to be the most important, is health things once again. After a bit of regular calling and trying, I was able to get into the dermatologist. I went in for a mole that was growing and on my back, and whose placement was annoying when I tried to lay down. It seemed reasonable because of the changes to get it removed. Well, interestingly enough, while the mole was removed, it was not all that problematic. However, while examining my back, the doctor decided some other areas were suspicious. So some lidocaine shots later and the removal of 5 areas of medical concern (three on my back, one on my collarbone area, and a small one on my forehead), and some serious subsequent holes where the removal was done, I have the heard back on the pathology of the problematic places. They are all cancerous and one of the areas on my back and the one on my forehead will require some additional work. The forehead area will require MOHS surgery, which I have previously done. The area on my back will be more invasive and done at a separate time. The issue with the back area is that I was informed that cancer is quite aggressive and they will probably have to cut an area and then it will require suturing to complete. That is the one that most concerns me. I have actually just spoken with the scheduling people and I am scheduled for both procedures on June 20th. I have to go back for some other follow up before that. While there is a side of me that is able to say, “just take care of it.” There is another side that says enough is enough. In the big picture, however, I know that once again, I am fortunate.

The second thing that has sort of boggled my mind is how life continues to provide opportunities for me to better understand myself and to imagine possibilities that seem to be outside what I had planned or what I believed could happen. One of my former students from UW-Stout, one who has been part of my life since the first day I began teaching there, once asked me why my life had transpired the way it had. I told her it was because I had more pressing things on my plate that needed attention than what I wanted or what I believed necessary. In her typical way, she did not allow me off the hook quite that easily and told me rather emphatically what she thought. It would be interesting to listen to her if I told her what was happening in my life at the moment. What is happening you ask? The most truthful answer is: I am not sure what is happening, but I am merely living it each day and blessed by what happens. It is not often that you find a thinker who thinks in the same manner, appreciates many of the same things, and is about process, which I am all about. That sort of work and conversation and helped me to consider writing and publishing in ways I have seldom imagined or been motivated to do. That is an exciting possibility. There is the same rather unique sense of humor and the ability to laugh both at myself and some of the things that seemed mundane, but also humorous to me. As I go through my days I am blessed by thoughts, hypotheticals, theoreticals, and actuals. It is so astounding that in spite of whatever happens, I know that I have a better, a more blessed, life. Conversations, texts, and late night phone calls have revealed more about myself than I could have ever anticipated.

As we head into the final weeks of the semester, there is always more to do than there is time, but it gets done somehow. I am excited to finish up the semester and see what the summer brings. I have had a couple things added to the schedule that I could just as well do without, but sometimes we have no choices in all of that. There is yet another hurdle to jump in terms of health, but I do not see this one as insurmountable. Then again, nothing is really insurmountable. Part of that is because I do not really see death as an enemy. I do not say that in an attempt to be morbid, but rather merely to say I am not afraid. At least, I have not been up to this point, and there seems to be no reason to change that position now. That is a topic for another blog. As I finish the year, and this blog, life is good and I am feeling loved and blessed. One cannot ask for much more. Somehow, this video, and the original Imagine Dragons’ video of this is outrageous, but I decided this video was what I wanted to post today.

Thanks as always for reading.

Dr. Martin

A Day in Infamy

Stop Writing

Good morning on Monday of Finals Week,

I am quite sure for graduating seniors this last set of undergraduate finals has a very different feel to them than the first semester freshmen who are experiencing the week for the first time. I remember attempting to take finals after by brother passed away the previous week. It was a terrible experience. Of course, the fact that I had not been a stellar student in the weeks before did not help. I also remember when I had 23 credits one semester and had 9 hours of finals back-to-back (Greek, German, and Latin). That was not a stellar day either.

It seems that each generation has those moments in their lives that some event occurs and they will remember where they were. It is hard to believe that my freshmen students were only 5 years old when 911 occurred. While they probably remember something about the day, they did not understand the significance of it, or at least in a larger picture. I do remember November 22, 1963 even though I was only 8 years old. I know my father, who would be 99 years old remembered Pearl Harbor as did any person alive that fateful day in 1941. It is, of course, the basis of the title for this blog. I think while I remember President Kennedy’s assassination and I remember clearly the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and  Robert Kennedy  (I was in what is now called middle school), the 8th of December 1980 was another one of those moments for me. I was a sophomore at Dana College and an impromptu humanities event (Hum Event as we called them) was held because John Lennon has been shot and killed outside his Dakota Apartment Building in NYC. Like every kid of the 60s, I remember the British Invasion and the Beatles were part of our musical DNA at that time. I think what I remember more about Lennon was his break from the group and his solo career and his outspoken and, at least what seemed to a Midwest Iowa kid, his outlandish behavior. Today I think he would be considered tame though I do believe he would still stand up and speak out against injustice and corporate greed, which again seems a bit oxymoronic because his money was made through the corporate music industry.

These past days I have been pondering the violence that has seemed to permeate everything we do. I have been listening to NPR, which, for those of you who know me, is not surprising. I have listened to a reoccurring theme in a number of commercials that say something to the effect of “if you see something out of the ordinary speak up”. This theme is to respond to the violence that seems to be present in every place and part of our society: the streets, the schools, the malls, the churches, add whatever comes to mind). While I am well aware that guns do not kill people, but it is the person using it and most of the other 2nd Amendment right arguments, I have a significant problem with the simple fact that I believe this culture of the “constitutional right” to own a gun seems too often to find its way into the debate, arguing that is why we should not limit ownership of type of weapon, the capacity of the magazine, or anything that seems to say “you can’t . . . “. As a former Marine (notice I did not say ex-Marine), I know all too well what an armor-piercing round can do to an ammo can let alone a human being. I know the accuracy of an M14 or an M16 or a 45 caliber pistol. I have fired them all and quite well.

