Liana…

([This is the second post in a new series on my children. See the Post, The Children, for an introduction. These are a few entries from a random journal that is mostly just writings, largely undated. I was not very consistent in my journaling in those years, but these are special to me.)

Nov. 11, 1989

Just yesterday, Liana crawled her first hesitant, half-hitch crawls. This morning, a lovely, calm Saturday at home, she crawled nearly the length of the Hopi rug to to a stuffed toy — making sure she had it firmly grasped before she sat back.

I hope I can remember always the joys of watching her play, the delight in her enthusiastic babble of sounds, arms bouncing energetically as she scoots around on her bottom. I know she won’t be doing much more of that now that she’s discovered a superior method of locomotion.

I realize, as I marvel at her baby ways, that I hardly remember those things and the intense pleasure they bring from the babyhood of John or Lucy. I don’t want to forget how sweet it feels. I know I won’t likely feel precisely that again. This last baby…! The feelings are hard to describe — that delicate joy/sorrow mix. She is such a special one — so happy and loving, and quite an adventurous little one. She has a definite stubborn streak and this endearing little way of straining her stomach and arms and going “oooooh” with a very intense face, as if she is doing isometrics — and then breaking into a big smile and laughing about it!

The sheer variety of her spontaneous vocalization is amazing — reminiscent of the mocking bird. She really loves to be outside and get very loud and very excited about the creatures around. Some months ago, when we took her for her first carriage ride without the top, she got fascinated with the trees and sky. After ride, when I had picked her up to take her inside, she made a great effort to tip her head back and look up again to see, apparently, if all that wondrousness was still there.

It’s very gratifying — with this third child — that Li-li seem to really enjoy being with her Daddy and will go to sleep for me often.

July 17, 1990

So many wonderful moments, hours, days with this last little one have gone unrecorded… which is truly a shame, for she is truly a unique child, and I know we’ll forget so much of the dear little things that have had us in tears and in laughter! Her character is very strong! She has a persistence and determination at any task she undertakes, which has won my great admiration!

She’s just learning to talk now and has several phrases that we just haven’t deciphered yet — such as “Dat eye!” repeated with great enthusiasm in a number of situations, usually accompanied by her pointing finger. (My best guess is that it means ‘that way.’) She has lovely, slender fingers and her investigations of the world have been led by that insistently pointed index finger for some time now, almost as if she’s testing the world ahead of herself with it. She is quite loud and loves to scream, especially after being shushed! Defiant little thing!

We just said goodbye to my sister Linda and John and their family, and Liana had to part with beloved cousin Stevie (Tee-veee!) after much hugging and kissing! We hope they see each other often enough to stay close… When we talked about those kisses later, she made little kissy noises and called Stevie’s name over and over… just happy remembering the whole little love scene!

Sept. 14, 1991

Liana is a wonderful but difficult child! Eating pistachios with her this morning is a paradigm of her dealings with life. She can’t quite open them, but she wants to, and so she will eat only the ones that she picks up out of the bowl and hands to me to open for her, saying, “Now, I’m going to eat this one!” The ones I shell and put on the plate for her to eat she assiduously ignores! She also insists on putting the shells in the bowl herself.

She is also most loquacious at 2 1/2 years. She has many very adult phrases and ways of expressing herself. For example, she speaks often of someone being “able” to do something. She has great small-motor skills and is very print-aware, loves books and trying to read, and she pretends to write letters and words.

Jan. 6, 1993

Liana is an unusual and amazing child. I guess, at almost 4, she’s supposed to be a budding conversationalist and have an expanding vocabulary, but the delightful quality of her personality is really beyond just those developments, even as advanced as her verbal skills are.

Last night, she was unusually difficult about bedtime, and her mother spanked her — a very rare event! — for disobeying. As she lay in the bed crying, she began wailing, “These people are crazy!” over and over. She also said, “I’ve got to get out of here!” I went up and tried to talk to her, but could not get her to say why she said it. “They just are!” is all she would say. She did say that she meant all of us! Finally, I just held her and rocked her to sleep. Even today, she would not elaborate on why she said it, but she did not seem to be upset.

