American Consequences - September 2021


hard to attain. But goodness is available to everybody... And it’s far and away the most important.


AA: What should every American know?

P.J.: History. Not to get dangerously friendly with the Critical Race Theory people, but they’re right about us not understanding our history. And we have to understand that history and how contentious it’s been, how fraught it remains, and what the source of those contentions are... And how (and why) in some cases, we have effectively overcome them, and in other cases, we’ve failed miserably to do so.

AA: Did your parents instill you with that?

P.J.: Yes, I think they did. My parents died when I was young. So, you know, they weren’t through instilling it in me [laughs] . But yes. They very much did. They were both very good people. AA: If youth is wasted on the young, is wisdom wasted on the aged? P.J.: To a certain extent. AA: As in, you have all this to give, but maybe you can’t act on it? P.J.: Well, maybe you can’t express it. You and I are in the business of expressing ourselves. And that makes us forgetful about how hard expressing oneself is for so many people. A little check on social media would indicate that. Also I think that as you get older, it gets harder to be listened to – you know, everyone likes a fresh voice. Nobody is that interested in a tired voice. AA: As a country, how much longer do we have left?

The decline of America has been a theme that I’ve been hearing since Sputnik.

AA: What do you try to tell your kids? I know maybe they don’t listen to you anymore. My child doesn’t. P.J.: They listen more than you know . I try to convince them that it is vital to be good at something but that it is more vital yet to be good . Character, skill, knowledge, and wisdom are all beautiful things, valuable things. They are things you should work very



September 2021

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