Category Archives: Thoughts on Writing

It Is What It Isn’t

Early Alabama Morning

It has become a well-known fact that voters who marked Joe Biden for president went on to vote for their incumbent Republican state senator. (Georgia’s a fascinating example.) Hence the loud hollering of anarchist Republican Senators to “throw out” thousands of ballots was an excellent example of “throwing the baby out with the bathwater!” In this case, the “baby” being the Republican senator, a fact that fits well with the metaphor.

But it’s interesting to think about those voters who, in the recent election, voted a split ticket. Given the fact that Trump recast the Republican Party into the Cult of Trump, why did those voters cast a “split-ticket”? The obvious answer is that some Republican voters are as sick and tired of Trump as their political counterparts: the Dems. Nevertheless, as traumatized and depressed as they are, the Biden-voting Republicans maintain a belief in the GOP. Like the high-toned Christian lady who hates and despises her lying, fornicating, racist preacher, she still steadfastly believes in Christianity. That unshakable adherence to the “System” defeats the most aggressive, fact-based, logical, and sensible explanation–that the belief-system is the root cause and the worthless individual is nothing more than a particular effect.

What that boils down to is that the Biden-voting Republican may not vote for Trump in 2024, but they might–just might–vote for something worse: a Trump-like person with brains.

Am I wrong? Let me know your thoughts.

I’ve Got a Feeling

Like our cat, Tora, above, I’ve got a feeling something else is going on with Republicans other than the known facts that:

1. They are mental and moral cowards, lacking spines.

2. They profess love for America while actively working to destroy Democracy.

3. They are terrified of Donald Trump whom they secretly hate and despise.

4. Their thirst for Power fuels their absolute intolerance for the Constitution.

5. Law and order are code words for crushing any and all opponents.

There are undoubtedly many other “facts” that could be listed in the above, but those are a few that come to mind. How many of you remember back in 2012 when Texas petitioned, unsuccessfully, to secede from the union. Republicans were nutcases back then as well, but now it’s reaching a new level.

I can’t help but think there is something else afoot, besides the elected Republicans’ insane fear of tRump and his base. The “something else” is the Christian Nationalist movement which under the dictatorship of tRump has gained a great deal of power. (If you want to know more check out Katherine Stewart’s new book The Power Worshippers: Inside the Dangerous Rise of Religious Nationalism.) When a deranged Rudy Giuliani held a recent rally, his even more insane side-kick Sidney Powell got up and blathered on and on about co-conspiracies and ended her speech with the remark, regarding the ultimate triumph of the good Republicans over the evil Democrats: “It will be biblical.”

It was for me a horrifying moment of clarity. A major force behind the Republican take-over of American democracy is the Christian Right. The evangelicals have a strangle hold on tRump’s base. And the base has a strangle hold on elected Republicans. The evangelicals paint the world in black and white…of course, we all know which side they consider to be “right.” Not only hard core MAGA folk love that message, but the fringe bunch as well. The ones you don’t see at the marches or the rallies or threatening the children of decent politicians .

The religious message for many church-goers is simple. God is in control. Once you convince them as evangelicals and preachers did that DJT is an agent of God then the rest is quite simple. But the problem with “belief” is that, more often than not, it isn’t based on reality, but rather on fear. And a belief driven fear will not easily disappear from the hearts and minds of many current Republican voters.

Who are these people? They are not the hard-core base. I think half of the 71 million voters for Trump are people who are muddled. They are people who believe in the simplistic notion that “God is in control.” If their preacher suggests the tRump is an “agent of God” then well, I guess so, huh?. Ultimately, they don’t give a hoot in hell about Trump. They don’t worry about his Border Wall or whether or not black people matter. No. Their concern has to do with the firm belief their church and their religion are under attack, and they are hammered over and over by Fox News that it is “Liberals” who are the evil, godless, baby killers out to destroy God and Country. The binaries are so simple:

GOOD EVIL
GodSatan (the enemy)
WhiteBlack
Heaven (spirit)Earth (matter)
Day Night
MANWoman
UP Down
RightLeft
RepublicanDemocrat
ConservativeLiberal
ChristianNon-Christian
FaithScience
IgnoranceKnowledge
The pastThe future
HeavenEarth

Hence Republicans consistently trumpet their preposturous Godly virtues, assuaging the fears of good Christian voters. Did you hear tRump crowing about the vaccine the other night? He was full of God bless this and God bless that. The same man who ignored the virus ten months ago and who is responsible for the current back and forth death march of COVID 19 across this country. He tweeted: “I’m saving the world!”

