I’ve been divorced four times, but homosexuals are the ones destroying marriage

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Last night, someone emailed and asked me to write about the gay marriage case in Virginia. This morning, a woman from Wisconsin asked if I would blog about the gay marriage case in her state. A few readers in Utah have also requested that I chime in on the gay marriage fight there.

And so I was going to do just that. I sat down to type a scathing rant about gay marriage. I sat down to tell the world that gay marriage is the greatest threat to the sanctity of marriage.

But then I remembered this:

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That’s a sign I saw on the side of the road a little while back. Divorce for sale! Only 129 dollars! Get ‘em while they’re hot!

And then I remembered an article I read last week about the new phenomenon of “divorce parties.” Divorced is the new single, the divorce party planner tells us.

And then I remembered another article claiming that the divorce rate is climbing because the economy is recovering. Now that things are getting a little better, we can finally splurge on that divorce we’ve always wanted!

And then I remembered that – ebbs and flows notwithstanding – there is one divorce every 13 seconds, or over 46,000 divorces a week in this country. And then I remembered that, although the “50 percent of marriages end in divorce” statistic can be misleading, we’re still in a situation where there are half as many divorces as there are marriages in a single year.

And then I remembered no-fault divorce. I remembered that marriage is the ONLY LEGAL CONTRACT A PERSON CAN BREAK WITHOUT THE OTHER PARTY’S CONSENT AND WITHOUT FACING ANY LEGAL REPERCUSSIONS.

Sorry to scream at you.

But I remembered that marriage has for decades been, from a legal perspective, the least meaningful, least stable, and least protected contract in existence, and I think this fact should be emphasized.

And then I remembered how many Christian churches gave up on marriage long ago, allowing their flock to divorce and remarry and divorce and remarry and divorce and remarry, and each time permitting the charade of “vows” to take place on their altars. And then I remembered that churches CAN lower the divorce rate simply by taking a consistent position on it — which is why practicing Catholics are significantly less likely to break up — but many refuse because they are cowards begging for the world’s approval.

And then I remembered that over 40 percent of America’s children are growing up without a father in the home. And then I remembered that close to half of all children will witness the breakdown of their parent’s marriage. Half of that half will also have the pleasure of watching a second marriage fall apart.

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And then I remembered that more and more young people are opting out of marriage because the previous generation was so bad at it that they’ve scared their kids away from the institution entirely.

I remembered all of these things, and I decided to instead write about the most urgent threat to the sanctity of marriage.

Divorce.

Divorces are as common as flat tires, and they often happen for reasons nearly as frivolous.

The institution of marriage is crumbling beneath us; it’s under attack, it’s mortally wounded, it’s sprawled out on the pavement with bullet wounds in its back, coughing up blood and gasping for breath. And guess who did this? It wasn’t Perez Hilton or Elton John, I can tell you that.

This is the work of divorce.

I am an opponent of gay marriage, but we here in the “sanctity of marriage” camp are tragically too afraid to approach the thing that is destroying marriage faster than anything else ever could. Gay marriage removes from marriage its procreative characteristic, but rampant divorce takes away its permanent characteristic. It makes no sense to concentrate all of our energy on the former while all but ignoring the latter.

To make matters worse, some of the loudest mouth pieces for “traditional marriage” in media and politics are bigamists, adulterers, and men with two, three, or four ex-wives. It’s not that you can’t defend the sanctity of marriage when you have been divorced multiple times, it’s just that you have zero credibility on the subject.

If you beat and abuse your children so badly that they have to be removed from you, you could, I suppose, still complain if you found out that your kids are also being mistreated in their foster home. But your anger must first be directed at yourself, because it is YOUR FAULT that they are suffering in this way.

So whose fault is it that the institution of marriage is beaten and broken? I don’t think we want to contemplate that question, for fear that we might see ourselves in the answer.

Should laws be written to “defend marriage”? Sure, and let’s start with legislation to make divorces at least somewhat harder to obtain than a magazine subscription. How serious are we about this? Anyone up for a law to criminalize adultery? What about putting some restrictions on re-marriage?

There are certainly times when a couple has no choice but to go their separate ways. What else can you do in cases of serial abuse or serial adultery, or when one party simply abandons the other? But infidelity and abuse do not explain the majority of divorces in this country, and they are not the leading causes of break-ups. According to these “experts,” the top causes of divorce are a lack of individual identity, “getting into it for the wrong reasons,” and “becoming lost in the roles.” A survey done by the National Fatherhood Institute found lack of communication, and finances to be the leading culprits. An article in The Examiner also cites finances as the most potent divorce-fuel.

In other words, these days marriages can be blown apart by the slightest gust of wind, coming from any direction, and for any reason. Noticeably absent from all of these polls about the reasons for divorce: gay marriage.

That’s because gay marriage is not the biggest threat to marriage.

We are.

