Photo by Leonard Laub on Unsplash

I remember a conversation with a friend and former coworker. We spent two summers working together as landscapers. Often this would consist of digging holes and pulling out trees. Some of it was busy work, but it produced long spells of conversation.

We spoke about religion from time to time, as the monotony and repetition quickly could become meditative. In the first year, I told him about Buddhism, in the second year he told me about mantras.

He said that through repetition of thoughts, beliefs, ideas, he had started to see them take shape in his life. He was becoming…

Over the past year, both sides raged against our political system. From the Black Lives Matter protests that occupied cities throughout the summer, to the rioters who took over the Capitol because their president lost, our system appears broken.

Who is our political system really working for? In early March, politicians announced they’d reduce the amount of money given to the unemployed and the length of the benefits. This, meanwhile, comes while billions of dollars went to companies as grants or loans.

The old way of thinking goes that giving people money makes them lazy or creates a perpetual underemployed…

The snow is melting
The smell of a new season
Reminds of us of grace

You are more than your
Pain. Your suffering does not
Define who you are

Internet trolls write
Twenty-first century music
And shape history

the strangeness of it
sits with me. long after you
left. warm hand on cheek.

Honestly, I don’t get it. How did we get here? I had planned on writing this blog post the day after the election, no matter who won. But then we fell into this purgatory of election results, and then I caught Covid, and now I’m deeply confused. I don’t think it’s Covid brain. How did we get into a place where unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud can convince the vast majority of Republicans that Trump won the election, “by a lot?”

Photo by Emerson Peters on Unsplash

I thought I understood conservatism. I didn’t necessarily agree with it, but it made logical sense. It was built on the idea that a country should undertake change slowly — that America was a prosperous country as it was, with opportunity for those who worked hard, and that America served as a shining example of democracy and freedom and capitalism, and that those things can raise an entire world to be more prosperous and peaceful.

That felt right in a way — it still feels right in a way. And it allows for debate about what equality of opportunity really…

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

I remember when I first told my freshman year roommate that I was an athesist. He blinked twice. I don’t imagine he expected someone to say something like that at the Catholic college we both attended.

He was a product of Catholic schools his whole life, and I remember his casual shrug. Instead of being annoyed or upset, he was curious, and he asked why.

Over the course of many conversations, I found myself being gently persuaded — to admit that I didn’t understand a lot of the universe, and even to find that the things I didn’t understand were…

A.M. Wilson

Author of Populace; former journalist, farmer, librarian, burger flipper, bagboy, groundskeeper, political organizer, and shill.

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