YOU Do Not Walk Away From This One

Our friend Roger has something to say about yesterday’s mass shooting that apparently was racially motivated and perpetrated by an 18-year-old white male. Roger’s words need no introduction by me except to say that I am in full agreement with him. Thank you, Roger.

One additional note:  There has been yet another mass shooting this morning at a church in California.  That’s three (that we know of) in one weekend.  Welcome to the USofA.

The World As It Is. Not As It Should Be

Buffalo shooting: Ten dead in suspected race attack at New York state store:

Inditement Buffalo

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-61452958

There is next to zero chance of the following becoming an actual legal action. This is not the point of this post. The theme of this post concerns public responsibility, the consequences of polemic actions and the lack of concern to any victims.

I contend the following should be considered for inditement under 18 U.S.Code 373- Solicitation to commit a crime of violence:

Inditement Trump

Donald John Trump

Inditement Cruz

Rafael Edward Cruz

Inditement Majorie Taylor Greene

Marjorie Taylor Greene

Ron DeSantis

Ronald Dion DeSantis

Trump on the grounds of pursuing of a political career by inflammatory rhetoric, Cruz by his recent display on biased hostility to an African American nominee to the Supreme Court; Taylor Greene by sustained, hostile inflammatory rhetoric not suited to the holder of an elected office; De Santis by abuse of his officer as Governor of Florida by direct legislation in…

View original post 475 more words

Still Hope …

I came across an OpEd by Pulitzer Prize-winning Bret Stephens in the New York Times this morning that I thought made some excellent points, gave encouragement to not lose hope, even as our nation seems to be falling apart at the seams some days.


Can We Still Be Optimistic About America?

May 10, 2022

By Bret Stephens, Opinion Columnist

This is a season — an age, really — of American pessimism.

The pessimism comes in many flavors. There is progressive pessimism: The country is tilting toward MAGA-hatted fascism or a new version of “The Handmaid’s Tale.” There is conservative pessimism: The institutions, from primary schools to the Pentagon, are all being captured by wokeness. There is Afropessimism: Black people have always been excluded by systemic, ineradicable racism. There is the pessimism of the white middle and working classes: The country and the values they’ve known for generations are being hijacked by smug, self-dealing elites who view them with contempt.

There is also the pessimism of the middle: We are losing the institutional capacity, cultural norms and moral courage needed to strike pragmatic compromises at almost every level of society. Zero-sum is now our default setting.

These various kinds of pessimism may reach contradictory conclusions, but they are based on undeniable realities. In 2012, there were roughly 41,000 overdose deaths in the United States. Last year, the number topped 100,000. In 2012, there were 4.7 murders for every 100,000 people. Last year, the rate hit an estimated 6.9, a 47 percent increase. A decade ago, you rarely heard of carjackings. Now, they are through the roof. Shoplifting? Ditto. The nation’s mental health was in steep decline before the pandemic, with a 60 percent increase of major depressive episodes among adolescents between 2007 and 2019. Everything we know about the effects of lockdowns and school closures suggests it’s gotten much worse.

Economics tell a similar story. “Twenty-first-century America has somehow managed to produce markedly more wealth for its wealthholders even as it provided markedly less work for its workers,” observed Nicholas Eberstadt of the American Enterprise Institute in a landmark 2017 Commentary essay. It’s in part from the loss of meaningful work — and the consequent evaporation of pride, purpose and dignity in labor — that we get the startling increase in death rates among white middle-aged Americans, often to suicide or substance abuse.

The list goes on, but you get the point. Even without the daily reminders of Carter-era inflation, this feels like another era of Carter-style malaise, complete with an unpopular president who tends to inspire more sympathy than he does confidence.

So why am I still an optimist when it comes to America? Because while we are bent, our adversaries are brittle. As we find ways to bend, they can only remain static or shatter.

This week brought two powerful reminders of the point. In Moscow, Vladimir Putin gave his customary May 9 Victory Day speech, in which he enlisted nostalgia for a partly mythical past to promote lies about a wholly mythical present, all for the sake of a war that is going badly for him.

