Message for a Friend

Dearest dear friend, First of all, I love you. You are one of the sweetest and most charming men I know. And I know that you are a caring and compassionate person, which is why I and so many others were baffled when your Facebook post sympathized with those who “dissed” the women marching in Washington and all over the world. And earlier (before I even saw the post) when I pointed out to you that there were many men at the march, you asked if they were gay? As if a straight man would never march side by side with his wife, girlfriend, mother, or sister and demand respect for her and her rights. But they did, friend. Men, standing next to their girlfriends, holding up signs that said “Feminis

What it means to be an American

Born and raised in the United States, I am quintessentially American. My ancestors on my mother’s side came over on the Mayflower. Yes, they fought with the indigenous people. They believed in witchcraft. At least one was a horse thief, one was a corrupt alcoholic judge, and one ran away from his wife and child to be a failed actor. And according to one very distant relative, some of them may have owned slaves though they did not live in the south or own plantations. To be an American means that your history is not antiseptic by any means. It means that your people may have been less than upright individuals. On my father’s side, we were Irish, escaping famine and poverty and British oppress


I remember in 8th grade, riding home on the school bus and hearing the other kids gloat over Nixon’s victory. We were anti-war Democrats in my house though politics usually took a back seat to music and literature. Before I was born, before the Kennedy era, my parents were northerners who voted socialist when they had the opportunity. But in Jacksonville Florida in the late 1960s, I was a stranger in a strange land. I didn’t know exactly why but I was sad that Nixon had won, and I was ready for the war that occupied our television sets to just be over. The whole time that I was growing up, I languished in a political minority. You could berate the racism and homophobia and war mongering and

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