Grumpy Old Teacher is the nom-de-guerre of Gregory Sampson, a teacher in the public school system in Jacksonville, Florida.

It’s really hard to characterize my thinking. Once it was useful to call me a conservative, but that really doesn’t work anymore. I’m not what people think a liberal is. I lean libertarian but recognize that pure libertarianism doesn’t work in a world as closely connected as ours is.

The Enlightenment was a great move forward in human history and the well-being of the common man, but unfortunately, Enlightenment thinkers failed to see that their conceptions of the rights of men were constrained to white Europeans. They were not aware that they did not extend their thinking to all people.

But I do. I am someone who believes in the enunciation of human rights as encapsulated in the Declaration of Independence, that we are endowed with certain unalienable (cannot be separated from our persons) rights, among them (so not exclusively) the right to life, liberty, and property.

Someone who believes those rights belong to all persons and that we should read ‘men’ as ‘women, children, and men, or males and females, of all races and origins.’

Someone who believes that we live in community and those community relationships are important. That community creates responsibilities and obligations to all of its members, especially the marginalized and powerless, as well as rights for all members.

Someone who believes that property rights do not excuse the obligation to help, but confer it.

Someone who believes that democratic processes bring about the best outcomes even if it is not the particular outcome I would have chosen.

Someone who tries his hardest to listen to others of different viewpoints (while expressing his own, of course!) and to consider an issue from a different point of view.

Someone who has come to realize the deep stain of institutional racism upon American honor because it exists and still it persists. Someone who would change that if he could regardless of what it might mean for a privileged position in society.

A deep rock-hard believer in Christ, who has to now disavow the label of ‘evangelical,’ because an evangelical Christian no longer wants to save souls, but has become worldly in the lust for political power.

Old enough to abandon the arrogance of youth, during which I thought I had all the answers. I don’t, but you do. Not as one person–all of us. We each have hold of a partial piece of the truth. Together, we have the pieces, but only in talking and sharing can we find the pieces and discard the other.

I enjoy participating in the conversation. Talk to me … and one another.