Bristling in Bristol

I’m on day two in Bristol, Tennessee – and Virginia because half of the city in is one state and half is in the other.


I know this because I saw police cars from both states riding right behind me today as I made my way to the Bristol Caverns. Turns out, they were closed (the caverns not the cops), which left me standing at the front of a cavernous entrance wondering how someone can close caverns. Gun-toting security guards can make you believe a lot of things though, and so I took a walk about Bristol instead.

Here are some things I’ve learned since I’ve been here:

There is a spider, which creates a web, and then bites through both sides of the web and rides the thing from one tree to the next. One man here called it the Wright Brothers spider and I’m pretty traumatized by the site of a spider, which has discovered flight prior to leaving the arachnid stage of evolution.

There is a Scuba shop offering Scuba lessons in Bristol, and since we’re smack dab in the middle of the Appalachians, I had to ask the nagging question, “For what?” The answer was unpredictable and awesome, “Somebody gotta fish out the bodies.” I think I love this place.

I ate at Cootie Brown’s today, and the “real food” I mentioned yesterday was unexpectedly awesome. Sweet potato chips with a honey glaze that’s “pretty damn near crack” according to one local. He wasn’t lying. Thank you, Masha, for hooking us up.

The trees remind me of Los Angeles hair colors, the myriad shades dripping from branches with a sort of melancholic longing for summer. It’s pretty in a Melrose Avenue sort of way.

King University’s campus is rolling lawn of green covered by red brick buildings – imagine Christmas squashed by a rolling pin and you get the idea.


Five bedroom houses next to the local country club run between $185-$210,000 and your average yard resembles half a football field. In Los Angeles these would run $1.8-3.5 million, although, to be fair, the weather is probably a little better and the collagen implants means people smile more.

Quaker Stake and Lube is a restaurant  – we’re pretty close to Bristol Speedway, which apparently has quite the Nascar history – and the wings are spicy enough to explain the nearby fire hose.


With a short itinerary, I’ve decided to spend one more day here. I’m hoping to avoid Orville and Wilbur Spider, or becoming one of those Scuba-requiring bodies, however, if you don’t hear from me in the next 48 hours, please assume the worst.

By ccxander

Bristol, Tennessee

I am now in Bristol, Tennessee, a town, which boasts caverns and a dam as attractions and serves enough sweet tea to keep the local dentistry business in luxury. With a few extra hours this morning, I intended to venture out to South Holston Dam. However, asking for directions in this State is like negotiating with Iran – they just don’t mean what you think they mean.

“Can you help me with directions to the Dam.”

“It’s ‘bout a cuppa my.”


“Cuppa my from heya.”

You can see how the average IQ in America is100.  Disappointed, I left.

On a whim, I asked Siri what a Cuppa My is and she said a couple miles, implying I may actually be the reason America’s IQ is 100. Turns out, a Cuppa My in Bristol translates to 13 barn-observing miles, with one stop to ask for more directions because clearly a Cuppa My can’t possibly be this goddamn far. Luckily for me, Murray – yes, that really was her name –Murray cleared things up for me, stating, ‘Make a right at the Dollar General and then turn left at the big tree.”  For those unfamiliar with Bristol, we’re pretty much in the middle of the Appalachian mountains, so phrases like the “Big Tree” is about as delineating as urine in a dog park. I think I found it though.


After another ten minutes, I arrived. Here’s a photo to prove it.


The damn was pretty, the nearby bridge even prettier, and the fisherman fishing off that bridge, with the foot-long grey beard, the face that resembled a catcher’s mitt, and wrinkled hands large enough to handle the largest of trout, was not pretty at all.

After a quick jog around the river, I needed food.

Ready for this?


So many things right here, I don’t think I can say anything worthy. Nor do I need to.  Love the quotes though.

Tomorrow I am speaking at King University. Presumably, someone will give me proper directions and more real food. If not, you’ll find me on the highway somewhere, scooping up the road kill, which averages one raccoon per mile. It’s not great fare, but when in Bristol….

By ccxander

Recent Brief Observations on Air Travel

I remember when flying was romantic – the wide-eyed gaze out the airport window at the exoskeletal T-Rex, which would take us to some foreign place. We’d dive out at the white zone, ink one of those luggage twisty tags, and then plant ourselves at the gate for ten minutes before heading down the body-odor-filled hallway toward the metal dinosaur. The stewardess – they used to be called that – would hand us a status-wielding set of captain’s wings and a deck of cards and, if we were lucky, we’d get to see the cockpit and be told “someday, you too, could be a pilot, kid..”


