I think it is important for everyone to hear how a real president, a real man, speaks to the nation …
Thank you, Joe Biden, for reminding us what leadership looks like.
I think it is important for everyone to hear how a real president, a real man, speaks to the nation …
Thank you, Joe Biden, for reminding us what leadership looks like.
I was pleased when I read that some of the major television networks last night cut away from Donald Trump’s ‘news conference’ due to the lies he was telling. I have long felt this should be their normal response when he starts with his usual sadistic cruelty, or when every other word out of his mouth is a lie, but until now, the networks have stuck with him no matter how many lies, no matter how many people he denigrated without cause.
Oh, and for the record, it was not actually a ‘news conference’, for there was no news. It was what I call a bitching session.
I am disappointed that CNN stuck it out, as did Fox – no surprise there. But the big three, ABC, CBS, and NBC, as well as MSNBC cut it off. To their credit, I suppose, CNN did at least place a disclaimer caption reading …
“WITHOUT ANY EVIDENCE, TRUMP SAYS HE’S BEING CHEATED.”
Still not quite the same as …
“We have to interrupt here, because the president made a number of false statements, including the notion that there has been fraudulent voting. There has been no evidence of that.” – Lester Holt, NBC Nightly News
This is what the networks should have been doing all along. If he’s going to act like a toddler having a temper tantrump, let’s treat him as one. Personally, I have neither the time nor patience to listen to his lying drivel. Thumbs up to the networks who cut away … keep it up, please!
Now, if only Twitter would simply close down his account, he might not have much voice anymore and we could all see a bit of peace.
To my friends & readers: I will not be covering Trump’s little temper tantrums at any great length on this blog, for his bold-faced lies and hate speech is beneath our dignity. I will make note of them when I feel it’s necessary to do so, but I will not repeat his rhetoric, his lies, nor will I focus on his tantrums. Personally, it became boring long ago and it is now just the same ol’ same ol’.
That said, I must say that I am so disappointed in some of the people in this country … in my book, their behaviour was not worthy of adults, not the behaviour of people who deserve to live in a free country where such things as freedom of speech are guaranteed. As Eugene Robinson, writing for The Washington Post wrote …
“Angry Trump supporters dutifully gathered outside buildings where votes were being counted in Philadelphia, Phoenix, Las Vegas and other cities, demanding that the electoral process be short-circuited. It was shocking — but in the Trump era, not surprising — to see Americans openly calling for the votes of other Americans to be nullified.”
You don’t see angry Biden supporters gathering outside counting offices in Frankfort, Kentucky where both Trump and the equally ignominious Mitch McConnell won the state. Yes, Trump has encouraged and incited this behaviour, but people … we are all adults, capable of discerning right from wrong. In a nation with free elections, it is prudent to cast your vote, then sit down and shut up while the people on the ground do their job and count the votes. It is not acceptable to carry guns around, making demands and parroting Trump’s lies.
Thus far, there have been no shootings, no violence by Trump supporters, but … we are holding our breath, and I will be in a state of shock if it doesn’t happen once Joe Biden reaches 270 electoral votes, as I believe is likely. I think that the behaviour of Trump’s ardent fans vs the behaviour of Joe Biden’s voters is defining of the things that divide this nation’s people today. When Trump refers to himself as the “Law and order president”, I have to laugh, for here are his ardent followers breaking the law, disturbing the order, and he has egged them on, will likely praise them once he takes a break from his whiny temper tantrum.
And in other news …
The U.S. has once again set a new record for number of new coronavirus cases in a single day: 118,204 new cases in a 24-hour period yesterday. These numbers astound us, but they are not just numbers. Each and every one of those people is a parent/grandparent/child/spouse or sibling. Each and every one of those people has friends, co-workers, and neighbors who care about them. These are not just numbers – THEY ARE PEOPLE! The day also saw 1,125 deaths in the same period, due to the coronavirus.
This nation has done such a poor job of responding to the pandemic that by the end of today, we will have exceeded 10 million cases in total … and that’s only the ones reported, a figure that has often been said to be understated. Our total death count is nearing a quarter of a million people.