Putin is belatedly discovering that the powers to humiliate, subvert and destroy are weaker forces than the powers to attract, inspire and build — powers free nations possess almost as a birthright. The Kremlin might yet be able to bludgeon its way to something it can call victory. But its reward will mainly be the very rubble it has created. The rest of Ukraine will find ways to flourish, ideally as a member of NATO and the European Union.

Meanwhile, in Shanghai, more than 25 million people remain under strict lockdown, a real-world dystopia in which hovering drones warn residents through loudspeakers to “control your soul’s desire for freedom.” Does anyone still think that China’s handling of the pandemic — its deceits, its mediocre vaccines, a zero-Covid policy that manifestly failed and now this cruel lockdown that has brought hunger and medicine shortages to its richest city — is a model to the rest of the world?

Meanwhile, in Shanghai, more than 25 million people remain under strict lockdown, a real-world dystopia in which hovering drones warn residents through loudspeakers to “control your soul’s desire for freedom.” Does anyone still think that China’s handling of the pandemic — its deceits, its mediocre vaccines, a zero-Covid policy that manifestly failed and now this cruel lockdown that has brought hunger and medicine shortages to its richest city — is a model to the rest of the world?

For all its undeniable progress over 45 years, China remains a Potemkin regime obsessed with fostering aggrandizing illusions: about domestic harmony (aided by a vast system of surveillance and prison camps); about technological innovation (aided by unprecedented theft of intellectual property); about unstoppable economic growth (aided by manufactured statistics). The illusions may win status for Beijing. But they come with a heavy price: the systematic denial of truth, even to the regime itself.

Rulers who come to believe their own propaganda will inevitably miscalculate, often catastrophically. Look again at Putin, who really believed he had a competent military.

Which brings me back to the United States. Just as dictatorships advertise their strengths but hide their weaknesses — both to others and to themselves — democracies do the opposite: We obsess over our weaknesses even as we forget our formidable strengths. It is the source of our pessimism. But it is also, paradoxically, our deepest strength: In refusing to look away from our flaws, we not only acknowledge them but also begin fixing them.

We rethink. We adapt. In bending, we find new ways to grow.

We have a demonstrated record of defanging right-wing demagogues, debunking left-wing ideologues, promoting racial justice, reversing crime waves, revitalizing the political center and reinvigorating the American ideal. Our problems may be hard, but they are neither insoluble nor new.

Those without our freedoms will not be so fortunate.

Good People Doing Good Things — Mister Rogers

I was scouring my usual sources for a few good people to write about today and I did find some, but they will have to wait until next week’s post, for during my search something popped up on my radar and by the time I finished reading it, I had tears and knew this would be my good people story this week.

We all knew that Fred Rogers, star of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, was a good guy.  But this one story shows just how good, just how caring an individual he was.

It all started in early 1987 when …

A mother called into PBS, asking if Mr. Rogers could send an autograph to her daughter. She was suffering from seizures and set to have brain surgery. When Fred Rogers heard about it, he flew to see her in the hospital rather than merely sending an autograph.

When Beth Usher was in kindergarten she had her first seizure. Doctors couldn’t find the problem and sent Beth home.

A few days later, Beth had another seizure. Then another. And another. Eventually, she had around 100 seizures a day. She was diagnosed with Rasmussen’s encephalitis, a rare inflammatory neurological disease that only affects one hemisphere of the brain.

Miraculously, during the 30 minutes when Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood aired, Beth never had a seizure.

“I found his voice comforting. I felt like he was talking to me and nobody else.”

Before surgery that involved removing parts of Beth’s brain affected by the disease, her mother Kathy reached out to the Mister Rogers Neighborhood studio and spoke with the secretary, explaining the situation and asking if she could get a signed copy of Mr. Rogers’ picture for Beth. Less than an hour later, the secretary called back with a special message.

“Will you be home this evening at 7? Fred would like to call and speak with Beth,” the secretary told Kathy. “He called, and I said to Beth, ‘Beth… there’s a friend on the phone for you.'”

