There's been give and take on the spending bill, and I'm alright with that because that's the way life works. Endeavors involving more than one person require compromise—marriage, business, politics, a four-way stop.

I'm alright with the impatience of youth and the pragmatism of age. We need acceleration, we require brakes, and man, those Teslas are fast. I'm alright with fiscal conservatism, social liberalism, and I'm alright with profit with a social safety net. I'm alright with personal freedoms as long as they don't harm me. I'm alright with busybodies being less busy.

I'm alright with the word “alright” though my editors are cringing now, but “all right” requires two words, and they're the ones insisting I keep it to 500 words, which I stretch, anyway. I prefer to think of it as a compromise although it's probably white privilege. I imagine it's alright to believe that's not a thing or to believe in leprechauns and unicorns.

I'm alright with climate change deniers as long as we use common sense and pollute as little as possible. It'd be alright if they cleaned up the water in Flint, and if we measured pollution's impact on health and life spans while billionaires measure their gains. If we didn't irretrievably pump millions of gallons of water into the Bakken in this thirsty world, I'd be alright with that, too, and with stewardship, and Art Link. It'd be alright if we reinvented leadership.

I'm more than alright with William Shatner going into space, despite the caterwauling of grumps and scolds who miss the poetry in life, and if you're out of step with the rhythm and rhyme and the haikus of the universe, well, that ain't living (editors gasp again), but someone will probably give you a newspaper column or a radio show, anyway, for the same reason we have zoos. Even cavemen had freedom of speech; the proof is on the walls at Altamira. We also have the opportunity for critical thinking and research. Break glass now. It don't cost nothing. (Editors fling arms up in surrender.)

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I'm alright with Captain Kirk and Kirk Cousins but on the fence with Mike Zimmer and Klingons. “I'm Alright” with Kenny Loggins but not so much Jim Messina. I'm alright with the neighbors who supported Trump until the insurrection, but then came around, and I'd be more alright with the rest of them if they pulled those flags off their pickup trucks. For one thing, it's killing your gas mileage. But I'm alright with old pickup trucks, little baby ducks, and Tom T. Hall. And onions.

I'm alright with providing an ID to vote and I'm alright with making voting easier. I'm alright with border control and immigration; we need them both, alright?

I'm alright with agnostics and atheists, but I can't see the sun and moon, the tides, and the seasons and believe it's an accident. I'm alright with Muslims, Buddhists, and Christians, the Father and the Son, but I'm afraid of ghosts, even holy ones. And I suppose it's alright if folks want the 10 Commandments in school, just leave the Wiccans alone. Anyway, one commandment, “Be Kind,” is all we need.

I'm alright with hope and the way it throttles despair. I'm alright with debate; it's how we evolve. I'm alright with all of it, and I'm alright with you.



Tony Bender writes an exclusive weekly column for Forum News Service.