Zombie Patriotism

When a sitting president declares that he is a nationalist and thousands of people cheer him, this is the outcome of zombie patriotism. American exceptionalism has always carried this downside. If we believe that our country is unassailable in its virtue and honor, we put blinders on to the very dangers that will contribute to our downfall. The president is taking a third of the population down this road – a road that has a future of unmitigated violence against those who do not embrace this single-celled version of our country. Of… Read More

Fierce Civility

It frequently strikes me how little power I have in the world beyond the interior of my brain. While others have found solace in their powerlessness by fawning over those with power, adopting their language, swearing their fealty, and deluding themselves into thinking that it will somehow rub off on them, I find solace in the fact that I do not matter. That nothing I do has much consequence or meaning in the bigger scheme. I own no banks or armies. I cannot seduce or overpower. I’m marginally intelligent, but have thus… Read More

Staying Technicolor

My week off from blogging served no particular purpose. While I wrote about reading more and chilling, I also had to hit the road to do a two-state tour of family members I hadn’t seen in years. We visited Iowa and Kansas, which welcomed us with open, sweaty arms and no pretense. It was 102 the day we headed home from the Sunflower State. We stayed in a cabin on a lake near Lawrence, Kansas for a few days to avoid a hotel, furtively dashing from car to cabin in an effort… Read More

Bullies, Bystanders, or Bravehearts?: Questions of Civic Participation

There is an argument I consistently have with myself regarding civil discourse. In theory, I believe in civility. I believe in thoughtful discussion. Whatever vulgarity or cuss words I’ve used here, have always been of my own volition, albeit I have taken more opportunities of late to use them. I am an angry person. I believe in justice and I loathe deliberate ignorance. For all the understanding and tolerance we are supposed to extend to people who tell us liberalism is a mental disease and that they’re giddy about these current circumstances,… Read More

The Borders of Decency

I’ve been reading about the U.S. immigrant situation and the separation of children from their parents for the last two weeks. My response, from the safety of my own study, has been to sign petitions, send money to the ACLU, write testy letters to my own representatives which, in a purplish-blue state, involves preaching to the choir in some cases. It’s not enough. I believe the inhumane immigration policy enacted by this administration is the┬áJapanese internment camp of our time. It will be our national shame for years to come. While we’ve… Read More

Between Mr. Coates and Me

I enjoy listening to interviews of one of my current favorite writers, Ta-Nehisi Coates. He frequently answers I don’t know to questions. I think the nature of being a writer should be one of perpetual curiosity and not, as some would have us believe, endless fonts of wisdom. This pet theory of mine ran into a wall when Coates said Kevin Williamson can write his ass off and that he’d read him because he’s good. If a writer like Coates is so curious and willing to read Williamson, why aren’t I? Is… Read More

A Politician, a Journalist, and a Citizen Walk into a Room

My face was hot and red. I began muttering to myself and rolling my eyes. My internal argument grew rancorous: stay or leave, ask a question or angrily scroll notes in my notebook for a pointed email later on. In my efforts to become a better citizen, I attended a political meeting about local issues. I left, bewildered by my sense of rage and ashamed that I could barely contain it. I’m not known for my patience or for suffering fools gladly, but sometimes I can be very foolish of my own… Read More

An Introvert Walks into a Caucus…

In the United States, a precinct caucus is the smallest unit of politics one can participate in – it’s the beginning of the beginning. Last night, the Republican and Democrat caucuses took place in little class and conference rooms all over the state of Minnesota. I have always considered myself an independent and in the distant past, voted for whatever candidate I felt would be best. These days, moderate Republicans are like unicorns and independent parties keep putting up fringe operators at best, so last night I went blue and attended my… Read More

The State of the Union: Things to Do Instead of Listening to Someone Lie to You

I don’t watch award shows. I find the whole self-congratulatory process on top of wealth and celebrity status a tad nauseating. The State of the Union is not much different and this year, like anything Trump touches, it will be way worse. The problem with this weed of a president is that everyone keeps giving it light. Weeds like the light. They flourish and take over all the good soil, choking out anything that is newsworthy and meaningful. This year, I’m taking my light elsewhere. Despite the fact that I’m a political… Read More

Things I Learned While Away from My Computer

Blogging after a long break means my words feel as wobbly as a toddler learning how to walk. But here I am.   I’ve spent the last month reading voraciously, walking miles, getting sleep, reconnecting with friends and family, working out more regularly, and spending a lot of time staring off into space. It’s been good and necessary and I came away with a brain filled with thoughts and ideas and no sense of what to do with it all. Think Little I’ve always been a “This Old House” kind of goal… Read More