It's confession time: Who are your "prior associations"?


One thing I learned about this last presidential election – if you’re ever planning to run for office, you’ve got to be careful who you run around with.

Both candidates got into trouble, I guess, for what we’d call prior associations. That’s a nice way of saying they weren’t careful about who their friends were or, even worse, who their friends’ friends were.

I guess it gets complicated when your opponent is trying to dig up dirt about you.

I really thought I’d lived a pretty dull life – and would be a pretty good candidate – until I got to thinking about my prior associations.

Like the first college professor I ever met.

Now, you have to remember that I grew up in a town of 6,900. The next town was about 20 miles north and boasted almost 300 residents. There were 25 of us in my graduating class. I went to the same private, Catholic school for 13 years – kindergarten through 12th grade.

So you can imagine my shock when I walked into my first class at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln – not exactly the hotbed of radicalism.

There was my English teacher, Professor Wiggins (I can’t believe that I still remember his name) sitting cross-legged on top of his desk. He wasn’t wearing a tie and he didn’t start our class off with a prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance.

I guess I wasn’t at Saint Agnes Academy anymore!

Instead, Professor Wiggins wanted to talk about waging war – not the Vietnam War, mind you, but the war being waged against people of the Baha’i faith in Iran. Professor Wiggins, you see, was a Baha’i and was such a creative teacher that every book we studied he somehow was able to relate to the struggles of the Baha’i faith.

{josquote}...so we all ended up attending a couple of social gatherings at the Professor’s house{/josquote}

I’d never heard of Baha’i. I didn’t even know how to spell it but I certainly heard about it three times a week for the next 16 weeks!

And I was determined to get a good grade – like the other 40 people in my class – so we all ended up attending a couple of social gatherings at the Professor’s house.

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