But, travel is different now.

I am currently sitting in Chicago’s Midway airport on a two-hour layover. Outside, brontosaurus-looking bulldozers scoop massive mounds of dirt as little Lego-like workers review brown clipboards with expansion plans. When the shovels drops toward the turf, workers scatter like Japanese civilians in those old Godzilla films. Nearby, jumbo jets dip their snouts into giant drier hoses, downloading and uploading people with the sort of frenetic desperation only teenage boys could understand.

Inside the building, things have changed more drastically. Ticket counter personnel have proctological compassion. Dogs are now allowed in airports and at least one corner of the terminal has already seen a fang-bearing row, not to mention a stool sample, which, if we’re being honest, could not possibly have come from a dog that small. There are people pushing wheelchairs who look like they should be the ones in wheelchairs, and even the people in the wheelchairs have a permanent scowl like, “Are you fucking kidding me?” While many years ago, people wore deodorant on planes, presumably that is no longer a socially recognized custom, and based on the amount of tank-tops now showcasing back hair and an uncomfortable number of skin disorders, this trip is going to set aromatic records.

The terminal is also filled with a haunting absence of sound, the only interruptions coming from Starbucks baristas shouting out names, what must be Charlie Brown’s parents on the overhead intercom system, and an unrelenting and truly vile, ubiquitous coughing. I’ve apparently developed a phobia for people coughing on flights, the likely result of watching too many Hollywood films – a nearby sniffle is like the Reaper’s death knell and anyone’s throat starting to tighten gives me the howling fantods. So, it figures this week’s version of “I have the flu and I’m going to make sure everyone around me gets it too,” is presently seated right next to me, no matter where I sit.

Everyone’s head tilts down toward phone screens, computer screens, ipads, ipods, and Gameboys. I remember when connection meant holding a hand, but now it’s a hand that holds a connection. Speech is muted, reserved for intermittent giggles at Google pages or a grunt at an unwanted email. The flight attendants – that’s what they are called now – don’t even give professional smiles anymore, focusing instead on balancing their drink trays and making sure their seatbacks are straight enough to ensure an uncomfortable ride. They read safety instructions at radio announcer speed over what Graham Bell’s first telephone line must have sounded like, and then plop themselves into the jump seat with a scowl that just dares you to press the call button. If you rise to ask about captain’s wings or a deck of cards, an Air Marshall takes aim at your chest and the flight attendants grimace at you like you should be wearing a helmet.

I could go on, but you get the point. Fiying isn’t romantic anymore. Oh, sure, you still get fucked, but, rather than a nice night out, it’s more like a prison rape.

If I arrive at my destination, I’ll report about Tennessee.

By ccxander



The courts are dark. Outside by the pool, a few well-boozed attendees flop out onto deck chairs to await the morning’s sunrise. After a final day at the El Conquistador Hotel, people pack their sweat-soaked skivvies into plastic bags and prepare for the morning taxi ride to the airport. Today, PJ Simmons and his remarkable staff hosted the Tennis Congress’ final moments. With each player going through two more coaching sessions followed by a private session with their dedicated-for-the-weekend coach, players took to the courts for another 4.5 hours of activity. This followed another four hours of conference room lectures and the type of immersive experience one finds in foreign language schools.

After a few photos with their mentors, attendees limped back to their rooms for a quick shower before limping out to the pool for a buffet dinner, some joyful yet tearful words from Simmons, and more applause for his efforts than in many of the recent Presidential Campaign stops. Before dinner though, the coaches and a few athletes met for a cocktail briefing. With the faculty encircling him, Simmons broke down with gratitude and humility. His weeping turned on a fountain of faculty tears as they recounted stories of their experience in the Congress, their passion for the event, and the honor it was to work for such a cause. Irishman Joseph O’Dwyer laid himself upon the floor during an impassioned speech about what it means to be a coach, and specifically, one who attends the Congress. After extended applause for O’Dwyer’s effort, event planner Klinton Kraft also broke down, commenting that after producing hundreds of corporate events around the nation, this was the finest and most rewarding conference he has ever experienced.

