Two Paths

Will we stay ahead of the variants? Will enough of us finally pay heed to the health experts and scientists who have been saying all along that masks and social distancing and good hygiene will help us avoid covid? And will the vaccines finally help clear the way to a return to some normalcy?

So many questions, still.

The truly tragic and infuriating part is that we could be much further down the road to recovery if there was a unified voice, one message heeded from the outset. I don’t think we should ever let that rest. We should be mad as hell about that. We frittered away precious days and months while the Trump administration sowed confusion, equated mask wearing with a lack of patriotism, floated hairbrained cures and told the nation that there was really nothing to worry about. Has that sunk in yet?

The downward trends are giving us hope, but we should also know by now that this is exactly when we do our own doubling down and starve this damned virus into submission.

Bright Spots

The latest Mars probe touched down safely yesterday afternoon. It was spectacular to watch, even with animated graphics.

Thankfully, we are still privy to moments like this amid the everyday, regular reminders that humans can be so useless and dumb. For anyone who cared to tune in, they were given a lesson in what can happen when people are focused on a task—namely planning and delivering on the development of a machine that travels almost 300 million miles to another planet, performs flawlessly in its atmospheric entry, lands softly, and sends back pictures almost right away. And there’s much more in the works. There’s a helicopter on Mars now, along with other instrumentation that will aid scientists in learning if life once existed on the Red Planet.

We still have it in us. Whether or not it’s useful to us is something that needs to be answered for. But how can this not amaze and give us pause to ponder something other than a pandemic and ugly politics and the rest of our ills? It might make one wonder if similar efforts are being made to address our earthbound concerns.

If we can conceive, construct, and follow through on such an ambitious project as Perseverance, you’d think we’d be able to do the same for the things that need attention here on Earth. We just need to learn how to get out of our own way.

Enough of the Sneer

Don’t mess with Texas, eh?

Just because you all sit on the largest piece of acreage in the lower 48, you figure this gives you bragging rights? No one tells you how to live or govern, or run an electricity grid? Geez. How’s that disdain for regulation working for you now?

Try to reconcile your “Texas-sized” hubris with your powerless and freezing citizens. Pretty slow on the uptake, since you’ve been through this at least two or three times in the last 30 years. It doesn’t matter that it only happens once a decade or so. When it happens, it affects everyone and they’re suffering unnecessarily because… why? You don’t want Uncle Sam’s fingers in the pie? You don’t want to share? You really prefer to be your own country?

Your oversized ego is a giant annoyance, and your pretentious pomposity is biting you in the ass.

Close To Home

There’s no need to travel very far to experience significant differences of opinion regarding the politics of the day. It’s in our own families, among siblings, and parents and children.

Sometimes it’s tempting to demand or offer apologies—for coming on too strong, for thinking and believing with such rigidity the things we think and believe. Polar opposite opinions can’t both be right, can they? Is the truth found somewhere in the compromising, somehow unsatisfying middle? For the sake of peace and tranquility, do we just agree to disagree and never really move beyond that—even if the peace is superficial? Or is it always going to be our reality that we have to be ready to take the gloves off and fight for what we believe, regardless of the validity of those beliefs?

The thing is, I can’t foresee a day when I embrace the “always Trump” or a generally conservative mindset and view this as a wise and inspired way to live one’s life. I can’t picture myself ever adopting even a piece of it and considering this as having “seen the light.”  Instead, it will always suggest being stuck, living life with blinders on, a preoccupation with money and somebody’s laziness, a lack of introspection and an unwillingness to dive deeper into what Jesus and Paul and others have to say in the New Testament. It will always suggest being unnecessarily afraid of differences and change.

It will always speak darkness and some level of selfishness to me.

Dear Mitch

So… you acquit but then excoriate, claim he’s guilty, acknowledge he did what the Dems said he did, that the Dems made a strong case. Even declare that justice still needs to be pursued (it’s just that you apparently don’t want to be stuck with the mess).

There are obviously wheels turning and a plan hatched that frees you and the rest from getting your hands dirty. Leave it to the state AGs to go after Trump now. Ya, that’s the ticket.

The thing is, it looks an awful lot like you abandoned your constitutional duty to impeach in a situation where impeachment was clearly warranted. And based on a technicality that was ironed out on Day 1 of the trial, no less!

How do you get away with this stuff, Mitch? You are a friggin’ magician.