Our greatest hope lies in the hands of our youth. I absolutely believe the upcoming election in Georgia will prove that fact. A large number of our young voters, age 18-21 are not slaves of the church and do not agree with the Republican message of hate and fear-mongering. And the good news is that in 2022 and 2024 the numbers of motivated and politically savvy young voters will have exponentially increased.

FIVE DAYS OUT

Look at it this way.

So, tRump is advocating illegal voting practices. “Send in your ballot,” he tells his admiring followers, “then show up at the polls and try to vote.”

At this point, I’m wondering, just wondering, did it ever occur to tRump that ONE major reason people are voting early is: TO NOT HAVE TO GO TO THE FUCKING POLLS!

Okay, I’ve ranted. Now my question. Do you think they, republican voters, will actually follow through with that bullshit?

Will they, after receiving the ballot, filling it out and sending it in, will they, on November third, when they could be at home drinking beer and eating pizza, drive to a voting place and stand in line in cold weather for a length of time to illegally try to vote– again…just to “test” the mail-in vote system. Will they “really” do that?

Or, and maybe this is fantastic thinking on my part, do you think that just maybe they will NOT do that and in fact, they’re NOT doing the mail in vote, period because their neighbors, Ed and Wilma, might suddenly show up or cousin Bubba could pop in just when they’re filling in the ballot, and they don’t want anyone else, including their spouse, to see how they are voting. They want to vote in person, in secret, because in secret they want to vote for Biden while showing public support for tRump. Is that possible?

Why am I suggesting that? One interesting and “observable” phenomena has occurred down here in deep red North Alabama. When I drive past the trailer lots, the farm houses, the small brick homes, I don’t see the Trump/Pence signs. I don’t see anti Biden signs. I don’t see the bumper stickers. I don’t see the t-shirts. In the Fall of 2016, that stuff was everywhere down here. Trump signs were prominent in every other yard, as well as “Lock her up” and “Hillary for Prison” signs. Trump bumper stickers were rampant. There were Trump slogans splashed against rear truck windows and tailgates. Even in the midst of the Hillary Clinton hysteria the Trump support was immense. Now, four years later, almost nothing.

Admittedly, there are not that many Biden/Harris signs either, but I think most dems down here , like myself, don’t put up signs because we don’t want to set up targets for gun-toting, liberal hating, evangelical republicans.

For the “hard core,” it is what it is, but their wives, their sisters, their quiet younger brothers, people who may publicly support Republican views, privately intend to vote for Joe Biden and that Black woman with the funny name.

I ask again. Could this be possible?

Got my Ballot. Sent it in. Now the wait.

Eight days and counting. Waiting for the Blue Tsunami.

There are so many issues out there. For instance, even if tRump loses, there’s still COVID-19 to deal with, and the Orange SOB is making sure to kill as many Americans as he can with his maskless rallies and his touting herd immunity.

But let’s be positive! Let’s say he does lose. One possibility occurred to me, one potential scenario that just might, ironically, bring us all together: Donald J. Trump.

How so?

After the last debate, Trump was at a rally, whining about the possibility of losing. He said one thing that made me stop. No, it wasn’t the bit about leaving the country–which he just might try to do. It was something else. He turned to his red-hatted, cheering followers and said something to the effect that if he loses, it will be because “you let me down.”

Whoa!

I realized he’s already started the blame-game against his base!. How bizarre is that? I sat up. Of course. It makes all the sense in the world. It’s pure Trumpism. He never takes the blame. He’ll never say to his MAGA lovers, “I let you down.” Hell no. He’ll blame them. He’ll turn on them. He’ll attack the world. If he loses, he’ll see all of mankind as nothing but “losers and suckers,” and he’ll say so. I really believe that. And the world will hit back…very hard.