We are, when we vow on our very souls to stand by someone for the rest of our lives, until death do us part, only to let financial troubles and communication difficulties dissolve that union we forged before God. We are, when we forget about those Biblical readings we picked out for our wedding service:

My lover belongs to me and I to him.
He says to me:
“Set me as a seal on your heart,
as a seal on your arm;
For stern as death is love,
relentless as the nether world is devotion;
its flames are a blazing fire.
Deep waters cannot quench love,
nor floods sweep it away.”

For stern as death is love.

When we marry, we die. Our old selves die, and we are born anew into each other; into the unbreakable marital bond.

We are a threat to the sanctity of marriage when we let our selfishness fool us into thinking that our wedding vows weren’t that serious.

Indeed, despite popular sentiment, they were serious. They are serious. They’re as serious as death.

The struggle to protect marriage is also serious. It’s an important battle.

So maybe it’s time we actually start fighting it.

*NOTE. To answer your questions: no, I have not actually been divorced four times. I’ve been married once, and I’m still married to her, and I’ll never be married to anyone else. The title was tongue-in-cheek. I was writing it from the perspective of the sorts of people who rant about the sanctity of marriage, yet have racked up multiple ex-spouses. Perhaps I should have been more clear about this. In any case, there it is. I appreciate your concern.

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Breaking: nuns, babies, puppies, dolphins spark fierce liberal backlash

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I don’t know. I just don’t know.

I think I will recover. I hope I will recover, but I can’t be sure. It’s still so raw. The wound is deep; penetrating down into the very core of my soul. I am bewildered.

Befuddled.

Bamboozled.

I can remember the moments leading up to the tragedy: I was sitting on the couch with my wife, watching the Annual Commercial Marathon on Fox (interspersed with brief clips of noncompetitive football). Everything was going quite well. You had Budweiser using puppies to sell beer to grown men, Bob Dylan solidifying his anti-commercialism credentials by delivering a patriotic pitch for Chrysler (a fully owned subsidiary of an Italian car company), and Axe trying to market body spray by making a plea for world peace. These advertisers were playing my heartstrings like a violin, and I was falling in love with every product they tossed in my direction.

It was a wonderful night. And then… then IT happened.

The Coke advertisement. Dear God — the Coke advertisement. It started out alright: some girl singing America the Beautiful while beautiful images of America flashed across the screen. But things went downhill fast. Suddenly, other people started singing the song in other languages. It was awful. I was furious. They were speaking in, like, Asian and Australian and stuff. Utterly horrifying. I told my wife to cover the children’s ears.

Out of nowhere, graphic depictions of other cultures and skin colors infested my TV screen. There was a brown one and, like, a Mexican guy or something.

Oh, the foreign languages and varying skin pigmentations!

I couldn’t stand it. Enraged, I grabbed my shotgun and blew a hole through the television. My wife could only weep, and through her tears she thanked me for saving her from the terrifying onslaught of multi-culturalism.

And that’s exactly what happened… in the fantasies of left-wing bloggers and journalists.

In the real world, I saw that commercial and reacted in a way similar to almost all of my fellow right-wing conservatives: I yawned and went to the kitchen for another beer. Then I proceeded on with my evening, not caring one way or another about Coca-Cola’s contrived marketing tactics. Admittedly, I have long since vowed to never drink Coke, but that’s only because I dislike diabetes, not because I’m upset about foreigners singing patriotic hymns.

So imagine my surprise when I went on the internet after the game to see social media abuzz over the “right wing backlash against Coca-Cola.”

Some of the headlines:

Coke Ad Draws Outrage, Praise (EW)

Coca-Cola Super Bowl Ad Inspires Racist Twitter Backlash (Mediaite)

Coca-Cola Ad Celebrates Diversity, Twitter Racists Explode (Huffington Post)

Coca-Cola Multicultural Super Bowl Ad Really Angered Conservatives (Talking Points Memo)

Coca-Cola’s Multilingual America the Beautiful Ad Sparks Conservative Outrage (AlterNet)

Coca-Cola Super Bowl Ad: Can You Believe This Reaction? (USA Today)

Coca-Cola’s America the Beautiful Ad Creates Social Media Firestorm (The Examiner)

America the Ugly: Coca-Cola Super Bowl Ad Provokes Xenophobic Outrage on Twitter (The Daily Mail)

Outrage! Firestorm! Backlash! Xenophobia!

Funny thing: these stories started popping up within minutes of the ad airing.

Meanwhile, I’m on Twitter as much as the next guy, and I didn’t see anyone complain about the ad. I’m connected with 120 thousand folks on Facebook, and none of them seemed too concerned. I checked the #SpeakAmerican and #BoycottCoke hashtags, and I saw nothing but a bunch of people defending the ad and lambasting the “racists” who were “offended” by it.

So where was the backlash? If people are lashing back at things, I want in. I’m always up for a good backlash, but I just couldn’t find it.

Most of the stories about the phantom “firestorm” cite comments from Alan West and Fox News’ Todd Starnes. As far as notable public figures go, that’s it. Two guys.

Two guys can constitute a STORM OF FIERCE OUTRAGE, apparently.