While I know this will be controversial to some, it is merely my opinion. Simply put, I do not believe the average person has need of a firearm of any sort. Again, I did not say anything about their right to own it, but why do most people need it? I also know the issue of protection and that if lawful people cannot have guns then only the crooks have them. First, of all that argument is crap. Law abiding people do have guns and the crooks still have them and the consequence is simply that more people have guns. As a college professor, I am glad, at least for the moment, students are not allowed to have a carry and conceal option in a Pennsylvania classroom. That is not to say I am worried about being a target, but again, I do not believe that carry and conceal is a sensible law for the average person. Why in God’s name do you need to be packing a pistol as you walk down the street? It is kind of like angry drunks. I bartended long enough to put up with what I call “asshole drunks” and in a college town there is way too many cases of alcohol + testosterone = dumbass. You can substitute estrogen for testosterone in the previous equation too. Angry drunks do not need to be drunk to be a jerk. They already have that skill; alcohol merely raises their jerk-ability quotient exponentially. So it is with people and guns, it seems that many times guns are used in anger. I do not need to cite figures here. I am merely speaking from common sense. I grew up with an uncle who had an arsenal in his house, but he taught me to respect firearms at a young age. While I never questioned his right to own a gun, I never felt the need to own one myself and after seeing what happened with weapons as a Marine, I had even less desire to have a gun. While again, I understand some people might have a desire to own a firearm, I think the question of why they want it is important. For what reason do you think you want a firearm? For what reason do you think you need a firearm? Those are very different questions. The issue of wanting something is generally bases on a desire or a wish, or maybe as a way to prove something. The issue of needing something is that there is a belief that one’s life is missing something of importance or necessity without it. The 2nd Amendment is not a reason to justify either of these positions; the only thing the 2nd Amendment does is allow either the want or need to be legalized. I have spent a good portion of my life in rural areas and where I now live they actually cancel the public school on the first day of deer hunting season. I remember how stunned I was by that the first time I lived in this state. They said it was safer so school buses did not get shot at. Really? You cannot tell that it is big and yellow? Sometimes, the stupidity of people boggles my mind. I guess I am a bit more simple that I would like to admit. Or maybe things merely need to make sense and most people do not. That leaves me in a quandary. What I do know is when I was in grade school  or middle school or high school, we did not worry about people having guns in the hallways or lunchrooms or any place like that. A fight between two trying to prove their masculinity after school was about the extent of the violence. We did not have to worry about armed guards or whether teachers needed guns. Am I merely showing my age? No, I think we are talking about something more fundamental. We are talking about respect for one another. Last night I actually appreciated something I heard LeBron James say after a game. When talking about the societal issue of violence, he noted it was a human issue. I could not agree more. I do not care about your gender, your race, your ethnicity or any other variable. What I want to know is can you be respectful? Can you treat people with decency? I have brought this issue up in other contexts in this blog. When you fail to treat other people, any person, with a sense of decency, the consequence is a poorer, sadder society. We do have a duty to the society in which we live to treat people decently. I am well aware that some argue against any sense of this and demonstrate that through their actions. I fundamentally disagree with them. I understand that is a choice also, and that is free will, but to think we have no duty, no co-requirement or any other synonym that shows an interdependence would mean there is no societal sense of decency or justice. It seems that is perhaps why some of the idiocy that has become more commonplace is happening. If we have no sense of moral or legal responsibility, if we can do as we please and merely say it is who we are, the consequence is what we have: a society of mistrust, a society of greed, a society of violence. When enough people think they have no reason to consider how their actions affect the other, I am afraid we will find out what anarchy truly is. I believe it is this very attitude that creates situations like those that have covered our headlines of late. When enough individual claim free will gives them Carte Blanche to do as they please, I fear we will see more acts of complete selfishness.

Well, I am in the middle of grading and the initiative is long and arduous. I am always amazed on both ends of the spectrum when it comes to the grading and what students have actually done with the opportunity to come to the university. It is much like the issue of wants and needs. Some believe they need to be here (and I understand that concept). It astounds me when they believe that, but then do not take advantage of the opportunity to do the work and excel, that is not potential that is discipline. There are those who merely want to be here and their reasoning could be based on a variety of things. However, I am afraid that I consider their philosophical justification a bit more dubious. All-in-all, what I know is the next days I will evaluate and assess and, at the end, I will assign a grade that I believe has been earned. I do not enjoy this part of the semester, but it is a necessary evil. I know that some have done the work they need to do and that finals are merely review. I also know that some of them are trying to make up for 14 weeks of slacking (or at least some slacking in there). For those individuals, the week is brutal and taxing. Even if you have done your work, you care and you do stress. I know this is the case. For some of them, grades will be their day of infamy. That is a reality check. As I finish up the semester, it has been eventful. While there were hopes and dreams for each person, the reality of where the semester ends is always a bit unexpected. While I think I have done pretty strong work in the classroom, my grading and timeliness has not been up to par. I think the other battle I am fighting has taken its toll, but that is my reality. Today, in spite of water and doing what I should, my body hurts. In spite of that, I have a lot to manage and there is no respite, so I will keep going. I am hoping that I might catch up with some people I have in good faith helped out and have somehow not followed through. I am realizing that I believe the best in people too often.

This is not a complaint; it is merely the reality that I am experiencing. I am so blessed to be here. I am hoping to continue to be so. In the meanwhile, it is back to reading and grading.

Thanks for reading as always,

Dr. Martin