All posts filed under: Ideas & Short Essays

The for-profit business of shooting our students

I was recently having a conversation on Facebook with a conservative woman about gun control and school shootings. She gave me the typical nonsense: guns don’t kill people, people kill people. Being a writer and not wanting to miss the chance to one-up a cliche with a more truthful turn-of-phrase, I responded by saying that yes, guns do kill people because gun violence is impossible without guns. I went on to say that among developed nations, America had a fairly unique gun violence problem. We can’t continue with business as usual and keep watching students get gunned down. Something needs to change. The conservative responded immediately by posting the Israel teacher meme, it’s a pic of an Israeli teacher standing behind a group of kids with an assault rifle slung over her shoulder. Do we really want that for our schools and for our kids? Most Americans don’t, but if we armed teachers, that sure would be good for gun manufacturers. Profits would boom, stock prices would soar, and the money would come rolling in.

What’s in a meme? Or, How to be as big a deal as Socrates

I recently went under the knife, so to speak, for a vasectomy, rendering myself sterile, incapable of reproducing offspring. I bucked my biological drive to procreate, I resisted my natural evolutionary drive to replicate my genes. Or did I? A part of me would like to think that I resisted millions of years of evolutionary biology. In itself, that would be quite the accomplishment in life, at least as far as I’m concerned, but I know better. For all of my adult life, I’ve had a general sense that I wanted to leave behind something else, and frankly having kids would get in the way of such schemes. It’s an instinct that many writers, artists, thinkers, and other outliers have in common, and there’s a good reason for this. The reason is not in the genes, it’s in the memes.

Socialized medicine, at a glance

Since 2016 there has been one long, continuous groan from cultural critics — across the political spectrum — who view the Presidency of Donald Trump as a dumbing down of the American public. On a more personal note, I have my own concerns, for my own mind. It’s so damned easy to debunk Trump that, speaking for myself, I fear intellectual sloth. A recent example: the Trump tweet about the UK healthcare system. Brits took to the streets over their healthcare system, which Trump interpreted as an opposition to the UK system. In point of fact, activists were marching in support of their healthcare. (Trump’s tweet would be a little like someone glancing at a TV headline about the recent Women’s Marches in the U.S. and then assuming that the activists were marching in opposition to women. A simple mistake, for a simple mind.) But the real point here is this: the UK system is far and away better than the United States. It isn’t even close. Last night’s Super Bowl was close. Healthcare is …

The Grand Old Party of Trump

More thoughts on our state of disunion. Now that we’re a solid year into Trump’s Presidency it’s clear that the Republican base has rallied around Trump, so it’s probably time to ditch any hopes that the Republican Party might split, or that moderate Republicans would reign in Trump, or that Trump himself might rise to the occasion and elevate himself to become a tempered political statesman. This is not to say that all Republicans love Trump or even that they agree with him, it is simply to say that whether Republicans love him or hate him, they have to deal with the fact that the Republican Party is the party of Trump. We all do.

State of Delusion

A quick list of my highlights from last night’s State of the Union speech: Female Democrats wore black in solidarity with the #MeToo movement as they listened to a commander-in-chief who has been accused of sexual misconduct by 19 women. And to add irony to insult, there was “The New American Moment” moment: “This is our new American moment,” Trump said. “There has never been a better time to start living the American dream.” The irony? Hillary Clinton used the phrase “new American moment” in a speech as secretary of state in 2010. Lastly, there was a You-Know-You’re-A-Mainstream-Liberal moment, brought to you by Democrat Senator Tim Kaine…….Trump offered this empty-headed platitude: “If you work hard, if you believe in yourself, if you believe in America, then you can dream anything, you can be anything, and together, we can achieve anything,” which aroused the passions of Tim Kaine, Clinton’s running mate, and Kaine rose from his seat to cheer President Trump. Senator Elizabeth Warren offered light applause and Senator Bernie Sanders remained still….We need leaders who don’t …

Bernie supporters, try not to take it too personally

For those of you who follow Democrat politics and the ongoing anti-Bernie campaign, you may recall that mainstream liberals made a yuge deal about Bernie Sanders endorsing Heath Mello, the Democrat running to be Mayor of Omaha. Mello didn’t have an impressive voting record on pro-choice legislation, though he did work hard to reduce the oppressive nature of Republican pro-life policies in a staunchly pro-life state, the result of which was real-world help for women living in a very Red state. Still, when Bernie endorsed Mello, all hell broke loose. Mainstream liberals made this a national issue: Bernie was anti-woman. Bernie had betrayed women, we were told, and he would continue to sell them out because he only cares about…you know, that economic stuff, the stuff that doesn’t really matter. It all proved that Bernie and his band of sexist brothers didn’t belong in the Democrat Party. But that was then, this is now. Now it seems that being pro-life in Omaha isn’t a problem for the Democrat Party or the libral establishment.