Beth spent over an hour on the phone with Mr. Rogers.

“I told him things I hadn’t told my mom or dad. I told him about the surgery and how I thought I might die. It was like talking to an old friend.”

On February 4, 1987, Beth underwent a 12-hour procedure to remove the left hemisphere of her brain. Initially after surgery, she was fine. But things took an unexpected turn, and she slipped into a coma.

“Mr. Rogers would call the hospital every day to check up on me. When he found out I wasn’t improving, he decided to make a trip.”

Beth’s family and nurses stood in the doorway watching as Rogers removed his puppets from his case.

“He gave Beth her own private show,” said Beth’s mother.

Shortly after Mr. Rogers visit, Beth did wake, surrounded by friends.

When Mr. Rogers called that day, Kathy told him the good news.

“He said, ‘Praise God’.”

Mr. Rogers and Beth’s friendship continued through the years. He always called Beth on her birthday until his death in 2003.


In this age where it seems that people think it is ‘cool’ to curse and act stupid on television, Mr. Rogers was the gold standard for children’s television.  So much so that the story goes that his car was once stolen, but when the thieves saw the news coverage, they promptly returned the car with a note reading, “If we’d known it was yours, we never would have taken it.”

Rogers was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2002, and one year later, after Rogers passed away at the age of 74, the U.S. Senate approved a resolution to commemorate his life.  It read, in part …

“Through his spirituality and placid nature, Mr. Rogers was able to reach out to our nation’s children and encourage each of them to understand the important role they play in their communities and as part of their families.  More importantly, he did not shy away from dealing with difficult issues of death and divorce but rather encouraged children to express their emotions in a healthy, constructive manner, often providing a simple answer to life’s hardships.”

Who knows how many lives he touched in such a positive way that those people grew into ‘good people’ themselves?  So, although I’m ‘a day late and dollar short’ as my grandpa used to say, I say Mr. Rogers deserves to be our ‘good people’ for this week!

Things Flying Under The Radar

Who … me????

I began working on this post yesterday afternoon but had to take a break from it to fold a load of laundry.  I made the mistake of leaving the lid open on my laptop, and when I came back, there was an ‘AZAZx’ typed where I had left off, and a pop-up box asking if I wished to continue using the microphone!  BOO!!! I know it was Boo, for he’s the only one that uses the computer, but I had my microphone disabled, so how the heck did he … that darn CAT!!!  Anyway … on to the business at hand.


For the past week or so, the news has been filled with the leaked Supreme Court draft that will almost certainly overturn Roe v Wade setting women’s rights back at least 50 years, and not much else has been covered.  Even the war in Ukraine took a backseat to Roe.  Now, I am as incensed as any about this decision and plan to speak more on the subject shortly, but there really are some other things of import that we should be aware of.  One such is another Supreme Court decision that was handed down last Monday that, in my view, treads dangerously onto the concept of separation of church and state.

The case was Shurtleff v Boston and the Court ruled that the City of Boston violated the First Amendment by denying Shurtleff’s application to fly a Christian flag over Boston City Hall.  City Hall is a government building that is visited by members of all religions and those of no religion, so why should one single religion be allowed to fly a flag.  To me, the U.S. flag and Massachusetts state flag are the only ones that should be flying over the Boston City Hall.  Not everyone working there or visiting will be Christian.  Does the Court suggest, then, that Muslims, Jews, and Jains should all be able to fly their own flags at the building?  Will it soon resemble the United Nations building?  And then … does this open the door for KKK and Nazi flags, as well?  Religion and government should never mix, and the highest Court in the land, the Court that claims to understand the Constitution so well, should have realized this was a bad decision that will open numerous doors that probably should remain closed.

Already, the Satanic Temple requests Boston to fly their flag for “Satanic Appreciation Week” from July 23-29.  Good luck keeping this from becoming a free-for-all, not only in Boston but around the nation.


In other news, First Lady Jill Biden visited Ukraine over the weekend.  It is extremely rare for a first lady to enter a war zone, but then Ms. Biden, like former First Lady Michelle Obama, has class.  She entered the country from Slovakia on Mother’s Day and met Ukraine’s first lady, Olena Zelenska, who had not appeared in public since the Russian invasion began February 24th.

