I remember the first time I heard Rage Against the Machine’s self-titled debut album.
I was a junior at a country high school. My brother and my best friend were deeply into punk rock, and I wanted to date this hottie college girl named Cheryl Carpenter.
I was all over the place, at times trying to fit in with the rednecks and the true-blue farm kids, and at other times trying to be what I saw my favorite others around me being.
I hadn’t really found a place for myself yet.
Continue reading Raging for Twenty Six Years
I was musing about the collosal failure that was the AHCA. Not from the moment the Republicans pulled it yesterday, but from the beginning.
From the very first intention to defeat the ACA rather than working to build something with their fellow Americans across the aisle.
And through a messy rollout, there were no overtures to improve it, just a lusty zeal to repeal, to strike back at a president they couldn’t afford to allow a signature policy victory to stand on.
Continue reading Fork Stuck In The Road
I’m watching my president, Barack Obama, give his final speech tonight.
All the while, I’m thinking back to my first impression of the man I met in Missoula in April, 14, 2008.
I’m re-reading my first impressions. The way he captured the University of Montana crowd. The way my kids were completely jazzed up to wait in a line for two hours to hear him speak.
Continue reading Thoughts on Barack Obama
I was killing time at my best friend’s condo in PDX tonight, waiting for the protests to die down when the news of Leonard Cohen’s death broke.
My friend didn’t know who he was, so I played “Hallelujah” on Spotify for him and his kids.
Of course they only know the
Jeff Buckley version, or, more realistically, the John Cale version from “Shreck,” but my point was made.
The man whose lyrics I read more than I ever listened to is dead at 82.
And Trump was in the White House today.
Continue reading Trump is president and Leonard Cohen is Dead
Like many Americans, I woke up sick to my stomach.
Did that just happen? Did we just put a tax-dodging, racist misogynist in the White House to spite the establisment?
It sunk in as my daughter came down the stairs and asked me tentatively, “Did Hillary win?”
I’m sure she already knew from the despondent look on my face.
It was soul crushing to answer her.
I gagged as I said the words.
“No, honey, Donald Trump is the president elect.”
Even now, that has an absurd quality to it I can’t process.
Continue reading A Day Removed
This is my first election night not spent in a newsroom in more than a decade.
Four or five hours into this great America tragedy, and I miss the comfort of the newsroom.
The way you felt in control of things, even though it was only an illusion. Being tied into the campaigns so tightly made you feel like you really understood them.
The hot pizza at 5 p.m. and cold at 10 p.m. And bottle of Scotch for midnight. The sense of purpose and feeling like everyone was listening, watching, reading your every word.
Election nights are intoxicating.
Continue reading See you on the other side
End of the legislative session. Springfield, Illinois
“Where y’all from,” asked the big bouncer at a nightclub called Stella Blue.
“Chicago,” someone replied.
“Welcome to the middle ground,” he said after checking our IDs at the door.
Upstairs, the club was an ironic polar opposite of its
American-flag-themed Budweisers, a dance floor with bad dance music, a digital disco ball, five public radio employees and a whisky-voiced, bleach-blond bartender with electric-green-tinged contact lenses.
Continue reading Welcome to the Middle Ground