Strange things happen during a pandemic. One example is the demographics of people who have changed sides in the pro-life versus pro-choice debate. Many previously pro-life right-wing conservatives, including several of our elected representatives, have recently demonstrated they are actually pro-choice. The anti-vaxxers and anti-maskers vocally (sometime violently) advocate pro-choice when it comes to their bodies, so their position is clear. Of course, politicians must show they support their base, so several have tweeted that they too are pro-choice. Our governor, Greg Abbott, is clearly pro-choice, given his anti-vaccination and anti-mask declarations. A couple of other examples are Dan Crenshaw, who on Aug. 10 tweeted, “But mandates are horribly contrary to common-sense and basic notions of liberty.” and Ted Cruz, who on Aug. 13 tweeted “Hell NO! No vaccine mandates. Vaccines are good, but it’s your individual CHOICE.” According to the CDC, there were 618,000 coronavirus deaths through 8/16/2021 (covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#trends_dailytrendsdeaths), and the count is growing. In 2018 (the last year reported) there were 619,591 legal abortions (cdc.gov/reproductivehealth/data_stats/abortion.htm). The coronavirus death rate will shortly surpass the abortion rate, so the issue in the pro-life versus pro-choice debate is clearly not the “sanctity of life.” The willingness to accept the collateral damage of a few hundred thousand coronavirus deaths in the name of “personal liberty” indicates the “sanctity of life” argument against abortion is not credible. Who can forget that our Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick suggested on Fox news (March 23, 2020) that grandparents should be willing to die in order to save the economy? Mr. Patrick’s statement indicates the pro-life versus pro-choice argument is not about morality but rather about money, as is often the case with behaviors in America. No matter the reason, observing pro-life conservatives become pro-choice advocates has been one strange outcome of the current pandemic.
TEACHER KNOWS BEST
A new school year is beginning; so I’ll share with students and their parents my thoughts on study strategy. You may ask, “Who are you to be offering such advice?” My answer is: I was a professor at some excellent universities (UCLA, the Univ. of Illinois, Ohio State Univ.), and education and learning have been my lifelong interests. My students rated me very highly on end-of-course questionnaires that went directly to school administrators and eventually to the student body and me. My students’ written comments on those questionnaires were especially informative. Those questionnaires led an associate dean who evaluated my overall performance to say, “You may be the finest instructor I’ve ever known.” Now, my thoughts on study strategy are: Anne Sullivan (Helen Keller’s teacher and an educational genius) said, “There is no education except self-education.” I agree. I began each semester by telling my students, “I’m no teacher; I’m not here to teach you anything. I’m a helper; I’m here to help you learn. I want you to read chapter X (X denotes any individual chapter we cover) and work the assigned problems before I cover chapter X in class. Thus, I want you to try diligently to learn the material on your own. Then come to class with questions you have after that diligent effort. If my in-class explanation of Chapter X does not answer your question, then ask me in class or during my office hours to address your question. No one knows everything; so if I don’t know the answer to your query, then I will say so, and I’ll research the matter. Once I have an answer, I’ll share it with you and the rest of the class.” That method of learning works! I used it throughout my student days.