“I wanted to come on Mother’s Day. I thought it was important to show the Ukrainian people that this war has to stop, and this war has been brutal, and that the people of the United States stand with the people of Ukraine.”

First lady Jill Biden and Olena Zelenska, spouse of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, join a group of children at School 6 in making tissue-paper bears to give as Mother’s Day gifts in Uzhhorod, Ukraine on May 8. (Susan Walsh/AP)

Quite a change from the last First Lady [sic] who wore a jacket printed with “I really don’t care, do U?” when going to visit migrant children who had been separated from their parents at the U.S. border.


And speaking of Ukraine … on Saturday, the day before First Lady Biden visited, the Russians bombed a village school in eastern Ukraine, killing as many as 60 people.  There were about 90 people sheltering in the school when the bomb hit, setting it ablaze.  More than 170 civilians were evacuated from the Mariupol area on Sunday, bringing the total to around 600 given safe passage during a week-long rescue operation.  More than 3,000 civilians have been murdered by the Russians since the initial invasion on February 24th, and it is far from being over, I fear.  Perhaps it’s time to stop allowing Putin’s thinly-veiled threats hold us hostage, keep us from ending this war before half of the people in Ukraine are dead.


Here is just one example of the reason we MUST learn the lessons of history, that we must NOT whitewash or hide true history from our young people.  In the Philippines, yesterday was election day and the people chose a new president:  Ferdinand Marcos Jr., the son and namesake of the former Philippines dictator Ferdinand Marcos and the infamous Imelda Marcos.  Reading about the rallies and the support he has gotten made me feel ill, was eerily similar to Trump rallies and the fans were similar to Trump’s, chanting and holding up peace signs.

According to an article in the New York Times

Rehabilitating the family name has been a recurring theme. Over the decades, the Marcoses have sought to target young voters with no memory of martial law or the torture and killing of political prisoners. Fifty-six percent of the voting population in the Philippines is aged between 18 and 41, and most did not witness the atrocities of the Marcos regime — ideal circumstances for the spread of disinformation, opponents say.

Several groups have sought to disqualify Mr. Marcos’s candidacy, pointing to a 1995 tax evasion conviction and the $3.9 billion in estate taxes that his family still owes the government. Mr. Marcos, 64, has brushed off the attacks as “fake news,” and refused to participate in nearly all presidential debates. (Sound familiar?)

At a rally in Las Piñas, Ella Mae Alipao, 15, said that she got most of her news about Mr. Marcos from TikTok and Facebook, and that she did not “believe much in books.” After Mr. Marcos’s father was ousted, Ms. Alipao said, “the Filipinos found out how good he was; that’s when they realized that they should have made him president for a longer time.”

Mr. Marcos has made similar comments: “I’m not going to vindicate my father’s name because his name doesn’t need vindication,” he said in 1995. “I am so confident that history will judge him well.”

The current dictator calling himself ‘president’ is Rodrigo Duterte, a cruel person who has been linked to more than 1,400 ‘extrajudicial’ killings, as well as many other acts against humanitarian values.  That young lady’s statement above speaks volumes, shows us what happens when true history is withheld or whitewashed.  Are we headed down that same path?

A Spectre to be Exorcised (Communal Violence)

Once again, as he does so well, Roger is making us think, ponder, question. I find that our friends across the pond sometimes see our situation more clearly than we can … that old maxim about “can’t see the forest for the trees” I suppose. Roger is a history buff, and has a talent for applying the lessons of history to current day situations. Where is our nation to go from this point? Take a look and see. Anyway, thank you Roger for your thought-provoking words!

The World As It Is. Not As It Should Be

Foreword

This post has to be long. Histories have to be considered. Social tides and trends examined. That most troublesome of all factors Human Nature faced. It is hoped you find this grim reading, but not sensationalist. This is a precursor for you to discuss in your homes, your blogs, your meeting places. These words are based on histories of communal violence throughout the world. Including the USA. I have tried to be apolitical, most of the time. It is not always possible. Blame has to be laid in places.

