Category Archives: Politics
Affairs of government or even the office; it is all a chess game.
As my state of residence ushers in Phase 3 of reopening the economy amidst signs that we are flattening the COVID-19 curve, I am bracing myself for a surge in cases later this month. Most of the globe fully expects a second wave come this fall. So, this potential bump in virus spread is a fairly new development.
Just mere weeks ago as I write this, many of us left-leaning persons watched in disgust as people, the majority right-leaning, protested against the governors’ mandates to shelter-in-place. We were horrified as they stormed the castles, many of them carrying firearms, and shoulder-to-shoulder while bare-faced, as they decried the over-reaching government that kept them from going to church, eating at restaurants, drinking at bars, and even getting haircuts. Gasp! Keep the baskets full of vulnerables at home so that the rest of us can LIVE. Essentially, infringing their Constitutional rights to move freely. They got in the faces of public officials when there is a pandemic that attacks the respiratory system. And they expect us to trust that they will heed the CDC guidelines and be responsible citizens? We should be grateful that our government is looking out for our safety. We are trying to prevent a virus that is killing innocent people. How dare they risk setting us back and destroying all the sacrifices we’ve all made to keep the virus from spreading?
President Trump supported the protesters.
Just a mere two weeks ago, yet another innocent black man was wrongfully accused, detained, then died in police custody. This was especially heinous due to the brutality of the murder (yes, it was murder). George Floyd was suffocated in medieval, torturous fashion. He was literally pressed to death with knees on his neck and along his body as helpless onlookers yelled at the cops to let him go. The Internet provided the world free access to a snuff film that we watched over and over again. The faces of the smug officer and the lifeless victim are permanently singed in our minds. The video was so irrefutably damning and vivid that one can even see the urine that streamed out of George Floyd’s bladder when he became unresponsive. It should be a slam dunk case for the courts. The outrage over this busted through the political divide. Republicans and Democrats, for the most part, agreed on something.
Hundreds of thousands of people across the country took to the streets in protest, mostly unarmed. Many of them, if not all, left-leaning. The police department is too powerful and not held accountable, and is infected with systemic racism. They are supposed to serve and protect, yet they fail miserably over and over again, and they are now being called to the carpet. This government is over-reaching and infringing on Constitutional rights to move freely, not to mention a slew of other Amendments. Black people can’t do something as mundane as go to a store to buy a pack of cigarettes without the risk of being killed for it. This protest is essential in saving the lives of black people and driving the point home that, yes, black lives matter [too]. What started as a peaceful protest turned violent in places because of instigating fringe groups and criminals taking the opportunity to damage property and loot. Some of it was a symbolic and literal destruction of the oppressive system, some was just for the fuck of it. That was counterproductive and nearly drowned out the message that (still) needs to be heard. After 400 years of racism, this country has had enough. This is a message of such importance that the pandemic became secondary. Even though many protesters wore masks, social distancing was an impossibility. The collective voice resonates more strongly the larger the group is. It would be even louder if those voices carried arms, but that is antithetical to their view. That shift in priorities did not go unnoticed by more, let’s say, passive observers. How dare they risk setting our economy back and destroying all the sacrifices we’ve all made to keep the virus from spreading?
President Trump condemned the protesters. Called all of them thugs. Gassed them out of his way, even. Leave it to Trump to tip his base-pandering hand with literal and symbolic racist responses to protests against racism.
Fascinating. I admit a frustration with people whining about haircuts, et al. I am grateful that the local governments are looking out for us where the federal one is asleep at the wheel. They lay down ground rules because a lot of people can’t be trusted with personal responsibility, much less concern for other citizens. How can we NOT have a commanding government when a large part of the population refuses to even protect themselves? This pandemic is awful and we all have to make sacrifices, but crying about it doesn’t make it go away. It can actually make it worse since a virus could be transmitted through their infantile tears and the spittle from screaming in everyone’s faces. These patriot wannabes may need a Civics lesson. Their rights don’t go beyond their noses. They demand the right to move freely, and even unfettered from the recommended protocols to mitigate virus spread. The government can’t tell them what to do, but what they fail to realize is they can be punished if they hurt others. You can go over the speed limit, and possibly get away with it. If you are caught, you will be fined. If you kill someone in the process, you will go to jail. Go ahead, don’t practice said protocols. If you infect other people through your defiance, prepare to pay the price.
Besides, this is not a permanent condition. This too shall pass. Also, it is a face mask, not a burka or a funeral shroud. It is just a way to help ensure your rights stay where they belong.
Still, these protesters have a point. The government is really too powerful, and we elect and pay them to serve us, not to order us around. Do they have to risk spreading the virus to make that point, though?
I could say that if it wasn’t for my high-risk husband, I would be out there protesting against racism. I could say that I am sitting this one out because I want to do my part in controlling the spread of COVID-19. While both truth, peaceful assembly is just not my thing. I protest through the arts. I am an armchair activist, I suppose.
That said, I fully support railing against the lack of police accountability, and the racism that, unlike viruses, has no vaccine to prevent its spread, much less a cure. How can we have a government that doesn’t protect its people equally when a large part of the population refuses to even protect themselves? Do they have to risk spreading the virus to make that point, though?
The answer to that question in both cases is, yes and no. Yes, because now more than ever, the government needs strong checks and balances, and the citizens that elected them have a responsibility to put them in their place. This is a time of reckoning, and failing infrastructures need to be knocked down and rebuilt. No, because everything is crumbling around us because of this pandemic. Congregations of people, be it through peaceful assembly, religious services, or any gatherings, put us at risk. The virus doesn’t care about the Constitution. It is programmed to survive and propagate. We need to get over ourselves. This is not about you or me. It is about us.
We have a conflict of interests, and it should be okay to acknowledge that and recognize that there is not an eloquent solution. One size does not fit all and there should be no us versus them. Yet, we don’t relent, because we have to win. So much winning, yet, nothing but losing. Our ideologies are so steadfast that we refuse to bend against them, even if it is against our own best interest. We demand to move freely, even if it means catching a virus that could take away our ability to move, and possibly permanently. We demand the police be abolished, even if it means we have no way to be protected from anything or anyone that means us harm. The tears and spit in these protests are just as transmissible, regardless of the cause fought. Even the blood of patriots can carry the virus and infect. The goose and the gander defend one while judging the other for ultimately doing the same thing.
The left criticizes armed and unarmed people who risk virus spread to protest for their Constitutional rights. The right criticizes the unarmed left who risk virus spread to protest for equal human rights. It is, in a word, hypocritical. There are no degrees in hypocrisy, nor does it matter which cause is more important. Both sides played judge and jury, and neither has the right.
If it isn’t obvious, I am a hypocrite, as well. I complain about churches that defy the government mandates, but in the same breath, I support whatever it takes to plunge the vaccine needle into the jugular of all racists. Herd immunity is essential to Make America Great Altogether. It goes beyond ideology for me. It is visceral. If our Great country didn’t treat people of color like shit, we wouldn’t have to make a choice between evils in order to stop the injustice. News flash! We aren’t that great.
