Sir Paul’s life and work exemplify the courageous striving toward happiness described by philosopher Bertrand Russell — and we all get a share of it, in the music his curiosity brings.

Some survivors from the mixtapes years. (Photo by the author.)

One evening this past spring, we played our grandson, Leo, then two and a half, a few Beatles songs as he finished up his dinner with some fruit. My wife, Jyll, and I (better recognized as Grammy and Grandpa) asked him if he recognized certain songs — “Hey Jude,” “All You Need Is Love,” “Let It Be,” “The Long and Winding Road” — and each time, he brightly responded…


Republicans have worked tirelessly to undermine the Disestablishment clause, “the true genius” of our Constitution, and adding foes of “Roe” to the high court is part of that scheme.

Catholic iconography in a lovely, historic church in St. Louis. (Photo by author.)

In the first nation where government and religion were explicitly made separate — according to journalist and historian Garry Wills, the true genius of our founding, the one unique thing — we find ourselves with a Supreme Court with essentially seven Catholics, of whom five are political conservatives: Chief Justice John Roberts and associate justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett. Another conservative justice, Neil Gorsuch, was…


The Right has devolved into what even conservative commentator Charlie Sykes calls “performative assholery,” and there is no bottom to it.

Support, and non-support, of the former president in Illinois. (Shot by Jyll, when I said, “Quick, get that shot!”)

Everything causes a fit, all is an outrage. Throughout the pandemic, people have refused to wear masks, to social distance, to get vaccinated — going so far as to verbally and even physically attack employees at groceries, stores, shops, restaurants, and on planes who have dared ask them to wear a mask. Most of us have seen so many videos of outrageous toddler-like behavior that we stopped viewing them for our own psychological health.

But it continues. Here are…


It’s past time for a class-action lawsuit against Fox News, and health care professionals who have suffered most caring for the endless stream of coronavirus patients should bring it.

Screen grab from Fox News. America is watching, indeed.

As the nation watches, many seemingly dumbfounded, the Delta variant of the coronavirus has filled hospitals again, often to the levels seen at the height of the pandemic back in February — depending, stupidly, on the politics of your local and state officials.

It’s time to sue Fox News, the major cause for the dumbfounding of America — around the pandemic (and, well, in general).

The former president recently brought a…


Has America’s myth of individualism and white resentment–based concept of “socialism” lessened our chances to pursue happiness as individuals and, as a nation, to compete in the world?

Sidewalk chalked in light blue “Peace, Love, and Facemasks” outside an elementary school.
A sign of the collectivist spirit outside a grade school in Webster Groves, Mo. (Photo by author.)

Recently, the New York Times ran a terrific video piece showing how people around the globe respond when confronted with details of the U.S. healthcare system. The reactions — from citizens of Canada, Germany, Japan, Finland, Sweden, Taiwan, Singapore, and the United Kingdom — to how we manage health care run from derisive laughter, to horrified gasps, to outraged anger. Movingly, there are moments when a couple of them — notably Olga…


Is it time for the left to start using that hoary old conservative line “Love it or leave it”?

One of many pro-Putin T-shirts available online.

As many Americans tuned in to see news about the meeting between U.S. President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin, no doubt a frightening percentage of those viewers were pulling for Vlad, their favorite strongman.

Who can forget the comparisons made by Republicans during the Obama presidency of our so-called weak and indecisive president and the “strong leader” of Russia? Tea Party Republicans proudly donned T-shirts saying as much. Some wise guys in Ohio were spotted in 2018 at a…


America appeals to the vaccine-hesitant while the world begs for shots. In the meantime, variants gain ground and the IHME recounts the dead.

Dr. Anthony Fauci interviewed on MSNBC’s “Deadline: White House.”

Fully vaccinated since March, we have had some wonderful, almost surreal, moments of late. I got the chance to hug my dad, aged 91, for the first time in more than a year. I’ve been able to visit with my mother-in-law, 95, without wearing a mask. My wife and I visited with family over the Memorial Day weekend (there was a beautiful cake with the lovely message: We’re All Vaccinated!).

Most wonderfully, we’ve traveled to see our…


It’s true, Giuliani and Stone may not be lying — in an alt-realty universe.

Rudy Giuliani speaking in an interview on Fox News.
Rudy Giuliani refuting charges that he acted as a foreign agent.

We continue to hear protestations of innocence by Trumpians — rioters, white supremacists, those oh-so Proud Boys, and the like (who mostly, rightly say My president asked me to do it). Most recently, claims of innocence have come from a couple of prominent figures of the right: Rudy Giuliani and Roger Stone.

Giuliani, former prosecutor, former mayor of New York City, and Trump’s former personal lawyer, is being investigated by the Department of Justice for not registering as a foreign lobbyist while he pressed officials in…


The Ohio representative demands to know when Dr. Fauci will give him his liberties back.

Examples of mask wearing during a pandemic (left, an infectious disease expert; right, a toddler).

Watching Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) go after Dr. Anthony Fauci last week about his suggested measures to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, one witnessed a truly tiny and narrowly focused mind attempting to go up against a large, deep and supple mind.

What Jordan blathered about hardly merits repetition because we’ve heard it all before, ad nauseam — the clumsy attempts to create straw man arguments about “freedom,” the ad hominem attacks implying that Fauci is somehow manipulating data about the pandemic for some personal gain, the whining about being asked to be reasonably responsible during a global health crisis that…


For one blessed day, I allow myself to think people will do the right thing.

Color photo of a vaccination event in a gymnasium, St. Louis.
Vaccination event in St. Louis, March 2021.

I recently had the opportunity to spend some time observing people arriving to get vaccinated for the coronavirus. I volunteered, in a non-clinical role, to help out at a local large-scale effort where the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine was being administered at a recreation center in a park in a suburban area of St. Louis county.

I hesitated in writing this because I didn’t want to be seen as “virtue signaling” or humblebragging or whatever the put-down term might be. I had received both doses of the Pfizer vaccine and had been impressed by all the people at…

Kirk Swearingen

Kirk Swearingen is an independent journalist living in St. Louis. His work has most recently appeared on Salon.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store