Introduction

The present view that so politically polarised the USA has become, a civil war could take place has moved from blog site discussion onto the mainstream where more sober assessments are. For example:

Brookings in the following assessment of September 2021 concluded there was a sizeable proportion of the USA population who were of this mindset:

Is the US…

View original post 2,233 more words

I Thought We Were Better …

In countries like Russia, China, Saudi Arabia and many others, one man or group of men (it’s always men, never women) control the people, their actions & behaviours.  But in a democracy, a true democracy, it is the voice of the majority that determines the laws of the land.  The United States was founded as a Democratic Republic, which is somewhat different than a pure democracy.  In a pure democracy, laws are made directly by the voting majority leaving the rights of the minority largely unprotected. In a democratic republic, laws are made by representatives chosen by the people and must comply with a constitution that specifically protects the rights of the minority as well as those of the majority.

Today in the United States, it is the will of the minority that is trampling all over the rights of the majority.  The majority of people (60%) in the U.S. are for stricter gun regulations, yet there is no movement in this direction.  The majority of people (54%, with only 28% wishing to overturn it, with 18% who don’t care one way or the other) are in favour of maintaining Roe v Wade, supporting women’s rights, yet the Supreme Court is fully poised to overturn Roe.  The majority of the people (66%) in this country support Biden’s ‘Build Back Better’ program to help people who were financially affected by the pandemic, yet Congress trashed it.  70% of all voters were in support of the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act last year, yet Congress also trashed both of those.  So … we can only conclude that the minority is dominating the majority and that is NOT in keeping with ANY form of democratic principles!

A few weeks ago, I reblogged Brosephus’ post titled America Is Dead.  At the time, I qualified my view of it, saying that I still had hope for this nation to rebound and that I would continue fighting with renewed resolve to restore the rights and will of the people – the majority of the people.  But yet again, I am discouraged, for it seems that the people in this nation today are so divided that there is no longer a UNITED States of America, but that we should change the name to the DIVIDED States of America.  In truth, it is almost as if there are two completely separate sub-species of humans living here.  We laud Abraham Lincoln for ending the Civil War, for bringing the nation back under one umbrella, but today we are as divided as we were in the 19th century.

Our friend Keith, who is among the most reasonable men I know, suggests we do more to open the lines of communications between the two sides, initiating dialogue, calmly asking those with opinions different from our own why they think as they do, and finding common ground, areas where we can compromise.  I agree with Keith’s premise, but is there so much as a square inch of common ground remaining these days?  It seems to me that the common ground was the first casualty of the great divide.  My concern is that there will be many more casualties of that great divide in the future.

Every day it seems that more and more schools and communities are banning certain books, even classics such as The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain, or To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee.  WHY?  I first heard the claim that such books made white children ‘feel bad’ about how Blacks were treated back in the day, but of late, it is said that the books are being banned because they make Black children feel bad about themselves.  Either one is naught but an excuse for the reality which is that white supremacists do not want the next generation to be taught about the racism that has been a part of this country since before its founding.  Do they honestly think the children won’t learn about it anyway?  Isn’t it far better to have a compassionate teacher explain what happened, why it was wrong, and how we have worked throughout the past century to rectify it?  How can you simply cut a piece of history out of the history books?  How will they explain what Dr. Martin Luther King, John Lewis, Rosa Parks, Malcom X and others were fighting for when those who are children today reach high school and college?  So, I argue that books cannot be banned in schools and libraries, except perhaps books like Fifty Shades of Grey.

