This column celebrates my 15th year of writing for The Tribune. After 13 years, it is also time to update my photo. When I first started my job for the newspaper, they wanted a photo, so I grabbed one that was handy. A year later, I gave them a more recent picture. This scenario gives credibility to King Solomon’s famous words, “All is vanity.”
My first column appeared on Sept. 25, 1998, and this one is my 700th. After writing for several years, I categorize my pieces, and ended up with 13 topics including sports, music, entertainment, books, biographical, interviews and general commentary.
My goal was to present a Christian worldview of those subjects. I thoroughly research the material I use for my columns and try my utmost to present the facts. What my readers do with those facts and my interpretation of them is obviously their business.
I believe the mainstream media elects to ignore certain facts, or misrepresents them. I wish to present to the reading public an alternative point of view and then let them decide for themselves their position.
My perspective is of a small-government Libertarian because the more power one gives to government, the more corrupt it becomes.
My columns the past few years have concentrated more on economics and politics, since the two are intertwined. Our nation’s debt is out of control, and we would be foolish to think we will not suffer the consequences. I have made it clear that no individual political party or president is solely to blame. It is the system that is corrupt.
Our nation has abandoned personal responsibility and blamed the problem on everything but the real reason. It seems no one is at fault anymore. However, moving away from Judeo-Christian values and removing God from the public square has taken its toll on our country.
The breakdown of the family has been instrumental as well in our decline as divorce and having children out of wedlock have grown. Public education has suffered, but teachers cannot be a surrogate for negligent or absent parents. Students who achieve do so because of the interest and support their parents give them.
There are, of course, exceptions, but they are few and far between. Mandated evaluation tests are not the answer to educational woes. There is plenty of blame to spread around, but the key missing ingredients are individual responsibility and understanding that poor decisions have consequences.
I have more than my share of critics, although I am surprised they continue to read my columns. If someone disagrees with me, please be specific in telling me what I wrote that is wrong, and never personalize your attacks. We can politely agree to disagree.
In closing, I want to thank all my readers who over the years have encouraged me to keep the faith through their emails, letters, phone calls and personal greetings. I live for the day we will return our country to "One nation under God" that made us great to begin with.
Laughlin is a Christian Libertarian. He is an economist, teacher, father, husband and most recently a grandfather. He has written a weekly column for The Tribune for 15 years. He and his wife Gina reside in Meadowlakes. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org. He is an independent columnist, not a staff member, and his views do not necessarily reflect those of The Tribune or its parent company.