If our government is not going to take the necessary steps to protect us, then it is up to us. STAY HOME, for Pete’s sake! If you can’t stay home, then wash your hands frequently, carry a small bottle of hand sanitizer with you, and WEAR A MASK when you are around other people. If you can’t or don’t wish to wear a mask … STAY HOME! With a little common sense, we can take control of this without the help of the federal government. Key word here: common sense.
If we don’t look out for our own safety and that of those around us, then we will continue on this path and eventually lose our livelihood and our lives.
Just a few thoughts bouncing around in my mind today …
In case you haven’t seen any news outside of the ongoing U.S. election, a new strain of the coronavirus has broken out in Denmark. Kåre Mølbak, head of the State Serum Institute, the national authority for the control of infectious diseases, said the strain posed a potential threat to the efficacy of Covid-19 vaccines. Additionally, he said …
“The worst-case scenario is that we would start off a new pandemic in Denmark. There’s a risk that this mutated virus is so different from the others that we’d have to put new things in a vaccine and therefore would slam us all in the whole world back to the start.”
Denmark has taken strict measures to attempt to isolate the virus, imposing tighter lockdown measures and closing restaurants and bars. I’m not suggesting it’s time to worry, but we definitely need to be aware of this, and it’s very doubtful you’ll hear much about it with the election sucking all the air out of the room. In fact, I strongly suspect news of this may be suppressed or downplayed by the White House.
And speaking of the pandemic …
The U.S. set yet another new record yesterday with 108,389 new cases, 1,201 deaths. No, my friends, we have not ’rounded a corner’ and it is not ‘going away’.
I’m thoroughly puzzled over the calls by Trump and by Trump supporters in certain states demanding “Stop the counting!” WTF??? Every vote is to be counted … that’s the only way to ensure a fair and honest election – or as close as we can come to one, given that the electoral college effectively diminishes some of our voices. So … if I’m understanding this, they want to stop the counting of the absentee votes because Donald Trump realizes that the majority of those votes may be for his opponent, Joe Biden? How utterly ridiculous is this? In Arizona, armed Trump supporters presented at a vote-counting center, even trying to push their way into the building, until being told to leave by law enforcement. 🙄
Yesterday, the U.S. officially exited the Paris Climate Accords, becoming the first nation to exit the agreement, to fail to honour its commitment. The news, like most other, was barely noted in the shadow of the election coverage, but in truth it was only a legality, for the U.S. has failed to honour that commitment for nearly four years now. This is only one of the many reasons the U.S. has lost stature in the eyes of the world, but it is arguably the single most important one, for the future of every living thing on the planet relies on all nations doing their part to reduce carbon emissions, to clean up the environment, reduce the use of plastics, and preserve wildlife. The U.S. under Trump scoffs at all of the above, taking on a “live for today and to hell with tomorrow” attitude.
And as for the election … while I’m more optimistic about Joe Biden’s chances to win than I was 36 hours ago, I’m disappointed in the Senate and House results. The failure of democrats to win a majority in the Senate mean that if Biden is president, he will be constantly fighting an uphill battle for everything from his cabinet choices to court appointments to any legislation he might ask for. This can only serve to further divide this nation if that’s even possible. I am also disappointed in the behaviour of some of the people in this country who apparently believe that “might equals right”, and are waving their guns threatening violence. And as for the incumbent who is panicking and doing all sorts of asinine things such as filing lawsuits to try to stop vote-counting in certain states, well … what did you expect, folks? I’ll have more to say on it all later, but for now, suffice it to say that his behaviour is exactly what I expected and frankly, I’m finding it boring. 🥱 I hope that when all the votes are tallied, this nation elects a responsible man instead of a sadistic clown.