Someone over at Breitbart wrote a short post calling the spot “offensive,” but it’s hard to find any “racism” in anything he said. It was a rather even-keeled reflection about the true nature of American unity. He raised some fine points, but nothing very noteworthy. Certainly nothing that screamed “FIRESTORM” or “OUTRAGE.”

But they aren’t the only ones who complained. The Mediaite piece quotes some fellows by the name of Kip DiEugenio, Chase Floyd, and The Kevin. All three of them expressed disgust at Coca-Cola for having foreigners sing America the Beautiful. All of three of them also have about 350 Twitter followers. Total.

Actually, I think two are kids, but I don’t know. Nobody knows. Nobody knows them. That’s the point. They’re just random people spouting rhetoric on Twitter. And yet they are used by a major online news website to prove a “racist backlash.”

The EW article pulled the same stunt.

I’ve actually seen a woman who goes by “Alexander C” quoted in multiple publications, including USA Today. She has around 400 followers.

She’s just some person.

There’s nothing wrong with being some person. But are these people newsworthy? If you can find a handful of teenagers babbling about something on Twitter, should that make headlines?

Breaking News: Random Kids Write Unsavory Things on the Internet!

This is the game. There is no “news media” anymore. These people are storytellers. They paint pictures; they construct narratives. They build strawmen, which are then offered up to be ripped apart by their rabid minions. They don’t report “controversy” — they fabricate it, thereby starting controversies over controversies that never existed. Which forces me to prompt a controversy over the controversy over the fake controversy.

It’s all so controversial.

Last night, flabbergasted liberals railed against the “bigots” who started the “BoycottCoke” hashtag on Twitter. But, in a humorous plot twist, #BoycottCoke began with gay rights groups a few weeks ago, in response to Coke’s sponsorship of the Winter Olympic Games.

Now gay rights groups are celebrating Coke. They can’t even keep their own outrage/adulation ratio straight.

Of course, this is all very familiar.

You may remember the bi-racial Cheerio’s ad that caused an imaginary “backlash” of its own. If you follow the link I provided, you’ll find a New York Daily News article that reports an epidemic of racists “lashing out” at the commercial. They offer no evidence of this, other than mentioning “disturbing” YouTube comments.

Yes, New York Daily News, they’re Youtube comments. I’ve never seen one that isn’t disturbing. You could probably find racist, violent, Satanic ramblings under kitten videos. This is the internet, that’s what people do here. It might have made for a compelling headline 17 years ago, but unfortunately there’s nothing too peculiar about it anymore.

Last year, an Indian woman was crowned Miss America. Immediately, cyberspace was embroiled in a backlash against a backlash that consisted primarily of 14 year olds on Twitter incoherently ranting about the horrors of a brown skinned person winning a beauty pageant.

And, while a few dozen nincompoops accused Ms. New York of being a terrorist, most Americans didn’t even know the Miss America pageant happened, and couldn’t care less who won or lost.

Just as most of us couldn’t care less about a Cheerio’s ad or a Coke commercial.

These are not news items.

These are not events.

These are fables, bolstered by a collection of convenient anecdotes.

But if all conservatives can be painted with the “gets upset about multi-cultural soda commercials” brush — based solely on the comments of a very select few — I wonder what would happen if I used the same tactic? What sort of “outrages” and “firestorms” can I conjure?

This morning, I went to Twitter and typed  in the phrase “I hate nuns.” Apparently, according to my cherry-picked results, there is a veritable LEFT-WING BACKLASH AGAINST NUNS taking place:

As if this isn’t bad enough, I searched for “I want to kill puppies” and, well, let’s just say PETA better take note:

Dear Lord. There’s a FIRESTORM AGAINST PUPPIES.

Someone alert Mediaite. Someone call The Daily Mail. Get on the horn with Talking Points Memo.

I typed a random phrase into the internet and found random people using that very same phrase. Call a press conference! The public must know!

This is called “journalism,” everyone.

It’s the sort of journalism that revealed the intense blizzard of rage that followed a clichéd Coke advertisement, and it’s the sort of journalism that reported on the widespread panic sparked by a darker skinned woman winning the Miss America Pageant.

It’s the sort of journalism that killed journalism.

But journalism died a long time ago, so I suppose I’m not reporting any news here, either.

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We can help

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Over the past several months, this website has become a significant platform. It’s bigger — more visible, more widely read — than I ever imagined or hoped. For the most part, I’ve used this stage to advance my ideas, to earn money for my family, and to offer to the world a host of helpful alpaca grooming tips.

Today I want to aim a little higher.

My younger brother, Joe, is going on a mission trip to Guatemala. This is a country in the throes of poverty and destitution unlike anything you’ll see here in the United States. Over 75 percent of the population lives under the poverty line. Half of the children are malnourished, and the infant mortality rate is 25 per 1,000 live births — five times the US rate. The average rural Guatemalan family earns the equivalent of about 4 dollars a day, or just under 1,500 dollars a year.

It is a bleak picture, but not a helpless one.

We can help.

