Democracy doesn’t die in darkness. Democracy dies in a cubicle [of the Deep State].

Tarren Bragdon (CEO at the Foundation for Government Accountability)

By Dr. Jim Ferguson

Eight years ago I was given a death sentence. But after three operations in one year, immunotherapy and prayers, I made it to 72.

Life is filled with challenges, and there is the adage that broken bones knit together stronger. My journey through “the valley of the shadow of death” was no different than others. But while traversing that dark place, I will admit that it is tough to see Paul’s perspective of Romans 5:3-5. I am on the other side now, and I thanked God this morning (and every morning) for another day of life, love, purpose and hope.

Since I am now retired from medicine, my creative joy is found in writing. Writing has become my avocation, supplanting my medical vocation. Nor would I claim my garden, orchard or vineyard efforts as worthy of a vocation – or even an avocation.

Recently, I was invited to a ladies’ book club to talk about writing and, of course, my newest novel, “Mantis.” Most of my readers know me through my weekly column, The Doctor is In. But, I’ve written and published two science-fiction (SF) novels as well as a collection of 85 Focus essays entitled, “Well…What Did the Doctor Say?” (available on Amazon).

I was a bit concerned about the invitation to talk about “Mantis” because I had the misconception that women read SF less often than men. In preparing for the ladies’ I learned that women are now just as likely as men to choose the science-fiction genre. I also learned that the protagonists in science-fiction works have more often been men than women. That is not true in my novels. In fact, the two protagonists in “Mantis” are young females.

You wonder about things that you read on the Internet – and you should. And as a writer of science fiction, I’ve had many people turn their noses up when I mention SF. I admit that I don’t like Brussels sprouts because I’ve tried these tiny cabbages several times. Actually, I love cabbage, just not the ones misnamed. However, if you claim that you do not like science fiction, I challenge you to read a short story by Ray Bradbury entitled, “There Will Come Soft Rains.” It is readily available online as a PDF file. And you should also read the novella, “Flowers for Algernon” by Daniel Keyes. Then, if you don’t appreciate the nuanced artistry in these short works, you can say that you don’t like sci-fi. And I would add, you probably would not enjoy the concepts explored in my novel “Mantis” or the first novel of my Stellar Trilogy, “Epiphany” (both are available on Amazon).

Sometimes, I worry that I worry too little. In other words, perhaps I should be even more concerned about my children and grandchildren’s future or my country which is being destroyed. I’m blessed that my children and grandkids are doing well, but they will suffer if Biden and the leftists complete the destruction of our country. I have a friend who is a bit older than me who says, “It’s a good time to be old.” But just because I live in relative peace, in a relatively sane part of the country, I can’t let up. Fortunately, I have a voice in The Knoxville Focus, and I’m too small a fish to warrant much of an attack. However, that could change because desperate people do desperate things, and the Democrats realize Biden is a disaster. Daring to voice non-orthodox and contrarian views can get bigger fish like Tucker canceled and Trump repeatedly sued. However, at this stage in my life, there is little of ultimate value that can be taken from me, except my family. I have lived a long and successful life, and my destiny is assured. Neither of these can be taken from me.

The attacks on the Constitutional guarantee of free speech caused me to think in Star Wars terms of “a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away.” There is a crucial scene in a Star Wars movie, where the Jedi Obi-Wan Kenobi confronts Darth Vader to allow time for Luke Skywalker and his comrades to escape from the Death Star. Obi-Wan disables his lightsaber and taunts Darth Vader to strike him down, because, as Obi-Wan maintains, he will live on and ultimately triumph. He did.

I believe the scene is taken right out of Socrates’ trial for treason in Ancient Greece. Socrates was being prosecuted on “trumped” up charges of corrupting the youth of Athens, and not sufficiently reverential to the gods of Athens. (Sound like Donald Trump?) In his defense, Socrates told his accusers they could convict and kill him, but he would become a martyr and even more powerful. Socrates said if he was executed he would go to heaven and meet his idol Homer, the writer of “The Iliad.” Few remember any of the elites of ancient Greece. But everyone knows about the martyred Socrates.

My wife, Becky, is an accomplished and genuinely good person. Some years ago a friend was puzzled when he described us as being “such good people, yet we voted for President Trump.” He obviously did not. And apparently, he confused boorish behavior with competency.

Interestingly, a well-connected friend of mine recently had dinner with President Trump. He found the former president warm, engaged and energetic. A far cry from Biden or how Trump is described by the media.

We now have disasters in virtually every aspect of American culture, business and government. But hey, we don’t have mean tweets! I wonder if my friend still hates President Trump and plans to again vote for Joey Demento. As a doctor I will tell you, hatred is a pathological condition and will destroy your reason and your soul.

I’ve been asking myself, what kind of a person would say that Joe Biden is doing a good job as president? Apparently, 36% of respondents in a recent ABC-Washington Post news poll voiced their approval of Joey Demento. The experts must be wrong about the percentage of Americans suffering from dementia.

So, I’ll close by paraphrasing the sage, Forrest Gump: Like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’ll get with “The Doctor is in” column.