But my voice is not heard, more books are being banned daily, and if I were independently wealthy, I would mail a copy of Maus by Art Spiegelman to every child under the age of 12 in the nation.  Maus is a nonfiction graphic novel that depicts Spiegelman interviewing his father about his experiences as a Polish Jew and Holocaust survivor, yet the book is banned in a number of places.  Are we also, in addition to trying to erase our racist past, trying to erase the Holocaust, or anti-Semitism, or even World War II???  Are people really so narrow-minded that they believe our children won’t learn these things, one way or another.  And even more to the point, do they seek a return to those things such as extreme racial hatred, anti-Semitism, and violence against any who don’t fit into their own views?  For that is exactly where we are headed if we hide the reality of the past from the next generation.  It’s almost as if some have looked at the steps forward of the past 50-70 years and decided it was too much, that they wanted a ‘reset’ button to take them … take us all … back to the 1950s, the days of Happy Days television show, the days of segregated diners, segregated schools, and school prayer forced upon every child.

America’s claim to fame has been that it was a nation of immigrants, a diverse nation, but today it seems we want to erase that, to become a homogeneous country where everyone thinks, looks, and acts exactly the same.  How terrible, how boring, and how surreal that would be.

Those who wish for more, rather than fewer civil rights, who wish to keep Roe, Obergefell, Brown, and other Court rulings that have given rights to those who were once without, are not trying to force their way on others.  For example, and I’ve said this many times, if you don’t believe that abortion is right, then you are free not to have an abortion!  If you do not like same-sex marriage, then marry someone of the opposite sex!  Nobody, but nobody is forcing anyone to have an abortion or marry someone of their same gender.  But it is those with narrow minds and shallow views who would force the rest of us into their very small, dark box.  I don’t wish to live in that small, dark, terrible box, nor would I wish it on anyone else.

I thought we were better than this.  Obviously, I was wrong.

What About the “Woke” Right?

Our friend Jeff over at On the Fence Voters has neatly summed up the “State of the Nation” these days. Let me just say that by the Republican’s faux definition of the word “woke”, I am PROUD to be WOKE … I have to live with my conscience 24/7 and my conscience likes me being Woke! Thanks Jeff … great summation!

On The Fence Voters

According to our conservative friends, being “woke” refers to those who are ridiculously politically correct and who speak out too much on social injustice. It’s commonly used as a pejorative term when referring to those on the left, increasingly paring it with phrases like “woke mob” or as a sledgehammer, using “anti-woke” to proclaim their vehement opposition.

The right-wing’s been successful at putting the term into the general public. And they do it by minimizing and mocking those standing up against generations of injustice suffered by marginalized folks such as the LGBTQ and people of color communities.

But the truth is, while they like to hang the term on liberals, we could and should hang it around the necks of today’s GOP and use it the same way on them. Because what we’re seeing right now play out across America is beyond radical. Perhaps we could call it “extreme wokeness.”…

View original post 1,089 more words

A Question of Inevitability?

Our friend Roger has started a new blog! This one is a bit different than his others, for its purpose is to connect history to our political world today, to discuss in-depth topics that delve into issues of human nature. His first post is about a topic he and I have ‘agreed to disagree’ on, and we do so without rancor, without angst, but simply as two adults who value our friendship. Take a look for yourself, and let Roger (and me) know your thoughts on this somewhat divisive topic! Thank you, Sir Roger!!! 😊

The World As It Is. Not As It Should Be

These posts will be long. For the simple reason nothing in the history of Humanity can be wrapped up in one simple line. And monumental events should never be subjected to this approach.

Synopsis

Politics, History and in particular Military history have been interests of mine for most of my life. Despite the dislike many folk have for the first and third of these, they have been and are likely to be for a long time fixtures in The Human Condition. And the interactions which lead up to events are complex, with long histories of Cause & Effect. For instance, it would not be flippant to suggest that the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria-Hungary of the 28th June 1914 led by a long route to the dropping of the Atom Bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki on 6th August 1945 and 9th August 1945 respectively. It would be possible…

View original post 1,622 more words

Cartoon Bully

Clay Jones of Claytoonz is more than just a cartoonist … he is also a sharp political analyst and his posts are often as astute as any of the OpEd columnists. The battle for the 2024 GOP nomination for president has already begun and from all indications, it will be a bloodbath with neither candidate qualified for the office, but heck … in this day, who cares about pesky little things like qualifications, right? Anyway, thank you, Clay, for putting pen to paper on this one!

claytoonz

Ron De Santis is a bully. Republicans LOVE bullies. It’s why they love Donald Trump so much. Republicans believe bullying people weaker than you is a sign of strength. It’s also why they love Putin. But, bullying is just like it was in school. The bullies are cowards. They only pick on whom they believe they can beat up.

