A Belated Post-Election Narrative About Narratives

A lot of narratives have emerged since Donald Trump’s recent electoral victory. Some have held some merit. Others, not so much. Political narratives can be important, I think, especially Continue reading A Belated Post-Election Narrative About Narratives

On Birds and Words and Metaphors


Just as I sat down to write this morning — to yet again try to write something meaningful and insightful, that might somehow make a dent in the current wall of confusion — I was startled by a loud “thump” against my window. Continue reading On Birds and Words and Metaphors

“Good Bones” by Maggie Smith

Life is short, though I keep this from my children.

Life is short, and I’ve shortened mine

in a thousand delicious, ill-advised ways,

a thousand deliciously ill-advised ways

I’ll keep from my children. The world is at least

fifty percent terrible, and that’s a conservative

estimate, though I keep this from my children.

For every bird there is a stone thrown at a bird.

For every loved child, a child broken, bagged,

sunk in a lake. Life is short and the world

is at least half terrible, and for every kind

stranger, there is one who would break you,

though I keep this from my children. I am trying

to sell them the world. Any decent realtor,

walking you through a real shithole, chirps on

about good bones: This place could be beautiful,

right? You could make this place beautiful.

Reprinted with gracious permission from the author. Copyright Maggie Smith, all rights reserved.

“Good Bones” first appeared in Waxwing http://waxwingmag.org/items/issue9/28_Smith-Good-Bones.php

There is a beautiful, limited-edition letterpress broadside of the poem available here: https://www.tupelopress.org/product/good-bones-broadside/

Please visit Maggie’s website where you can find more information about her, her poetry, and publications. https://maggiesmithpoet.com

Call for submissions – guest blogs, opinions, essays, poems, more – the 2016 Presidential Election

For my friends out there grappling with yesterday’s presidential election:

Because I have a blog, and most don’t, I thought I’d offer up a possible platform to share some thoughts, feelings, insights, and reflections about the election. In particular, I’m looking for some honest, thoughtful, well-written guest blogs, opinions, short essays, poems, and reflections about the election and/or election-related themes. What I’m not looking for are off-the-cuff, expletive-laden tirades and rants, however warranted. (Yes, I still believe in civil discourse, however naive).

Feel free to shoot me a draft or to float an idea or concept past me. I don’t really care about length; just do your best to edit and make it something readable to the average cat.

And while this is a left-leaning blog, I’m open to thoughtful, well-considered pieces from people with other views. For example: a conservative with reservations about Trump. Or, a non-bigoted Trump supporter who understands other people’s concerns. Bigots and pussy grabbers need not apply. Also, “why I voted for-or-against Trump” or “for-or-against Hillary” pieces will be promptly and unapologetically round-filed. We’re done with all of that.

If I get more than a few good submissions, I may not be able to publish them all. So, please understand and don’t unfriend me unless you’re one of those select few I secretly hope will.

Submissions are open indefinitely, but I’m looking primarily at the next few weeks — i.e., the month of November.

Thanks all, and please feel free to share.

Best! T

When Being President Was Considered Difficult: How GOP Strategy and Ideology Supplanted Notions of Meritocracy in Respect to the U.S. Presidency

A once-upon-a-time meritocracy

Not long ago, being president of the United States was considered a particularly difficult job, one requiring keen intelligence, high moral character, and a long record of distinguished public service. Continue reading When Being President Was Considered Difficult: How GOP Strategy and Ideology Supplanted Notions of Meritocracy in Respect to the U.S. Presidency

Blue Funk


Blue Funk

This election season has gotten me down. This isn’t entirely unusual, in that most election cycles fill me with a certain sense of doom regarding the state of our republic. But this year’s feels different, Continue reading Blue Funk

A Post-Debate Letter to Hillary From an Old Rust Belt Democrat



‘Solid job on the debate this week. While Trump scored well in a few categories (interrupting, mansplaining, general incoherence, weirdest makeup, coining new words, etc.), you prevailed on most everything else, including, importantly, substance, knowledge, experience, articulateness, aptitude, and temperament.

Still — and I’m simply being honest here — Continue reading A Post-Debate Letter to Hillary From an Old Rust Belt Democrat

Let’s Have a Conversation About Race


My best friend’s dad growing up was a cop. He was (and is) a good man, who spent his entire life in public service — first as a soldier, then a police officer. His wife was (and is) a saint, who treated me like part of her own family when I was a kid. I owe both of them a lot.  Continue reading Let’s Have a Conversation About Race

A Handshake for the Generations


What if I told you I met somebody once who personally knew James Polk? Or Dred Scott? Or John Keats? Impossible, right? I mean, it’s 2016. These men were all born in the 1700’s.

And yet . . . Continue reading A Handshake for the Generations

When Jesus Abandoned His Slightly Hippie-ish Ways, Part IV – the Finale


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The final chapter in a series in which I explore the spiritual, social, and political ramifications of the evangelical movement of the ’70’s and ’80’s through the lens of my own experiences growing up in a white Protestant church in the rural midwest.

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Most ideological wars have asked young people to do the heavy lifting. There are reasons we send teenagers off to fight our wars, after all, and it isn’t merely that they are the most physically able. It is that they are the most psychologically willing — willing to risk their lives, to conform to a strict ideology, to take risks in order to prove their mettle, make their marks and earn praise for their bravery and sacrifice. In some ways, they are our strongest; in others, our most vulnerable, and easiest to mold into a particular shape. Not to mention, if you really want your ideology to endure through generations, there’s little point in trying to recruit an army of 85-year olds to lead your charge. Pastor X recognized the importance of a strong youth movement, and was particularly engaged with the church’s youth group. It was there, more so than during Sunday morning sermons, that the real evangelical message was being driven home.  Continue reading When Jesus Abandoned His Slightly Hippie-ish Ways, Part IV – the Finale