Essays by Subject Matter


A Beautiful Life.

“Even in the centuries which appear to us to be the most monstrous and foolish, the immortal appetite for beauty has always found satisfaction.” Charles Baudelaire

President Obama was taken to task and the “liberal” woodshed for his recent comments concerning California’s female Attorney General. An old friend and political supporter, Obama said that Kamala Harris is “brilliant and she is dedicated and she is tough,” as well as “she also happens to be, by far, the best looking attorney general in the country.”

It was that last observation, on her looks, that brought down the wrath of liberal women, that to comment on a woman’s physicality (appearance), in the context of her work, was inappropriate, sexist and demeaning of women. Being a feminist and a consumer of history, I am sensitive to any practice (speech in this case) that in any way demeans, limits or restricts a woman’s freedom, independence or opportunity.

Aside from beauty pageants, the consideration of a woman’s physical appearance is irrelevant to any “job” she pursues. Period. End of story. If laws (regulations) are required to eliminate job preference (promotions, wages, etc.) based on physical appearance, so be it. That said.

You’re beginning to see more “commentary” on how we, in the West, have placed too much coin on the pursuit of individual freedom at the expense of community. A favorite philosopher of mine Richard Rorty thought we need to pursue/balance both virtues. Both individuality (in its infinite expressions) and the commonweal.

One of the things that I love about America is that America’s women can freely walk around looking like goddesses. Not necessarily at 2:00 AM in rough neighborhoods (although I would like my America to facilitate just that, that no woman was ever in harm’s way, anywhere/anytime). But in much of our nation, there are beautiful women everywhere. They are ubiquitous as flowers. That America’s women—the goddesses among us—who publicly appear so, this represents a national value—individual expression’s of personal freedom. That said.

I objectify women. I have all my life. For whatever the reason, when I was in kindergarten I became enchanted by a classmate who broke my heart when she moved away that year. I couldn’t tell you what she looked like (although her joie de vivre comes to mind), but I remember her as beautiful. Where does that come from? As has been observed the heart knows what it knows and each sex objectifies the other. We do. Each sex appreciates beauty, both similarly and differently. That said.

Is there too much emphasis in America on beauty? Perhaps. Arguably. Has its consideration any place when hiring and promoting America’s workforce? We can all agree, absolutely not. To the degree that Obama’s comments undermines the commonweal (by undermining the status of women) he should be called out. All men need to hear from the women in their lives when their actions/comments cross the line. That said.

“Some guys say beauty is only skin deep. But when you walk into a party, you don’t see somebody’s brain. The initial contact has to be the sniffing.” James Caan

Know what? I wouldn’t limit “the sniffing” to just the guys. Slice it/dice it. Gals have preferences, too. Some seek the big brains. Others gravitate to big wallets. But if the brains and/or the bucks come in a handsome package, too, well, isn’t that just the beautiful life? It happens. Sometimes.

He’s Not Dead . . . He’s Married.

Marriage means commitment. Of course, so does insanity. Author Unknown

For some inexplicable reason Hugh Hefner’s name (of Playboy fame) came up in a recent group conversation and someone wondered if he was still living and I laughing suggested, “He’s not dead, he’s married.” Many yucks followed.

Hefner, 86, married 26-year-old Crystal Harris, a former Playmate. This was Hefner’s third marriage and her first. They were married last December. These sorts of “arrangements” are a bit baffling to me. Hefner obviously does not need to “get” married to have sex with Playboy centerfolds. He’s had multiple long-term relationships (relatively speaking) with “Bunnies” he’s featured in Playboy. One can hardly fault him for that. The question arises as to the motivation for the young Ms. Harris. Two reasons come to mind. She’s not particularly bright. Or, it’s that sexy bulge in Hefner’s . . . um. . . back pocket.

I’m inclined to think it’s a combination of both. She may not be the brightest bulb in the pack (although she certainly does light-up the page), but she is brilliant enough to grab the “golden” ring. A marital pre-nup was probably Hefner’s dowry (ah, the price one pays for youth), so regardless of the outcome of this, uh, union, Ms. Harris will be well compensated. As well she should be. This marriage was a transaction. As are all marriages.

One of the funniest things I regularly witness on Park Avenue is the gray-haired lad (in his 50s or early 60s) with a young, snot-nosed child in tow, walking slightly behind his pram-pushing “trophy wife.” She’s maybe 33 and is invariably yacking away on a cell phone. The child in the stroller is crying and our “lad” has the deer-in-the-headlights look of “My gawd, what have I done?” Cruelly, I inwardly laugh.