I just wish the protesters on the left exercised their Second Amendment rights along with their First. It would really tell the government who is boss. Just like some of the first protesters did to demand their haircuts. Guess what? They are getting them now, and without curfews or property damage. That is a whole different subject, though. It seems like the ongoing protests against racism are making some headway, albeit less quickly and effectively. Still, between the two movements, our governments (at least locally) are starting to pick up on the hints that they need to shape up or ship out.
Now if you will excuse me, I need to hunker down and isolate myself against the next wave.
We have a little problem in this country, nay, world, with racism. Somehow, after Rome burned to the ground or Pompeii was destroyed by a volcano, white people rose from the ashes as the superior Phoenix of skin color. Or something to that effect. Throughout history, whites slaughtered the reds, enslaved the blacks, made fun of the yellows, gassed the olives, and ousted browns. Lather, rinse, repeat.
So much hate and violence has been perpetrated by white people over something as mundane as a skin color outside of their own. Ironically, white is the combination of all colors and a mix of races. Which means, yes, the colors they spat on over the centuries are ones that are woven into their DNA and epidermis. They must hate themselves. At the very least, they are jealous that other races, for the most part, are decisive about their visage. They must be green with envy, which is a skin color similar to a certain olive-toned Messiah they worship. How can someone be that noble and pure? It is like he was designed in a lab by intelligent persons.
Be that as it may, color is a relative thing. It exists on a spectrum, and the intensity depends on what it is placed against. As complimentary opposites, red and green tones together make both look more intense. Does that mean positioning a Native American against a Semite makes one appear more threatening and the other dirtier? More to the point, are they more hateful?
As we evolve as a society and become more integrated, Jewish can be lumped in as white dudes, and Elizabeth Warren is Native American . . . ish. It leaves us with the conundrum of judging the person by character when our ancestors have told us otherwise. Yet, we still do let a person’s skin color drive our perceptions. Which begs the question. That’s it. One does not follow that with an actual question. Whether we mean to or not, we draw conclusions about swaths of people based on specious assumptions.
Neil deGrasse Tyson is a science prodigy with advanced degrees in multiple disciplines, and Jessica Simpson thought tuna was aquatic chicken. Pair the two, and the contrast is even more stark. One is as dark as a singularity, while the other is a snowflake in freshly fallen snow. The contrast in intelligence goes without saying.
That is enough exposition building up to a larger point, which I will get to momentarily. Racial prejudice is a tricky concept with no empirical evidence to support justifying its existence. Dr. Tyson agrees with the Big Bang Theory to explain how the universe started. Is there a Big Bang equivalent for racial prejudice? How did any other skin color, except for the aforementioned technicolor dreamskin, become abnormal? Was it always? If there is science that supports the idea that we are at fault for what we are born as, I haven’t seen it.
Oh wait, there are psychopaths and pedophiles. They came out that way, and we hate them regardless if they keep their impulses in check. Because, the real threat is there that they can hurt innocent people just because their brains aren’t wire properly. I guess skin color can be offensive and hurtful, as well. The blackness is such an eyesore, eh?
Here is a thought experiment. If a woman is told by both a light-skinned black man and a white man who just emerged from his daily tanning bed session, that she needs to leash her dog, who would she feel more offended by? If she calls 911 to report that she is being threatened by an African American man, who do you think she is referring to?
More to the point, which man is more responsible for the way he looks, and which for her behavior? There is more justification in judging a man who risks his health in order to look black, than a black man whose father was Neil deGrasse Tyson and mother was Jessica Simpson. Not to mention, the woman who judges both of them.
Which leads me to my (hopefully) obvious point. Judging by race is stupid. Judging by skin color is blind. Judging by individual character is smart. It is that simple.
The only skin color we should be racist against is orange. Orange should be the color we rail against. Orange is narcissistic, malignant, opportunistic, deceitful, manipulative, ignorant . . a rainbow of negative traits in one, unnaturally colored blob. Orange is not born that way, so there is no guilt in blaming the innocent. Orange is made in a lab, and enabled. Move over White Privilege. Orange is in the White House.
Orange is already identified by plenty of richly deserved pejoratives, so we are set there. I am partial to the one I created, Orange Orc. He emerges from his lair wielding a golf club and a bible, pounding on his chest while he blabbers nonsense as orcs are want to do. Even though orcs of lore avoid light, this one will stare straight into the sun. Let’s face it, like Tolkien’s creatures, the Orange Orc looks slimy and smelly. Those lips, like they were fashioned by the livers of his gullible prey. Sad!
Get out of our country, ya’ freak! You aren’t wanted here.
If there really were any justice, the skin color truly warranting discrimination would be artificial orange.
What a world we are living in. Everything has been disrupted because of a hidden enemy. The devout might call it the Devil’s work; scientists may call it a submicroscopic infectious agent; everyone else calls it a virus. Regardless, it is putting our collective lives on hold. By necessity, we are reduced to surviving so that we may live again later. As God’s flock, responsible citizens, decent human beings . . . whatever motivates you, we must all do our part in defeating COVID-19.
I planned to start this off with a bit of scripture about sacrifice. So, I did an Internet search, “Bible passages with sacrifice.” As with anything related to religion, the results are dissatisfying.
“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” John 15:13.
“For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it.” Luke 9:24
“To do what is right or just is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.” Proverbs 21:3
I was really hoping to drive the point home about the importance of sacrifice during this time. Doesn’t religion preach just that? Back in the day, the congregation was expected to empty their pockets into the church offertories if they wanted eternal salvation. Their last coins were tithed to the ferryman who would take them to afterlife. Or something. Isn’t that the very definition of sacrifice? Oh wait, no. That’s just stupidity.
Back to the verses. The aforementioned examples and others like them tell completely different stories. The first two, in particular, resonate with current events. Many conservatives are extremely eager to open up the economy. How does one do that in the midst of a pandemic? How about suggesting elderly people leave their homes and sacrifice themselves on the front lines so that the rest of the ‘healthy’ world can get back to normal? If that doesn’t work out, just keep the basket of vulnerables at home while the rest of the world can live their lives again. Never mind that it is not how communicable contagions operate. As John said, “. . . lay down one’s life for one’s friends,” and Luke echoes that sentiment, “. . . whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it.” Got that, old folks, and immunocompromised, and cancer survivors, and disabled veterans, and those with co-morbidities? You’ll be saved either way! Win-win!
The third example blurs the lines even more of what sacrifice means. To do what is right or just is more acceptable . . . to the Lord. Does that mean it is right and just to congregate, place your spit on the clergyman’s hand while you eat God’s body, and share the same cup of his blood, all while ignoring the social distancing rules and shelter-in-place mandates? Is the chalice AND wine disinfected after each set of lips touches it? The CDC states that COVID-19 can survive and be transmitted for up to three days on metal surfaces. Not to mention, living in an infectious broth of high-viral-loaded sacrament taken directly into one’s unprotected system before even the smallest immunity can be built up from an incremental or peripheral exposure. You know, how the immune system works.