This is a rather atypical incident, as she usually will articulate her thoughts and feelings. I wish I had done a better job of recording some of her earlier comments and conversations…

A good example of her uniqueness is the Oatland Island trip. She was a big help in unpacking and packing pottery and was generally great all day. At lunch I took her to see the lower part of the animal trail on the island. She was just charming and delightful with me. In fact, she seemed to make a real effort to make the experience enjoyable for me! Most kids expect the adult to be the entertainer, to meet the needs and expectations of the child — most kids are totally self-absorbed and are hardly aware of the adult unless he fails to do what they want! Which is normal! Liana, however, seems to be able to focus on the other person and intentionally be entertaining and charming, considerate and sweet!

Baby June

[This is the first post in a new series on my children. See the previous Post, The children, for an introduction.]

Jan. 23, 2018

In my little red journal from 2018 I wrote: Notes on Anna June’s babyhood! And notes that I hope all my children will read after I die. Or in the run-up to that event. Please. Much of it is ‘A letter to my children.’

A Letter to My Children. I hope they’ll all read it! Just so they’ll know how much they are loved.

Anna June, Week 21: MGBC visit. ultrasound. O+, tests good, general screen good, BP 100/74. A girl, long legs, nice brain, all good.

Resume journaling here October 2018 – This is mostly for June and the kids, since I may not be around too far into her life, and with the way things are going, the other kids may not be around as much as I’d like.

So I’m trying to keep this record so they know I am concerned, want to stay in touch, and know that I love them all very much.

June 9, 2018

June was born early this morning! [Still looking for journal entries…]

October 21, 2018

It’s a Sunday, quiet day at home with Taylor, Marvin and June, and the first truly cool Fall day we’ve had. Taylor and Granny are cooking and Marvin is watching PBS Kids. Pretty normal day.

I suppose my awareness of my own mortality is stronger lately, as that 72nd birthday seemed to be hard to take. So maybe that’s contributing to this new journaling impetus, especially as I think of June maturing, wondering “What was Dad like?” Wondering how things were in those early months, years. And me not there to talk to her about it all…

Plus, I want to get back to journaling as a practice for myself, as well as for the other kids and grandkids to have some insight into my thoughts regarding all this, all these family changes as related to them. …

So – all this rolling around in my mind, making me re-think the best venue, the vehicle, for this purpose. I write here, but how do all these interests get served by me writing in this little red notebook? Maybe do a document that could more easily be shared, with this as pre-writing, drafting, just getting motivated to do other things that I send? … I remind myself of my mother! Tho I don’t have her agenda..

I must remember to keep in the forefront of my mind that it’s for them, to let them know they were loved and appreciated through all this. I need to work to communicate with them all along and not just after the fact.

December 13, 2018

Continuing to try to document this process of accommodation to the new circumstances of my life… notes for the children… thinking of blogging it.

The mediation went well… a difficult process, but done.

And big news! Anna June is crawling! She’s been up on all fours for weeks, but yesterday she did the alternate knee/hand crawl for several steps, and today she’s crawling four feet or more at a clip! Plus she’s being so adorable and cute and sweet all the time and just a real joy to my life! I am endlessly grateful for this wonderful gift in my later life!

I really love that she is so sweet with me, and that I can get her to sleep when she’s in distress at night or needs a nap. Her sleeping on my chest is so sweet and healing to my spirit. She loves to play and loves to dance! A very active, curious baby. Now that she’s crawling, our lives will be busier for sure, just keeping up with her!

December 20, 2018

The Winter Solstice is here! We hunker down for the long cold winter! It has been pretty cold and wet all Fall.

June continues to amaze us with her happy energy and her great dexterity! These, fine beautiful finger are so active and so good picking things up and manipulating them! She reached another milestone today, crawling up the steps from playroom to kitchen. I watched her try over and over to get that knee up on the higher level, and finally she got it. Then, after several tries, the other one came up and she crawled a little in. Then, she pushed up into “downward dog” on toes and sat up!

She’s really trying to pull up on chairs and things, so that will come soon. She may be walking by spring! She’s into everything already. And she loves the mandolin! Marvin and I were playing with Taylor’s mandolin today, and she just crawled right over, got in on the fun. Then she took it from me and started scratching and beating on it! Anything new, she wants to investigate. She loves to play! And loves to laugh!

Preparations for our second Christmas together are going well… we cut a tree from the yard, decorating with nice, simple natural garlands. Taylor has such a nice sense of tasteful, artistic touches in the house, using natural things, handmade ornaments mostly.

