Robert M. (Bob) Jackson has made Chico his home for over four decades. Retired as a Professor of Political Science, he served as Dean of the School of Graduate, International and Sponsored Programs at Chico State University. Now, he’s turned his life story into a series of reflections on war and peace, poverty, privilege, polio, and political science (he calls it “Polly Sigh”), and the mystery of life.
“Wherever I Go...: A War Baby’s Tales” ($9.95 in paperback from CreateSpace; also for Amazon Kindle) begins with Jackson’s birth on November 6, 1944 “in the midst of the deadliest war in history.”
“Rather than cheating or fighting, for which I’ve never had any talent,” Jackson writes, “it was my mouth that got me in trouble.” The chapters of his book, which include family photographs, provide the reader with the sometimes salty observations on Jackson’s travels around the globe and his exploration of the inner life.
In 1952 his two brothers were struck with polio as was his father, who was later also plagued by a series of heart attacks. Recent generations know little of the polio scares back then. “I learned early in life that fear of the unknown can cause individuals and even neighborhoods to behave in selfish and even cruel ways.” Others reached out to help. “This generosity of spirit ... transcends the color of one’s skin.”
He worked at a steel mill in the mid-60s and got a taste of the civil rights movement and later worked for the election of Eugene McCarthy on an anti-war platform. “This war baby concluded that if humanity’s self-destruction is to be avoided, it is not new institutions that are needed. Rather, it is a profound shift in human consciousness.”
“So,” he asks at one point, “what is it that I know? ... I understand and accept that along with Divine Spirit, I am the co-creator of my life experience, for I am responsible for my attitude and actions. There is nothing outside that I need to have in order to ‘fix’ me.”
Controversial and outspoken, this is Bob Jackson. Wherever he went--there he was.