If he loses the election, I think we can rely on Donald to make things right via his unabated hatred of all things American…especially his followers. He will turn on them, revile them, call them names. And when he does, all those gun toting, Bible thumping right-wingers will forget how much they hate liberal Democrats, and they’ll turn on him, the chosen one. He’ll wish he’d never been born.

This is a prediction.

But the first thing is–he has to lose in a big way.

What do you think? Is it possible?

GAME CHANGER!

Foreboding!

This morning I was stunned to hear the news. What happens now?

Does Trump stay in the race? The man is seventy-four years old with obvious issues. Will the Republican Party try to stop the election?

Will Pence jump in and run for president?

It is assumed that he caught COVID from Hope Hicks. Who else did she infect besides the president and the first lady? We see her with Jared Kushner as well as Stephen Miller getting on the helicopter.

Whom has Trump infected? He met with senior advisors as well as key republicans, Jim Jordan among them.

And now his message that COVID will soon disappear is horribly ironic.

Personally, I do not want him to succumb to this virus. I want him to live and face defeat at the hands of Joe Biden, and I want him to face the consequences of his executive insanity.

What are your thoughts?

What if…

Asian kids
American kids

What if COVID-19 threatened the lives of the young rather than the elderly? What if it were children who bore the mortal brunt of this pandemic? What then would be our feelings toward wearing a simple cotton mask? Or social distancing? Or chucking our children back into closed-space classrooms? 

I have recently viewed pictures of university students massed together, drinking, laughing, dancing, having the time of their life in the midst of a pandemic. They know their chances of dying from Corona Virus are slim. While at the same time, adults in the 40, and 50 age range gather at a church to set up outdoor platforms for a Sunday service, and not of them is wearing a mask. Not one. I have seen this. Only a few days ago, I found myself waiting for a traffic light to turn green. While waiting, I turned to see a family of five, two adults herding three children into a restaurant–none of them wearing a mask. 

Who are those 200,000 American dead? They are, mostly, the elderly who had underlying conditions, or not. How did they contract COVID 19? Many contracted the disease when they refused, for whatever reason, to wear a mask in public. But then how many simply got the virus from another person, a close friend visiting, a family member coming home from work, a son or daughter home from school, public and/or university? 

I haven’t seen much on this idea of agism in America. We all know it exists, and we all know that, generally speaking, Americans don’t revere the elderly. We worship youth. Well, that’s my thought experiment. What if it were youth who became mortally ill as a result of COVID-19? I think it would be a vastly different picture than the one we see now. And NOT “rightly so.” 

I think we need to move away from MAGA and simply examine how the young and middle aged Americans really feel about the elderly. I doubt if that many people agree with Bill O’Reilly who in a radio interview with Sean Hannity in April 2020, rationalized that the death rates were low and many of the victims were “on their last legs anyway.” No, I don’t think so, but I wonder what is the prevailing attitude toward the 65+ group?

We know, without question, that if it were children dying, we would all wear masks. We would all social distance, and to the best of our ability keep our children out of harm’s way. But too many Americans, regardless of party affiliation, do not show the same reverence of life toward the elderly. I think this is an issue that will emerge out of this disaster. 

What are your thoughts? 

p.s. the pictures above are: 1. Children I met in Japan, two years ago. And 2. Children I bussed from school to an after-school program here in Decatur, one year ago.

“It is what it is” says our president

Republican tanager vs. Democrat Bluebird.

Nicolle Wallace, in an interview with Arne Duncan, former Secretary of Education, made this remark, regarding America’s attempt to jump start the school year. “This could have been Donald Trump’s moonshot.”