This blog averages between 3.5 and 7 million views a month. Of those views, several hundred thousand come from loyal and dedicated readers. I hate to sound like a Feed The Children commercial, but, seriously, if we all gave just a buck or two, we could do some serious good for some people who seriously need it.

I’m not going to turn my blog into a non-stop charity fundraiser, but every once in a while I want to mobilize the fans (and haters) of this site for a cause greater than arguing about the issues. So this is one of those times.

My brother never asked that I use my site to help fund their mission to Guatemala. But when I offered, he wrote this letter to you. Please read it, pray about it, and consider the request:

Dear Readers of The Matt Walsh Blog,

Our Lord says: “Whatever you do for the least of my brothers, you do for me.” This March my classmates from Christendom College and I will be going on a mission to an impoverished region of Central America in the hopes of fulfilling these words. I would like to humbly ask for your help in funding this mission.

Christendom will send us to Guatemala where we will be working in some of the poorest regions of Latin America. The purpose of our trip is twofold: first, to provide essential supplies and medicine that our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ would otherwise have no access to; and second, to form personal relationships with the Guatemalans to spread the good news of Christ by our service.

Last year I was part of a similar trip to Guatemala — you can see some of the photos below. We worked at an infant hospital in the small town of El Progreso and traveled into the mountains to visit the sick and set up a clinic to give out medical supplies to the children. This year, we will build a well to provide fresh water to those in desperate need of a clean drinking source. Lack of clean drinking water is one the greatest issues facing the third world today, with your help, we hope to solve this problem for at least one village.

In order to go again this year, I must personally raise 1,100 dollars. I have already raised the necessary money to cover the cost of my plane ticket. So every dime that you donate will go directly to those who need it most in Guatemala. Our mission, which will extend from March 8 to March 16, will be led by Christendom’s pastor, Father Donald Planty. We will be working with a hospital for orphaned babies and traveling into the mountains of Guatemala to provide medicine, essential supplies, clean water filtration systems and more to Guatemalans in desperate need.

Our mission will also work with a group of evangelical Christians from Canada as we spread the message of Christ — Protestants and Catholics together. If you would be willing to make a donation, please click on the paypal link (here)

Every cent raised will go directly to funding the mission and allowing us to fulfill Christ’s command to serve those most in need. If you have any questions at all regarding the trip, please feel free to contact me at nittanyjoseph@aol.com.

A great Christian, St. Francis of Assisi, once said: “Preach the Gospel always; when necessary use words.” This March — with your help — we hope to fulfill those words.

Thank you in advance for any donation you may be able to give. Following the mission, I pledge to report to all those who assisted me regarding my experience in Guatemala and the results of our trip.

In Christ,

Joe Walsh, junior at Christendom College in Front Royal, Virginia

Just to review:

If you click the link and give a few dollars, all of the money will go directly to providing supplies, medicine, and clean water to impoverished people in Guatemala. There isn’t anyone taking a cut off the top. No monkey business here. You send the money, they take it and use it to help poor children and families. It’s as simple as that. This isn’t a massive charity organization. This is a small Christian school sending a group of students into a poor region of the world to provide supplies, give out medicine, build a well, and spread the message of Christ. I think I can safely call this one of the most direct ways to help the poor in one of the most desperate areas on the globe, aside from going yourself.

Thanks for reading and giving this some thought.

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Inspiring message of the day: obesity is not a disease and you do have free will

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According to a new study, it does more harm than good to label obesity a “disease.”  Shockingly, the study finds, when you tell people that they are victims and that they have no control over their physical condition, you ultimately discourage them from attempting to improve themselves.

So when the American Medical Association suddenly decided to throw science out the window and declare that body fat is a disease like cancer or malaria, they knowingly and purposefully stoked the feelings of helplessness that many of us already struggle with on a daily basis.

They also enriched themselves by ensuring that government health insurance plans would cover obesity treatments and diet pills, but I’m sure that was totally not a factor in their decision.

Beyond the findings of this survey, there are many other problems with calling obesity a disease. Here’s one: it isn’t true.

Obesity is not a disease.

Of course it isn’t.

Obesity might cause diseases, and there might be illnesses that make it easier to become obese, but obesity itself — the condition of having excessive amounts of body fat — is not a disease. Calling obesity a disease is like if I stab myself in the arm and then claim my bicep wound is an “illness.” Sure, the wound might become infected and cause a disease, and there might have been some psychological disorders at work which prompted me to knife myself in the first place, but the wound itself is simply a result of my actions.

Obesity, likewise, is a result.

It’s also a cause, but first it is a result. We eat and the body converts that food into fat. That’s how it works. To call that process “diseased” is to fundamentally rewrite the laws of physics. Some people have slower metabolisms and some people have thyroid issues, and those can be diseases, or symptoms of diseases, or the results of diseases,  but ALL people gain weight by eating. This is a fact. It is not a disease.

If the fat on my gut – which I rightfully earned from eating Hardees last week – can be called a disease, then I suppose the number 2 has a disease because every time I add it with another 2, I get 4.