And on that note, I leave you with a bit of election humour …
As I was catching up on comments late tonight, I noted that blogging friend Mary Plumbago had mentioned a couple of song titles that our current situation brought to her mind, and one of those was this one, Bad Moon Rising, by Creedence Clearwater Revival. As I sit here, well past the time that most normal people are sawing logs and dreaming of mermaids under the sea, I am pondering … pondering the future of this nation. When I re-read this post that I first played in 2018, and I read the words of John Fogerty saying that the song is about “the apocalypse that was going to be visited upon us”, I cannot help but relate it to our current situation — a volatile election, an incumbent with the mentality of a 4-year-old child, a global standing teetering on the brink of being annihilated, and a world seemingly gone mad. Tonight, my friends, I feel a bad moon rising …
John Fogerty explained that the lyrics were inspired by a movie called The Devil And Daniel Webster, in which a hurricane wipes out most of a town. This is where he got the idea for the words “I feel the hurricane blowin’, I hope you’re quite prepared to die.” Overall, he said the song is about the “apocalypse that was going to be visited upon us.” That is a theme that, I think, is just about as relevant today as it was in 1969 when this song was released by Creedence Clearwater Revival, aka CCR.
The song reached its US chart peak of #2 (one of five CCR songs to place that this position – they never got to #1) on July 28, 1969, eight days after the Apollo 11 moon landing. The song has nothing to do with space travel, but the title was somewhat apropos, especially after the mission succeeded.
Now, you all know that I am the world’s worst at getting song lyrics all wrong, so I took some pleasure in reading that the line, “There’s a bad moon on the rise” has often been mistaken for “There’s a bathroom on the right”!
And now, I give you Creedence Clearwater Revival …
Bad Moon Rising
Creedence Clearwater Revival
I see a bad moon a-rising
I see trouble on the way
I see earthquakes and lightnin’
I see bad times today
Don’t go ’round tonight
It’s bound to take your life
There’s a bad moon on the rise
I hear hurricanes a-blowing
I know the end is coming soon
I fear rivers over flowing
I hear the voice of rage and ruin
Don’t go ’round tonight
It’s bound to take your life
There’s a bad moon on the rise
I hope you got your things together
I hope you are quit prepared to die
Look’s like we’re in for nasty weather
One eye is taken for an eye
Oh don’t go ’round tonight
It’s bound to take your life
There’s a bad moon on the rise
There’s a bad moon on the rise
Songwriters: John C. Fogerty
Bad Moon Rising lyrics © The Bicycle Music Company
I found it interesting that just yesterday, my music post was The Banana Boat Song, arguably the song that Harry Belafonte is best known for, and then shortly thereafter I came across the following OpEd in the New York Times written by none other than the man himself.
Belafonte, now 93 years of age, is a Jamaican-American singer/songwriter/actor is also known for his activism. He was an early supporter of the Civil Rights Movement in the 1950s and 1960s and was a confidant of Martin Luther King Jr. Throughout his career, he has been an advocate for political and humanitarian causes, such as the Anti-Apartheid Movement and USA for Africa.
Belafonte has won three Grammy Awards (including a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award), an Emmy Award, and a Tony Award. In 1989, he received the Kennedy Center Honors. He was awarded the National Medal of Arts in 1994. In 2014, he received the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award at the Academy’s 6th Annual Governors Awards.
I was moved by his OpEd and wanted to share it with you.
Harry Belafonte: Trump Is Standing in Our Way
If the president wins again, we have so much more to lose.
By Harry Belafonte
Four years ago, when Donald Trump first ran for president, he urged Black people to support him, asking us, “What have you got to lose?”
Four years later, we know exactly what we had to lose. Our lives, as we died in disproportionate numbers from the pandemic he has let flourish among us. Our wealth, as we have suffered disproportionately from the worst economic drop America has seen in 90 years. Our safety, as this president has stood behind those police who kill us in the streets and by the armies of white supremacy who march by night and scheme in the light of day.
We have learned other things from this president, too. We have learned the names that we say now, over and over again, at each protest, so that no one will forget them. The names Breonna Taylor and George Floyd and Atatiana Jefferson and Stephon Clark and so many more. Such killings did not start with Mr. Trump, of course. But he wants us to forget them.
If we do, he has offered us a “Platinum Plan” for “Black Economic Empowerment.” The name is appropriate because Mr. Trump is a man who thinks always in terms of financial transactions and deals. A “Platinum Plan,” as if he is offering to upgrade our credit card status. The plan, which at two pages is derisively brief, offers us a hodgepodge of things that he thinks we would like. He will prosecute the Ku Klux Klan — and antifa activists — as terrorists. He will make Juneteenth a national holiday and lynching a national hate crime. He will create “peaceful” urban, Black neighborhoods, replete with school choice, increased homeownership and the “highest standards” of policing. He will begin “a national clemency project” designed to “right wrongful prosecutions” and “pardon individuals who have reformed.”