Marriage is a human construct. It’s not a gift from god, unless, of course, your god has a wicked sense of humor.

My 42-year-old, once married daughter thinks marriage 50 years from now will be a dramatically different institution. That, yes, marriages will occur; folks will legally “hook-up” to have children but expecting two people to be contracted to one another “for life” is untenable and presumptuous. You never really know the person you are marrying and people inevitably change. My daughter speculates that in fifty years, folks will be married (or attached) a number of times, reflecting how we change as we mature, just as our expectations (needs & wants) revise as we grow as individuals.

My sister (Saint Sandra of Socorro) has often remarked that marriage is the most difficult “thing” we humans do. It begs the question, why is that? Mythologist Joseph Campbell talked at length about the Golden marriage and what it takes to achieve its rewards. Campbell advocates the surrender of self to marriage. Talk about a difficult concept. Biblical scholar Jerry McCant observed that, “You can never be happily married to another until you get a divorce from yourself. Successful marriage demands a certain death to self.”

Euphemistically speaking, the death of “ones” offers the possibility of a life for two. Sublimating one’s ego poses the question, to what end? That is a conundrum all of us—at one time or another—confront.

Robert Anderson, author of Solitaire & Double Solitaire said, “In every marriage more than a week old, there are grounds for divorce. The trick is to find, and continue to find, grounds for marriage.”

Many tire of the game.

The Cosmopolitan Texan – Not An Oxymoron

A good man can make you feel sexy, strong and able to take on the world…Ohh sorry that’s vodka….vodka does that. Anonymous

Ha! Ha! I’m writing about a good man this week and I Googled quotes on the “good man” and I came across the above which caused me to laugh out loud.

What makes a good man? The first quality that comes to my mind is kindness. Is he kind? Not only to family and friends but to strangers as well? Is he generous of spirit? Does he have empathy? Does he connect with humanity and see his story as part of the fabric of life?
Kindness, generosity, empathy, connectedness are often considered “more” feminine qualities yet they are the first attributes I would use to describe my good friend and confidant, the quite masculine Louis Hughes.

Mr. Hughes was my age, 64, when he hired me in 1986 to work with him in the Development Office of Winter Park Memorial Hospital. This Tuesday past, he celebrated his birthday. Hughes, today, volunteers three days a week in the WPMH emergency room. We lunch several times a month.

Louis Hughes grew-up on a West Texas ranch. During the Dust Bowl Days no less. He experienced the greatest gift any of us every receive, that of the good parent(s). That and oil leases, eh, Louis? Hughes “left” Texas to be educated in the East, served in WWII, eventually living, working and parenting in the Northeast. He worked for Harvard and The University of Pennsylvania Development offices before arriving in Winter Park in 1984 to become the Vice President of Development for WPMH.

The first thing I noticed about Louis was his sartorial habit. He wore three-piece suits everyday. A bit of a clothes-horse myself, I judged his ties rather conservative. His attire contributed to an over-all initial impression that Hughes was formal, formidable and somewhat unapproachable.

Hughes is a snob. He’ll deny it. He’s well read. He likes art. He’s cultured. He plays the piano. Today. He’s been places, seen things. He appears to be the type of gentleman who will not indulge in small talk. It’s all a façade. Not his cultural attributes, his veneer of aloofness. He doesn’t take himself seriously. Hughes resists, however, sophomoric humor (which I do employ) yet will indulge my uncouth, “common” observations. We both appreciate beautiful (in every sense of the word) women. He’s a wonderful, delightful man with which to enjoy life.

Two closing observations. Hughes married for a second time to Arlene “Petie” Showalter of Winter Park, Florida. She was the love of his life and they had over two decades of happiness together before her death.

A final story. Louis and I would, upon arriving for work each morning, stand at the development office receptionist counter for ten or so minutes, coffee in hand, and discuss the “nature” of life. Much laughter ensued. One day, Louis, said in passing, that at one point in his life he had four children in diapers. You could have picked my jaw off the floor.

I only found out some years later that all four of those once-diapered children were adopted. His love for his four children (Ned, Margaret, Justine & Jeff) has been unconditional and unwavering. They give him much joy.

Hughes is a prince among men and on his 91st birthday, vodka is unnecessary (champagne, perhaps) when singing his praises. Happy Birthday, Lad! More!

What Does This Country Need?