Perhaps God is battling the actual creator of this virus. Who could that be? In this beautiful world our Lord created. Not the sacrilegious Darwin. Not godless China. The Church Lady knows who I mean. Could it be . . . SATAN? While this fight to the death carries on (probably for the next year), does one have to pray in order to avoid becoming infected? If so, God might be a little tied up for a bit while pulling a rope-a-dope on the Devil. What if one becomes infected? Can prayer heal better than a therapeutic vaccine or treatment made and administered by God’s own children, to God’s own children? What happens if one dies? Can one call in a prayer favor, at least to explain why thou hast forsaken me?
This pandemic must be another one of those WWJD tests. What would Jesus do? He did lose his shit on the merchants and moneychangers in the infamous Cleansing of the Temple. He fashioned a whip and went all Indiana Jones on those greedy motherfuckers. How dare they turn a place of worship into a den of iniquitous profit? (That should only be on designated market days to raise money for new stained glass windows, damn it!) There is some “lost” evidence that Jesus got in a few murders in his profligate “Infancy.” Those tales were conveniently omitted in both testaments, but they are important to observe. Because, that little loophole has been coming in handy.
Like flying a plane into a large, occupied building, it is noble to sacrifice others in order to score points with God. The gullible idiot really took a gamble right there. That is a risky bet for some centuries-old text that has been interpreted in various batshit ways. Whatever gets one to achieve the ultimate reward, am I right? I dare anyone covered in Christ’s blood to jump in a pool of sharks in order to save oneself. Go on, I dare you. Where’s your Messiah now, bitches?
Here’s the thing. This is nothing new. Religion is the scourge that keeps on scourging. It oppressively places its thumb on women, sticks it up their vaginas, and fucks them good and hard. Shockingly, it is not until the past decade that we kinda stopped being okay with that. Even then, we can’t get all women on board to fight that madness, much less men. It doesn’t seem like a highly contagious, non-discriminating virus will be a compelling game-changer. Especially considering the chatter from certain religious figures that, yes, they are going to hold public services during sacred holidays.
I write this in the wake of Easter, as there may be more wakes as a result. The reality is that it won’t be just the religious dissenters who sacrifice; they are taking their fellow humans down with them in Biblical fashion. Why? Because, this will give the virus more reasons to stick around and party on our goblet cells. (How many angels can dance on the headstone of a grave?) It also means that not only will there be more people infected, there will be more deaths. That is devastating enough to give a convincing reason to sit this one out and stay home. In addition, our lives will remain on hold much longer than originally forecasted. We don’t even know what is on the other side of this pandemic. It certainly isn’t a fantasyland complete with pearly gates.
Since we’ve politicized and non-secularized an apolitical and secular pathogen, I find myself reaching to the Constitution for guidance.
Laypeople take the First Amendment’s message quite literally by freely interpreting it. “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof . . .” I am not a legal scholar, but I believe it is saying that government should keep its nose out of religion. As well, they will not “abridge[ing] the freedom of speech.” Again, we have the freedom to have our voices heard. Religious freedom, yes! Free speech, boo-yah! Does this mean we can practice our religion to our hearts content, and say whatever we want to?
Apparently not, as the Constitution recognizes that rights end at the tips of our noses. Don’t believe me? One of many examples of First Amendment violations is when speech is an immediate threat that breaches peace. If what you say incites violence, then the right is forfeited. Same goes for religion. If a faith ritualizes sacrificing virgins at the altar, or molesting them behind it, don’t we expect the authorities to put the kibosh on that? Rather than practicing religion in a public gathering during a time that the government has temporarily mandated social distancing for the protection of the greater good, maybe the right thing to do is to sacrifice one’s dogma for something that actually serves the whole of humanity.
Again, if you don’t believe me, I invite you to observe two situations that result in widely accepted abridgment of Constitutional rights.
We have this little thing called, “Felony Disenfranchisement”. Quite simply, if one is convicted of a felony that results in incarceration of more than a year and/or a fine of over $1,000, said convicted felon could lose rights to vote in elections, depending on the will of the jurisdiction. There are gray areas regarding the severity of the crime, but I trust we all agree that we don’t want a murderer or violent abuser the opportunity to elect/reelect a candidate or incumbent we find unpalatable. It doesn’t matter that voting rights are covered in at least four Amendments. If you break the societal covenant, you forfeit some rights as a citizen as punishment.
Still not convinced? The 1968 Gun Control Act Title 18 provides for “prohibit[ing] anyone convicted of a felony and anyone subject to a domestic violence protection order from possessing a firearm.” Not only does a murderer, pedophile, and in this case, a domestic abuser, lose a laundry list of Amendment rights while in prison, they lose their Second Amendment rights in perpetuity. This domestic violence is qualified as “a misdemeanor,” by the way. This means that the Felony Disenfranchisement parameters from above don’t even need to be met. The government can take the firearm away while slapping the hand that held it. It seems extreme, but it does mollify those who prefer that the Second Amendment be stricken from the record.
Therein lies the rub. Gun sales, and attempted ones, are through the roof right now. People just don’t feel safe. We fear the invisible enemy that is COVID-19, and all we can do is wash our hands, wear masks, and stay away from each other. We can’t shoot the virus dead, but we have the right to protect ourselves from those who breach the protective barrier and threaten our safety.
Doesn’t that sound like what religious people who just can’t find the will to stay home are doing? They spread the Word along with the virus, and they assume they have the God-given and Constitutional right to do so. Atheists, agnostics, and intelligent religious people be damned.
First Amendment violation, anyone? Abuse your religious freedom, then see if God shows up on your behalf as a character witness in court. Or, maybe those who put others’ lives at risk should—as felons and domestic abusers do—lose the right that they are abusing.
I am not enjoying my life right now.
I’ll just start off with that. Cut to the chase, because, I don’t know how much time I have.
None of us do.
Why waste it with words that, at best, are distracting? Communication is the key; do not mince words, nor leave openings for interpretation, inference, or misinformation. And especially in our fine MAGA country.
That said, this might get wordy.
I started writing this to Radiohead’s best album (in my opinion), A Moon Shaped Pool. The first song, the great “Burn the Witch” has an especially apt line:
“ . . . it’s a low-flying panic attack.”
Yep, that is where I am right now, where millions of people are. Our collective nervous system is working overtime firing off the hormones that stoke the fight, flight, or freeze response. If we stay put, we don’t know the magnitude of the beast we aim to fight. If we choose flight, well, where to go? So, do we do nothing at all?
Ships are not docking. Planes are grounding. Trains might not leave the depot. Public events are being cancelled. Schools, and even the borders, are closing.
And so it goes.
I’m talking about the Coronavirus—specifically, its latest strain, COVID-19. I don’t know about you, but I just call it “The Virus” for brevity.