In his ignorance or his indifference, or perhaps in his contempt, Mr. Trump does not seem to understand the difference between promises made and promises kept. Another Republican president, Ulysses S. Grant, first suppressed the Klan 150 years ago (and notable by its absence is any Trump promise to suppress the right-wing “militias” of Michigan, the Proud Boys or any of the others). The United States — finally, belatedly — made lynching a federal crime in the civil rights era, almost 60 years ago. Peaceful neighborhoods with affordable homes, good schools, a police force interested in protecting its citizens instead of treating them as an occupied people; safety from domestic terrorists and mob violence, economic opportunity, the celebration of our heritage, and impartial and merciful treatment under the law — these are the rights that most white people in America have long taken for granted, not some sort of concession to be offered as if we were indeed another nation.
Too often, the victories we have won have proved to be ephemeral or incomplete, and our full acceptance as Americans has once again been denied. We have learned to trust only those who will stand with us against the worst storms, who have proved themselves to be our friends not out of electoral expediency but through our shared belief in the best principles of this country and our common humanity.
The polls suggest, we are told, that Mr. Trump has made some small inroads in our vote, that a higher percentage of young Black men will vote for him in 2020 than did in 2016. I have difficulty crediting this. But if it is so, I would urge my brothers to listen better. Not just to the false promises Mr. Trump makes to us, but also at what he says when he is “alone in the room” with his white supporters, promising them at his rallies that if he is re-elected, people of color will not invade their “beautiful suburbs” from our “disgusting cities.”
Mr. Trump is too late. We are everywhere in America. We are in the bone and the blood and the root of the country. We are not going anywhere, certainly not to some fantasy of a new “separate but equal” segregation, we in “our” cities, white people in “their” suburbs.
Perhaps the president is confused by how the Rev. Dr. King Martin Luther King Jr., in his greatest speech, referred to the words of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution as a “promissory note to which every American is to fall heir.” Perhaps that gave Mr. Trump the idea that this was all about money. Surely, money — the household stake, the money with which to buy a home, secure a good education, start a family — was a vital goal of the movement then, just as the need for Black people to be made whole, after all the years of slavery and Jim Crow, is still a pressing need today.
But I was there with Dr. King that day, over a half-century ago, in the shadow of Lincoln’s statue, and what he spoke of was “the riches of freedom and the security of justice.” He quoted the most fundamental promise of the Declaration, that all of us have “certain unalienable Rights” — among them “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
It seems strange that we must still agitate for these basic rights, or that Mr. Trump thinks he is being magnanimous when he offers them to us again as last-minute campaign promises — so long as we stay in our place. In the past, we have turned the wheel in great bursts of energy and faith, and in between, when we stood exhausted and bloodied, there was some sliding back. That is always how it is in a democracy and a people’s movement, but now is the time to move forward again.
Four years ago, faced with the prospect of a Trump presidency, I wrote that what old men know is how quickly things can change. Well, I am still old but I am also still here, at 93, and for all the bitter lessons we have learned from Mr. Trump’s term in office, I can tell you that the wheel is turning again. That we have never had so many white allies, willing to stand together for freedom, for honor, for a justice that will free us all in the end, even those who are now most fearful and seething with denial.
We have learned exactly how much we had to lose — a lesson that has been inflicted upon Black people again and again in our history — and we will not be bought off by the empty promises of the flimflam man.
Ohio Realist is one of the co-founders, along with Jeff aka Brookingslib, of On the Fence Voters. For the past year or two, he has been limited in the time he has to contribute, but today he has written a very important post for any who have not yet voted, are undecided as yet, or who have a plan to write in a fictitious name. Please read his words and take them to heart. Thanks, Greg, for this timely reminder and appeal!
If this photo represents how America seems to you, use your power as an American Citizen to change that image. Staying home on Election Day will never help, nor will voting for an unknown or a write-in candidate who has no chance of winning. Wasting your vote will only cede your power to the folks who drive around with banners on their pickup trucks… who will cast their votes, guaranteed. Our democracy will only work as designed if your voice is also counted.