What this country needs is a good five-cent cigar. Thomas Marshall, United States Vice President

The cigar quote is attributed to Woodrow Wilson’s two-term Vice President, Thomas Marshall. Presiding over the Senate and after listening to an interminable senatorial speech on what America needs, Marshall allegedly leaned over to a colleague and offered his pithy assessment of what the country required. And, of course, Marshall is remembered today. A footnote.

What do you think America needs today? Seriously, if you could wave a magic wand, what would you implement/initiate that would make America a “better” place?

I think the nation is “half-measuring” itself to the dustbin of history. We seem incapable of achieving two important tasks: 1.) Determining (as a society) important national priorities and, 2.) Agreeing (a consensus) on how to achieve/pursue them. I am sadly disheartened regarding the course of America.

Is there one particular example that best exemplifies where 21st century America finds itself? I am sure that my more reflective readers could provide an illustration, or two. Send me your examples but I insist they be unambiguous as to how they clearly demonstrate the nation’s descent to mediocrity.
I make the distinction between specific acts of self-interest (recall Alaska’s bridge to nowhere), which was merely legislative “PORK” run-amuck. It is a timeless practice, based on greed and power. No, I want clear-cut examples of systemic deterioration of the national fiber.

Among the many examples that immediately come to mind, I’ve one that clearly captures the challenge confronting the United States.

In the summer of 2012 the Texas Republican Party agreed to the following provision in its Party Platform: Knowledge-Based Education – We oppose the teaching of Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS) (values clarification), critical thinking skills . . . which focus on behavior modification and have the purpose of challenging the student’s fixed beliefs and undermining parental authority.

To go on record, publicly no less, that as Republicans you oppose teaching our children critical thinking skills is a staggering indictment of the nation as a whole. Why oppose critical thinking? Because it might challenge one’s “fixed beliefs?” What? Critical thinking might actually lead to behavior modification? For shame, that we ever change our thinking or –horrors!– our behavior!

My goodness, Jepson, I’m not sending my kid to school so she learns to think for herself! Sacrebleu!

What does it say, that the governing political party in the second largest state in the United States goes on public record opposing higher order thinking skills, critical thinking, because—bottom-line—authority may be challenged?

This is at the crux of much of human history. Time and time again, authority opposed change because change is threatening. To power. To privilege. To wealth. To what is known. To the status quo. To the “sacred” unchallengeable verities.

Fortunately, for humanity, such rearguard reactionary actions never succeed in the long run. Change is as predictable as each new day. Mercifully so. No nation, no people remain “in” power forever. We like to think we (Americans) are different in that regard. That history is irrelevant, that we will be on-top forever.

To oppose the teaching of critical thinking facilitates America’s decline and is emblematic of us today, as a culture. Someday future Americans will sadly ask, “What were those people thinking?” The answer: we weren’t.

Nay, Republicans are actually on record opposing it.

I Can Take No From
Anyone But You.

Ah, love. Is it like pornography? You’ll know it when you see it?

I marvel at human beings. We’re this complex soup of chemicals that one moment we’re higher than a kite on adrenaline, dopamine and serotonin, such, we’re “riding high in April.” Only, to be (at times), “Shot down in May.” Sing it, Frank!

I confess to thinking babies are cute. I don’t think that necessarily makes me a girly-man (although I do like fabrics, too); I imagine our species is chemically induced to think as much. Consider the alternative. That we (men & women) didn’t go “Aw-shucks” at the sight of the newborn. Young love, however, is much more interesting to observe than the immediate byproducts of our, hmmm, unions. Young adults (so beautiful and physically lean)—all ga-ga in love—are such a hopeful expression of what it means to be human. Being in love puts a kick in your step, is inherently hopeful and, I think, makes you more generous toward your fellow man.

That you are in this chemically-induced state of euphoria and that it is attributable—directly linked—to your being enthralled with another person is a fairly predictable (regular) human experience. I read a study suggesting that it takes oh, about 90 seconds to determine if you “fancy” someone. And it’s based on body language and the “speed and tone of their voice.” Not so much on what you say as how you say it. It’s initially all about how you look and how you talk. Not to rain on anyone’s parade but what’s the definition of superficial?

And why is that? It’s the lament women worldwide wail. That, that . . . MEN! . . . are all about the physical. I hate to disabuse my feminine friends but that GONE IN 90 SECONDS phenomena mentioned earlier applies to both sexes. And I again ask, “Why is that?”