It’s not like we are being kept completely in the dark. The media is trying their darndest to keep us informed. They are burning the midnight oil to report what this perplexing bug is up to. They turn the mantle over to the scientists to give us the facts while the reported cases increase exponentially, and the mortality rate rises. The statistics are getting more alarming, and all we can be definitively told at this point is to take simple mitigating measures.
Don’t touch your face, disinfect surfaces, cough and sneeze into the crook of your elbow. And the pièce de résistance? Wash your hands frequently for at least twenty seconds. Lather up while singing “Happy Birthday” two times should do the trick. Why not put a cheerful spin on killing the killer before it kills anyone else?
And Twenty Seconds Later . . . I am still freaking the fuck out.
It would be poetic for me to add that I am typing on my keyboard with dried, bloodied hands. That is an exaggeration, as I’ve been wearing nitrile surgical gloves during the day. It is much safer for me to wash gloved hands than furiously scrub my own sensitive skin raw, which would make me more vulnerable to infection. At this point, I don’t care if I look ridiculous.
So, why the panic? The amount of cases as of this writing is only, ONLY in the low six-figures, with several thousand fatalities. That is only, ONLY a bit over 3%. Not too shabby, eh? We’ve encountered worse. More people died from AIDS-related illnesses than will be expected with this virus. Why is COVID-19 getting so much attention, enough to give millions around the globe incentive to modify their daily lives? I can’t speak for other countries, but I certainly can assess the reasons for panic in the U.S. of A.
Stupidity. Incompetence. Avarice. They work together, synergistically. Like Snap, Crackle, and Pop, they are the essential ingredients of the fortified cereal that is a global pandemic.
Stupidity is ignorance with the ability to know better, but ignoring it. A culture should know better than to throw wild animals in cages, stack them on top of each other, and let them fester in their own feces and filth. People should know better than to prepare and consume food around said filth.
Incompetence is just stupidity in practice. And there are many incompetent people. Stupid people who ignore the facts. Stupid people who defend other stupid people. Stupid people who can’t control themselves. Stupid people who can’t be bothered with modifying their behavior, even just temporarily. Stupid people who buy disposable masks en masse hoping it will protect them, despite all the evidence presented to the contrary. Stupid people who build forts with packages of toilet paper.
A government should know better than to punitively silence its experts from voicing the consequences of ignorant acts. A government should know better than to place importance of their party over its people. A government should know better than to feed its citizens falsehoods in the hope that panic will be assuaged and the money will continue to flow into coffers, pockets, and PACs. Avarice “Trumps” ethics.
People should have known better than to vote that government into power in the first place. Yes, I am talking about you, Trump voters.
In fairness, it was either him or the other shitty candidate. Many of the ones who chose death by fried chicken grease are experiencing some serious buyer’s remorse. Good. We all make mistakes, and it is important to acknowledge them. If Mr. POTUS got that memo, he discarded it as he does anything that contains words strung into coherent sentences. It wouldn’t matter since the pathological narcissist is incapable of admitting to anything except how wonderful he is. Who knew our supreme leader is literally Supreme? >>insert sarcastic, long-suffering sigh here<<
In case some of you are still clinging to your party and its specious ideas above all else, allow me to point out a few essential aspects of his leadership style. They might be covered in Art of the Deal, but I would have to read it to confirm. That is a hard pass for me.
Blame everyone but yourself, especially if they don’t worship you. Admittedly, Trump didn’t cause the spread of this virus, but he certainly isn’t contributing to stemming its flow. That would require effort that he just cannot expend. Despite never sleeping, as the force of nature that he is, he just doesn’t have the energy or bandwidth. It would severely cut into his Twitter time and YUUUGE rallies where he can blame Obama, et al, for the policies that make his job so much more difficult.
Throw your minions under the bus, but most importantly, keep your hands clean while you do it. Poor Mike Pence. This is probably not what he signed on for when he agreed to be his Vice President. Why would Trump put a guy in charge who is well known for bungling a major public health crisis as governor? Simple, Trump is smart enough to see we are on the brink of a shit storm, and he needs to put a patsy front and center when it all hits the fan.
The man—VP Pence—leading this charge, does not believe in evolution, the precise theory that explains why this virus is propagating. He is probably silently cursing himself during his nightly self-flagellation, begging his lord and savior for forgiveness because he is helping save his country when it deserves to burn in Hell for allowing vile homosexuals to marry. Prove me wrong. Have you ever seen him without a shirt on? I strongly suspect we’d be greeted to a fleshy canvas of scars and fresh welts. Bet me. Until he disrobes for our country, the state of his torso is the Schrödinger’s Cat of religious mortification.
Remarkably, he is taking his new role under the bus very seriously. It is too soon to say he is doing a heck of a job, Pency, but he actually seems to be putting forth a valiant effort, complete with admitting his own mistakes along the way. Whatever else his motivation, he is pretty intelligent and knows that this is not the hill he wants his political career to die on. We’ll take it. Still, his efforts could be for naught if his boss keeps flapping his gums. Which leads me to the main play in Trump’s rulebook.
Pander to your glassy-eyed base, and by default, lie. The quantity of Trump’s lies during his three years as president are into the five figures. Yes, there are people out there whose job it is to keep a running total. What would motivate him to stop lying now, since it seems to be working for him? The man certainly seems impervious to consequence. Like an orange Energizer bunny, he keeps lying. No matter how many times he’s contradicted and how defiantly he crosses his arms in response, the pattern will continue. And whom do you think his followers believe in the face of all evidence to the contrary?
The virus is a Democrat hoax? Of course! Fake News? Nailed it! It’s just another flu and will die off in the spring? Whew! The virus is contained? Yay! Wishful thinking? Nah! The Emperor has what now? Uhh. . .? We’re blind? Fuck you!
You can’t cure stupid, ignorance is bliss until the truth bites you in the ass, and greed is anything but good.
And so it goes.
If anyone is wondering why there is a panic, it might be because we don’t trust our government. Nor do we trust those who would re-elect that government. Just a thought. Our hope is that there will be light come November. And Trump will go mad, see the error of his ways, and love his other daughter Tiffany. Oh, the audacity.
Until then, I’ll make like Lady MacBeth, and continue to wash my hands of the whole, bloody mess.
I tend to keep a low profile when I walk around the city. I am not a recreational urban stroller. I just want to get to my destination as quickly as possible, unimpeded. But damned if those annoying “you got a minute for ABC . . . XYZ?” kids try to get my attention when I least want it. Every. Time. Nothing I do—or don’t do—dissuades them from their cutesy attempts to squeeze out a minute from me I don’t have (I gave them said minute once; it is more like five). I’ve tried a polite dissent, resting bitch face, or veering not so subtly out of their path. Nothing works.
It happened, yet again, today. As I let the grumbling, snotty response to my cold shoulder fade in my wake, I realized what has been eating at me since November 9, 2016: Liberals are really pissing me off.