Warped Speed

When I sit down to write an article for our congregation’s newsletter, I do so most times with only the broadest of outlines– really nothing more than a general awareness of where we’re at in the church year, along with a desire to write something more substantive than a simple Bible study or a rehashing of calendar events that can be found elsewhere in other pages. I guess you could call it an organic process, as in “see what develops.” Or maybe it’s just hit or miss.

This time around, I felt a level of anger and frustration that normally is not present. I am growing tired of Covid-19 and all the accompanying restrictions and changes it has wrought. But I am more weary still of the political animosity and manufactured confusion that continues, to some extent, to loom over the response to the pandemic.

It’s been difficult to let this go— namely that Donald Trump and the people around him decided to ignore an actual pandemic. They saw it coming and consciously decided to act as if it wasn’t coming. This isn’t how normal, caring human beings behave.

I’m hoping that the Biden-Harris administration can get its bearings and forge ahead, making progress despite the handicapped start left them by the previous administration.

Trump should have been impeached for this, nevermind everything else.

“Neither Snow Nor Rain…”

What is going on at the USPS? How is Louis DeJoy still there? Is there a connection between what we’re currently seeing and the sabotage Trump set in motion in August, or whenever that was?

Back on Feb. 3, I ordered an article of clothing from a company headquartered outside of Boston. I got word that it finally arrived at a USPS facility somewhere in the Lehigh Valley, in PA, last night, Feb. 14. I wasn’t in any hurry for this shirt, but the fact that it swirled around in a vortex and sat in facilities in MA, RI, and NH for over a week made me realize that maybe there are lingering issues with our mail service and delivery system.

And apparently, things are just going to get worse? By design? And surprise! Prices will be rising again. Wow, what a business model.  Or are they still covering their ass, doubling down to make it look like there’s no connection between current troubles and what was attempted prior to the election, that it’s just been the plan all along?

I don’t know. Though, how quick can recovery be after having your knee caps smashed?

Harrumph…

I love how news outlets are framing the impeachment vote yesterday– i.e., there has never been a more bipartisan vote in the history of impeachment votes.

Trump was still acquitted, 57-43!

But hey, at least this one was closer to 2/3 than the previous trials over the course of our history, the most recent a little over a year ago– for the same guy. Gotta take some consolation in that fact, I guess.

The Republicans are a special group of flunkies, Mitch McConnell at the head of the class. They couldn’t muster the courage to vote to impeach, but Mitch offered a strong rebuke after the vote, tore the little man a new one, after the vote. But why? Was it just an attempt at offering balm to the millions who now know for sure that Mitch and company are still in Trump’s pocket? Was it just McConnell trying to salvage some self-respect, or a signal that he and the rest knew Trump was guilty as sin but geez, they have their own hides to save?

I think it’s safe to say that no one is ever going to be impeached.

This time it was apparently because of a technicality which the Democrats clearly proved was no precedent on the first day- the part about Trump no longer being in office. It takes hardly any imagination whatsoever to envision a scenario where this would have mattered not at all to Mitch and Co., if a Democrat was on the hot seat.

Ok, Democrats, it’s time to get on with the work you were elected to do. Please pass some legislation and address the pandemic now. And a note to the press—forget Donald Trump even exists, at least for a few days. Give us a break from his ugly mug for a bit. We need time to gird our loins, cleanse our palates, and prepare for the cascade of acquittals in all the pending civil cases.

Gotta Stand By Our Favorite Scoundrel

Truly defensive. Amateur. Video montages conveniently taken out of context. Talking louder and angrier as a way to compensate for a lack of substance. All Trump’s defense lawyers proved is that, given enough time and creativity, people are capable of offering a rebuttal to just about any argument.

Many of us know what we saw—a POTUS who groomed a mob over a period of years to do what it did on January 6. We all saw it, even as we’ve interpreted it in different ways. A mob of angry, misguided, and gullible people broke into the Capitol because they loved their President and believed everything he told them, including the oft-repeated big lie about a stolen election.

The extent to which members of Congress were actually threatened will probably never be known, though the human tendency is toward a flair for the dramatic and overstatement. Do we know for sure what the mob would have done if they had found Mike Pence or Nancy Pelosi? Would they have indeed followed through on their mob-induced, crazed threats? Who knows? That’s not what this impeachment trial is about.

It’s about what the President of the United States said and did—and didn’t say and do—that day and the days leading up to it. The fact that most Republican Senators will not be moved to convict says less about Trump’s innocence or guilt than it does about these Senators’ desire to save their own skins. And to hell with the rule of law, the Constitution, and the Republic.