Why would the human species place such a premium on what we today determine to be superficial, all surface—substance to be determined later?

Because, contrary to what anyone might suggest, there is no more meaning to/in life than the perpetuation of the (a) species. Arguably, pursuing the meaning—any meaning—in life is an individual trek (and expression). But from the perspective of our species, making babies (and having them live) is it.

We are hardwired, chemically induced to copulate. At some core, primitive level of our being (if you will), our attraction to one another (male/female) is predicated on perpetuating the species. All those wondrous chemicals that our bodies so eagerly produce when we first encounter “our desired” are created so we will “create” the next generation. It’s all about sex. In the beginning.

Actually, I am not convinced it isn’t the underlining impetus for all human encounters/ unions/bondings (at any age, even in your 80s). These chemicals (Better Living Through Chemistry, for sure) we so willingly manufacture are with us, to varying degrees, all our lives. We may have sex in our 80s with no chance of a baby outcome but how we came to be in the sack (so to speak) may be the result of the same driver that has us making love in our 20s. It’s really not so mysterious after all. Perhaps.

I am reminded of that famous—so hauntingly melodic—country-western classic, I Can Take No From Anyone But You, that this Valentines Day, a hot “Yes!” be on your lips. Go ahead, blame it on the drugs. You’d be justified.

At The Dance.

Ah, such goodies I have for you.

Many of you will already know from whence I speak. I’ve a book and movie by the same name to recommend. Here’s what Bosley Crowther, movie reviewer for the New York Times, had to say August 13, 1963, “The film that Luchino Visconti and his star, Burt Lancaster, have made from Giuseppe di Lampedusa’s fine novel The Leopard is a stunning visualization of a mood of melancholy and nostalgia at the passing of an age.”

The Leopard was published in 1958 and made into a movie five years later. I highly recommend that you first read the book and then Netflix the movie. The writing, the book is spot-on marvelous. The movie is gorgeous.

It’s Burt Lancaster as the lead who makes the movie so fascinating to watch. Lancaster plays a Sicilian prince in 1860s Italy. Everything is changing. His world is disintegrating. But what’s a prince to do? He hunts. He reads. He conducts scientific experiments. He carouses. He leads his family. He debates with the family priest. He’s sexy. Ironic. He’s a modern man (of sorts) lamenting the loss of his privileged status. He has faults. What man hasn’t? But as one English lady observed of the Prince, after reading the book, “There is a man I could have loved.” And how difficult could it be to have loved the likes and looks of Lancaster?

I cannot specifically remember how I first came to read The Leopard but I was still an impressionable teenager. I missed the movie’s release in 1963, probably not seeing it until Blockbuster Video opened in the late 1980s. What I do vividly recall was my utter fascination with the author’s creation of the primary character, the Prince, a man at the pinnacle of the social order who clearly understood that his day in the sun was inexorably passing. Not only was Italian nobility being replaced by—of all things!—a bourgeoisie middle class but the Prince was now one of the “old ones at the dance.”

I could easily live in Italy today. The land, the food, the history, the art, the climate, the people, Italy is a grand experience. And to have, once-upon-a-time, lived there as a Prince on 700-year-old estates, well, sign me up.

Burt Lancaster was born in 1913 and was 50 years old when The Leopard was released. He looks about as good as a man can look (in life/or movie). He’s trim. He’s fit. He’s handsome. He’s educated. But he’s melancholy. Life, alas, hasn’t stopped, hasn’t paused even briefly for him, a Prince no less. Time unfortunately does not defer to title or social class.

The last 45 minutes of the movie is a gaudy, extravagant ball where the Prince dances with a rapturous Claudia Cardinale, whose character, Angelica, is described in the book as “tall and well made, on an ample scale; her skin looked as if it had the flavor of fresh cream, which it resembled . . . and emanating from her whole person was the invincible calm of a woman sure of her beauty.” So lush a woman that one man upon first seeing her could “feel the veins pulsing in his temples.”

I’d cry, too, as does the Prince in the movie. So much beauty in life—sigh—so quickly gone.

The Leopard captures that dichotomy of human experience, hmmm, shall we say, beautifully.

I Can Take No But Not From You.

I’m thinking of “I Can Take No But Not From You,” as a song title and chorus lyrics for a country western song. I think I can write a song. And to have “I Can Take No But Not From You” as a starting point well, visually, I’m already picking-up my award in Nashville. Yea Baby.

So, I could use some help. Add an idea, your “eight words” and our success will be a collaborative effort. Publish here your words.