What makes this realization noteworthy is that up until after Election Day, I identified as a Liberal. I still do in many ways. I have more than a minute for Gay Rights, Planned Parenthood, et cetera. The crises that make organizations like Human Rights Campaign dump these poor saps onto the streets to obnoxiously beg for support are the things that keep me up at night. I not only give a minute, I devote hours of my day thinking and writing about them. Admittedly, I am just a mere armchair activist, but still, these human rights issues are a large concern. I honestly don’t know what we can do about them outside of continuing to fight for them.
In deference to my Liberal brethren who might be reading and working themselves up into a lather, I assure you, I am with you. Overall, we are on the right side of history. It astounds me how polarized people can be on a simple concept like an individual’s basic humanity. Sadly, the world will remain divided and our efforts will be for naught, particularly if we continue on our current trajectory. What I am suggesting is that there are some things that could use some . . . tweaking, perhaps?
That was my attempt at political correctness—a tactic that makes the left particularly annoying (more on that later). I shall be blunt. Many (not all) Liberals need to get over their sanctimonious martyrdom and actually do something that is substantive. So says the aforementioned armchair activist.
I make this declaration with the acknowledgement that I’ve been guilty of sanctimony and victimhood, as well. I drew on my own “grab ‘em by the pussy” experiences like a baby to her bottle. When Donald Trump was elected, I cried inconsolably. I was prone to acting like what the right refers to as a “Libtard” or “Snowflake.” In turn, I swung my broad, ad hominem brush at “Clownservatives” and “Republicunts” who hate the world, thus making our country anything but great. Logical fallacies aside, there are plenty on both sides of the political aisle that have earned those pejoratives. For the purpose of this article, I focus on Liberals.
These past few months, I’ve taken a step back, or more like, been catapulted to the middle. This change was one of necessity. As I was sobbing while leaving the house the morning after the election, my dear husband with his lovingly brutal honesty, banged on the echo chamber until I crawled out to escape the cacophony. With one pin poke (more like an hour-long lecture) he popped the Liberal bubble that cocooned me for the past decade.
To be fair, I had already previously been laying the groundwork for the transformation into an Independent butterfly. I was just in serious denial. I suspected Trump—once a moderate—was pulling a long, elaborate con. I abandoned it without doing my homework. Quite frankly, the pack, us-versus-them mentality made it much easier to just hate the man and see Hillary Clinton as the better candidate, while secretly wishing something would happen to both of them so that Bernie Sanders could saunter in and save the day. I held my nose when I voted for Clinton; I just couldn’t join the fray and be #imwithher. Yet, I thought she was at least the lesser of evils. With that, I’ll start with Lesson 1.
The Drumpfer has some clothes
My darling husband showed me what he’d been researching the past year. Aha! It makes sense now. Trump has been planning this most of his career. Even just ten years ago, he cozied up to the Democrats and made contributions to the DNC, Planned Parenthood, et cetera. He was chummy with the Clintons, in fact. When the Democrats didn’t take him seriously for his Presidential aspirations, he played the Republican and flimflammed the alt-right while galvanizing disenfranchised, rural Americans. He did whatever it took to get elected. He is determined to be the BEST President, so he throws the GOP parties to make them drunk with their majority power. He’ll punish the Democrats for a while until he needs them for his agenda. Then the Republicans may well be nursing their hangovers while he butchers some of their sacred cows. Yay! It is all just bread and circuses, faking us out until we are all forced to eat our spinach because our own divine bovines died off. Classic narcissistic businessman, him.
Try telling that to Liberals. “Oh, tsk tsk, Diane. You give him too much credit. He’s a moron, insane, and didn’t even want the job. He is going to destroy us. You’ll learn.” I’m not ready to abandon the Long Con theory, but I admit it is being thrown into question. Quite frankly, he’s doing some very scary things right out of the gate. We must keep a watchful eye on his administration, and always be vigilant. What I ask is that Liberals do not succumb to what Conservatives so maddeningly did with Obama: don’t hate everything Trump does because of his vexing skin color, no offense to orangutans. There is more to it than that, of course. We can disagree with his agenda, but not throw the baby (hands) out with the bathwater. Look back at old footage of him; he was quite fluent and astute. The way he speaks and carries on these days is a tactic to get attention, and demonstrates his low opinion of our country’s collective intelligence. We all seize voraciously on every little tweet, word, and action, so his disdain is not without merit.
Democrats have been screwed over twice because of the Electoral College. I understand the frustration, but am not inclined to move to abolish something just because I didn’t get what I want. Our Forefathers set us up as a Constitutional Republic, not a pure Democracy. Why? Because it elects representatives to protect our collective Constitutional rights and interests. Electing the candidate with the popular vote sounds simple and fair, but it isn’t. He won, based on the Republic vote. It is a mystery how he was viewed as being in the best interests of the majority of the population, but there you have it. Let’s look at our own party’s hubris for selling their souls in blind desire to elect the first woman President and getting the Clintons back in the White House, and our own over-confidence that there was no way she could lose to Trump. She did, so Liberals, including myself, are to blame for that. We sowed, therefore we must reap.
There are still many arguments supporting that he should not be in the White House, and he’s already wrought considerable havoc. Not to mention he set a dangerous precedent with his con job, one that surpasses the usual empty promises that abound in politics. Is it that easy to get elected? The validity of Hitler comparisons is debatable, but with our gullibility, we could actually elect a malevolent primary psychopath who is astute enough to follow the pathway that Trump paved, and take us down it to a much worse Hell than is histrionically being railed about now.
Regardless, Trump is our President; give it time. The Democrats will get their party. Between the short times either party is pleased, both Republicans and Democrats will share a discontent with their “esteemed” leader who dares to give us our democracy, good and hard. What brings rivals together for a mutual cause? The enemy of my enemy. We actually may cross party lines and work together. Won’t that be swell?
That is the last you’ll hear from me about this particular topic, except if/when I can deliver between mouthfuls of spinach, a richly deserved, “I told you so.” That is, if he doesn’t get impeached or kicked out of office first.
Shot through the bleeding heart
This is a topic that has stuck in my craw for several years. There are many Liberals, such as the wonderful Dan Savage, who believe that the Second Amendment should be abolished. I used to be anti-gun, and still am afraid of them. When mass shootings started getting more bandwidth (they were always there, but are covered more now because of the instant and powerful reach of the Internet), I realized I needed to educate myself on guns and actually decide what my view on them should be. I didn’t land where I expected.
Guns are bad and need to be controlled because they lead to gun violence. This mantra begs the question, as it is fundamentally flawed for several reasons. First off, it is like saying marijuana is a gateway drug. Demonizing guns speaks to a complete lack of understanding why our Forefather’s wrote the Second Amendment. The intent was to give the citizens of our Republic—again, not Democracy, Republic—the right to protect themselves. It isn’t to shoot each other willy-nilly, nor even to make machinegun bacon, but to protect the people from all threats that menace them, especially a tyrannical government.
