Credit: Eric Shanteau. Get your own here.

For the last seven decades, the worst news a private citizen could receive is that the US government has declared war on their behalf. The war on drugs became primarily a war on black people, and has had the opposite of its intended effect on drug abuse. The war on poverty had no effect on poverty, but has coincided with skyrocketing income inequality. The Global War on Terror liberated broad swaths of the Middle East, mostly by killing its citizens and blowing their cities to tiny bits. …


My generation has come by its skepticism honestly. We came of age in the era of school shootings and terrorist attacks. We arrived at our professional careers and started families just in time for a crippling recession. Most of the institutions we were raised to respect and rely on — public education, the church, social security, the news media, stable and long industry careers, the federal government, healthcare—have become bloated, lethargic, incapable, tottering versions of themselves.

Now, just as we began to find our footing, a global pandemic has caused the world around us to grind to a screeching halt…


The worst feeling to wash over me in the hours since the mass shooting that rocked my beloved hometown is the numbness of resignation. It’s the sinking, cynical, sickening acknowledgment that in the era we inhabit, our turn was due. That the reaction would be as typical and predictable as always. The feeling was amplified by the correctness of its underpinnings, verified into a solid lump in the pit of my stomach.

My wife and I went downtown yesterday afternoon. We were determined to show, in our own small way, our resolve for and solidarity with our city. We peered…


“Road is dead.”

So goes the morose refrain from local coffee shops to pro team board meetings, all across the United States. People say it with the weighty resignation normally reserved for taxes, or political defeats, or the extinction of the northern white rhinoceros. Regrettable, tragic, but what could we do?

The helpless shrug is amplified by the cycling media up and down the line into a shrill cry of righteous indignation. “Look at all our poor pro riders,” they wail, “scrambling to find rides and jobs after their title sponsors left!” …


Several lifetimes ago, in a smelly storage closet adjacent to the basketball court in a Midwestern high school, a goateed civics teacher looked over a dozen or so sweaty teenage boys kneeling before him, and frowned. It wasn’t that he was upset; frowning was his usual expression.

He preferred to carry himself in a serious way, because his was a serious business. In the classroom, he educated bright, young, bored minds on the basic functions of their government, and on their duties to participate in it. …


The midterm elections are finally behind us, and we can now all enjoy approximately twelve minutes of bliss before the next cycle begins. For all the hyperbole in the media about the importance of this particular election, and calls for blue or red waves, and promises of the actual apocalypse if one candidate or set of candidates won, only marginal, predictable changes took place. The sitting president’s party lost a fair number of seats (which happens just about every midterm), and we saw an increased number of women, minorities, and veterans win their races, as has been the trend.

The…


The correct response to attempted sexual assault.

Human beings are not perfectible.

For untold millennia, we understood this, and so cultures and societies from the beginning of recorded history developed sophisticated moral and ethical codes meant to protect us from each other. From measured, prescribed tribal retaliation to the modern judiciary, the many and various structures we have created stand as monuments to the fact that some people, despite our perceived level of advancement as a species, will desire to do harm to other people.

The fact that this patently obvious idea requires illustration underlies many of the problems we face in American society today. We seem…


You may have heard there’s an election coming up. If the pundits are to be believed, this episode of American Politics (the reality show) will decide the future of the free world. The very fate of democracy hangs in the balance! This could be the year that we at last throw off our chains, or else descend into the pit of darkness and misery that is the inevitable result of checking the incorrect boxes on your ballot.

Then again, they say that every couple years, and the average lives of ordinary Americans are not drastically changed in one direction or…


A lifetime ago, I sat on a couch in my brother’s living room, swirling the last bit of brown liquid around the bottom of a tumbler. We had just passed the crescendo of another of our legendary, ranging discussions, in which we would adopt opposing stances for the pure joy of argument. It could have been on any number of topics—the upcoming election, the war to which we had both recently deployed, the relative merits of Irish whiskey and Scotch—but this one had taken a serious tone at the end. …

Peter Hitzeman

Veteran, writer, athlete, and acute observer of the world. Aspiring author, studious coach, reluctant tech nerd, and dogged pragmatist.

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