Author Archives: Michael Pocalyko

The Conscience of an Independent

There is a level of emotion that only men—and I mean men—who have run for public office and lost can appreciate. You pour every bit of male egocentric pride into a humungous unwieldy uncontrolled risky effort, take positions that will enliven some people to ecstasy and passionately infuriate others to blind rage, suffer every fool gladly seeing yourself as wise, go into debt, hazard your most cherished relationships, and permit petty concerns tear apart every seam of your psyche and soul, all in full public Continue reading →

Scouts and Symbols

July always takes me to camp, where this reflection begins. I am an old Scout. The Scouting movement has been my principal civic service ever since I was a boy. I am an Eagle Scout, a recipient of the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award, and I sit on the board of the National Capital Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America in Washington. Reading this far you’re forgiven for that eye roll, for thinking that I was about to comment on the news four days Continue reading →


We were young and brave, weary of the win-proof war that divided our nation and lingered on, refusing to quit. From the middle of the middle of a generation, we were culled from a socialization of boys in the fifties and sixties when patriotism, a simpler-era behavioral manifestation now derided as “Murica,” was inherent, natural, and prevalent. We all wanted to fly. Forty years is long enough for an instance of reflection. It’s exactly that time-distance this week from the moment I arrived in Pensacola, Continue reading →

The Boys on the Bus

Trexler Library at Muhlenberg College has an elegant room containing special collections, rare books, and some museum displays. There, behind glass, in a beautiful blond wood case, is a 40-year old white ceramic fraternity mug, a massive tankard. The college name is on the rim in Old English font. The year 1976 is split, bookending a Sigma Phi Epsilon seal with the fraternity’s name in Greek on a meandering yellow scroll. If you could reach in there, pick up the mug, turn it around and Continue reading →