Second, referring to the problem as “gun violence” muddies the water the same way as calling all pit bulls vicious. Criminals abuse guns to the point that they’ve lost that Constitutional right to keep and bear them, and that is a problem. The thing about rights is that they are there until they are abused, and because of that, do not extend beyond our noses. We have the right to our nose, but not if we chop it off. It will in turn spite our face. Criminals infringe on our rights, but reactionary obtuseness results in everyone losing out. How can we rightfully protect ourselves from harm when everyone is disarmed except for those who are out to hurt us? The answer is, we can’t.
Third, anything we try to attack and control through restriction, like the War on Drugs, is bound to backfire and lead to more violent responses. Think of it as homeopathy: Like heals like. The more law-abiding citizens that are responsibly armed, i.e., with proper training, the bigger deterrent for criminals to, well, fuck with us. Make sense?
Fourth, the foundation of the anti-gun view was built with a double standard. If the Second Amendment is bad, then the other 26 should be thrown into question. Are you ready for that? As a recent example, the GOP voted to remove the requirement of the Social Security Administration to provide to the NICS database the list of people who require a caretaker of their finances, so that those recipients of aid for their fiduciary well being are prohibited from obtaining firearms. The left claims it will arm severely mentally ill people, which will lead to shootouts in “crazy town.” This is reactionary, as it assumes the worst intentions of the “evil party.” While there may be financial incentives from the NRA, the spirit of it is to allow the people, who’ve done nothing to lose their rights, due process like everyone else. The ACLU agrees, and thus is ironically on the same side. Isn’t that covered in the Fifth Amendment, due process and all? If not, then look at the all-encompassing Ninth that covers any rights not otherwise specified.
It is interesting—by interesting, I mean hypocritical—that those who rally against stigmatizing mental health stop short when it comes to owning a firearm. The same goes for military Veterans, who were identically affected by a similarly disarming mandate. The government readily armed them to fight for our country, but that would make it near impossible for them to protect themselves in their own homes, simply because they chose to seek out someone to help them pay their bills accurately. It is a smoking bullet hole stigmata right in the middle of the forehead.
Who claims to have a reasonable approach to “sensible gun laws” but has been rightfully accused of wanting to restrict Second Amendment rights? Hillary Clinton, and it is what makes her appealing to the left. However, she is a hated, targeted woman by many. How do you think the Secret Service protects her, with their fists? Of course not. Does anyone see her complaining about that? Of course not. More hypocrisy.
Unfortunately, these points hit a dense, peace-loving hemp wall. Anti-gun Liberals should direct their fear to where it belongs, which is to the drain they are going down along with their stubborn, circular arguments.
I will end it with this. Trump is pro-Second Amendment, but his abuse of every piece of the First Amendment is in a word, frightening. The defense of the First Amendment is predicated on our rights in the Second Amendment. We can’t defend ourselves with words and signs if we are silenced. Buck up, Liberals, and stop shooting yourself in the foot. If there is ever a time that we need to ensure the government fears its people, it is now.
Protest the protester
Our First Amendment rights allow for protest, and Dems and Libs are exercising that right, most definitely of late. Protests are a way to get our collective voice heard, and our Forefathers were right in including that as a respected way to get the attention of our government.
The obvious challenge is keeping it peaceful. The larger the crowd, the greater chance of it getting out of hand. Did you know the majority of violent protests come from Liberal/left-wing causes? Occupy Wall Street, Black Lives Matter, as well as numerous other rallies against unjustified shootings, collapsed in on itself. Threats, fights, shootings, and rape, all happened on the supposedly anti-violent left’s watch. Why is it acceptable for Liberals to rip off their tie-dye peace and love shirts and become Social Justice Warriors, but not Conservatives? Feeling justified doesn’t cut it. It is subjective, especially from the perspective of those who don’t agree with you. Last anyone checked in the Constitution, nothing but peaceful assembly is protected.
That said, props for keeping the Women’s March reasonably civilized. It didn’t cause substantive change—yet—but the overwhelming turnout and solidarity sent a powerful warning shot across the bow: We are here, and we aren’t going away.
That’s the spirit! Keep it up. Commitment and tenacity are needed during these uncertain times. Just don’t overdo it. Think before you pick up that protest sign, lest it amount to nothing but tuned out cries of wolf. In addition, be selective on the where and when. It can backfire and cause a lot of resentment.
Yes, it rather sucks that Trump is our President. Millions of people were heartbroken, as well as outraged. Citizens swarmed city streets post-Election Day, delivering a loud and clear message: Not Our President. That’s great; the Administration-elect and possibly, those who voted for him heard them, also loud and clear. That includes the people who were stuck in their cars while thwarted from their commute home. I wonder how many of them voted for Clinton. Does it matter? They were thrust in the middle of the protest, whether they wanted to be or not.
The plea from the Hamilton cast to Mike Pence is another example. It was a great message, but delivered under poor, unfair circumstances. I hate Pence, too, but he was there on a night off to enjoy theatre. He handled it with aplomb (unlike his boss), but do you really think he changed his view? The people who should heed the cry, didn’t. When I tried to explain that to Liberals, I was attacked for it. Therein lies the rub: If you constantly eat your own, chewing them up and spitting them out because they don’t believe exactly as you do, you’re going to be on your own.
The problem is that, outside of the emotional catharsis, many protests do nothing to benefit the greater good. Those who need to listen to what is said under these circumstances, don’t. That is where the title of this treatise comes in. All this Storm and Stress, all the complaining, does little benefit outside of feed the people who really hate this peace, love, and acceptance thing and want to vilify it. We piss in their cornflakes, and they eat it up.
Behind the veil
The largest, long-term threat is Climate Change. The science is in on that. Why can’t the right see that? It is because they are willfully stupid and ignorant about it, be it for religious or financial reasons. They will be the death of us.
How do you think they feel when it comes to Islamic Terrorism? It must be maddening that Liberals refuse to even call it that, much less fully acknowledge that it is the largest, immediate threat. How can we even have a dialectic on something when we won’t agree what to call it? Blame the left and their insane drive to be politically correct. They will be the death of us. Sound familiar?
But no! Islam is a peaceful religion. How dare you?
That’s the thing. Crack open a Koran, it is none-too peaceful. That is where the Conservatives are correct. Where they are terribly mistaken, and hypocritical even, is claiming that Catholicism and Christianity are above reproach. There is rampant child molestation, not to mention historical corruption in the Papacy. As for Christianity, check out Revelations, and if you have the urge, read the Lost Books of the Bible. Jesus had quite the itchy trigger finger.
Incidentally, if the Jesus that Conservatives know and love were alive today, they’d hate his Liberal, possibly schizophrenic, tree-hugging, toga-wearing, (and probably pot-smoking) hippy ass. I digress.
As an atheist, I believe religion is a scourge on the world, and the salt of the earth are salting the earth as long as they hold onto these specious belief systems. It causes more problems than it platitudinously claims to solve. That said, our Forefathers’ aimed to protect the people from the government establishing or infringing upon religion. Having friends from many faiths, while I don’t agree with them, I will defend their right to do whatever makes them happy. If they don’t interfere with my right to not practice religion, I certainly will not interfere with their right to practice religion.
