“Marriage Sucks!”

by The Augustan on 07/21/2014

Many people are rightfully apprehensive about entering into a marriage. After all, nearly half of the marriages in America end in divorce. Interestingly, most of the concerns that my single friends have about marriage seem to hover around the same question: Does marriage suck? My response is always the same.


Relationships are complex. Occasionally, they can be difficult. Instead of pretending as if marriage is some utopian institution, I want to compare how we view the difficulties within a marriage to how we view other difficulties in life. I know people who have graduated from elite academic institutions, completed grueling triathlons, built successful businesses, and won political races.

Do you know what they all have in common?

They embraced their respective challenges, welcomed the opportunities that they presented, and delighted in overcoming them. In addition, they associated a certain level of prestige with being able to triumph over adversity. Their difficulties became a source of pride. 

What if we approached the problems within a marriage in the same way?

Granted, not all marriages are going to be successful, and those that end in divorce are not necessarily because of any one person’s shortcomings. Still, I am convinced that marriage, like any other meaningful endeavor, has the ability to summon something greater in us. That is, of course, if we choose to look at it that way.

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Hateful, Mean-Spirited Comments

by The Augustan on 07/14/2014

My Facebook news feed is full of articles about gang violence in Chicago, child deaths from heatstroke in Georgia, and other tragic events. These articles share something aside from the senseless loss of human life:

People are really angry about them.

Their outrage can be seen by reading the comments that they post below these articles. It does not take long before the entire comment section becomes a virtual mob.

Resisting the temptation to hurl insults at those that do not respect the law or the dignity of others is difficult. Granted, it does give us a means to vent our frustration, but ultimately it fails to address the problem in a meaningful way. Ridicule and condemnation alone will not deter people from committing deplorable acts.

Admittedly, some individuals are deeply disturbed and are not fit to live in a civilized society, but there are probably far more people than we realize that are troubled, misguided, or ignorant. Instead of reacting with anger to people that break the law, perhaps we should make an honest effort to understand some of the circumstances that influence their behavior.

If preventing unfortunate events from happening means keeping our anger in check long enough to address the problem, then shouldn’t we be willing to do that?

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An Honest Talk with White People about Racism

by The Augustan on 07/8/2014

There are some aspects of racism that are obvious to me, but may not be obvious to others, particularly white people.

Racism is not a specific act. It is a belief. In fact, it is the belief that one’s race is superior to another race because of certain inherent characteristics.

This way of thinking can express itself in many ways.

It is difficult to understand racism against blacks outside of the context of America’s history. Of the 238 years of our nation’s existence, 188 years saw blacks being denied equal rights.

Think about that for a moment.

For the first four-fifths of America’s lifetime, public policies were created and practiced that put blacks at a disadvantage. On top of that, whites could openly express their view that blacks were inferior to them. That kind of culture does not simply vanish as a result of legislation. Some people mistakenly believe that the discontinuation of discriminatory practices is the same as establishing equality.

It is not.

Unless corrected, disadvantages persist and racist beliefs can evolve and reemerge in other forms.

There is no need for white people to apologize for America’s history, or tiptoe around the sensibilities of black people. I recognize that there are many bogus claims of racial discrimination, and a great deal of people have matured beyond racist attitudes.

Still, I invite every white person to do two things: First, consider that they may be reaping the benefits of cultural advantages that they are unaware of. Second, be open to the possibility that racial biases may influence our current systems, policies, and behavior. Fair enough?

NOTE: Special thanks to my younger brother, Michael, for helping me organize my thoughts for this essay.

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