Today I write as a college professor who is returning to work routines I left behind last May when I taught my last class and began a wonderful summer-plus-a-semester on sabbatical. Er-, pardon me, a “research leave.” We don’t really do sabbaticals anymore. Leaves are these days only granted for work-related activities, and mine was given to complete a couple of book projects (Counter-Narrative: How Progressive Academics Can Challenge Extremists and Promote Social Justice; and, with Jeffry Halverson and Steve Corman, Master Narratives of Islamic Extremism), both of which are now out; write an article or two (done); start my blog (hurrah!); and otherwise enjoy traveling, reading, writing, and learning. I am happy to report that it was grand success, no doubt due in large part to my excellent traveling companion and lovely wife, the unflappable master planner and fun bunny, Sandra.
Did I mention that she also completed most of her doctoral dissertation during this time? That she delighted in the archives of merry ol’ England and New England, and that, as a result, she is about to rock Atlantic World thought about the Puritans? Well, she is.
But today I return to work. To the routines of work. I return to what some folks call “the life of the mind,” but, for those of us who live it—even those such as myself who enjoy it and cannot imagine living any other way—it often feels less like a life of the mind that one of an almost neurotic busy-ness haunted by the feeling that we are never fully caught up, never fully prepared, hardly ever appreciated, and never fully rested, either.
I am these days frequently shocked and saddened by the lack of support for teachers, for public schools, and for colleges and college professors shown by the right wing of the Republican party, the Tea Party, and its coterie of governors bent on killing public education as we have known it. Readers of my blog posts know that about me.
But today I am unusually distressed and here’s why: This week saw the withdrawal of Dr. Timothy Chandler from a Provost’s job he had just won at Kennesaw State University in Georgia. The cause? A reference to Karl Marx in a published paper he wrote back in 1998. It seems that a local newspaper discharged investigative reporters to the library to dig up what they could find about Dr. Chandler and published a red-hot, red-baiting, no-holes-barred and mostly ridiculous account that claimed that anyone who quoted Marx was a Commie, and did we want that kind of person heading a local university?
I add only that Dr. Chandler is a well-regarded scholar in the field of Sport Science. You know, that field full of leftists bent on indoctrinating youth?
If you have been following my progress on Facebook you know this has been a week with some troubling health news. As I put it in my post on Wednesday:
Thanks to everyone who posted prayers and best wishes earlier today. The news is (1) Round Two went fine, although I did have a minor reaction to one of the chemo drugs and was administered Benadryl via IV - it worked perfectly and no biggie overall; (2) the results of the bone scan show that the pain in my back is being caused by two small spots along the ridge of my left and right shoulder blades, both of which are evidence of spread of the cancer into a new region, but (3) the current round of chemo is attacking it, and the pain can be managed with slow-release OxyC.
After Round Four of the chemo we will rescan, reassess, and consider the option of targeted radiation. Bone cancer is slow moving, so we have some time and some options. In the meantime, I am back to feeling good (got the pain meds regulated) and continue to be oh so grateful for the love of my family and friends, as well as the care, compassion, friendship, support, and knowledge of my doc and caregivers in this Four Winds community.