Showing posts from June, 2015

Panic vs. Tolerance: Gay Marriage, the Confederate Flag, and Wade Hampton

Some Americans are panicking right now. Some are panicking about gay marriage becoming legal across the country, which just happened today. Some are panicking about the Confederate Battle Flag losing its official status and being taken out of stores, which has been happening at a rapid pace over the past week. Quite a few are probably panicking about both. Some Alaskans are even panicking about our governor deciding to rename Alaska's Wade Hampton census area, named for a slave-owning South Carolina Confederate who had nothing to do with Alaska.

I'm not just exaggerating, either: I know these people are panicking because they're making extreme comments about the state of our country, the decline of our democracy, and the downfall of society. One of these people is even Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

At the root of this panic is a fundamental issue that everybody struggles with: tolerance and open-mindedness. People are panicking because they're struggling to a…

Two Types of Newcomers to Ketchikan

I've been living back in my hometown of Ketchikan as an independent, out-of-college adult for two years now. In that time, my wife and I have gotten to know a fair number of newcomers to Ketchikan: The town has a pretty high turnover rate for a large portion of residents, whether they work for the Coast Guard, the hospital, in the visitor industry or elsewhere. After some observation and though, I feel I can place most newcomers to Ketchikan in two markedly different categories:

1.  There are those who figure out that Ketchikan is a very limited place, a place that won't give them the opportunity to fulfill their goals and aspirations. They plan out how much time they expect to spend here, and then enjoy that time as best they can before they quickly leave and move on with their lives.

2. There are those who figure out that Ketchikan is an incredibly exceptional place, a place that allows them to live a lifestyle they love, perhaps even that they never knew they wanted. They e…