She was referring to the high anxiety parents and most school officials are experiencing with the back-to-school effort across the country. Trump would be practically guaranteed a second-term as president, if he simply came out and said:

That the safety of all American children regardless of race or religion should be our first concern, and I pledge to cease my mindless twittering and absurd belief in conspiracy theories. Starting now, I, Donald J. Trump, will spend every waking moment discussing with scientists and educators, (jBetsy DeVoss will not be allowed in the room.) a realistic plan to insure the complete safety of every child, teacher, staff worker, and administrator in our schools nationwide. I am calling for a round-table bi-partisan meeting to pass a bill that will provide upwards of 200 billion dollars for all American schools to upgrade their facilities and provide them with whatever it takes to create a healthy and enduring learning environment for now and years to come.

Of course he’ll never say those words. (I made them up.) Trump can’t say those words, and we all know why. He’s morally bankrupt. I could add a lot more but it hardly matters anymore. But more to the point–his lack: of empathy, of intelligence, of decency, all of the above, serve as a road map for his staff and advisors, who can’t say those words either.

Trump has surrounded himself with sycophants who, being true to their sycophancy, cannot utter any words other than “yes master” or “no master” depending on the remark. I think, as others have already stated, that Trumps’ advisors will, once he’s out, forget him within an hour or less. What will they be thinking? Well, they will be thinking as he does. “How can I gain from this experience?” They will not be considering the national carnage left behind, nah, screw that.

LIke their now worthless host, they will be mulling over self-aggrandizing possibilities. “Maybe I’ll write a book-like John Bolton!” America created Trump, and Trump has infested America with Trumpism, another form of lethal virus.

What are your thoughts?

Choices We Have to Make

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Tora has the right idea.

Friday night I got a call from Mrs. C. a woman I know who runs an “after-school” program for kids ages 6 to 16. She wanted to know if I would, one day a week, drive a small bus hauling eight to ten kids from their junior high school to a local church here in town. The program isn’t affiliated with the church, but it allows her to use the facilities–well, for a price that is.

Before the pandemic, I voluntarily drove the bus, and frankly, it was not enjoyable. The kids, Black, Hispanic, and White were loud, unruly, and on occasion, disrespectful. Here’s an example.

One hot spring day last year, the kids were climbing onto the bus for the ride to the church. It was the last of three groups that I picked up. One young man, probably thirteen years old, asked me if he could mark the roll. We had to keep a tally of who rode the bus. I gave him the clipboard and said, “sure.” Another young man tried to sit next to him and was rebuffed. A screaming argument ensued.

I twisted around and told my roll-caller to let the other student sit beside him. They were both African American. Pissed off, the young man, who had pleaded to check off names, threw the clipboard to the floor. It was hot. I was tired.

As I clambered out of the driver’s seat, I told him to pick the board up. He did. “Don’t you ever do that again,” I said. “That was wrong and disrespectful.” I faced all of the kids. “When you volunteer to do something,” I yelled. “You should do it.” I turned to the young man who had picked up the board. “Do you understand?” “Yessir,” he answered, but I could tell he was still fuming.

When I got to the church, I opened the doors for the kids to exit the bus. As he passed by me, instead of handing me the clipboard, he tossed it onto the floor and ran out. I was too damned tired to chase after him.

He didn’t ride the bus the next week, but the second week after the incident he did ride. I waited for him. When he got on, I held out the clipboard. “Would you take the roll for me?” He agreed, and we got along just fine.  That incident worked out, but the kids were always loud and boisterous.

So, when Mrs. C. called two nights ago and asked if I would be willing to drive the bus, starting Monday, August 17, I said no. “No, I can’t do it,” I told her. She told me that out of the five drivers, four of us had refused. One man said yes. That man was my diabetic, overweight, seventy-five-year-old friend down the street. I told Mrs. C. that my friend shouldn’t be driving a bus full of kids. “We’re all wearing masks,” she said. “It’s a requirement.”

I posited the idea of her “finding some younger guys to drive the bus. COVID 19 might not be as much a threat for them as it is with us older folk.” She said she had tried, but I don’t know. She kept her reassurances up: “We’re wearing masks,” she said. “We have hand sanitizers. We’re social distancing.”

“Not on the damn bus!” Okay, I didn’t say that. I told her once again that I was sorry, but I just couldn’t feel comfortable driving that bus, and I didn’t think it was a good idea for my pal to be driving either.

Once off the phone. I called my neighbor down the road. “Why are you doing this?”