Marvin is doing much better lately! Though he still has some meltdowns, like tonight, when he can’t settle down. Would be good to know what his issues are… He and I seem to get on fine most of the time. He still doesn’t seem to believe that I mean what I say, but he’s being better at taking suggestions.

December 22, 2018

June’s delightful babyhood is hard to capture. I keep thinking of things I want to record, then forget them when I sit down to write in my journal. She does seem to love music. She’s always responded to my lullabies, and if she’s crying, I can stand her in my lap and start singing a lively little melody and she’ll stop crying and start bouncing and dancing and laughing! She laughed and laughed when I blew raspberries on her tummy today!

She loves for me to walk with her. It will always stop her crying. Many nights in those first few weeks, I was up for an hour or more walking her when she was having a hard time sleeping, just being cranky. She also loves to walk outside, or just to look out the windows. She’s fascinated by the chickens, and she enjoys crawling around in the grass.

Sometimes it seems she can see right into my soul! I feel a deep connection with her. I said to several people after she was born that on some levels, it felt like she brought Taylor and me together so that she could come into the world! It seems to me that she is such a wonderful gift to the world that however outside of social convention Taylor and my relationship is, it is a positive thing and right for us to be together.

Which brings me to the difficult topic of trying to re-establish relationships with my other kids, especially Liana, who has been pretty angry about the breakup of the family. I have wanted to make some attempts to communicate, but I don’t quite know how. I don’t want to make things worse, so I keep putting it off. My greatest weakness…

I want to talk to her about how I never realized she would take this all so badly, and that we really believed she would come around, understand. I suppose we thought that because she is not one to follow social conventions either. I realize that she’s most upset because she felt deceived by me, and I realize now that I should have been more up front with her from the beginning. But things were so complicated, and I suppose I just thought she really knew how I felt. She’s also pretty upset, as she said, about me leaving it up to her to tell her mother about June. Which I understand, but I just thought I wanted to tell Liana first to be sure she didn’t hear it from someone else.

It’s been a while now, so maybe things will go better now that the whole agony of the divorce process is done. I will try soon.

The children… (intro)

Life unfolds in often unexpected ways, and the recent developments in this world seem to highlight those uncertainties. My personal life has been very complicated in the past few years–well, always, really! But it seems especially so in the past several years of big changes, new children and new perspectives.

With all this in mind, I’m searching for ways to communicate with my children so that they will know how much they are loved and in what high esteem I hold them. Communication has been hard with all that has happened in our lives, and my youngest child may not even remember much of our time together, given my age and hers, so I’m beginning this new series of blog posts in hopes that it will survive me and be something they can all see at some point, if they’re interested. I have been thinking about this for a while now, and I’ve been trying to be sure that I’m doing this for the right reasons–which would be for their benefit. So that, should they ever wonder about my concerns and love for them, this record is here for them.

Most of what I plan to write here is from my journal entries over the years, plus continuing journal entries as it goes along. I hope to be able to figure out how to both add to the continuing story and do current journal entries and keep it all sequential here. (I think I will keep the posts on June & Marvin, my young children, in time order and drop in posts from the past journal entries on my other children.) I may do another set of Pages, which can be kept in numbered order. (I am creating a new Category for these Posts, ‘The children’.) It will be an experimental process… I will probably not try to keep the old journal entries in time order here. Kinda like the War Journal approach, with an exploded time line…

But I plan to begin at least with posts based on past journal entries, transcribed and expanded/edited as needed. My journals–of which there are quite a few!–are very erratic and confused, as I seemed to always be revising my approach to journaling. So it may involve a good bit of piecing together from different sources to make a coherent narrative.

It will, I hope, always be focused on helping my children live their lives and feel good about themselves.

The elements of fascism

Because fascism is such an insidious thing, we must be vigilant and well-informed about how it looks in the early stages, before it’s too late.

[First published in November of 2016, this is pretty pertinent today, as the fascist elements released into our society by the Trump Effect are rampant, though seeming to lose much of their momentum lately. We need to remain vigilant.]

Fascism has been sneaking into our lives, into the hearts and minds of our countrymen, slipping into the national dialog in the guise of patriotism, strength, purity, religious piety, safety – all things that seem positive and non-threatening.