Obesity is a problem. It’s a struggle. It’s a hardship. But it isn’t a disease. The Bubonic Plague was a disease. It killed 100 million people, and they never realized that rat fleas were to blame. But fat is different. Fat is not a mystery. You can’t “catch it” from parasites. You can’t become infected by it.

If obesity is a disease, then smoking is a disease. And so is drinking, and so is running blindfolded across the highway in the middle of the night.

We are a fat nation, this is true. But why? Well, because the average American spends over 34 hours a week watching TV. And because Dunkin’ Donuts had so much success when they market-tested their Donut Sandwich that now they’re taking it national. And because Taco Bell has a Doritos Taco, and it sells like crazy no matter how many Taco Bell employees are photographed defiling food in the back of the store. And because we are so hell-bent on instant gratification that diet pills (or “speed,” as most drug addicts call it) are a billion dollar industry. And because millions of people have milk shakes and cake for breakfast, but they feel OK about it because we call them “Frappuccinos” and “muffins.” And because Mountain Dew. And because funnel cake. And because most Americans haven’t done a crunch since middle school, not counting the Crunchwrap Supreme they ate this afternoon. And because we consume a ton of food a year while drinking 53 gallons of soda. And because microwaves. And because processed-and-packaged-and-wrapped-in-plastic food.

I don’t discount other serious factors that make it very difficult for some people to shed the pounds, but to label obesity a disease is to ignore ALL of the things I just listed.

I hear a lot about genetics, but people in the 19th century had genetics, didn’t they? Yet they didn’t have an obesity epidemic. You know what else they didn’t have back then? Cinnabon. Coincidence? Probably not.

Do my genetics stop me from exercising? Do my genetics sneak into my bedroom at night and inject sugar and grease into my bloodstream? I ate a double beef burger and fries for lunch this afternoon. Did my genetics make that choice?

Emphasis on choice.

I’m often told that some people “just can’t lose weight,” and that it “doesn’t matter what they do.” I’m sure some people have a much harder time losing weight, but can it be the case that there are human beings on this Earth who literally CAN’T? If obesity is genetic, then I suppose this would stand to reason. It’s a funny thing, though: I’ve never in my life heard of someone getting lost in the woods for five days, or locked in a cell in a POW camp, or coming down with a bad stomach virus and vomiting for 56 hours straight, and coming out of it having not lost any weight at all. Now, I’m not suggesting that we starve ourselves. But I am suggesting that starvation leads to weight loss for EVERYONE on the planet, which clearly proves that obesity is not simply a genetic issue. It proves that lack of food leads to less weight, which proves that more food leads to more weight.

See, we’ve done a horrible thing by turning every shortcoming and every personal struggle into a “clinical” issue, or a “disease” requiring surgery and medication. When we attempt to pawn our flaws off by pretending we are the victim — rather than the cause — of them, we severely diminish ourselves. We diminish ourselves by rejecting our own potential and dismissing the power of our own will.

We also insult the Lord Himself.

When God made human beings, He gave us an awesome gift. He bestowed on us an enormous power. He gave us a power so great that it makes each of us more significant, more impactful, and more essential than even the biggest stars in the sky. We can do things that no other creature on Earth can do, we have a capacity that goes beyond any other known entity in the entire physical universe.

We are set apart from all else.

We are set apart by our power to change. Our power to create. Our power to choose. Our power to use our will. Our free will.

My free will and my immortal soul are the things that make me more significant than a raccoon or a dung beetle. I am not a beast, and this is why. I am not a slave to instinct and programming. I have urges, but I can transcend them. I am weak, but I can be stronger. I can desire one thing, yet do another. I can want something, yet refuse it. I can long for gratification, yet delay it.

I can. I might not, but I can. I have that potential. You have that potential. Unlike an insect that simply is whatever it is and does whatever it does, and can never be more or do more that that, you and I can change. You and I can ascend or descend, improve or falter, succeed or fail. This is what makes us human.

I am accused of being a downer and a cynic, and this post will surely bring out those accusations all the more. But it isn’t true. I want so much out of life, and I truly desire for everyone to be fulfilled and to better themselves.

It’s modern philosophy that is negative and cynical. It’s the Freudian quackery that tempts us to retreat from our humanity, descend down to the level of a skunk or a snake, and embrace the cowardly and convenient notion that we have no control and no say over the things that we do and the sorts of people that we become.

We DO have control over our obesity. I know it is not a popular thing to say, but popular things are rarely worth saying at all.

Obesity is not a disease. To say otherwise is to toss sound science, medicine, biology, theology, and philosophy out the window. And what is left?

Nothing, really. Just an ugly and pointless world populated by animals and robots, where we all suffer, we are all helpless, and we are all victims. And then we die.

This is the picture many people paint – the world in which they wish to live.

And they call me the cynic?

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Maybe you can’t find a solution to every problem at the bottom of a prescription pill bottle

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I haven’t been sleeping well.