Please…. don’t be On The Fence for the most important election of your lifetime!
Even if your first choice for President didn’t win the nomination and you don’t like either candidate on this ticket, vote anyway. Keep in mind that improving America is a continuous and gradual process and no candidate may ever seem ideal. This won’t be the last election you’ll participate in. Every four years…
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I remember 2015-2016 when I would ask friends and acquaintances what, exactly, they saw in this clown named Trump who was running for president. Their answer was often an enigma: “he tells it like it is.” Now, I was never able to pin them down on just what “it” was, but in their minds, they were convinced that whatever ‘it’ was, Trump told ‘it’ like ‘it’ was. Well, we now know that he fed these people a bucket of bullshit, that honesty is not in his vocabulary, and that there is no ‘it’ that he understands well enough to talk about, but rather talks at the issues. However, journalist Charles Blow is one who actually does ‘tell it like it is’, especially in his latest column in the New York Times …
America Shocked Itself and the World
Charles M. Blow
29 October 2020
How could we have been so blind? How could we have been so naïve? How did we not believe that the worst was possible until we plummeted into it?
We didn’t believe that a demagogic tyrant-worshiper could rise to the presidency.
The founders of this country worried obsessively about the rise of a demagogue, and the power of foreign influence on our democracy. And yet somehow, over the years, after centuries of American presidents behaving in ways that at least demonstrated a fealty to the country and its institutions and the power of precedent and legacy, those fears waned to a whisper.
Having a demagogue, partially installed by a Russian disinformation campaign no less, who exalted our enemies in the world and hammered our friends, was somewhat unthinkable. This was America. We would only go so far. We might race up to the precipice, but we would never hurl ourselves into the abyss. Wrong.
With the election of Donald Trump, America did the unthinkable, shocking itself and the world: It put the most powerful country in the world under the control of a lying, grifting, shady carnival conductor. He had no experience in governance and no expertise. His entire life was a game of smoke and mirrors, double talk and double-dealing.
Even Trump, not a student of history or much else, didn’t seem to grasp the awesome power he possessed until he systematically started to test all the fences supposedly restraining him, only to realize that the only thing holding many of them up was customs and conventions. Most could be run through or pushed down.
It was like a scene in the film “Jurassic World” where the scientist created a hybrid, Frankenstein dinosaur because people got bored of the conventional ones. Well, the dinosaur was clever enough to break out of its cage and run through the park, killing everything in sight. As one of the scientists said: “You made a genetic hybrid. Raised it in captivity. She is seeing all of this for the first time. She does not even know what she is. She will kill everything that moves.” He continued, “She is learning where she fits on the food chain and I’m not sure you want her to figure that out.”
Trump realized the power of the presidency, that it was uniquely at the top of the food chain, and so began his rampage.
We didn’t believe that in this era we could have a president who could be so regressive on issues of white supremacy, white nationalism and xenophobia.
To be sure, there have been other presidents more racist than their predecessors.
Andrew Johnson assuming the presidency after Abraham Lincoln comes to mind. Although Lincoln had professed his white supremacy during the Lincoln-Douglas debates, he led the nation to emancipation and into Civil War in part over the issue of slavery. Johnson’s racist reconstruction plan after the war excluded Black electoral and governing participation, led to the rise of the Black Codes and led to his impeachment.
Lyndon B. Johnson being followed by Richard Nixon comes to mind. As a senator, Johnson had shepherded the Civil Rights Act of 1957, and as president he pushed through the Civil Rights Acts of 1964 and 1968. In addition, he nominated the first Black justice to the Supreme Court: Thurgood Marshall. Nixon on the other hand, was different. As Tim Naftali, an associate professor of history at N.Y.U., wrote last year in The Atlantic: “Nixon believed in a hierarchy of races, with whites and Asians much higher up than people of African descent and Latinos. And he had convinced himself that it wasn’t racist to think Black people, as a group, were inferior to whites, so long as he held them in paternalistic regard.”
But, in some ways, Americans came to see these occasional regressions as more minor — a hiccup, a stutter step in which the country took a small step back among much greater strides forward. We were not prepared for what Trump delivered: a generational retreat into darkness.