The extreme view looks to violate Muslims’ rights in order to protect their own interests. I am not talking about those from other countries. If they are not U.S. citizens, they do not have Constitutional rights, much less claim to the First Amendment. Our country is not obligated to let anyone in, even if under duress, we just do because it was established as “The American Way.” In many circumstances, aiding others is the right thing to do; there is great disagreement on how that should be accomplished. The prejudice against Islamic Americans who are on our side and our way of life, regardless if they immigrated legally or were born here, is detrimental. It is up to everyone, not just Liberals, to protect them. They are our allies against terrorism. Memo: Please see earlier section on ways to protect our rights, re: Second Amendment.
The cultures from which most Muslims arise put women beneath them and persecute homosexuals; violence against them is part of Sharia law. Who leaps over eggshells to defend them, despite their culture’s tendency towards shaming women, destroying them with honor killings, and throwing homosexuals off rooftops? The same Liberals who protest for women’s and LGBTQ equal rights. Oh moral and cultural relativism, they are such sticky wickets.
The other side of the Liberty coin is that there are many people who are part of larger groups that want to destroy us. They aren’t just in other countries; they are hiding in plain sight on our homeland. We must look out for ourselves. That does not mean that we should fear offending anyone. Just like domestic terrorists can refer to themselves as Christians doing God’s work, groups like ISIL can claim the same for Allah. It really doesn’t discredit the respective religions; religion does a bang-up job of that just by merely existing.
Again, for the most part, Liberals are on the right side of history. We should love and accept everyone who is just trying to be themselves. Therein lies another rub: Not everyone will return the gesture. It is naïve to think otherwise.
It could be argued that the travel ban protests might have been more than cathartic. The courts overruled the ban. I suspect they were going in that direction anyway; the people just got there first. I’ll give the spirit of those protests kudos, with exceptions.
“We are all Muslims now!” read some protest signs. Really? No, we aren’t. Once again, Liberals overstate by co-opting victimhood along with those who really can lay claim to the abuse. There are many ways to get the point across without striking a Jesus Christ pose (apologies to Soundgarden). No need for melodrama.
Then, there is the photograph of Muslims praying on makeshift mats from signs picketers placed on the floor for them. That is laying it on a wee bit thick, don’t you think? Would Christians protect atheists’ rights by offering their Bibles so that they can intellectually eviscerate them, in support of their lack of faith? I think not. Don’t try so hard to appear to be all-accepting; there is always going to be something that you won’t find acceptable.
We can be together, but still apart. That goes for race, gender, or sexual orientation. Religion. Politics! We all have noses with which to measure the extent of our rights. Don’t block, unfriend, or demand to be unfriended on social media. That is silly at best, and definitely divisive. Don’t claim the moral or ethical high ground. Look for news that upsets confirmation bias. Bust out of that echo chamber. Listen, learn, just as you expect the same in return. As Bruce Lee said in the Tao of Jeet Kune Do, “Take everything in, extract what is useful, discard what is not.” Success in that hinges on discarding the assumption that everything you believe in is useful.
On this day—September 11—eleven years ago, I spent the majority of it in front of the television watching Dan Rather report on a tragic event. When I wasn’t quietly seething, I cried my eyes out. On this day, over a decade after the terrorist attack occurred, I choose not to talk about it. So, I won’t.
What I will talk about is the collective response to the tragedy that befell America years ago. While the passion has tempered with time, the desire to hold onto that day has not. Are we afraid that if, as the old adage states, we forget history, it bears repeating? Our decisive vengeance did diminish the possibility that any violent, fundamentalist dissenter will darken our great land and attempt, much less succeed, destroying even a mere acre of it. If that truly is the case, and time does heal all wounds, why must we continue to pick at this scar?
We certainly are a sentimental lot. Hence, the reason networks in any medium—television, social, etc.—remind us to remember this day, on this day, as if we wouldn’t otherwise. Our freedom is apparently finite if we do not want to be deemed as heartless and not acknowledge this day in some maudlin way. The moment of silence is requested, quite loudly, regardless of individual beliefs or lack thereof. I prefer contemplation.
We don’t really know or understand hardship. As individuals, many of us do, depending on the circumstance. But again, I speak of the whole. As a group becomes larger, the collective intelligence decreases. That also can be said of tolerance, as well. The irony is lost on the masses; the fools suffer no fools if the freedom to abuse our Constitutional rights is compromised. The hypocrisy is loud and clear, but largely ignored.
There are millions of people in multiple countries who are in the throes of tragedies that are comparatively equal, if not worse, than what we endured eleven years ago. The difference is that they do not have the freedom to remember tragedies; they just survive them and prepare for the next onslaught. There is no age-limit; children are not sheltered from those storms.
The soldiers that fight to sustain our freedoms are coming back hobbled—physically and psychologically. Instead of gratitude and assistance, Veterans are thrown into a labyrinthine system that arguably expends more energy in putting up hurdles than providing much needed aid. They survive fighting one war on foreign land to be completely stymied by one on their home soil. In the midst of it all, anti-war protesters can hurl insults at them, willfully ignorant to the reality that the objects of their scorn fought for our right to call them “baby killers.”
Chicago Public School teachers have the freedom to pick up their marbles and picket in their own sandbox over comparatively petty grievances. This is happening while many people in the world have been out of work for years, or worse yet, living in squalor and sometimes dying because they don’t have the means to survive. The parents, as victims of this dispute, have their jobs put at risk to find alternate arrangements for their children since education is being denied them. Millions of people are working in worse conditions, but do not have anyone to fight their battles. All I will say about 9/11 is that eight children died that day. That statistic heightens the outrage; we have no tolerance for child mortality, and I concede, deservedly so. But yet, 350,000 children are being used as bargaining chips with this strike. Apparently, ethics are relative and sometimes it is acceptable to turn them into weapons. We also put weapons in their hands. They strengthen our battles by holding up signs that scream our views. They have not had the freedom of time and experience to form their own opinion. But, it does not matter. We, as adults, have the freedom to decide what is for the greater good.
We are the salt of the earth with the ability to salt the earth. Perhaps we should reconsider what freedom really is.
How is that for a moment of silence?
The future mayor of Chicago’s soul
My husband created this rather fitting photograph in an unusual campaigning tactic for the man who most likely will be Richard M. Daley’s successor. My husband’s primary intent (outside of a fiefdom for whom may be the most bad-ass politician this side of the Millenium, I suspect) is to make this go viral. So here I am, in my spousal devotion, helping to facilitate his goal. This apparently is what Rahm looks like when viewed through a gem of true seeing.
That said, the constituents of the country’s most corrupt state will reap the whirlwind, let me tell you, when this man builds his empire in City Hall.
It may seem ironic that the German metal band co-opted by the skinheads would be the inspiration for creating his new moniker, but then again, we are talking about Rahmbo. These two Rammstein songs must be played every time Rahmmstein enters a room:
Du Hast (You Hate): “You, you hate, you hate me. Really? Tough Jesus’s tits, asshat. Und ich hab nichts gesatgt? Pfft, of course I won’t obey. You’ll obey me, how’s that?”
