It’s not your fault, but it is your problem.

“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,

Courage to change the things I can,

And the wisdom to know the difference.”

– Serenity Prayer, Reinhold Niebuhr, 1934

These words have woven themselves into popular culture, thanks in large part to their inclusion in the liturgy of Alcoholics Anonymous. The prayer wasn’t written for AA, but it fits so perfectly that it could have been.

A person dealing with addiction lives on the boundary between that which is innate and that which is personal choice. No one chooses to have the impulse, but there are thousands of choices any of us can make that stack the deck to influence whether that impulse is likely to win or lose. Continue reading

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Can I ask a rhetorical question? Don’t answer that.

Yesterday’s shooting in Alexandria, Virginia, happened less than a mile from my house. In fact, it happened at the city park complex where I take my dog three or four times a week. My girlfriend took our nephew there the day before.

Listen, bad things happen. I’m not Pollyanna. I don’t expect to create complete and total insulation from the possibility of harm. It’s an exchange: we trade away security for increased freedom. I want as much freedom for as many people as possible, without putting myself and my loved ones in harm’s way. Continue reading

Damn, Gina! Free speech gets ugly sometimes.

How would the folks on the right have reacted if Kathy Griffin had posed with a fake, severed head of Hillary Clinton?

I doubt they would have been calling for her death, her deportation, or the downfall of her career. As I saw in a recent meme, they probably would have invited her to speak at the next Republican National Convention. That’s not too much of a stretch, given the White House invitation extended a few months back to Ted “Suck My Machine Gun” Nugent. Imagery of violence is okay for Republicans, as long as it’s aimed at Democrats.  I kid!  I kid!  Kind of. Continue reading

Tweeting insults is the least you can do. Literally.

Can you imagine the outrage we would have had as a nation if Tony Blair had rudely, publicly critiqued the words of Rudy Giuliani on September 11, 2001?

I can’t imagine that too many people wearing “These Colors Don’t Run” shirts and watching NASCAR would have been keen on a limey dude disparaging the mayor of our biggest city in the hours after a deadly attack.

I can’t imagine the airbrushed and polished hosts of Fox and Friends would have a calm, intellectual debate about the special relationship between the US and our former colonial patrons while Tony Blair’s shitty, terribly timed words crawled across the bottom of the screen. Continue reading

Life is what happens while you’re voting to make it harder.

Generally speaking, Christian folks are “pro-life.” That term has always struck me as a little obvious. Honestly, everyone who is not a mass-murderer or suicidal is, by definition, in favor of life.

Christians, of course, mean to say they are “anti-abortion.” They use the term “pro-life” to invite a subconscious contrast as if the opposition is “anti-life.”

Those who are “pro-choice” do exactly the same thing. Very few people would sign up if offered the chance to give away their free will and volition with regard to their own journeys. They, however, want to frame the identity of their counterparts on the right as being “anti-choice.”

It’s hard to honestly call Christians “pro-life,” based on the correlation between having a strong Christian self-identity and a myriad of inherently anti-life stances. Continue reading