I’ve never slept well, actually. I’m up late, even though I’d rather be asleep, and I wake often during the night. When I do sleep, I sleep restlessly. I don’t dream. I’m always tired. Sure, this could have something to do with our 8 month old twins, but my sleeping issues developed long before the little ones arrived.

I tell you this in order to explain why I was Googling tips for curing insomnia. I don’t want drugs. I won’t take them. I just wanted some advice. Specifically, I wanted better advice than “count in your head until you fall asleep.” I tried that one a few nights ago; I got to 3, and then I started thinking about Pi. And then I tried to list the digits in Pi, but I could only remember 3.14. And then I started thinking about the movie Pi — not Life of Pi, but the Aronofsky surrealist psycho-thriller from the late ’90s. And that, for some reason, made me think of Christopher Nolan’s film Memento, which made me wonder about the cultural appeal of existential nihilism, which made me think of a blog post I wanted to write, which made me think of an email from an ad agency that I never responded to, which made me think of a different post that I wanted to write, which made me forget about the other thing I was thinking about, which… etcetera and so forth.

There probably isn’t anything that can cure my sleep issues, short of a lobotomy. Or prescription drugs, which can essentially be the same thing.

In my cyber travels, I stumbled upon a “sleep aid” commercial for a drug called Intermezzo. I remember this one from about a year ago; I saw it on TV late one night. I don’t know if they’re still airing this, but the fact that it exists — the fact that it ever existed — tells you everything you need to know about the depth of America’s prescription drug problem. The commercial is 90 seconds long. And by that I mean, the commercial is 30 seconds long, with most of the remaining 60 seconds devoted to explaining all of the bad things that might happen to you if you ingest the product they’re selling.

If you’re keeping track at home: that’s 1/3 “buy this” and 2/3 “here’s how it will ruin you.”

Side effects include: shortness of breath, driving while not fully awake, aggression, confusion, hallucinations, and thoughts of suicide.

But you’ll totally get a good night’s rest — right before you fly into a fit of rage, murder your neighbor and kill yourself.

Drug “side effects” aren’t just a matter of annoying rashes and bouts of constipation anymore. The drugs we’re into these days dive right into our core and mess with our conception of ourselves. They affect you, at the most fundamental level. They take you out of yourself. They change you.

Not all prescription drugs, but some.

Too many. Way too many.

Here’s a general rule to which I adhere rather strictly: I won’t consume anything that might — however slim the possibility — cause me to consider ending my own existence. Call me a Christian Scientist if you like, but I don’t particularly want to take a drug that will cause thoughts of any kind, least of all suicidal ones.

Of course, Intermezzo isn’t nearly as popular as Ambien. I’m not sure if they mention it in the ads, but Ambien has such a potent ability to alter your behavior, that it’s actually been successfully used as a defense in murder trials.

Remember: marijuana is still illegal in most states. Its prohibition no doubt meets the approval of the same sorts of people who’d take these dangerous hallucinogens just to help them catch some shuteye.

Indeed, it’s a wonder any drugs remain illegal in this country, considering 70 percent of us are prescribed at least one each year.

Percentage of Americans on FIVE or more prescriptions in a single year? 20.

That’s 20 percent. Five or more prescriptions. 20 percent.

This is America.

I am American, therefore I’m told that I must look in a pill bottle for a cure for every ailment, and every discomfort, and every part of my mind, my body and my soul that doesn’t work how society tells me it ought to work.

And while we worry about how to keep illegal narcotics off the streets, more people are killed by the stuff you pick up at Walgreens than by heroin and cocaine combined.

Prescription drugs have surged ahead of automobile accidents to claim the ignoble distinction of being the 4th leading cause of death in the United States.

Don’t worry, though. As 1 in 5 high school students report using prescription pills recreationally, and as half a million people a year visit emergency rooms after abusing prescription painkillers, the drug companies rake in billions.

Oh, but they’ve earned that money. They’ve invested in us.  They spend 4 billion dollars a year on ads, stuffing 80 drug ads into every hour of TV, every day, all year. According to a study a few years ago, they spend twice as much on marketing as they do on research.

I wonder: the 760 million dollars they gave to doctors over a two year period — does that count as marketing, or do they have a separate section in their budget for “blatant, unmitigated bribery”?

And what about the money Pharma paid to attend meetings with advisory panels for the FDA? Is that a “research” thing?

It’s a blessing that FDA is on the case, by the way. The FDA: protecting Americans from scary drugs since 1906. Also, the FDA: a government agency so twisted and dishonest that its own scientists wrote a letter to the president complaining about the widespread corruption they’d encountered while employed there.

From the Fox News article:

…the FDA dissidents alleged that agency managers use intimidation to squelch scientific debate, leading to the approval of medical devices whose effectiveness is questionable and which may not be entirely safe.

I’m not against all prescription drugs. Lord knows, modern medicine has saved a lot of lives and done a ton of good. But that does not excuse the current state of things. We are becoming a culture of chemically dependent drug addicts. Many of us might be highly functioning addicts — but we’re addicts all same.