The thing about Tennis Congress is its innocence. There are no egos here, with coaches and fitness personnel giving their very best effort to the Congress and sharing information with each other in an effort to improve the attendees’ experience. No one inside the tennis world could have created this event. It took a passionate man’s dream to launch the idea and to bring it to fruition one phone call at a time. Simmons has personally spoken to every single faculty member – over 75 at this point – and offered a personal invitation to each individual. His vision has led to an individualized curriculum for every student, a mobile app that updates every participant minute by minute about where to be, what events are taking place, and ratings for seminars and coaches so he knows who is keeping up to the US Tennis Congress’ standard.  In the first year, he stood upon a small stage with two plants. Today, with five massive theater screens, tennis court in a ballroom with video cameras, outdoor drone cameras, AV equipment for 5 ballrooms, and a cadre of followers who just keep shouting “MORE!” the Congress has hit a new strata.

I have no idea what is going to happen with this event. Perhaps it reaches toward the Vegas hotels or makes its way around the globe in foreign venues. Perhaps it stays intimate and sells out in eight minutes like it did this year. Maybe there will be offshoots taking place at local clubs around the United States. For now though, there’s still a group of participants in the lobby shooting sentimental photos with new friends. I think I’m going to photo bomb one. I kind of want proof that I was here. It may give me bragging rights some time in the future.

Good night, PJ Simmons. Thank you for all of your efforts. Sleep well. You’ve earned it.

By ccxander


They arrived early this morning, the sore stagger of tired souls walking into the breakfast hall with an uncomfortable enthusiasm. Yes, uncomfortable. These people scare me. They are Balboa at the end of round fourteen. They are mid-sentence Mandela and cockroaches after nuclear war. They are of a resilient ilk never-before-seen in this tennis world. And they are still out there, at 8pm, playing sets and taking lessons and doing cardio clinics and running on god-only-knows what fuel source since they’ve skipped every meal since breakfast just so they could keep playing.


It is day three of the US Tennis Congress and the number of knee braces and K-tape has increased significantly. The athletes display the black bags of dehydration beneath their eyes and, from the soreness, their split steps are narrow enough to make them all look like they need a restroom. Yesterday, they played for seven hours and welcomed the moon into the sky. Today, as if challenging the previous days record, some of these people are doing their eleventh on-court hour. They are over forty, or fifty, or in some cases, seventy years-old. They are addicts in the best sense, drinking from the firehose of world-class information they’ve had shoved in their mouths since they moment they arrived. They don’t want to wait until they get home to improve. They want it now, today, tonite, and maybe even in the wee morning hours when the clock hands point due East. I’m beginning to believe they will never stop. Imagine that, sleep foregone for the love of thegame. I’ll say it again – these people scare me.

As the dinner buffet hosted a mere trickle of a line, diners ate rapidly before heading back out to the courts to watch an exhibition between former top 100 player Jeff Salzenstein and 45’s National Champion Jeff Greenwald. Adding to the drama, both players wore headsets and the crowd got a chance to be inside the heads of elite competitors. What played out was a dialogue of fears and anxieties, strategic insights, the physiological changes in the body, and an enormous dose of ball-busting. It was educational and entertaining and something the USTA should bring to the US OPEN. But then, that’s really it isn’t it? The things happening here at the Congress are the types of originations we don’t see on the US tennis landscape. This place is becoming the trailblazer for tennis innovation and only the locals know about it.

Tomorrow represents the final day here. It is possible some of today’s warriors won’t make the stagger to breakfast. It is possible the courts will have a few less competitors clamoring for the wisdom of Allistair McCaw or Joseph O’Dwyer.   It is possible some will succumb to the heat, the fatigue, the pain. But then, anything is possible, and from what I’ve seen, there is no way I’m betting against these folks. Did I mention these people scare me?

By ccxander


What if you had a dream… to come back from injury and become an athlete again, to beat the club champion, to win a national title? What type of event would propel you toward your goals? Vic Braden said, “If you are 65 years old, you have thirty years to work on your game.”

As the sun rose into pink skies this morning, hundreds of aging athletes rolled bleary-eyed from the bedroom into the breakfast hall. There, amongst the walls and chairs, someone set up a massive tennis court, complete with cameras, microphones, and the sort of seductiveness one might expect from Mae West peering through bedroom doors (reference is demographically appropriate). On court, Mark Kovacs and a world-class fitness team coached the athletes through a professional warm-up before sending the group to the courts for their 4.5 hours of tennis.

I was fortunate enough to be stationed on court twelve today, adjacent to elite Spanish coach, Emilio Sanchez and caddy corner to former Top Tenner, Tim Mayotte, both of whom had players soaked to the bones. Today was diagnostic, where coaches spent several hours assessing technique, tactics, movement, psychology, etc., followed by an afternoon fitness evaluation with long-term solutions. In between, Grand Slam winner GiGi Fernandez gave an on-court seminar on doubles tactics, via Powerpoint, demonstration, and some seriously insightful comments.

