Help My Unbelief

My Christian faith, such as it is, lacks real substance. In fact, I doubt that it can be called “faith” at all, because whatever I have resides more in my head than in my heart. I don’t know what the proper ratio should be- 50/50, 40/60… 1/99, head to heart? Believing without seeing might be a leap of faith, but it also feels like weakness and foolishness, an act of desperation and last resort. A reluctant embrace of the much-maligned “God of the gaps,” the God we turn to when no other explanations are available.

God being God, why can’t Jesus still be walking among us today? You know— swooping in and saving the day, spending a few weeks stateside, then moving on to Europe, Asia, the Middle East, Down Under. He could probably handle being in multiple places at the same time. Oh, that’s right! According to the Bible, that’s already the case.

And why did he have to ascend? Why couldn’t he just stick around? Ascension cheapens the whole thing, makes it seem even more like a fantastic fairy tale. It’d make for an awesome visual at Sight and Sound, though.

Warming Up

Barack Obama may have stepped over some line when he made a thinly-veiled foray into Trump-bashing during a commencement address over the weekend. Fox News went predictably ballistic and got all indignant, but nothing new there.

Yes, #44 probably could have shown restraint and taken a different tact, but let’s take a step back from jumping on that bandwagon and consider the larger moment. As a matter of course, #45 uses his lofty bully pulpit for all manner of self-promotion and character assassination. He routinely hides behind incendiary Tweets he may or may not think up on his own. He eggs people on, goading them into retaliation or expecting no response, and counts on them being the ones who end up looking bad.

Mr. Obama has been biting his tongue for a long time, but perhaps because of covid fatigue or an election that grows ever closer, he’s giving some indication that the gloves are coming off. This is risky and I hope he knows what he’s doing, because Trump is well-versed in this mode of give and take (he and his ever-faithful base will probably take that as a compliment).

It’s just that Trump has an infuriating knack for landing on his feet. And those around him are mystifyingly loyal, no matter what he says or does. If someone decides it’s time to go toe-to-toe with him, they better be all in.

Godspeed, Barack. Here’s hoping you are a worthy opponent, and that it’s soon time for the other shoe to drop in this agonizingly long game of West Wing charades.

Four More Years?

One thing that needs to be made perfectly clear is that the more Donald Trump bellows about how “we’re back” and we need to resume our daily activities, the less we should listen to him. The more he urges a return to “normalcy,” the more we should dig in our heels and ignore him and wonder what the hell he’s up to. He is so desperate to win in November that he is going to say and do whatever it takes to make that happen, and to hell with the coronavirus.

We may have a vaccine before the end of the year, and does anyone doubt he’ll be yakking about who should get the credit? If there is a God in heaven, it will be Donald Trump crying in his beer from the sidelines, wondering how he could have lost an election when it seemed, in his pea brain, that so much had ended up going so right.

He can’t emerge from this shit show smelling like a rose. He just can’t.

Bits and Pieces

You say stuff over and over again, you start believing it.

You get good at sounding like you mean what you say. You even sound patriotic when you need to. Take Joe Biden, for instance. I’ve never thought much of him, really. He’s always seemed a bit too slick for my liking. But Barack Obama liked him as a running mate, so he must have something going for him. And he’s the almost octogenarian we’re pinning our hopes on to end this nightmare that now includes a pandemic. Which seems entirely appropriate– that a pandemic unfolds on Trump’s watch. Why not? It’s somehow symbolic of the last three-plus years. The natural progression of things.

So who do we believe regarding the origins of the virus? Did it indeed jump from animals to humans in Wuhan, or was it manufactured and intentionally spread in order to disrupt the world order? Either scenario sounds plausible. While the latter sounds more like it comes from a place of paranoia and the minds of Fox News and conspiracy theorists everywhere, the former sounds like something born of and perpetuated by a certain naivete.  

Who knows what the truth is anymore?

Econ. 101

I’m no economist, but the massive price tags for relief packages beg a number of questions. Is there a piper to be paid at some point? Are we watching, in real time, the groundwork being laid for a day when it will take a wheelbarrow full of money just to buy a loaf of bread?

Will the short-term relief provided by millions of $1200 deposits and billions$ in business loans (and more to come?) eventually give way to a river of tears, and hardship many of us cannot possibly imagine and would be unprepared to endure?

This pandemic is shaping up to be an unwelcome scourge of unprecedented scope and reach, sowing economic ruin from which many will never recover.

Or I could be wrong about this. I hope so.

Not Just A River In Egypt

Let’s be honest with ourselves.

The quarantines and stay-at-home orders aren’t going away anytime soon. People can ignore them, call them unnecessary and oppressive, over-reaching and “Draconian.” They can buy Donald Trump’s take on things if they want, but that would be the opposite of patriotic. How about idiotic?

Without widespread testing and such– never mind a vaccine– we are a long way from feeling confident about a return to anything close to our former ways of going about business. How can people not know this?

At some point- and that point has already arrived in places- people will decide for themselves how much risk they can tolerate, and then try to resume BAU. But this isn’t going to make the virus go away. They will need to prepare themselves for further avoidable sickness and loss of life, perhaps affecting themselves or someone they love. And they will reconcile all that with bluster and bravado by saying it’s just the price we pay for autonomy, for living free and not under the thumb of a Governor they’re convinced is some sort of dictator.

The coronavirus doesn’t give two shits about your need to be “free.” It won’t take into consideration your gullibility or refusal to think. In fact, it will feast on your stupidity and recklessness. And worse yet, it will infect and kill some who want nothing to do with the choices you’ve made for yourself.

Somehow, and sooner than later, this needs to be more about “us” than about “me.”

It’s All About Donny

Donald Trump is a Twinkie that has actually reached its expiration date. It’s time for him to go. He and the rest of the pretenders who pass for… leaders?

It is enormously frustrating to see how a single comment from Orange Man can shift a conversation. Tom Wolf calls on the people of PA to abide by the stay-at-home order and threatens consequences for not doing so, then Trump opines that this stance is not only oppressive, but more a case of milking the quarantine to make him look bad on Election Day.

No one else has to work to make Donald Trump look bad. He does that all by himself, the heartless bastard.