Make the most of every opportunity. –Colossians 4:5b (NIV)
Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. — I Thessalonians 5:11 (NIV)
Shamelessly co-opting the title of Dinah Washington’s 1959 hit “What a Difference a Day Makes,” this little meditation reflects on the joys of 24 months in The Roanoke Star writing family.
With all the trauma and angst of the past couple of years–and many of us have tragically lost loved ones–spring of 2020 may now seem like ancient history. (And 2019–before talk of Covid, mask mandates, social distancing, Dr. Fauci, vax passports, quarantines and all the rest–may seem like another universe. But I digress.)
Do you remember all the social media memes from the early days of the lockdowns in March 2020, urging us to use the time of isolation wisely? (Of course, all that time we wasted on social media reading and reposting countless memes was the opposite of using time wisely, but again I digress.) But remember the one that went, “While quarantining during the Plague of 1665, Sir Isaac Newton Discovered Calculus”? (Unlike so much on social media, that story is true.) Under one of those memes a church friend tagged me and declared “We have high expectations for you.”
That friend’s exhortation startled and challenged me: was there more I should seek during the lockdown that just reading social media posts and keeping from dying?
With some thought and prayer, I sensed a nudge from the Almighty to reach out to Stuart Revercomb, owner and publisher of The Roanoke Star. He and I had met around 2009-2010 when he spoke to my advanced history class at Patrick Henry High School. “Maybe I can write for him and his newspaper?” I wondered.
Stuart and I chatted on the phone, and he kindly offered me a chance. “Email me a sample of your work and we’ll go from there,” he said.
That first column, posted on May 1, 2020, was entitled “Whom Are You Serving?” about the twin crises of the national and personal debt. (In retrospect, maybe the May 1 date was fitting: in case anyone does not appreciate what I write, some of my columns may have them screaming “May Day!”)
Tragically, at the date of that first column in May 2020, the US national debt was an obscene $25.7 trillion. On the first anniversary of my joining The Roanoke Star, May 2021, the debt had rocketed to $28.2 trillion. Note: those years were when a Republican, Donald Trump, possessed the White House and veto pen. Once Upon A Time, Republicans believed in fiscal responsibility. Obviously, no more.
While writing this on May 23, 2022, the US Debt Clock shows a $30.4 trillion deficit. As a reference, it took the US government from Presidents George Washington to Ronald Reagan–over 200 years–to accumulate $1 trillion in debt. Recently, we have racked up almost $5 trillion more of debt in the past 24 months. That is shameful. All that does is weaken our currency, deflate our buying power which we are seeing in historic inflation, embolden our adversaries, and put our children and grandchildren under a crushing load of debt.
But, for a culture where devotion to abortion is for many almost like a religion, it is obvious that the lives of future generations means nothing to some people.
Nevertheless, here I write. Even if no one heeds my warnings, I can go to sleep at night with a clear conscience, knowing I did my part to sound the alarm. Moreover, no one can come back to me in the future and complain, “But you never told us!”
This is the warning. Sounding it is my responsibility. What you do with it is your responsibility.
I try to not make all my topics heavy and grave. Some are about life, like “Letting Go.” Others such as “Remember VE Day” deal with history. Some are about holidays, such as “Saint Patrick Was Irish, Right?”
Over time, Revercomb has allowed me to branch out from writing columns to also penning some news stories, such as “SW VA Prepares for National Day Of Prayer” and “Roanoke Icon Claude Smith Celebrating 100th Birthday.”
A common theme is media bias, such as in “A Tale Of Two Protests.”
Revercomb has offered and continues to offer our region a huge gift by way of The Roanoke Star, a truly local, independent media platform. A number of stations and newspapers that tout themselves as “local” to Roanoke are, in fact, owned (and thus controlled) by corporate bigwigs hundreds of miles away in other states.
The Roanoke Star, as posted here, here, and here, stood alone as it exposed Roanoke City Council’s recent Kabuki theater where they went through the elaborate motions to “seek community feedback” about a new member to replace disgraced Robert Jeffrey Jr., while at the end of the day seemingly choosing their pre-ordained individual. If that was not the case, then The Roanoke Star’s prediction was a huge coincidence.
And speaking of us telling you stories that seemingly no one else has been talking about, why did US Senator Tim Kaine (D) and his wife choose to live on CONFEDERATE AVENUE in Richmond for 28 years? If all those Confederate statues on Monument Avenue were so hateful and dangerous, why did the Kaines elect to hang their hat and raise their kids for almost three decades on a street named in honor of the CSA?
Since no one else is talking about these matters, I guess it’s up to us.
Thank you, gentle reader, for reading and joining us on this journey! The best is yet to come!