And then the evening entertainment. Thirty-five grand slams upon the stage answering questions about the thoughts of champions, the practice habits of champions, the idiosyncrasies of champions and how they all pursued their life’s dreams via tennis. Laughter, camaraderie, honesty, and in John Austin’s case, a moment of courage as he opened up about a life-changing illness.

Descriptions here include, “Blown away by the amount of information,” “Best weekend of my life and it’s only been one day,” and “How in the hell did PJ put this together?” And that’s really the question. How does a guy with no tennis background other than a passion for the game, gather many of the world’s top coaches, 250 enthusiastic athletes, and an unbelievably talented fitness team, and keep them all smiling for the weekend and begging for more. The answer requires us to return to the beginning, “What if you had a dream….”

By ccxander


A halo hovers over the desert, its golden glow raining down upon 250 amateur athletes whose definition of passion is evident in worn-out shoes, dirty racquet handles, and sweat-stained shirts. Along with 70 of the world’s top coaches, I am here in Tucson, Arizona for the United States Tennis Congress. Born from the mind of an adult player wanting to improve – let’s call him PJ Simmons because that is the name you need to remember when this thing blows up internationally – the Congress stands at the intersection of elite coaches and aspirational adults.

Today’s opening hours consist of Cardio Tennis and a Foam Ball tournament, events the staff calls mixers to get people acquainted before they thrust themselves into a deluge of tennis education. Right now, my court resembles a crime scene, balls, bottles, and bodies.  Paramedics perch on my fence, scanning the scene like Malaysian Air Traffic control and this level of sweat in October would make Al Gore smile.

Over the course of three days, players will have 4.5 daily on-court hours, followed by three hour-long lectures, all specifically tailored to their individual needs – Simmons requires each athlete to provide a detailed profile of their tennis desires. Some of the class titles illuminate the effort toward specificity: Adding Depth and Control to Slice, Mastering the Midcourt, Match Adjustments for the 4.0 Doubles Team. Along with their courses, players undergo a full-scale fitness assessment and receive a year-long developmental plan from their coaches and fitness experts.

IMG_5985  Before tomorrow’s activities commence though, tonight’s dinner includes remarks by 17 gold-ball winner Bob Litwin, who counselsthe crowd on how to drink safely from the fire-hose of wisdom they are about to receive. The keynote for the evening is Ethan Zohn, professional soccer player, winner of the reality tv show Survivor, and cancer survivor. In a fifteen-minute delivery that took participants over a hilly emotional terrain, Zohn captured what Simmons has infused into every moment of the event – PASSION.

It is something the USTA needs to understand if they are going to grow the game.

Tennis is not about products. It is about stories – narratives that capture the passion of the people playing. In the massive market of adults who truly desire to get better, Simmons is serving a need that somehow evades the Federation’s scrutiny.   Kudos to this innovative organizer and his team for recognizing that no numberof years can derail the ambition of youth.


By ccxander

A Question For Our Times


Maybe it was just a single experience, but here’s what happened:

Whenever I drove east away from the exquisite Malibu coastline, I’d stop at this supermarket with different foreign food stands inside, a buffet of desserts like chocolate mousse and Tiramisu, and enough market goods to feed a city. The place was one of my favorites, with great service and enough variety to keep my road-trip from ever growing stale. As I entered the store today, however, I realized things had changed.

The foreign foods were still there, shrunken into smaller alcoves and fighting for signage. The desserts existed, but now had names like Kunafeh and Basbousa. There was Turkish ice cream and couscous and some sort of potato-mayonnaise-egg concoction that was, frankly, fantastic. The noise inside was deafening, with a hard smattering of kh sounds throughout. Employees wore clothing casual enough that there was no indication that they were employees, and the atmosphere leaned more toward bazaar than supermarket. Employees did not smile, nor look up at the customer, but rather, stuck hands out for the cash and then returned change without a word.My purchase was a transaction, not an interaction, and the idea of the cashier saying the phrase “have a nice day” or “thank you” was about as likely as the lion-shooting dentist staying in business. Hundreds of customers clustered in the dining area, spread out across tables, sprawled upon floors, lay out on the sidewalks, and littered the grocery aisles.

