RAISE YOUR GLASS: Story Arcs of 2013, Part Deux

BusanWhen this year began, there were a lot of things I’d never done before. I’d never spent more than two weeks outside the United States. I’d never been left to my own devices with a classroomful of children. I’d never lived in a real city (sorry, Tulsa). I’d never been to Asia. I’d never held a full-time job. I’d never had a boyfriend. I’d never kissed a guy. So, yes, as should be obvious by this point, I’ve experienced a lot of firsts this year.

I’m not sure how anyone else’s 2013 went, but mine was pretty fantastic, if I do say so myself. People seem commonly to arrive at year’s end and experience mostly mixed sentiments. To be honest, I don’t really understand why. I’ve long believed that one of the principal keys to, if not happiness, then contentment is the robust management of expectation.

Continue reading


Two Pennies from My Pocket on Health Care

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Obama’s signature achievement, was upheld by the Supreme Court. (Photo: Matt Michrina, Wikimedia Commons)

I don’t like to talk about things that I don’t fully understand and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is one of them. I haven’t read the entire law, nor do I intend to; I don’t know all of the things that are in it, though I know quite a few; I also don’t know every single implication it will have, but neither do the smartest constitutional law scholars. Having to make decisions and judgments with just a little information is a function of living in a fast-paced and expansive modern republic–too much happens on any one day for any one person to know it all.

What I do know is that I was proud of my President and happy for my country when I first heard this morning that the Supreme Court had upheld his signature legislative achievement, which was intended to reform the abysmal healthcare system in the United States. I think that took Republicans and conservatives by surprise; I’ll even admit that it took me a little by surprise. Given the venomous and rancorous cacophony that’s been emanating from conservative and tea party camps over the past two years over health care, I didn’t think it possible that virtually the entire law would be affirmed by the nation’s highest court. I now have just a few things to say and they’ll be brief. Continue reading

Ugly Democracy: the North Carolina Marriage Amendment

Same-sex marriage legislation is complicated in the U.S. Click the image to find out what the colors mean. (Graphic: Lokal_Profil)

60 percent of North Carolinians  voted to enact a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage yesterday. So, let’s just say that I’m pretty disgusted with about 60 percent of North Carolinians. It should be noted that gay marriage has been illegal in the state since 1996 but, apparently, social conservatives and culture warriors saw need to entomb their views in the state constitution.

Of particular interest to me is whether or not as much support could be mustered for a constitutional ban on adultery. Or, better yet, would 60 percent of North Carolinians vote to enact a constitutional ban on divorce? Both are even more insidious threats to “traditional marriage of one man and one woman” than same-sex marriage will ever be. But, we all know that neither of those things will ever, ever happen. Continue reading

Recommended Read: “Un-American”

Larry Clement, who blogs at fiderten.com, has written an excellent piece on the ambiguity of the word “Un-American” as it is currently used in American political discourse.

It is particularly poignant at this point in our history as politicians (of all political persuasions) and pundits (of all levels of intelligence) attempt to poison the well by claiming the worldviews and opinions of those with whom they disagree are “Un-American,” meaning, “Not only do I disagree with X, but X is saying things that demonstrate he is against America and American values.” I have said in the past and continue to believe that these types of arguments are a threat to maintaining any degree of civil discourse in the United States. What they really say is this: “You’re not a part of us (the ‘real,’ ‘true’ America), therefore what you have to say isn’t important and I don’t have to listen to it.”

Continue reading