Remember when Donald Trump tried to bully Nancy Pelosi? Remember him crawling up his own bunghole when they were in the same room together and then Pelosi walked out of the White House putting on her shades like a boss? Remember when Donald Trump shut down the government until Congress would fund his racist border wall? Remember when Pelosi kicked his ass so hard that he reopened the government and the great dealmaker walked away with less than he started with? Remember when he tried to bully Hillary Clinton at the…

View original post 1,034 more words

You Say You Won’t Vote In November???

You’ve all heard it many times before.  I’ve posted it here on Filosofa’s Word a number of times in various contexts.  But today, I am asking you to read it and think about it from the perspective of those who, given the political chaos and unrest at present, still shrug their shoulders, say that “these things always work out, so I’m not gonna worry about it”, or those who don’t like either candidate in an election so they either just don’t vote, or throw away their vote on some third party or write-in candidate.

First they came for the Communists

And I did not speak out

Because I was not a Communist

Then they came for the Socialists

And I did not speak out

Because I was not a Socialist

Then they came for the trade unionists

And I did not speak out

Because I was not a trade unionist

Then they came for the Jews

And I did not speak out

Because I was not a Jew

Then they came for me

And there was no one left

To speak out for me

– Martin Niemöller, January 6, 1946

Think of it in today’s terms …

First they came for the Blacks

And I did not speak out

Because I was not Black

Then they came for LGBTQ people

And I did not speak out

Because I was not an LGBTQ person

Then they came for teachers

And I did not speak out

Because I was not a teacher

Then they came for voters

And I did not speak out

Because I was not a voter

And then they came for me

And there was no one left

To speak out for me

Sadly, I have many friends, former friends, and even former family members who are among those who shrug their shoulders, tell me to “chill, Jill”, and go on with the business of posting pictures of their meals, going on vacations, and whatever else floats their boat.  They claim they only seek ‘happiness’.  They cannot see what is before them, cannot see that we are on the cusp of any number of events that can and likely will change the very face of this nation.  In our lifetime we have survived Watergate, Vietnam, 9/11, and now the pandemic, they tell me.  Yes, but this is different.  I can feel it in the air, feel it in my bones … this time, some of us, perhaps most of us, won’t get off so easily.  Even those who side with the right-wing state of evil and corruption will not find that bed of roses at the end of the day.

Maybe there’s still time to change the way this nation is headed, but we need people to wake up, need them to THINK!  Those who don their blinders and stuff cotton in their ears, then walk around singing, “La la la ♫ la la ♫ … I can’t hear you” are the problem.  Those who say they won’t vote, or who will throw their vote away … they are the problem.  Those who don’t even bother to read a newspaper, because they are too busy shopping online for a new collar for the dog, are the problem.  And those who believe what they are told by the likes of Fox ‘News’ and other right-wing media … they are responsible for what comes next.

No, I don’t expect brownshirts to come knocking on our doors in the middle of the night, but listen … hear that?  Those who seem to have tired of democracy, of a government “of, by, and for the people,” are already taking over schools, threatening teachers who actually teach our children.  They are already taking away our voting rights.  And they are already trying to convince the Supreme Court to diminish women’s rights by reversing Roe v Wade and LGBTQ rights by reversing Obergefell v Hodges.  What’s next?  Take away integrated schools, return to the doctrine of “separate but equal” which was never even close to ‘equal’?

This year, it is more important than ever that we not only vote, but help ensure that our friends and neighbors are able to register and to either obtain a mail-in ballot or else get to the right poll at the right time on election day.  It is, perhaps, the single most important thing we can do this year.  If you have the resources and the ability, I would encourage you to follow TokyoSand at Political Charge, for she always has good ideas about ways to help get voters to the polls.