We had not seen a modern president so openly and blatantly court and even defend racists and xenophobes. We had not seen one refuse to clearly condemn white supremacist hate groups, instead retreating to a position of false obliviousness when condemnation was demanded. We have not seen a recent president who would stoop so low as to separate immigrant children from their parents, apparently with no plan to reunite them, as a matter of unwavering policy.
These are but two examples. But the list is legion. I could enumerate them until my fingers blistered. But they would all illustrate the same point: We, America, let our guard down for a campaign cycle, believing, surely, that the most qualified woman to ever run would defeat the least qualified man to do so. We didn’t vote with the intensity the emergency required. And in doing so, we allowed the country to be dragged to the brink of ruin.
We are now living the reality that the founders feared and that women, minorities and immigrants hoped was an artifact of former times.
One of the nation’s most accomplished and respected golfers has turned public respect into public animosity with a few simple words. Apparently, just because a man can hit a little ball into a hole, doesn’t make him a deep thinker or an intelligent person. Thanks for sharing this, Jeff!
The Golden Bear. If you’re a sports fan, you probably know to whom this nickname refers. But many of you are not, so as a public service, the iconic handle belongs to Jack Nicklaus, widely considered the greatest golfer who has ever lived.
Mr. Nicklaus is from my home state of Ohio, went to The Ohio State University, won 73 tournaments in his career, including 18 majors. His career is legendary and respected throughout the world as the greatest golfer ever and one of the most generous, who raised and donated millions of dollars, especially in children’s health care.
Yet, despite all of those accolades, Mr. Nicklaus did something a couple of days ago that, in my view, sullied his once sterling reputation: He endorsed and voted for Donald Trump. As someone who’s admired him for many years, I can no longer look at him in the same way.
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The election is just four days away and this will be the last pre-election post that Jeff and I will likely be doing. We were pondering what our final words to you should be, what one last thought we wanted to leave you with before this momentous election. The one thing that weighs heavily on all of our minds is what our country will look like four years from now, for we are at a turning point in many areas and how we respond going forward to such things as the pandemic, climate change, income disparity, healthcare and more will have a dramatic effect on whether this nation thrives or fails in the coming years.
With that in mind, we want to leave you with our thoughts on what the U.S. will be in four years under each of the candidates for the presidency. We will not engage in hyperbole or wild fantasies but will try to imagine in our own minds what each of these candidates will realistically be able to accomplish … or destroy.
2024 Under Donald Trump
It’s 2024 and Donald Trump has now been president for seven years and a few months. At the beginning of his second term, back in 2021, the pandemic ravaged the nation. With more than one million dead by the end of 2021, there was not a single family that hadn’t suffered the loss of a loved one. Worse yet, the job market tanked as most every state, with the exception of Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Louisiana, and Texas imposed strict lockdown measures in order to try to save lives. Chaos reigned, especially in the cities where bands of gun-toting marauders roamed the streets, making it unsafe for people to go about their business. Fortunately, by the summer of 2022, a reliable, safe vaccine had been widely distributed and the pandemic was downgraded, with fewer and fewer people becoming ill. Although the vaccine was created and manufactured at Oxford University in England, Donald Trump took full credit and told us we should get on our knees and thank him.
So many things have gone seriously wrong in these past four years that I don’t know where to begin. It’s almost impossible to remember when the EU, UK, Canada, Australia and many other countries were our allies, and there was mutual respect between us. Today, it’s safe to say that no nation on the planet respects the U.S. Trump’s foreign policy is non-existent and changes on a day-by-day basis. The only constants are that he is on the friendliest terms with Russia’s Putin, Brazil’s Bolsonaro, North Korea’s Kim Jong un, and Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman … all of whom are autocratic, despicable leaders. Our former allies watch us closely with suspicious eyes and there has been talk of a wide-scale full trade embargo if we do not take drastic steps to reduce our carbon emissions, as well as plastic waste. Trump, meanwhile, scoffs and like a schoolboy, taunts the European leaders. There will be a price to pay … one that we will all pay — are already paying.