I’ve traveled a bit, so places like this don’t rattle me the way they did when I was too small for the rides at Disneyland. However, when I come back to America from a foreign land, there is always this feeling that American culture is both diverse, and at the same time, consistent. While we differ politically, culturally and economically, there are some collective norms that pervade the nation. We have a customary way of handling transactions. We greet people and thank people in subtle ways that recognize their humanity without invading their privacy. Living here in the states, one gets used to this feeling of American culture, where cashiers speak, where customers don’t stop to eat in the aisles, where pushing and shoving ones way to the counter is frowned upon andwhere the din of the marketplace is not threatening to your eardrums.

For decades, we’ve asked immigrants to assimilate, to learn English so they can be successful here, to make themselves aware of the laws, of capitalism, and of the cultural idiosyncrasies that define America’s melting pot. We recognize the contribution of immigrants and how America was built upon the backs of immigrant populations. We’ve learned that diversity provides the massive benefits of perspective, of innovation, of ideas. We’ve learned foods from other cultures enhance our homeland’s palate, designs from foreign nations add to our national fabric, and that the dreams of immigrants augment the country’s creativity. Having a global population within the nation’s borders has surely enriched the American way. And yet, what happens when those who come to America want to change the American nation into the nation they left? What if they want to use the foundations of freedom and capitalism to create a platform for their own cultural, religious and national interests? Is there a requirement that all those who immigrate adopt and accept American customs, and if so, what are those customs?

Perhaps Americans should simply accept that there is no true American culture. Perhaps we should understand that America represents an ideology, which permits everyone to pursue their own interests, even if those interests are not comfortable for the current American population.   And if people choose a lifestyle that is anathema to the Founding Father’sideals, if they pursue cultural norms which are anti-social, unfriendly, and transaction based, if they begin purchasing land and supermarkets and political positions, if they begin to create laws that abridge freedoms and cultural norms the way we have always known them, well perhaps that is the evolution of our nation and we should accept it as the natural state of the world. Then again, where assimilation ends, imperialism begins.

When a culture passes beneath Lady Liberty’s torch, it hears the promise of this nation – you are free to pursue happiness here, to take your ambition and create your own way. But too, it hears another promise – that this country will not impose its will upon you, that you are free to bring your ways into the melting pot to thicken the steel of our national ambition. This second promise means you won’t encounter resistance when you bring your economic, cultural, and religious ideas. It means you can bring your old ideas to this new country and add them into the milieu of the American way. It means the marketplace of ideas is open to all thinkers. And then there is this little thing called democracy, where, if your ideas can gain leverage, if you can convince some folks to agree with you, you can begin to change things. Over time, those changes add up to influence, and then to grander visions, and then to leadership. With enough people buying into your ideas, you can change the country into the thing you want, rather than changing yourself into what the country wants. This promise of opportunity was there at the nation’s inception. Today, however, it may be there at the nation’s demise.

It may offend some people, to think that someone could believe the nation’s evolution can be considered the nation’s demise. But when the ideals of a country change, when a notion like freedom bends and breaks beneath the demands of cultural interests, when the American dream of ambition and opportunity is transformed into an international dream to convert America into foreign ideals, when America’s ability to change the world becomes the world’s ability to change America, then yes, perhaps America’s demise is imminent.

My ideas about American culture have been wrong – that is what I learned in that marketplace today. Our national identity is about freedom and our cultural identity is based on who is here, more so than any concrete concept. We say, Come do as you please and we will not pressure you to do otherwise. Today, many immigrant groups are growing large enough to change the American way, to make things more like the homeland they came from.   Today, diversity means, rather than making America’s customs their own, they are bringing their homelands’ customs and ideologies to us There is no doubt the country is changing. The question is…who will determine its direction?

By ccxander

Cotton Symbols


In the wake of the Charleston shootings, a call has gone out – “Remove the Confederate flag!” To a segment of the American population, the flag represents oppression, hatred, racism, and an era, which has no place in today’s society. With crowds chanting for the removal of the flag, and as politicians now enter the debate, one feels we are getting closer to a “Tear down that wall” moment. Removing the flag from the capitol would be a significant symbolic gesture, construed as a step forward in race relations and a reconstituting of the South’s mission in the civil rights discussion. For many, the flag’s removal represents the progress we so desire in this country.

Like all rights discussions though, there are other arguments to examine.

We are a nation, which prides itself on tolerance. Does the removal of the flag symbolize tolerance of all peoples, or intolerance of the Confederacy’s role in American history?

