Roughly three weeks after packing up my utilities, combat boots, and Dress Blues, and then saying goodbye to the Corps, I threw a pile of civvies, a few books, and various other sundries into my now empty sea bag and moved to Austin. It was a weird time – while I had no real idea what I wanted to do or where I wanted to go, I was absolutely certain I didn’t want to stay in Houston. I’m not ragging on Houston, just saying it wasn’t for me.
I don’t know where I would have ended up had a good buddy from high school not convinced me that Austin was the perfect place for someone of my “ilk.” I told him I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. He said that didn’t really matter because Austin was also a great place to figure that kind of thing out. He was right.
One of my first (and favorite) discoveries in Austin was a local rag – The Austin Chronicle. Free and distributed every Thursday, the Chronicle is the perfect place to get a feel for what’s going on in and around the city. It’s still around, and I highly recommend it if you’re looking for some quality reading. You can find it here.
I’m not sure when I discovered him, but within the pages of the Chronicle I sometime later found a column by Michael Ventura called, “Letters at 3am,” and I’ve been reading it ever since. No kidding, this guy is the cat’s pajamas.
What’s the point? Just this: until Senator McCain stood up at the convention and talked about all the challenges our country is facing the only thing I heard from the right was the firm, aligned, and completely incomprehensible position that our country is doing just fine. The last 8 years have been a blessing for America. We’re safer than we’ve ever been. Our economy is a little slow, but it’s cyclical, don’t you know. We’re doing dandy.
It was while thinking about that and grinding my teeth I remembered this August article from Ventura. It’s worth checking out…