As a result of Trump’s trade deals and ridiculous tariffs, our cost of living has increased significantly … a trip to the grocery store is now approximately 40% higher than it was four short years ago … and yet wages have barely risen in most industries. Time and time again, Trump has refused to sign into law a $15 an hour federal minimum wage law, and today the federal minimum wage remains stagnant at $7.25 an hour, as it has been since July 24, 2009 – some fifteen years! In 2020, nearly 46 million people in this country lived below the poverty level. Today, that number has nearly doubled to 89 million people, with women who are single parents being hit the hardest.
Perhaps the most heart-breaking thing over the past four years is the way in which Trump has openly promoted racism and other forms of bigotry. While he still has managed to build only a few miles of the abominable wall he promised 8 years ago, immigrants have largely stopped trying to come to this country, for in 2021 ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) shot and killed hundreds of asylum seekers attempting to cross the border between the U.S. and Mexico. This they did with Trump’s approval, and though lawsuits were filed, while some courts found ICE guilty, the Supreme Court, now with a 7-2 conservative bench since the retirement of Justice Stephen Breyer, ruled that ICE was only doing their job. Police departments across the nation are aware that there will be no repercussions for harassing people of colour and immigrants. Last year in Portland, Oregon, a gang of white supremacist thugs murdered eight Black men on their way home from a bachelor’s party and last week, every one of the white supremacist murderers were awarded a ‘not guilty’ verdict.
The suicide rate last year doubled from just a decade ago, and such things as drug use and alcoholism are, according to the experts, at an all-time high, not surprisingly. People are tired, they are hungry, they are struggling just to put food on the table, while the wealthy corporate executives now pay almost no taxes, and Trump has undermined such social programs as housing assistance, medical assistance and food stamps such that many see no alternative but death. Today, Social Security … the government-mandated pension plan we all paid into for our entire lives, is on the Supreme Court chopping block, leaving seniors wondering how they can survive.
The day that Trump was re-elected in 2020 was the darkest day in this nation’s history, and the darkness has not yet lifted … won’t lift until he … and his family … are out of office.
2024 Under Joe Biden
Well, here we are … another election year. Joe Biden has been president for just over three years now, and overall, I believe the nation is better today than it was four years ago. The first two years of his administration were rocky, mainly because it was a time of trying to reverse course from the Trump years, and so many who had given Trump their support tried to throw every possible obstacle up in front of Biden’s attempts to repair the damage.
I well remember the winter of 2021 when Biden ordered the shutting of non-essential businesses for a period of 60 days in order to try to reduce the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. There were riots in the street, people claiming their ‘rights’ had been violated, and every day Trump was on Fox News, further stirring the masses. But, Biden’s plan ultimately worked, and by the end of March, new cases were less than 100 per day, and deaths were down to 20-30 per day. The masses began to see that there was method to the madness.
And then the great fossil fuel debate, after Biden almost immediately re-joined the Paris Climate Accords, setting off the oil, gas, and coal companies. But, by early last year, there were far more jobs available in the renewable energy fields than there had been in 2019 in the fossil fuel industry, and even the most devoted climate deniers had to admit that this was a win-win. Not, of course, before windmills and a couple of solar energy facilities were blown up by said activists, but even that didn’t stop us from moving forward.
We still haven’t quite managed a Universal Health Care plan, but we’re a step or two closer than we were four, or even eight years ago. Joe Biden did as he had promised, built on the Affordable Care Act that had been established under President Obama, made sure that nobody could be denied health insurance at an affordable rate, and that nobody would be left out due to a pre-existing condition such as heart problems, diabetes, chronic lung problems or any other condition. Prescription drugs are still more expensive than in most other countries, but the costs are coming down, slowly but surely. I believe that in the next four years, if Biden is given a second term, we will achieve something very close to Universal Health Care, but I am not holding my breath.
As we feared four years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court did, in fact, overturn Roe v Wade and women’s rights took a hit. However, 42 of the 50 states have passed laws allowing a woman to have an abortion up to 22 weeks into her pregnancy in most cases, which has taken the teeth out of the Supreme Court reversal. On a brighter note, though they tried, the Court was unable to overturn Obergefell v Hodges, and same-sex marriages are still legal under federal law. Unfortunately, the evangelical churches continue to stir antagonism against the LGBT community.
