yet more of that grandiose idea

• No one gets to call themselves fiscally conservative
if unwilling to inconvenience themselves,
if unwilling to have their own priorities assessed and cut
along with the priorities of those
with whom they philosophically and politically disagree.

If they do, we get to call them hypocrites.

• I sometimes feel as if we think our foreparents
thought it and said it as well as it could possibly be thought and said—
that we thus don’t have to revisit any of it—rethink it—
heaven forbid, reject it—rewrite it.

As if the words of our Declaration of Independence,
our Constitution and Bill of Rights
will ever remain relevant and appropriate in all circumstances to come—
for all contexts—through all developments.

To great extent, those writers and thinkers
did have a longer term view
than our bent to shortsightedness.
They certainly had a more profound hope in “the people”
than I do.
Both, to their credit, I believe.

That doesn’t mean they weren’t occasionally wrong.

Personally, I would take out the “pursuit of happiness”
as divinely endowed inalienable right.

It’s not that God doesn’t want us happy.
It’s that the pursuit of happiness
is too small a dream—too shallow—
too misdirected—too petty—
that allows us, too easily, to settle.

And we’ve settled for cheap.
Oh we call it other things.
We talk about being authentic—
being real—not allowing anything (or anyone)
to inhibit our potential.

But making it about ourselves,
we’ve made it cheap—
not requiring of us anything hard,
anything challenging, anything sacrificial.

And so now we have cheap families
that we can break up and leave
because it is, after all, about my happiness.

Our children deserve more than cheap.
We are called to more
than the pursuit of happiness.
Happiness is a byproduct of deeper dreams.
When it becomes itself the dream,
our children suffer
through our todays and their tomorrows.
kyrie eleison.

• Once upon a time,
“Go west, young person, go west!”
was the adage—
the advice, the opportunity, the escape.

Never just a matter of seeking fortune though
(claiming land, finding gold),
it was ever also the frontier—
the danger, the challenge
of borderlands—
of having to question assumptions and presuppositions
and confront other ways of being and doing.

Where do we go now
to be endangered? Where do we go
to be challenged—
to be questioned and confronted?

What borderlands still await us?
Or is it whether or not we have the insight
and the courage
to find them?

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