“Somebody has to do it,” he said.

“Then let somebody else do it,” I argued. “They can find a younger person. They could advertise! They could start paying a young person to do it.” (We older guys volunteered our time.)

I tried my best to explain to him, (He’s a Republican and FOX News runs continuously in his house.) that with the opening of schools, Corona Virus could well hit this area like a raging tsunami in September. And those kids are kids! They will pull their masks down past thier chins to talk. They will let the masks hang from one ear. They are not evil, but they are impulsive, okay? They will, as kids love to do, yell and sing and laugh and yes, cough and sneeze–in a closed environment–a small bus.

I told him what Dr. Osterholm, the CDC expert, (Fox news avoids him.) had forecast:

“We are in the third inning of a nine-inning ball game. If we keep going, without another lockdown followed by a national testing plan, then we can expect fifty to seventy percent of the country to be infected with Corona Virus by the Fall and a very high death rate.”

You can check this out on Youtube. Just paste the following title into the search box:

Dr. Osterholm On Calling For Another Lockdown | Morning Joe | MSNBC

My friend was touched by my concern, but not enough to come to his senses and not drive that bus. I don’t understand. I absolutely do not understand.

 

 

 

 

 

A Thought Experiment

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Our cat, Tora, watching television.

 

Let’s say that in January 2017, Hillary Clinton had been sworn in as President of the United States.

Let’s also say that, as our first lady POTUS, she bravely survives all of the lies, hatred, and virulent slander with which the Right-wing media, the evangelicals, and Republicans hurl against her.

She doesn’t ban immigrants. She doesn’t build a wall. She doesn’t separate children from their parents. The nuclear agreement with Iran is strengthened. She supports the Paris Accord Agreement and NATO. She doesn’t have secret talks with Putin. She doesn’t fall in love with Kim Yong-un. She out-maneuvers Mitch McConnell and has Merrick Garland placed on the Supreme Court. And because she won’t allow idiots like John Bolton even close to the Whitehouse, CDC is in full working operation.

Now we all can assume and I believe rightly so that President Hillary Clinton, like her predecessor, Barak Obama, would have held the scientific community in high regard and hence when the Corona Virus broke out in Wuhan, China, she would have immediately deferred to the knowledgeable and experienced folks of the CDC. Hence, instead of worrying whether or not American children were coming home from school with a virus that just might kill their overweight and diabetic mommy and daddy and/or aging grandfolks, we would be at this very moment, watching NFL football and shopping at the outlet mall for our new winter outfits.

But let’s go in another direction. Let’s say for the sake of our “Thought experiment” that as a result of actions beyond her control, President Clinton fails to contain the spread of the virus in this country, and red states with their red governors ignore CDC regulations and block the sale and distribution of PPE and on and on, and we witness a devastating first wave of the Coronavirus. (As we are now doing with you-know-who.)

Thought experiment question: Given the above situation, what would have been the evangelicals reaction to the first-wave spread of Coronavirus in the United States?

Note: the following image is what prompted this Thought experiment. Here you have Jerry Falwell, Jr. posing with a woman, both with pants unzipped and Falwell holding what he called a glass of “black water.”

This is a man who, ignoring the pandemic, opened Liberty University and demanded the physical presence of students on the Virginia campus, where, I might add, drinking is strictly prohibited. No “black water” allowed.

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Back to our Thought experiment. I am convinced if H. Clinton were president, the man pictured above would have been at the forefront of evangelicals, calling COVID-19 God’s punishment on liberals and democrats. That God was angry with the depraved and godless creatures who voted for Hilary. He was angry with all people who support the rogue idea that women can think and act for themselves. That God was furious with the absurd notion that all humans are created equal and with libtards who support a sale ban on weapons that are designed for the sole purpose of killing humans. God wants to destroy those sinful creatures. I believe the evangelicals would be ecstatic over the arrival of the pandemic. It would prove their point: that Hillary is indeed Satan, and those who voted for her are Satan’s followers.