While we sermonize to our kids about the dangers of drugs, we stuff our medicine cabinets with the chemical equivalents of the very poisons we warn them against. Do you think they don’t notice this?

Yet the hypocrisy isn’t the real issue. The real issue is the numbness; the chemical haze that sets in.

Sure, sometimes drugs are necessary. Sometimes drugs can heal, and treat, and cure. But I’m afraid that we’ve completely ruled out the possibility that not every bump or bruise or pain or mental affliction needs to be drowned under a mountain of pills. Sometimes we can look for answers somewhere else. And sometimes, frankly, maybe it’s OK if we hurt a little.

Maybe.

In any case, please excuse me. I have a slight toothache so I’m going to chug painkillers until my liver explodes.

This is America.

It is the American Way.

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For the love of God, can we just abolish the State of the Union Address already?

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Last week, if you tuned into the Grammys, you were treated to a gaudy spectacle of pretentious elitists, wealthy drug addicts and godless Satanists patting each other on the back and congratulating themselves for another year spent dumping toxic waste directly into America’s soul.

If you watched the State of the Union address tonight, you saw the exact same sort of thing all over again. Except with less dancing. And more clothing (thank God).

America, I know you are bored by the State of the Union Address. It’s long, pointless, bland, and utterly hollow. The rhetoric is stale and the pageantry overwrought. Yes, you ought to be bored. But do you realize how insulted you should be?

It wasn’t always this way. George Washington delivered the first SOTU Address, and it was all of about 1,000 words. He offered a basic outline of his administration’s plans for the year, and wrapped it up by pledging to maintain an “equal” and “efficient” government.

(Hint for current government officials: spending 3.5 trillion dollars a year does not qualify as “efficient.”)

It was purposeful and to the point. Of course, it wouldn’t have gone over well in modern America, especially with sentences like this:

“It would be superfluous to specify inducements to a measure in which the character and interests of the United States are so obviously so deeply concerned, and which has received so explicit a sanction from your declaration.”

Twitter analysis:

@NumbaOneHustla: wat is prez talkin bout?? loll use normal words bro #confusing #keepitsimplestupid

After Washington and Adams, Jefferson decided to deliver his address in written form to Congress. Jefferson thought an oral speech had “kingly” undertones, and too closely resembled a monarch dictating from his throne. For the next century, every other president followed suit.

It’s only in recent times that the State of the Union has become this sickening pageant of Washingtonian self-worship.

If you aren’t offended by it, you aren’t paying attention.

I’ve felt this way for a while, but never have my feelings been more pronounced than tonight. President Obama — after a year chock full o’ scandals, corruption, ineptitude, and failure — made his WWE-style entrance into the House chamber. He shook hands with the sycophants crowding the aisle, and soaked in the glow of a thunderous, fantastically undeserved applause.

Then he stood before them and lied, and they applauded. And he cited dozens of clichéd and fabricated anecdotes, and they applauded. And he repeated promises he’s already broken 5 times (example: “this needs to be the year we… close Guantanamo Bay!”), and they applauded. And he made plainly absurd statements about imaginary “gender wage gaps,” and they applauded. And he constructed fallacious straw men, and they applauded.

The State of the Union Address was indistinguishable from something you’d hear at a DNC convention. It was a political pep rally, which is all it’s been for many years. Only at this pep rally he has uniformed military on hand as stage props, and the entire body of Congress sitting by with their tongues wagging, ready to jump and bark like trained dogs.

It’s all really quite disgusting.

There’s nothing worthwhile  about any of it. At best, it’s an irrelevant and superficial exercise in talking point recitation. At worst, it’s a monarchical demonstration of arrogance and elitism.

Then, once the speech has mercifully come to a close, the Republicans trot out their consistently underwhelming “response,” and the talking heads from both parties take to the cable news circuit to regurgitate the “analysis” fed to them by their party bosses.

It’s the same story every year. Nothing is gained, nothing is learned, nothing is accomplished. It would be more edifying to spend that hour watching some TLC reality show about polygamist midgets, or whatever stellar programming they’re offering this evening.

The Constitution only stipulates that the president “from time to time” must offer to Congress “information about the State of the Union.”

He could fulfill that obligation with an occasional email.

Everything beyond that — the applause, the campaigning, the spectacle – is all done selfishly for the benefit of those in power.

But then, that describes pretty much everything else they do.

I’m done with the State of the Union. Aren’t we all?

Posted in Uncategorized | 277 Comments

Stay-at-home moms: you don’t owe the world an explanation

To stay-at-home moms:

Once, several months ago, I wrote this post about you. It was a simple expression of gratitude for stay-at-home moms, particularly my wife.

It got some attention. It was viewed around three million times in two days, in fact.

Truth be told, I never intended to be an official spokesman for SAHMS across the nation. You do not require my services, nor am I equipped to provide them. Plenty of you can eloquently defend your vocation, and because you have experience in the arena, you can do so more richly and convincingly than I ever could.

I’m just a guy who loves his wife and appreciates the sacrifices she makes for the family. That’s really the entirety of my insight into this subject.