Bück Dich (Bend Over): “Try making my cold, dead corpse do that! I’ll haunt even your night terrors, fucker! Why don’t you bück dich, Jew-hater, and suffer my Reich?”
While these songs are on a loop, rose petals thrown in his path by dancing Republicans in fairy costumes is mandatory, as well. The petals will blacken and turn to dust in his wake just to reiterate that no one FUCKS with Rahmmstein. No one!
Even the Asian Carp of Lake Michigan acknowledge their minion status as they beach themselves as an offering to any sorry sap who even thinks of crossing Rahmmstein. Did you think that sentence ran on too long? Take it up with Rahmmstein. Go ahead, I dare you.
The only mortal who could even consider standing up to Rahmmstein is Chuck Norris . . . oh wait, he just peed in his gi at the thought of a verbal sparring match with Rahmmstein. Never mind. Pah! What a right-wing wussy boy.
Before you ask, I am not talking about this Martin “Marty” Feldman:
I am talking about this Martin Feldman, a Federal judge in Louisiana.
What a tool.
Okay, he isn’t that bad. But his presence in the news of late throws him into extreme scrutiny, and deservedly so. His decision to overturn Obama’s moratorium on deep-water drilling has not garnered many accolades outside of his local constituencies and like-minded peers. My knee-jerk response was to condemn him, but I had to step back and look at the situation more objectively. Few things are black or white; the truth lies somewhere in between those two values. Even the growing amorphous blob of black oil in the Gulf has cast a dark gray in waters that no light or sky’s reflection can penetrate. It is a tragic sight indeed, and taking precautionary measures to prevent this from getting even worse should be a no-brainer. Still, we are left with a polarizing dilemma. While necessary, it is challenging if not impossible for many to set aside their emotions to draw conclusions based on reality and objective thought. But, I’ll give it a whirl.
Before I went off the deep end in the assumption that the conservative right is out for Liberal blood, I forced myself to swim to shore to see the impetus behind this action. I must say that there are some compelling reasons to keep business going as usual. First and foremost is that the state depends on this to keep afloat. Upwards of 32,000 people in Louisiana make their livelihood in the oil industry, and it provides the state with $3 billion in revenue. Even though the moratorium affects only 33 exploratory sites out of the close to 4,000 active oil wells in the Gulf, this does have the potential to result in job reduction due to lost revenue from idle rigs. Let us not forget that this affects the whole country, as well. Our goal to lessen dependence on foreign oil is impeded if we can’t fully tap into domestic resources.
Statistics can be dehumanizing, but it is not difficult to appreciate the impact this could have on families who rely on the oil industry to live. It would be exacerbated by a weakened economy forced to compensate by budget cuts and tax increases, thus amplifying the hardship on the families with little to no income. From that perspective, I can understand a lot of people applauding Martin Feldman’s deed.
When dealing with a massive population, by and large, ethical pragmatism is needed in governance. Ethical pragmatism is basing decisions on what is best for the greater good without the intent to harm others. Defining that greater good is the tricky part. This disaster is not only hurting a local economy, it will be felt across the globe in a ripple effect of economic adversity and ecological damage. Our already hobbled economy will feel this from our gas tanks to our dinner plates. This is primarily due to the scales capsizing on the side of demand as the supply of seafood diminishes, amongst other things. The suffering does not stop with the people, despite the inclination of certain idealogies to place the needs of humans over animals. They are missing the bigger picture. Marine life that is so important to the ecosystem is being buried alive in sludge. There are species that are at risk for extinction, as well. How will our earth fare if half the creatures that keep our waters alive and clean are gone?
Once again, we manufactured a disaster that speaks to the unfairness of the food chain and pecking order. Leave it to the humans to muck things up in epic fashion: the salt of the earth paradoxically salts the earth. Again.
Obama’s decision was based on ethical pragmatism, as well as exercising caution in an untenable situation. The explosion was preventable and the resulting leak should have been repaired post haste, much less that lives were lost as a direct result. The prudent thing to do while fixing the damage is to remove as many variables as possible. It may appear reactionary—lightning rarely strikes twice. However, why test those odds? Just imagine as the hole gushes thousands of barrels, i.e., millions of gallons, of oil every day, another one occurs in the same waters. British Petroleum is already on the hook for billions of dollars that in all likelihood, will cause them to sink before they can pay the balance in full. Let’s face reality here. The government, and subsequently the people, are going to pay for this. The demise of any large entity is felt far and wide, hence the reason the failure of the banking industry brought us to our collective knees. Why compound the problem by relying on a deity to spare us his wrath? That begs the question, as it does not make sense that our alleged “intelligent designer” would destroy what he created. Yet, group prayer across states has been suggested as a means to a solution. But I digress.
So, who is right, or at least more correct? More to the point, who is looking at the situation most objectively? Based on both arguments, that may be a toss up because some of the fears, while not voiced by Chicken Little, are somewhat hypothetical at this point. Viewing historical trends, it seems all the arguments are quite plausible. With my limited resources, as I am not an economist nor a historian, I must look to the source of this controversy, thus explaining my Igor reference.
Igor is a fictional character who blithely served his villanous masters. Marty Feldman’s hilarious portrayal of that character went down in cinema history. Martin Feldman’s Igor will go down in infamy, but none of us are laughing. Why do I consider him to be Igor? Well, he is serving the current enemy of the states—British Petroleum, as it has been revealed that he has financial interests in them, along with other oil companies. That should make everyone, including Abby Normal, go “Mmmmmm”. As with Dick Cheney’s Haliburton, the burden of proof should be thrown back to the source. “Mr. Feldman, did you make this decision without consideration for your own financial gain? Might I remind you that you cannot prove a negative.”
The following is an observation based not on fact, but a conclusion drawn from what this behavior usually represents. His actions smack of grandstanding. The aging judge from the Reagan era would have faded into obscurity until this golden opportunity came along to pound on his puffed up chest. His core position was probably not persuaded by the desire for fame, as he is a “drill, baby, drill” proponent. However, did the potential consequences galvanize him to this extreme response? Was there a pleasurable jolt of power that he could stand up to the Almighty Obama and abrogate his ruling?
My little odyssey has circled me back to where I started. The moratorium is the right thing to do until the problem can be contained and we are on the road to recovery. The damage is more far-reaching than the state of Louisiana, and will go into the decades to reverse, if that can even be done.
As for a potential solution, British Petroleum should reorganize and make it their business to fix the damage—locally and globally—as well as compensate for the resulting burden on the people. They should also make it their charge to find alternate solutions for our energy and fuel to replace oil completely, so that an encore performance will not occur.
Bwahahaha. HA! You thought I was serious about that, right? They’ll be dead and buried before that happens. I was serious, actually, but then reality kicked in. We’re damned if we do, and damned even more if we don’t. All we can hope for is that this crisis is not wasted on ignorance.