Insanity

It’s official… our freedoms take a back seat to expediency with regard to eradicating a pandemic.

Enough of this nonsense about “you can’t tell me what to do with my body.” People aren’t being told that they have to carry a baby to term or choose one from a list of 2 careers they must pursue. They are being offered a potentially life-saving vaccine that protects them and others around them, and also helps limit mutations, the development of variants.

This is a pandemic. It’s not the flu. If only it was the flu. But it’s not– STILL! It’s a fucking pandemic. You don’t trust doctors and actual infectious disease experts but you trust Joe Rogan and Donald Trump and Tucker Carlson? Unwrap yourselves and put your damned flags away. A pandemic isn’t the time to get all misty-eyed about America. It’s a time for clear-eyed, sensible behavior that leads to a sustained low level of infection, which cannot be achieved if enough of us are believing that Covid-19—or whatever pathogen is in the pipeline waiting to pounce—is made up, or somehow isn’t real.

I read somewhere recently that we’re reaching the point where nobody in America will be left unaffected by the virus—whether it’s contracting the illness or dying from it oneself, or having a family member or significant other suffering in some way from it. It’s real. Get that through your thick skulls. It’s real, and it’s been real all along.

You all suffer from some other disease that’s running rampant, and it’s not the result of a microscopic virus. It’s just sheer stubbornness and ignorance. A lethal brand of group think, the product of stupefying gullibility.  

What Is Going On?

How is one person wielding so much power in the Democratic party right now? What is Joe Manchin up to?

The connection seems almost too obvious—Manchin represents a coal-rich state, and the piece of Build Back Better that looks to suffer the most is the environmental piece? Who is Manchin working for?

Joe Biden is no FDR, and these aren’t the 1930s. Is anyone else wondering if Biden has the stamina to finish his term, never mind prevail in pushing his agenda?

Venting

So the inflation trends that had been described as short-term bumps because of Covid are now predicted to be longer lasting. Great. Nice time to retire.

Donald F. Trump. You treated the pandemic as if it wasn’t happening, so enough people did the same. It took hold and wreaked havoc and upset everything, long term. Supply chain interruptions, shortages, employment shifts, a deterioration of mental health in general.

This is on you, you fucking blindingly selfish idiot. You had the power to set the tone early on and you chose ignorance. You blew it, Donald. You blew it big time.

No Outlet

America has always been a fragile thing.

As much as it likes to brag about its military strength or manufacturing capabilities (?), or whatever else people get all puffed up about—its inherent “greatness”—America has always been beholden to intangibles, mainly that people play by a basic set of rules, honor certain institutions, and checks and balances.

We seem to be careening toward a situation where laws are just pesky roadblocks, nothing more than minor inconveniences ripe for brazen circumvention or simply ignoring. There is no such thing as common good. There is a fatal emphasis placed on economic “solutions” that don’t “float all boats.” It really is about paying lip service to solutions while the rich get richer, the poor get poorer, and the middle class disappears.

Politicians make promises because they know their constituents are waiting for hope-filled sound bytes. But all they’re doing is trying to hold off the wolves at the door. They know that our ills run deep, and that there is no appetite for cooperation, no collective will to work together, no unified vision.

The deep divide we currently see is not going to heal itself, yet we seem to be willingly moving further apart and building soundproof walls. And making peace with the futility.

Sound Like Anyone You Know?

“All this madness, all this rage, all this flaming death of our civilization and our hopes, has been brought about because a set of official gentlemen, living luxurious lives, mostly stupid, and all without imagination and heart, have chosen that it should occur rather than that any one of them should suffer some infinitesimal rebuff to his country’s pride.” — Bertrand Russell, on World War I

I came across this quote, which I had taken the time to write down, as I was cleaning off a bookshelf in anticipation of retirement. I’m glad I found it, because it speaks eloquently and clearly with words for which I am often searching. No, there is no world war currently vying for our attention, but it feels sometimes like it wouldn’t take much to start one. And it feels like whatever the reason, or precipitating incident, or contrived excuse, the unfolding senseless hell would be just as much in our power to avoid as to initiate.

Forget about the rationales– Good versus Evil, the inevitability. The necessity. The schoolyard-worthy “aching for a fight.” War of any scope is an unmitigated disaster, a monumental assault on and waste of human life and resources. An indicator that our evolution hasn’t taken us far enough, that we are, in essence, no better than feral cats fighting over the remains of a mouse.

Mr. Russell’s words cut me to the bone, because there never seems to be a shortage of “official gentlemen, living luxurious lives, mostly stupid, without imagination or heart.” Add to that “thin-skinned, easily offended, delusional, power-hungry, and apparently without conscience, consigned to the belief that humans should all live and believe in the way they think best (or most beneficial to them), that human lives are cheap and expendable, simply a resource like bullets and oil, a means to an end.”

The last phrase, “… that any one of them should suffer some infinitesimal rebuff to his country’s pride,” might feed the most infuriating thought of all: that the most infamous “leaders” in world history never really grew up.

Deep Left Field

Strategy or sour grapes? A plan, or just monumental stupidity?

It’s been less than 24 hours since Trump released another of his rants disguised as press releases, but this one is a doozy. He has declared that no Republicans shall vote in any election in 2022 and 2024. Apparently because Donald Trump says so, and you just can’t trust the results?

The rest of the world must, by now, be thinking, “Yup, America has lost its shit.”

Setting Sun

It looks like the “Stop the Steal” clamor is here to stay. Long-time, competent local election officials are deciding to quit, being forced out and replaced by one foil hatter after another. At least their strategy is revealed.

Adherents are convinced and committed, they’ve swallowed the swill, taken the bait hook, line, and sinker, no turning back. These folks are impressionable, lost, holding on, driven in whatever direction this foul wind is blowing.

It’s difficult not to feel like we’re at the on ramp for the Twilight Zone.

Zero Stars

Donald Trump tapped into the darkness of the human psyche. There’s nothing virtuous about him.

He is all calculation, a 75-year old toddler, glory seeker, and empty vessel. He is appealing to peoples’ worst fears, feeding on ignorance and provincial views, and economic despair.

Why are we still talking about him? He’s nothing more than an annoying rash that won’t go away. And the furthest thing from… a patriot.

Out of Hand

It’s getting to the point where I can’t stand to watch football anymore. It used to be entertainment and spectacle, and the action on the field. Now, it’s the non-stop testosterone-fueled commentary and banter in the booth, filled with breathless talk of strategy, and “battling in the trenches,” and “overcoming adversity” and “stepping up and being a man.” All I can think is, “How can you be so into this?”

Football is life? C’mon man.

Add the growing gaggle of wagering concerns to the mix and now you’ve got the potential for a real slimy mess.

Please Retire

Dear Mitch,

You out-of-touch fossil. I know you think that what you’re doing is “strategy,” the game you so enjoy playing, designed to make Democrats sweat, hoping to make them look like the fall guys as the debt ceiling deadline looms. What’s so infuriating is that, in your cold-hearted deadpan logic, you’re setting the whole country on a collision course– in the midst of a lingering pandemic, with whole segments of the population still reeling from wildfires and flooding and hurricane damage and insanely high drug prices and health insurance premiums, and a general hopelessness. More (avoidable) pain and suffering. Much more, by the sound of it.

You’re willing to go the brinkmanship route just so you can win something. You’re willing to take us all down with you, although you must feel like you could emerge from all this smelling like a rose. Hands clean and washed of everything as the shit hits the fan. Like you could just step back and say, “don’t look at me- I had nothing to do with this.” After all, you’re safe, you have money in the bank.

Nice try, asshole.