Trump and his appointees are pretty clearly leading us to an authoritarian state in the name of protecting us from “outsiders” and that’s why it’s problematic. From Dave Neiwert, a researcher on fascism who’s been following its rise for many years, here are a few of the characteristics that struck me as particularly noticeable in the current political climate:

— Attempted mass mobilization with militarization of political relationships and style and with the goal of a mass party militia
— Positive evaluation and use of, or willingness to use, violence
— Extreme stress on the masculine principle and male dominance, while espousing the organic view of society

— Specific tendency toward an authoritarian, charismatic, personal style of command, whether or not the command is to some degree initially elective. — [from Stanley Payne, in Fascism: Comparison and Definition]

— a mass-based party of committed nationalist militants, working in uneasy but effective collaboration with traditional elites, abandons democratic liberties and pursues with redemptive violence and without ethical or legal constraints goals of internal cleansing and external expansion. [from Robert Paxton’s definition of fascism]

From Paxton’s “mobilizing passions” of fascism:

— the belief that one’s group is a victim, a sentiment which justifies any action, without legal or moral limits, against the group’s enemies, both internal and external;

— dread of the group’s decline under the corrosive effect of individualistic liberalism, class conflict, and alien influences;

— the need for authority by natural leaders (always male), culminating in a national chief who alone is capable of incarnating the group’s destiny;

— the superiority of the leader’s instincts over abstract and universal reason;

From Roger Griffin: “Fascism rejects liberal ideas such as freedom and individual rights, and often presses for the destruction of elections, legislatures, and other elements of democracy.”

Neiwert’s entire essay is worth reading: http://dneiwert.blogspot.com/2015/11/donald-trump-may-not-be-fascist-but-he.html

Latent cruelty

This has all been building up for a while, I know, but the last few weeks have seemed to be particularly offensive and painful to watch in America.

Reading John Pavlovitz’ latest blog post today seems to have crystalized in my mind a few things that have been bubbling around there for a while, too. He calls it The Trump Effect, and he lays out the development of it pretty clearly. It’s been remarked on before by others and I’ve certainly been thinking it since it began to surface during the T-thing’s administration, as racism and white supremacy began to be expressed in new and more open ways, violence increased and the quality of the national conversation began to decline daily. The slide away from truth and accuracy and decency in his daily rants had its effect.

There are lots of examples, and Pavlovitz relates some of the most egregious, but to me its in the essential failure of basic human compassion in the face of this raging pandemic that it is most clear.

How people can equate the simple discomfort and slight inconvenience of wearing a mask with putting other people–and other people’s children–at risk of serious, life-threatening disease has just been beyond me to understand. But seeing it as just another expression of the crass, stupid insensitivity to others that is at the heart of the Trump Effect helps me to understand it. It somehow makes these people feel empowered, self-righteous, justified in their own petty hatreds to be pretending that refusal to wear a mask or get vaccinated is somehow an exercise of their rights as an American.

So it’s not enough just to not do it, they have to proclaim their heroic stupidity and even harass others who are wearing masks and getting vaccinated. It’s so remiscinent of something…. what is it? Oh yeah. Nazi rallies. Book burnings. Klan rallies. Lynchings.

All these are of a piece. People venting their anger and fear and seeking justification in some kind of twisted version of “rightness.” Pavlovitz lays it clearly at the feet of Trump’s monstrous venom.

Though certainly not created then or by the man, for the first time in America’s history the latent ugliness in people was revealed and validated and celebrated by a sitting president—it was officially normalized. And what we’re experiencing now; this staggering, insensitive posturing in the face of so many people’s suffering, is the late-ripening fruit of something that has been set into the bedrock of half our nation. It is the malicious entitlement that MAGA was designed to nurture from the beginning.

JohnPavlovitz.com

If you’ve followed the rise of fascism in America over the past few decades, which has been documented by many including the guy on Orcinus, you know this strain of “americanism” has been festering under the surface, held in check by the sense of decency and fair play that is–at least I believe it is–a stronger, more truly American trait, but developing under cover of various rationalizations and facades. Trump’s legitimization of that strain is what has allowed the racism to swell along with all this other petty hatred. The whole development, of course, has been facilitated and exacerbated by the ease of vicious communication made possible by the internet and social media.

