Tag Archives: Virginia

The Roanoke Times publishes my latest letter to the editor.

I am so happy today to see The Roanoke Times publish my latest letter to the editor:

Letter: Beware those who would criticize knowledge

As always, I am grateful to the editorial staff of this superb regional newspaper.  The Roanoke Times is the primary newspaper for Southwest Virginia, and its Sunday readership throughout 19 counties is estimated at 230,000 people.

I’m also pleasantly surprised that this particular letter seems to have struck a chord with people the way that it did.  After it was carried by a number of newspapers in Virginia and by Newsday in New York, it was shared with a combined 733,000 readers.  That would make it the most broadly circulated single item of all of my writing.



Newsday prints my letter to the editor about the word “overeducated.”

I got some more amazing news today, guys — Newsday printed my most recent letter to the editor, about the word “overeducated” being thrown around by our national politicians.  You can find it right here in yesterday’s paper.

My letter was edited down considerably for length, but I am still quite honored to see something I authored appear in this major regional newspaper.  Newsday is the America’s 10th largest paper, and the third largest in New York State.  It has a weekday circulation of 437,000 in the New York metropolitan area, and reaches nearly half of the households on Long Island.

I really am grateful to Newsday’s editorial staff for deciding that my letter merited the attention of its readers.



I can never be “overeducated.”

So … the term “overeducated” has gained currency in the national discourse.


I myself can never be “overeducated.”


The more that I learn, the more I understand how much more I have to learn. The greater my knowledge, the smaller a fraction it seems of the vast and sprawling sum of knowledge to be gained.

It is like cresting a tall hill at the edge of my neighborhood, only to lay eyes for the first time upon distant ranges of mountains, lining a dawn horizon like endless, luminous, upward serrated silver. I am richer for having seen them there — no matter how paltry my hilltop now seems when I imagine it measured against them. And now that I know the mountains are there, there is a chance that I will someday depart to reach their feet.

I hope I never call myself an “expert” in any subject. The word is fool’s gold. Hubris clings like oil to the circumference of its rounded letters.

But shaming the pursuit of knowledge? Chiding those who’ve worked to attain it, as though their diligence and curiosity were character flaws? That is worse.


Let me tell you something that I have learned in my nearly half century on this planet. When people tell you not to think, then you should think. When people tell you not to ask questions, then you should ask questions. There is always information or a new perspective that the people behind such admonitions do not want you to gain.

And why should we trust those who would deny us so?


Adams_The_Tetons_and_the_Snake_River

Photo credit: By Ansel Adams – This media is available in the holdings of the National Archives and Records Administration, cataloged under the National Archives Identifier (NAID) 519904., Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=118192

The Salem Times-Register prints my letter about the defenders of Ukraine.

I learned a little while ago that the Salem Times-Register printed my recent letter about the courage of the Ukrainian people protecting their homeland.  You can find it right here.

Thank you, Editor Shawn Nowlin, for allowing me to share my thoughts with my neighbors in Southwest Virginia.