Throughout our stay on these fruited plains, Americans have taken lands from Indian tribes, taken freedom from African American populations, taken property from Mexican populations. When the European settlers conquered the American territory, it erased the successes and contributions from these cultures. As with all archives, the winners wrote the history.

Hundreds of years later, these groups still fight to re-establish their heritage in American society. They ask for remuneration, for restitution, for recognition of their role in forging the foundation of this country. The “losers” demand to be recognized for what they contributed to the nation’s prosperity. Would obliterating the symbol of the South, albeit offensive to many of today’s Americans, be the equivalent of the winners writing the history?

The South is filled with passionate folks who see the Confederate flag as a symbol of State’s rights. “It’s a symbol of family and my ancestors who defended the state from invasion. It was about standing up to a central government,” said Chris Sullivan, who is a member of the Sons of the Confederacy. “The things that our ancestors fought for were not novel and they really are the same issues we have today.”

Are the winners now becoming the oppressors? When the minority becomes the majority, who protects the rights of the new minority? In a hundred years, will we look back and speak of restitution for the Confederacy’s descendants?

Every symbol represents different things to different people. Think about McDonald’s golden arches. For some, it is sustenance. For others, death.

Then again, perhaps the issue is dead, gone the way of “The Earth is flat” and “Alcohol is illegal.” Maybe the confederacy’s cultural heritage is simply no longer viable, no longer true, and therefore no longer requiring a venue for expression. Maybe we, as a society, have left the notions of slavery, segregation and divisiveness for a new age of compassion, and embracing otherness, and tolerance. Maybe an evolving society looks at offensive symbols from the past as representative of an era of ignorance and injustice – see the Nazis.

Of course, that leaves open questions about the symbols of Stalin, of Mao, of Guevara. In hopes of evolving our society, should we obliterate these names and symbols from the pages of history?

It is said, we stand on the shoulders of those who come before us, and that even if we don’t like what they stood for, they taught us that stability comes from correcting failed foundations. Are we now turning history into the Venus de Milo?


So, what do we do with this flag? To some it represents enslavement. To others, it symbolizes a quest for freedom. Perhaps we should fly it at half-mast – for a nation which has lost, and continues to lose, something on its behalf.

By ccxander



There was a story on CNN today, reporting about a hunter who paid $350,000 to save the black rhino species by hunting and killing one of its members. In order to raise funds to conserve the animals, the Namibian government held an auction for the heads of several of its rhinos. The hunted rhinos are all older males, with no reproductive future, and whose aggression makes them likely to kill off younger members of their own species, thus representing a threat to the herd. Because the government does not have the funds to conserve the rhino, and cannot staff its parks well enough to stave off poachers, these hunting auctions are considered a utilitarian move to protect the few remaining members of the species. The question remains, however, is this wise?


Several arguments occur to me. If the hunter is truly a conservationist with a big bank account, why not donate the funds to the Namibian government to hire more staff? Or, if it isn’t an abridgement of the animal’s freedoms to just do what animals do, why not create a private place for the animal to grow old and die? From the Namibians, we get the following: Even If the government had enough staff, these older rhinos would still pose a threat to the species, and might kill of the next generation of black rhinos. Regarding penning up the animal, the animal rights activists are vociferous in their demands that the animal be free, and that it would be a cruel and indefensible act to abridge an animal’s freedom.

So, what seems socially and morally repugnant is now being regarded as acceptable, innovative, and beneficial to the black rhino species. This begs several other questions about this kind of acceptance. Does destroying some members of the herd, in order to benefit the others, fit into the realm of our current morality? Additionally, are we willing to treat the human species as we do the animal species?

In other words, can we apply the utilitarian argument to other aspects of our society?

A few years back, there were talks about death squads in the new health care bill. Today, elderly patients are assessed and then a medical panel determines whether they are indeed worthy of receiving high-level care – we’re talking a new heart, or cancer treatment, or some pretty expensive and death-defying stuff here, but you get the point. Too, there are families across the nation, which refuse to vaccinate their children for fear of things like autism, allergic reaction, and/or just the whole idea of being forced to stick a dead-virus laden needle inside their kid.

I’m certainly not the person to decide what is morally permissible in this world, and I’m well aware that agreement on these issues is as likely as finding Jimmy Hoffa, however, I am getting older, and, in the next decade or two, the younger generation’s sense of morality may very well come into play for me. I might need that heart, or that cancer drug. I might want my kid’s fellow students to get their vaccinations. In other words, right now I’m the hunter, but very soon, I might become the black rhino.

By ccxander