So now we are facing fascist America. Big Time. Trump’s America.

{Post script: My brother was one of the 599 people who died of of COVID in Florida yesterday, so this is all very personal to me. He was a victim of the anti-vax conspiracy theory wackos, didn’t get the shot, didn’t go to the hospital when he got sick. They kept him alive for weeks, but it ravaged him so that he eventually succumbed to a cardiac arrest.]

Pro-lifers really aren’t

A great column that goes far to explain why these Christians have pushed to such extreme positions on abotion, and showing just how un-Christian it really is. And how anti-life they really are.

John Pavlovitz

Election challenges

The Orange one’s fascist

project to challenge the election

A final nail in the coffin of the Orange one’s desperate attempt to convince the world that he was cheated out of his throne just came from a district court judge in Michigan.

We all know, at least those of us still capable of rational thought, that it was a massive scam and an international disgrace, but the judge does a great job of laying it out.

It probably won’t convince those who drank the Orange Jim Jones’ coolaid, but it is at least confirmation at the highest level that this is nothing short of an illegal insurrection.

According to the National Law Journal report (rerun on law.com‘s Daily Report Aug. 25), the judge censures a group of lawyers–one of whom is Georgia Attorney Lin Wood–for their actions in the election fraud challenges. The whole group has been referred to their licensing states for potential disbarment.

“U.S. District Judge Linda Parker issued the orders in response to motions for sanctions filed by lawyers for the city of Detroit and the state of Michigan over the quickly rejected election challenge.”

The Law Journal

Those sanctioned are part of conspiracy theorist Sidney Powell’s team. The judge says the group showed bad faith in trying to use the judicial process to frame a public narrative for which there was no evidentiary or legal support.

“This lawsuit represents a historic and profound abuse of the judicial process,” Law Journal quotes Parker from the opening to her opinion. “It is one thing to take on the charge of vindicating rights associated with an allegedly fraudulent election. It is another to take on the charge of deceiving a federal court and the American people into believing that rights were infringed, without regard to whether any laws or rights were in fact violated. This is what happened here.”

It’s a pretty strong condemnation of the whole effort.

Parker also said that the election challenge “was never about fraud—it was about undermining the people’s faith in our democracy and debasing the judicial process to do so.”

This is all so clearly a fascist project aimed at pushing such a big lie that people believe it simply because it’s normal to think that no one would say such outrageous things unless there was some basis in fact.

It’s a tactic borrowed from the playbook of Hitler and Mussolini and has no place in our national process. These people should be disbarred, humiliated and prosecuted. Everything they stand for should be exposed to the light of public scrutiny and revealed for exactly what it, and its inspiration, is: a deceitful attempt to grab power.

The judge continues:

“But when viewed collectively, they reveal an even more powerful truth: Once it appeared that their preferred political candidate’s grasp on the presidency was slipping away, plaintiffs’ counsel helped mold the predetermined narrative about election fraud by lodging this federal lawsuit based on evidence that they actively refused to investigate or question with the requisite level of professional skepticism—and this refusal was to ensure that the evidence conformed with the predetermined narrative (a narrative that has had dangerous and violent consequences),” Parker said.

She goes on to explicitly show that the free speech these charlatans have claimed in their defense is not the same as that offered on public forums, because they were presenting affidavits to a court, which are required to reflect the truth, not speculation, conjecture and guesswork.

She specifically notes that lawyers presenting a case in court are not the same as journalists and are held to a higher standard of truth.

The judge wrote:

“It is not acceptable to support a lawsuit with opinions, which counsel herself claims no reasonable person would accept as fact and which were ‘inexact,’ ‘exaggerate[ed],’ and ‘hyperbole. Nor is it acceptable to use the federal judiciary as a political forum to satisfy one’s political agenda. Such behavior by an attorney in a court of law has consequences. Although the First Amendment may allow plaintiffs’ counsel to say what they desire on social media, in press conferences, or on television, federal courts are reserved for hearing genuine legal disputes which are well-grounded in fact and law.”

Four other judges around the country have recently passed down similar decisions related to Powell and other lawyers involved in election lawsuit cases. I hope these judicial responses put this foolishness to rest at last.