In addition to re-joining the Paris Climate Accords, President Biden has invested a great deal of time in becoming more involved in the United Nations and NATO, has re-joined the World Health Organization (WHO), and has brought the U.S. back into the Iran nuclear agreement, although by this time, Iran had already increased its supply of plutonium and was well into the testing stages of their nuclear program. Most importantly, though, President Biden has reassured our allies that we consider them to be highly valued friends, and he has taken steps to ensure that Russia and other countries will not have access to programs that would enable them to interfere with this year’s election. Although, since Vladimir Putin’s assassination last year, Russia has been less concerned with our affairs.
Mind you, everything hasn’t been a bed of roses. The first two years were rocky, to say the least, and it wasn’t easy for President Biden to earn the trust of the people of this nation, particularly those who still felt cheated and left out by our government, those who had blindly supported Donald Trump and his loss felt as if the rug had been pulled out from underneath their feet. But Biden didn’t give up, he kept his promises, he truly represented ALL of the people, not just democrats or republicans, but all of us. By his third year, people were getting used to his sometimes-hesitant speech, to his infamous opening line, “Now here’s the thing …” People were starting to see that with the new federal minimum wage of $15 per hour they had more money left over at the end of the pay cycle, were even able to save some for a rainy day. They were grateful to be able to take their child to the doctor without worrying about how to pay. And, they were grateful, whether they admitted it or not, for the peace, the lack of chaos. There has been very little turnover in this administration, agencies like the EPA and Health & Human Services have been brought back to do the job they were initially intended to do. Domestic terror events have decreased, though groups like the Proud Boys and other white supremacist groups are still around, but just not as prevalent since this administration has taken domestic terrorism threats very seriously.
Racism is still with us, and perhaps it always will be. The number of racist incidents by police has been reduced since the Biden administration’s renewed efforts to screen and train police officers around the country, however just last month a black teen was shot and killed by police in Dallas, Texas, as he was walking home from a high school sporting event after dark. The officer was immediately terminated and now awaits trial.
Four years ago, when Joe Biden was elected, I think we had hopes that the rifts, the things that divide us … democrat vs republican … would heal quickly, but sadly they have not. They are healing, but ever so slowly. There are those who would still welcome Trump and his plans to build a wall, and they are among the most vocal of all. And there are those among the democratic ranks who haven’t forgotten Trump and all the damage he inflicted on this nation … in fact, I think it’s safe to say that this nation is still very much divided by Trump and his radical views almost as much today as we were four years ago.
I’d like to say that this has returned to being a nation I could look at with pride, but it has not. I wonder if it ever will? Yes, things are better today, at least in the view of the majority of us, but I feel that there is always a threat out there, that disaster is always just a day away. I’m not sure this nation can ever heal completely.
This concludes mine and Jeff’s project. We hope that what we’ve done over the past 10 months has helped clarify some of the issues, the candidates’ positions, and the importance of this election. Just four more days, though the results may not be known for another week, possibly even two. Thanks for bearing with us, for joining in our conversation, and I hope that we all get our wish next week.
A couple of days ago, our friend David wrote a piece on his blog, The Buthidars, about our upcoming (in 4 days!!!) election, the confirmation of Amy Barrett to the Supreme Court, and other current issues. Interestingly, his post coincided with the thoughts I was having about asking some of our non-U.S. readers for a guest post regarding their views on our election. Often I find that our readers from Canada, Australia, the UK and EU have a better perspective than we do about our situation. I shall start with David’s post this morning, and invite any and all from outside the U.S. to email me if you are interested in writing a guest post sharing your own views. Thank you, David, for sharing your views, and for allowing me to share them with my readers/friends.
In Wales we are under a Firebreak Lockdown. That’s new rules on top of the Lockdown I mentioned in my last post. It was set to last 17 days and if the Gods are smiling it should end on November 9th. That of course is going to depend on how bad the Coronavirus is in the areas that were spiking. one of which would appear to be mine. I certainly don’t mind about these rules for the sake of our health, after all I’m high risk in a high risk area and may not survive a bout with this illness. What both surprises me and annoys me in equal measure is the number of people who are happy to walk around without masks, If they want to infect themselves well and good, it’s their choice, but why take a chance on infecting me.
Another little niggle is that what they…
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