So it’s with appropriate hesitancy that I offer just one suggestion to all of you.

Here it is: don’t pay any attention to people like this.

In fact, don’t even click on the link. It’s a blog post, from a website called Thought Catalogue, entitled, “I Look Down On Young Women With Husbands And Kids And I’m Not Sorry.”

It’s about as enlightening as it sounds. The gist: this woman has no kids, she’s never been married, she has zero understanding of what goes into raising children or maintaining a healthy marriage, yet she’s decided to degrade you because, presumably, the poor girl is hard up for cash and needs to get a ton of cheap hits so she can collect on the ad revenue.

I don’t usually take to reading incoherent, half baked, inflammatory trash [insert requisite troll-comment about how my blog is nothing but incoherent, half baked, inflammatory trash] so I wasn’t aware of this “writer” or her site until an hour ago. I only became aware when dozens of my own readers, mostly stay-at-home moms, sent the article to me, asking for my take.

And what is my take? Well, she raises some interesting points and we should all pause for a moment to reflect upon her observations.

Just kidding. She’s an obnoxious cretin begging for attention.

I’m giving it to her, mostly because I’m a hothead and I’m easily baited.

But also because my one experience with wading unwittingly into the “Mommy Wars” taught me something. It taught me that our broken, confused society has convinced many stay-at-home moms that they need to justify or apologize for their choice to opt out of the hallowed “job force” in favor of full-time mothering.

But they don’t.

You don’t. You really, really don’t.

If you read the comments under that ridiculous article, you’ll see women expressing outrage (understandably), but also offering explanations as to why they decided not to outsource their mom-duties. It pained me to see this. You’re raising your kids, it’s as simple as that. You shouldn’t have to give a reason, anymore than you should have to give your reasoning for drinking water or walking on two legs.

I think motherhood should be promoted, and the institution of the family should be defended, but you do an excellent job of that simply by being moms.

The disrespect for SAHMs stems from ignorance. The only cure for ignorance is truth, and there are two ways to administer a dose of it: you can say it, or you can demonstrate it.

All I do with this blog is say it. As moms – out in the world, against the odds, against the grain, giving of yourself, dedicating your lives to you children — you are demonstrating it. You are living it.

Many of your critics just haven’t done it. They haven’t been in the trenches all day, every day, shaping children into respectable adults, and doing it themselves, by hand, with sweat and tears and heartache. They haven’t sacrificed everything for another person. They don’t know what that is — what it feels like. They don’t know what it’s like to be in charge of another human being’s entire life. All day. Every day. They don’t know what goes into running a house. They’ve never been there. They live in a civilization built by people who put in the sort of work and made the sort of sacrifices that they themselves would never be willing to make. And, in their comfort, in their arrogance, in their brokenness, they mock.

They mock you.

But they don’t know what they’re saying. They just don’t know.

And what is this argument about, really? Is it better to have a job or take care of your family full time? Is that the controversy? What a twisted point of view we have in this culture. This is what happens when you buy into the notion that mankind, and especially womankind, achieved emancipation through industrialization. The Industrial Age and the advent of consumerism gave birth to the modern idea of a “job,” and the pinnacle of freedom and self fulfillment is to have one of them.

Or so we’re told. Ironically, this is a traditionally left-wing point of view, but hating capitalism is also a traditionally left-wing point of view. The free market is evil, they say, but the ultimate expression of female liberation is to participate in it.

What a dizzying philosophy these people profess.

And with this philosophy we haven’t just put the cart before the horse, we’ve severed the cart from the horse completely, and now we’re sitting in the cart waiting for it to gallop off into the sunset. The point is, jobs exist as a means to care for your family. Some jobs are meaningful in their own right, but most, when separated from family, serve no great purpose other than as vehicles for personal advancement.

What’s the point of personal advancement? The answer is either A) to amass wealth and material possessions for your own enjoyment or B) to be in a better position to use your abilities to serve others.

You, stay-at-home moms, are using your abilities to serve others, and you’re doing it in the most direct, purest way possible: motherhood.

Beyond all of this, the worst thing about trying to convince women that there’s something wrong with “staying home” is that it fools young girls into being ashamed of their feminine instincts. Most girls are not naturally competitive and ambitious — at least not competitive and ambitious in the sort of way that men tend to be, the sort of way that has always made men into fighters and hunters and conquerors.

It is a very good thing that women are not this way.

Women naturally desire to love others and sacrifice themselves. They care about relationships. They aren’t as concerned with getting ahead as they are with elevating those around them.

None of those characteristics will serve you well in many jobs. They won’t help your “career advancement.” They will only make you vulnerable, and put you at the mercy of your less scrupulous competitors. This is why it is dangerous to see “the professional world” as an end in and of itself.

But you know all of this. The people who don’t know probably won’t be convinced by anything I have to say.

Pay no attention to them. They don’t deserve to be taken seriously.

Besides, you’ve got better things to do with your time.

******

Find me on Facebook.

@MattWalshRadio

Posted in Uncategorized | 991 Comments