Climate denial

You’re already talking about, as we said, already experiencing more extremes, so we’re already experiencing enhanced hazards as a result of climate change. And every bit of warming, whether it’s above or below one-and-a-half degrees C, increases the risks that we face. So, anything we can to limit the amount of warming will reduce the hazards we’re creating for ourselves.

Bob Kopp, Rutgers

Clarifying words from the UN-sponsored report that came out this week, a report that makes starkly clear that the threat of climate change/global warming is real — and dire. And further confirmation that it’s the extremes that are effect of climate change, not just warmer numbers. In my simplified version of this a few weeks ago, I made the point that heat powers change and creates all kinds of extremes.

John Sauven adds a few of the details in his remarks to Democracy Now:

You can just read the headlines — you know, the wildfires out of control in Greece and Turkey, the heat domes in California and, you know, British Columbia in Canada, the wildfires out of control in Siberia, the floods in Germany and in China. You just look anywhere around the world, and you see climate catastrophe unfolding.

John Sauven, UK Director of Greenpeace

And he doesn’t mention the fires in Oregon and other west coast areas that are devastating whole towns, threatening to spread destruction and smoke across the country.

The report also is very clear — the clearest language yet — on the point that it’s what we humans do that’s making it happen so fast. Kim Cobb, one of the authors of the UN report, points out in the Democracy Now report, that they’re now saying, with full scientific consensus, that the human connection is unequivocal.

Well, this report is obviously an unprecedented new foundation for our science and our world at this critical moment. It is something that involved hundreds of authors over the last three years and really assessed the relevant scientific literature across 14,000 different articles in the published, peer-reviewed literature to make assessments as to where we are with human-caused climate change and where we’re going and what lies ahead in the choices that we have to make. So, really, a stunning, historic pillar in our field and a reminder of the futures that we have to choose in the next decades. … We’re going from “virtually certain” human-caused climate change in the last report to “unequivocal” wording for this report in terms of human influence on climate, and thinking about piling up on the absolutely factual column more and more and more aspects of the impacts of climate change. And this report, I think, makes a very strong emphasis on the rising climate and weather extremes, that have been more uncertain in previous reports. This year, the science has — over the last years, the science has matured to the point that a lot of strong wording in this report around the links between human-caused climate change and any number of different climate extremes.

Kim Cobb, Ga. Tech

It’s clear and very strongly supported by the scientific community — 14,000 articles — that this is the case. Which leaves the climate-change deniers with nothing but bluster to rely on. Denial of the need for action on this issue is just based on the selfish, greedy refusal of the industrial world to take responsibility for their huge part in this problem. Their words ring hollow in the face of the overwhelming evidence that’s been gathered in decades of research. The petroleum, coal, power and auto industries are among the worst, and they have lots of paid voices that present pseudo-science to cover their refusal to make changes that might cost their stockholders money.

And, of course, they have lots of paid lobbyists and lawyers to cajole and threaten our representatives so they are afraid to do anything about this issue. Even the half-hearted provisions in the infrastructure bill and other recent legislation doesn’t seriously take on the corporate roots of resistance to action to improve the situation.

I look at what’s happening around the world, the weather going crazy, people dying, children’s future threatened, and I seriously wonder what it will take for our leaders to do something.

Blithering idiots

Yes, that’s a bit of an angry, unkind and vicious name-calling for a title!

I won’t try to defend it as justified, but I’m somewhat at a loss as to how to characterize what is happening with folks in our community, and, it seems, the nation as well. Much of what I see from folks who have been sucked into the “orange experiment”–as someone has dubbed the past few years–just seems to be blithering. Talking for effect and pandering to people who’ve abdicated their rational responsibility to critical thinking, evaluation, sorting through things for themselves. And not really making a whole lot of sense. That’s what I mean by blithering.

And they could fairly be called idiots in the sense that many of them just don’t really know much at all about what they’re blithering about. They haven’t bothered to look into the history, the scientific facts, even the reality of current reports floated on social media and propaganda masquerading as news sites, such as Fox News. They just take what someone they have decided to admire says as truth and repeat it without thought.

Locally we have just seen the impact of such blighted thinking on our school board.

The superintendent — responding to the CDC call and the obvious spike in COVID cases in our state and our county — had announced that masks would be required and caution would be exercised as school opens next week. Then the semi-republican echo chamber began to react to the idea of mask requirements, ranting and roaring about “standing up for our rights” and government mandates and other such phrases that have been put out to manipulate them. This week, the board held a special meeting and said the superintendent couldn’t mandate masks and school would be normal.

