It's only fair I should level with you before you read my stuff. So you can take things in stride.

I'm Polish-born, in U.S. since 1961. Have lived through the assassination of JFK, Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King, too. Worked on Wall Street while attending night-college, then got drafted in the middle of Vietnam. I've even signed-up for combat duty – out of sense of adventure, I suppose – but they wouldn't have me since I wasn't a citizen yet. Naturally, I felt relieved.

Upon discharge, I resumed my education – NYU, University of Oregon, even a theological seminary at Berrien Springs, Michigan – but I couldn't hack it. Too mind-numbing, I suppose. So I got married instead, several times, and had gone through as many divorces. Had run a successful business for a score of years, then embarked on a literary career. As of now, I have two novels under my belt. Any agents or publishers out there?

I guess there's a hidden agenda behind this confession. I've been around and America is my home. Naturally, my experience is limited – being a Caucasian, for instance, I know next to nothing about what's like being an African-American male or a white female for that matter, have never experienced that kind of prejudice –but so is everyone else’s. So don't tell me to pack my bags and go home. And unless you're at least fifty-years old and counting – and I mean all of you, young bucks – you had better listen so you may learn something. Don't let your emotions stand in the way of common sense. Other than that, all responses are welcome, subject to editing , of course, for offensive language and improprieties. The last I've heard, it's still a free country and we can all disagree.

A few words about my political philosophy. I'm neither a liberal nor a conservative. The "Democrat" and "Republican" labels are just as misleading and obsolete, and they don't apply to me either. The same with such terms as "socialist," "communist," or the benign-sounding "progressive." All labeling, as far as I am concerned, is an attempt to circumvent thinking, to have us see the world in terms of stereotypes. I won't play that game. Still, political convictions and leaning – at least in a general kind of sense – I do and must have. As Aristotle had once said, man is a political animal.

It's my considered opinion that all politics – where you or I stand on this or that political issue – is, at bottom, a matter of emotion, of basic human impulse. And there are essentially only two alternatives to choose from: to be either self- or other-directed. There's hardly an in-between. I also believe that ultimately it doesn't really matter. To this day, humans haven’t been able to devise a fair and equitable form of government; and they never will. Why bother, then? Because as I said, it's a matter of impulse. The least we can do is to stay true to ourselves. And in my case, I had rather side with an underdog than try to promote my own, narrowly-conceived self-interests.

It's also true, some would say, that politics is the art of the possible – of what can be done here and now, of what’s practicable given our fallible nature, of making the best out of what’s irremediably a bad situation. I buy it but only to a point. As far as I'm concerned, ends never justify the means. And in that sense, morality always trumps politics. You're free to disagree of course.

So let the dialogue begin.

Roger Nowosielski


literature, politics, philosophy, chess;