Now let’s take this attitude one step forward and examine the evangelicals’ need–a desperate need–for an enemy. Christianity works best when it has an adversary, be it Romans or Muslims, a bad guy, someone to complete the binary: Good versus Evil. Without evil in the world, ignorant kids and/or fallen adults can’t be “saved” from their depraved actions that are brought about when they “reject” the Good Book and go around doing terrible things, e.g., grabbing females by the pussy or letting lusty boys grab said “part” while under the hypnotic effect of the devil. I mean without the “enemy,” running amok, we’d have to realize we, along with the social environment we alone have constructed, are responsible for our own actions. Hell no! No way! Screw that!

All of this depravity is necessary: first, to prove that we’re a bunch of fallen, sinful creatures to begin with (Also proving Creationism.) and second, to give us something to “testify” about later on, such as telling everyone how you were (before being saved) hooked on drugs and drinking and having a lot of great sex…yeah, boy–like Jerry and his partner up there!

The HUGE irony for the evangelicals is that Trump IS the perfect villain, but they voted for the pussy-grabbing psychopath and have promoted him as the “Chosen One.” Maybe Jerry was trying to be a Chosen One, too. Do you see the vast problem now facing evangelicals?

If Hillary were president, then I would bet that Jerry, as shown above, could say that he was caught in the grip of Satan’s army led by the evil H.C. and that God has abandoned America. As a result, he, Jerry Falwell, Jr., a man of God, has become a poor prodigal, losing all control over his moral compass. But now, after the above pic went viral on Facebook, God has shown him the error of his ways. Poor Jerry could claim to be on bended knee, begging for God to return, to restore values and decency to a nation gone berserk. And what the hell, it might have worked.

But Hilary isn’t President. Donald J. Trump, a man who lies, cheats, and steals is the president. How tragic for the Christians and how deserving. They have indeed tied a rock around their necks and thrown themselves into the sea. Had Hilary won the election it may have been the saving grace of Christianity. They would have had the perfect enemy against which their shining Goodness could be likened to a glaring light on a barren hill.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stay calm–and think of November

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To stay “calm” does not mean to be complacent. It means to do the right thing: wash your hands regularly and to maintain social distance. Why is it so difficult for some folks to figure this out? Something very frightening occurred to me last night after watching a YouTube vid on the state of affairs in Italy. The video first showed a crowded hospital with doctors and nurses moving frantically from patient to patient, and then it showed a convoy of military vehicles rolling down a city street under the cover of darkness. They were, according to the speaker, full of bodies headed to a burial site.

It occurred to me that when it really turns nasty here in the states, which it will soon do, we might well see the same sort of thing. Sadako and I are not going out. If I, who am 71 years old, contract the virus, the last my wife may ever see of me is my being carted off in an orange and white ambulance.

Therefore the only going out I do is to walk Cody, our black lab, (above). I asked Sadako, who is Japanese, to not accompany me when I walk Cody. Why? Because our abject, ignorant, vile president refuses to stop using the phrase, “Chinese virus.” His base, a large number of whom live here in Alabama, are beginning to associate Coronavirus with Asian. Japanese, Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean, they’re all the same to Trump and his base. Hate crimes against Asians are now occurring in this country.

The fact that “We are all in this together” does not resonate with Trump nor with some senators. Senator Burr of NC comes to mind. He sold $1.7 million of stock upon early information from his Senate Intelligence Committee briefing on the coming pandemic. Burr didn’t jump up and say, “Wait, we must immediately prepare our people.” He didn’t rise up before his beloved president and declare, “We need tests, dammit.” He made no effort to purchase PPEs for hospitals in NC or anywhere else. That wasn’t his concern.

He could have admitted that he had sold those shares and donated that money to the production and effective delivery of face masks, gowns, gloves, and respirators to the hospitals of New York, but he didn’t. No, Mr. Burr PROFITTED, as did Dianne Feinstein, Democrat of California, who is also a member of the Intelligence Committee; James M. Inhofe, Republican of Oklahoma; and Kelly Loeffler, Republican of Georgia. All four should be investigated rigorously–after being discharged from their duties as United States Senators.

So, yes, I do wake up in the middle of the night and feel some anxiety.