I want to call each of the four who voted to do this and ask, “Have you looked at the recent data?” Our county has seen rates go up by a factor of six times in the last few weeks, and the state has quadrupled its rate. We had four people in the hospital last week, this week we had 12 and in the past few days there have been 16 hospitalized. This is a tiny community and that’s a significant change. The curve is now going nearly straight up on that graph.

It is literally incomprehensible to me that people think that being asked to wear a mask in public is some kind of effort to exercise government control over their lives. They have long accepted that we expect kids to meet certain standards when they come to school, that we stop at red lights, that we follow laws and reasonable standards of behavior on the roads that make things work for everyone. That’s what this is. Not some violation of rights. The constitution doesn’t mention the right not to wear a mask

And then we have the true fascist, Florida governor DeSantis, who has ordered that any school district who does mandate masks will lose funding. So, being asked to wear a mask is infringing on someone’s rights, but the governor dictatorially mandating what a supposedly independent school board does is defending freedom? It truly boggles the mind the degree of twisted thinking, propagandized mentality required to think that way.

People who blast out about “standing up for our rights” by refusing to mask up or get vaccinated are somehow imagining themselves as some kind of hero. It’s really sad when there are so many places, so many issues that we truly need to stand up for our rights about, and these folks just don’t notice those things. Things like the blatant racism in our community, the inequity at the heart of the economic system, the injustice that is visited on poor or even middle class people every day by our legal system, homelessness and PSTD in our veteran population, hungry children and other issues that threaten to undermine the functioning of our democratic way of life — why are these people not worried about “standing up for our rights” on these issues?

I don’t blame social media for this turn of events, but it does seem to be making it worse. It gives people a platform to easily and freely spout un-researched, ill-considered notions that are absorbed without reflection by a numbed audience, all full of self-congratulatory blithering and self-righteous ignorance.

Candidates for local political office are “announcing” on social media platforms, reducing the political process to some kind of debased level of unhealthy posturing and attacks beyond even the low levels we’ve been seeing in TV political ads.

It’s all pretty discouraging to see. Especially as the pandemic threatens to once again disrupt daily life to an intolerable degree.

Selfishness…

John Pavlovitz, a progressive Christian blogger whose critique of the recent Fascist (he doesn’t use that term, I don’t think) surge in the American political landscape aligns well with my own, has spoken out strongly in the past year about the pandemic and the poor response from his fellow Christians.

His blog is Stuff That Needs to be Said at johnpavlovitz.com, and the post today pretty much summarizes the problem with vaccine hesitancy/resistance as one of plain selfishness. Which thoroughly indicts Christians who buy into the whole fascist republican stance on all this for the hypocrites they are, professing as they do to follow a spiritual leader whose most powerful message was “Love one another as I have loved you.”

As a former mega-church youth minister who was fired for refusing to support racist policies, he is well-acquainted with the fundamentalist approach and has very thoroughly debunked all that. This post today clarifies much about how and why these pseudo-Christians think the vaccine is not something they need to do. He says, starkly:

Selfishness is America’s second deadly virus and it may be one we cannot overcome.

And he makes it clear that it’s pretty un-Christian at heart:

I wish there was a vaccine that could make these people give a damn about other human beings; that we could inoculate them against whatever toxic cocktail of ignorance, fear, arrogance, political tribalism, and bad religion that has rendered them resistant to the suffering of others.

I suppose this shouldn’t have been a surprise. I imagine their denials of the virus and their refusal to mask and their defiance of safeguards should have tipped me off, but still I did not expect this entrenched and strident refusal to help other people, especially the many who claim to follow a “love your neighbor” Jesus.

And the prognosis for the country is also quite stark:

Until love and mercy and kindness take hold in the hearts of these people, until they are burdened with the common good, that lack of empathy will be a sickness that will destroy us.

I hope that he’s not right. I hope that goodness and mercy will prevail. I hope at least that these people will eventually recognize that the cost/benefit ratio for taking the vaccine militates in favor of reasonable action instead of this self-absorbed, ignorant attitude that puts ones own comfort ahead of the life and health of a whole nation.