Give it up for “I Can Take No From Anyone But You.”

c.

What Now?

I did not deny God’s existence, but I doubted His absolute justice.
- Elie Wiesel, “Night.”

I’ve been reading a few pages, each evening, of “Night” by Elie Wiesel. I can only take a few pages before I have to set it down. I inwardly shout, “Get out! Leave! Now! Run!” Night recounts Wiesel’s experience as a Romanian Jew during the Holocaust. It is profoundly sad. I can only internalize so much of his account before I become anxious and unsettled.

When I heard of the Connecticut massacre, of 20 children dying (seven adults, too) I was immediately sickened, physically nauseated by the senselessness of killing babies. You ask yourself, “How can this be? How can slaughtering innocence ever be contemplated, let alone acted upon? Why would this happen?”

That’s really not the question needing asked. But rather, how was this massacre perpetrated? (Answer: see assault weapons.)

The timeless question for our species is why is man so prone to violence, so willing to hurt and humiliate?

I was taken aback by former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee’s observation on the Connecticut massacre that, “We ask why there is violence in our schools, but we have systematically removed God from our schools. Should we be so surprised that schools would become a place of carnage?” I found his comments both disgusting and surprising.

Surprising from the perspective that I thought, Huckabee, as an ordained Southern Baptist minister, would have emphasized that God is present everywhere and always. He suggests the contrary. That because prayers are not offered in public schools, what? Death and mayhem shall ensue?

As a non-believer in a personal god, I find such questions intriguing. In the 2011, visually stunning movie, Tree of Life, a character observes, “He sends flies to wounds he should heal.” He, of course, is God. It’s a legitimate observation to me. One, I imagine, discussed from church pulpits all over America last Sunday. It is a question that can only be finessed because that is exactly what the Old Testament God does time and time again.

It begs, however, the question, “Why?” I have questioned the existence of God ever since I was old enough to realize that really bad things happen to good people. Why? Where was God during the Holocaust? Or, during the Trail of Tears? Or, the Moro Massacre? Or, Sandy Hook Elementary School? Was God’s attention diverted, busy creating other universes? Discussing whom to smite with Archangels Gabriel and Michael? Was God on vacation?

I don’t think that is the case because if I were an omnipotent, omniscient, forever-always-present God, I would know that Adam Lanza would on December 14, 2012 systematically execute innocence. These children had no choice of “free will.” If I knew humanity was capable of the Holocaust, would I (God) not reasonably tweak ever so slightly my design of mankind?

Why were children massacred in Newtown? Because a mentally deranged man had ready access to assault weapons. He went off the reservation of “acceptable” human behavior.

No, a far better question is how was the act accomplished? To the degree we can identify and help the mentally ill is one issue, with what ease (how) we slaughter each other is quite another.
Happiness is not a warm gun. John Lennon knew that.

Mankind must remember that peace is not God’s gift to his creatures; peace is our gift to each other. Elie Wiesel

What now?

Momma Knows Best.

Intellectually, it is far easier to get your head around what a pox mankind is for our Mother Earth. Emotionally it is quite another thing. Since we walked out of Africa (we are all Africans) approximately 125,000 years ago, Modern Man has rapaciously consumed the environment, never really pausing to consider our impact upon the planet.

By the 1970s, however, it became clear to the most casual observer that human activity (population growth, agricultural practices and industrialization) was quite literally destroying Earth’s rich diversity of life.

Everyday we are inundated with countless “canary in the coal mine” examples of the specific impact we humans have on the land, water and air that sustains us. Our oceans are warming and increasingly acidic. Our topsoils are washing/blowing away or relentlessly sprayed with polluting herbicides and fertilizers. Our atmosphere is increasingly filled with carbon dioxide. Animal, plant and marine species are becoming extinct at an ever-accelerating pace.

We are fishing our oceans clean of edible species. Our fellow humans are “harvesting” perhaps this moment the last elephants and rhinoceros of Africa. 25 million Brazilians now live in the South American rainforest with more humans on the way. In the next few decades all of Earth’s coral reefs will have succumbed to warming waters and acidification. The fresh water Himalayan glaciers that today quench Asia’s insatiable thirst are inexorably melting away.

All of this we are well aware. All of this is caused by human activity, by human population levels unhealthy and unsustainable for our planet’s ecosystem. And there is virtually nothing we can do about it. Even if we stumbled upon “cold fusion” tomorrow, discovered how to cleanly desalinate ocean water and developed innovative new food sources not requiring yet more untilled acreage or scarce freshwater, mankind is heading to a day of—let’s speak euphemistically—to a day of, uh, adjustment. The bill is coming due.

