Sunday, July 27, 2008

The poor have free will, too.

I notice that the group Catholics for Choice, along with some others, have placed an ad in an Italian newspaper encouraging Pope Benedict to reconsider the Church’s stand on artificial birth control. So it goes; there will always be dissidents. Provided they are civil in their discourse, let them say what they please.

Yet one thing strikes me whenever the issue of sexual morality comes into the fore, something which is rarely considered yet I believe pertinent to the discussion. We hardly ever hear the stark truth that sexual activity is entirely voluntary. You do not need sex in the same way as you need food, clothing, or shelter. Indeed you don’t have to have it at all in order to be a healthy human being. As such, it seems reasonable that we should find restrictions upon sexual behavior within the natural moral law. I can think of no voluntary activity in which we do not have to meet certain standards in order to participate in it; why, then, should there not be standards to strive for within the context of sex?

Or is the Left saying that we have no choice but to have sex? That would seem to toss free will and moral obligation out the window. I do not doubt that certain people in certain situations may be less disciplined and prone towards behavior they should not engage in. But remember that every Christian his cross must bear: being a good moral person isn’t necessarily easy for any of us. Still, it is dangerous to suggest, indeed downright insulting, that no one can affect control over their own actions. Do let’s not patronize the poor (for that group is, essentially, being considered most strongly in the thoughts of Catholics for Choice) by suggesting that they have no possible control over themselves. For if that is the essence of the dissidents’ position, who, then, is truly standing up for the dignity of the poor?

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

What, me biased?

Barack Obama is in Afghanistan along with most of the major media. One reporter even addressed him as ‘Mr. President’. John McCain goes to the Middle East and hardly receives mention, let along any slips of the tongue. But the media is not biased.

Not in the proverbial pig’s eye, it’s not.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Things change; or, the New Normal

The end of my vacation nears, my annual sojourn to Michigan’s glorious Upper Peninsula, where my troll self (if you don’t know what a troll is, in local reference, you aren’t from or haven’t been to da U.P.; look it up) and my troll family have vacationed for years. It is truly a magnificent place, northern Michigan, and I like it.

In the last few years, however, it’s changed. Or, rather, the circumstances around it have become altered. We still see the same friends when we’re there, have nachos and pitchers of beer at the same watering hole, have a drink for old Uncle Frank at the Runway Bar, his preferred haunt, and Hessel and Cedarville and the Les Cheneaux Islands still greet us as usual. But our own kids aren’t always with us.

Last year it was only my wife and I for the whole two weeks. This year my second son and daughter were with us for the first four days before having to head home for work and school. Our oldest son is in the Army, so he can’t travel with us very readily at all. In short, we’ve aged and so have they. Adulthood and responsibility are upon them.

They wear it well, so far, the three of them, and I don’t see that they won’t continue to grow and mature in their worlds. They have their lives now, and I rather believe they’re creating good ones. I pray that is the case and that it will continue, as I trust it will.

This isn’t meant to be all cloying and sloppily sentimental; in fact, I mean something rather different. If you would have asked me fifteen years ago what it would be like to not have my kids around every day, vacation and all, perhaps vacation especially, about what it would be like to deal with the time that were out on their own, I would have talked about the terrible adjustment it was going to be, that I would miss them horribly, that I would yearn for the old days. Yet now that it’s happened, I feel almost completely opposite. I feel comfortable with it. A good, positive comfort in things as they are now.

Not that I don’t miss them as children per se; I certainly still have pangs of sentimentality when I think over the things we used to do and the places we used to go to as a family. We’re still that family, and we still see each other and do things together, so there’s ultimately no missing that. It’s just that, today, things are the way they’re supposed to be. Our kids are supposed to grow and become responsible human beings. When that happens, why not embrace it? Why pine for the old times when the new are just as rewarding? Why try to hold on to bygone moments when today itself offers such promise, when our kids have become the good adults we worked towards them becoming? Remember the past, look to the future, but live the moment.

Right now, I think this moment, and the years coming, look pretty good. I love and am proud of my kids, even if I’m 325 miles from two of them, and 800 from the third. It’s simply the new normal, and it isn’t bad at all. Things have turned out they way they ought, and there's no reason to lament it.

Friday, July 11, 2008

The Meaning of it All.

Perhaps now, while I’m away for the moment and my son is being kind enough to post for me in my absence (Thanks, Frank!) I might take a minute to explain what I’m trying to do here. Maybe it doesn't matter and maybe my reader (my reader, get it?) doesn’t care, but what the hey, it’s my blog.

I want to talk about any and everything that comes to mind, the profound to the silly. I intend over the next few weeks, or months or years I hope, to talk serious current events issues, philosophy, sports (where the truly silly stuff happens, as we, myself particularly, make sport far too important in our lives); even offer reflections on life in general (a lot of things apply to a lot of us, generally) or my life in particular: one finds himself increasingly sentimental as age creeps up. I hope to generate responses as time goes on, and general discussion, even argument, so long as the argument is constructive and nonviolent. And civil and well intended.

And now time for the shameless plug: I want to try and generate interest in my books, David Gideon (go to for a real choice next to either McCain or Obama) A Subtle Armageddon (we expect atom bombs and gore in the end times; this offers an alternate view) and Michael’s Story (a prequel to Armageddon; I can’t see how a sequel to a true armageddon is even remotely possible). They’re good; but I suppose I’m supposed to say that.

So that’s the plan. Hopefully it will play out in as entertaining a way as I mean it. If not, and I’m merely killing time, well, I’d rather be writing and hoping that it amounts to something than watching ninety percent of the garbage that passes for entertainment these days. It would still be time more productively spent. And if you don’t think so, tell me! I really want to know.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Detroit Common Council Welcomes Your Business!

How can you not be proud to be a Detroiter? We have a mayor who believes he’s dictator for life, and a near majority on the City Council who believe that their votes for the awarding of a city contract are worth all of four figures. That’s nowhere near creative influence peddling; it’s really not even laughable. It’s merely pathetic, but that’s what passes for politics in Detroit these days. I have always been proud to be a lifelong Detroiter, but holy cow, it can be hard to hold your head high under the current onslaught of hubris.

Well, you get what you pay for. Kwame Kilpatrick must be loving it, for it surely will take some of the heat off what he made the taxpayers ante up for his escapades. Indeed I expect he’ll make hay over it: how can you possibly compare his dalliances with outright bribery? And here so many of us thought Kwame’s scandal was as bad as it could be. I supposed there really is no such thing: it can always get worse, and this certainly promises to.

We used to be known as the murder capital. We used to be feared rather than mocked. And while murder is surely worse than incompetence, there’s something more embarrassing about the latter. Murder can typically be attributed to the shortsightedness, stupidity, and emotion of individuals in scant moments. Often it’s already crime related, as in drug wars. Graft is, generally, planned, crafted; it’s thought out and has to be acted out over time, time which could offer the opportunity to step back and examine just exactly what the hell is happening. It usually involves people better able to know better.

Or can they? Maybe it’s only politics as usual in this Michigan urban backwater.