The Petty Argument over a Treasure for All.

Of late…it seems that our Country is having an identity crisis.

We are debating, at times in a deadly manner, who is American and who is not, or is there a litmus test to prove who the ‘Real Americans’ are?

This argument also includes various groups of Protestant faiths…or lack thereof.  I wonder…could it really be true that the majestic God of all of the heavens and the Earth…really cares for only a slim slice of the pie that he created?  Does God only care for a small group of his created human family…and the rest are just out of luck?

When I hear a Presidential Candidate assure his listeners that he will bring religion and prayer back into the schools…does he mean my religion…or his?

A similar debate over Southern Illinois most precious institution, Southern Illinois University, has been going on for years.

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Recently the passionate discussion has again arisen as to why SIU’s enrollment has fallen.  Some of the commentators laid the blame at the feet of one former Universiy leader or another.  Others said that one of our past Chancellors was terminated because he was a christian.  Others commented that liberal education was akin to perversity.

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Now these type of comments…were the kind that I did not take to seriously…a few years ago.  But, since the rise of alt right politics in our nation…it is clear that beliefs that were often thought in the minority…at times are much larger than we realized.

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Our wonderful University is for everyone of any religion and atheist or agnostic.  It’s doors are wide open to all political persuasions and all races and LGBT people from across our Globe.

We often are engaged in contemplating the minutae of mundane small thoughts when a stack of gold bars is in front of us.

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The freedom to learn and speak and advocate and live in the manner that you feel lead to…and that illustrates who you are…is priceless!

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‘The Four Freedoms were goals articulated by United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt on Monday, January 6, 1941.  In an address known as the Four Freedoms speech (technically the 1941 State of the Union address), he proposed four fundamental freedoms that people ‘everywhere in the world’ ought to enjoy;

  1. Freedom of speech
  2. Freedoom of worship
  3. Freedom from want
  4. Freedom from fear’

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I heard our new Chancellor, Carlo Montemagno, say that we must look at our beloved University as a glass that is half full…rather than a glass that is half empty.’

In our Nation and at our University…and in our lives…we often can not see the forest for the trees.

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Let us appreciate and build on the gifts that we have been given.

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3 responses

  1. Nicely done Jay! Unfortunately, none of your points have anything to do with the enrollment problems at SIUC, nor will they have more than a minor impact to resolve the problem.
    Phil

    1. Thank you, my friend. Enrollment issues are numerous and will require the slow and deliberate dedication of, solid, SIU leaders and the assistance of the entire university community, over several years.

      The divisive rhetoric and focus on personalities, in the past, has been debilitating and counterproductive to the University’s singular mission of providing a quality education to it’s students.

    2. My, simple point, is that we have a wonderful and inclusive University…now. It is our burden and blessing to build on the treasure that we already have.

      SIU’s reputation, grows exponentially, the further you go from it. Often, the most introspective and non- productive criticisms, come from the University and surrounding community.

      As with our great country… so is our beloved SIU…we are part of something unique and special and it is up to us to convey that message.

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