It’s ironic to me that the one nation on earth that should be at the forefront of building a sustainable population and economy is the United States. But now we are hearing increased rumblings that America is heading for population problems. Our birthrates are “plunging” and we could soon become an “empire” in decline if we don’t increase our national population (look at Japan we are constantly admonished). We are told that if our population is not expanding, that our economy will not flourish. Who’ll support the aging Boomers for gawd’s sake?

Our economic model is predicated on growth. Growth today, growth tomorrow, growth forever. It is a growth based on an ever-increasing population (to be consumers — to buy Pampers, toasters and vacations). Not only in America but worldwide.

There is no economic alternative (sustainable & green) being offered that is not predicated on an ever-increasing world population. More people – more growth – more consumption. To argue otherwise and you are painted as un-American, a collectivist and anti-human. To challenge why America “needs” to be at 500 million people, well, we’re talking jobs. And, that I totally get. It is hard to embrace “sustainability” with so many babies crying for more.

Yes, let’s avoid today’s financial “melt down.” But unless we, as a species (nations), imagine and create a sustainable future, what we now experience as a “cliff” will be remembered as a distraction.

Either we humans wisely reduce our population or Mother will do it for us. Mom will cull the herd, our economies be damned.

Whammy Burger Nation

The Platonic idealist is the man by nature so wedded to perfection that he sees in everything not the reality but the faultless ideal which the reality misses… George Santayana

Irony, of late, has garnered a bad name. Sincerity is the valued coin of the realm these days. And so it is with the burgeoning Secessionist Movement, where disillusioned Americans petition to withdraw from the Union. My inclination is to ridicule such sentiments particularly since the location of secessionist rhetoric is centered in the Heart of Dixie. I do attach racist and nativist underpinnings to the Secessionist “argument” but I think something else is going on as well.

An appropriate illustration of where a number of our fellow citizens find themselves (me, too, at times) is in our sympathy for the character Michael Douglas plays in the 1993 movie “Falling Down.” Douglas portrays a recently laid off defense contractor employee, William Foster. Foster is divorced, disillusioned, depressed and in despair. All he wants is to attend his daughter’s birthday party but has a restraining order against him by his divorced wife. Caught in LA freeway traffic, he abandons his car and begins the long walk across the city to see his daughter.

Foster has many run-ins on his journey crossing a modern American hell but the classic confrontation (for me) occurs in a fastfood restaurant featuring the Whammy Burger. Foster orders off a visual menu showing the quintessential perfect hamburger—The Whammy Burger—photographed to steaming culinary perfection. Alas, when it arrives, it is anything but. It’s pathetic. Soggy bread, wilted lettuce and a piece of meat the size of a burnt quarter. What happens next is what all of us have all dreamed of—Walter Mitty-like—doing. Worth a look-see.

I liken the Secessionist mindset to Foster’s viewing of the perfect Whammy Burger. In the back of the Secessionist mind is some ideal of an American golden-age, a blessed America, of that “shining city on the hill.” Yet the reality of our pluralistic democracy, with all our diverse constituencies vying for power and preference, well, it is a shockingly rude slap to the face to those who have an idealized (or infantile) conception of American history. As has been observed the making of slaughterhouse sausage and representative democracy have much in common.

Secessionists lament the loss of freedom. I am unsure of what loss they mourn. I recently attended a private Shoot’N’Annie along the St. John’s River with enough guns and ammo to have respectably defended Stalingrad in 1943. I do not see any loss of freedom when it comes to the Second Amendment. No one is requiring anyone to attend a specific church. You definitely can speak your mind in America.

No, Jepson, loss of freedom when it comes to taxes and onerous regulations (like being required to contribute to your healthcare). Ah, taxes and regulations. “Oh, wouldn’t it be loverly” to again have an American population of 3.9 million, as was the United States in 1787, with an entire continent at your feet, virtually vacant, to exploit. Just over the next hill, the long arm of “that” onerous government nonexistent.

America was never the “faultless ideal,” the most perfect of Whammy Burger Nations. And this, Dear Reader, is what is. A diet of illusion and ignorance are always menu options in a democracy. What’s the tagline? Tastes Great! . . . Less filling! Not very sustaining in the long run, however. For the individual or the nation.

Next Page »