communication, Police, true crime

Waiting for “contact”…

There are a couple of hot news items I could write about today. Derek Chauvin’s guilty verdict, while not at all surprising, is a story that begs to be written about. I’m sure a lot of people will write about him, but I won’t be among them today, except to state that I’m glad he got convicted. It doesn’t bring me pleasure to see anyone get handcuffed and led to prison, but I do think it was entirely justified in Chauvin’s case.

I could also write about the infuriating story I read yesterday about Karen Garner, an 80 pound 73 year old woman with dementia who, last June, tried to walk out of a Walmart in Loveland, Colorado with about $14 worth of unpaid for merchandise. She was stopped by store employees, forced back into the store where the items were recovered, and not allowed to pay for them. Then, as she was picking purple wildflowers in a nearby field, walking to her nearby home, she was stopped by police. They arrested her, breaking her arm and dislocating her shoulder as they violently cuffed the confused, elderly woman. She sat cuffed in a cell for hours before she was taken to jail, crying and terrified. Thankfully, the district attorney immediately dropped the charges against Karen Garner. Her family has sued.

Absolutely INFURIATING! And neither of these cops were fired or disciplined.

Yes… I could definitely write about that case, as I watched the infuriating body cam coverage. I’m so tired of reading about violent cops who hurt and kill people instead of helping them. I know it can be done, too, because I’ve seen it in action here in Europe. I get that cops never know what they’re going to encounter when they go on patrol, particularly in the United States, where so many people are armed. But this poor lady is going to suffer for the rest of her life because of the incompetent and, frankly, cruel treatment she received from the police officers who manhandled her last summer. I may write about Karen Garner later today or even tomorrow… or maybe not. This case really upset me.

Or, I could write about how, as Derek Chauvin’s verdict was being read yesterday, a teenaged Black girl in Columbus, Ohio was fatally shot by the police. I don’t know too much about that story yet, as I was going to bed as Chauvin’s fate was delivered yesterday. Evidently, the 15 (or 16– I’ve seen both ages listed) year old who was killed by the police was brandishing a knife and threatening another girl in the community. She was living in foster care and had evidently gotten into a fight with someone at her foster home. Supposedly, she had dropped the knife before a police officer killed her. Someone in the video footage said that she’d been shot four times, which does seem excessive to me. Seems like one shot should have been enough to incapacitate her, if the weapon was needed at all.

Or, I could write about Kimberly Potter, the cop who, inexplicably, confused her Glock service revolver for a Taser and fatally shot 20 year old Daunte Wright. How Potter confused a Taser for a gun, I will never know. I don’t make it a habit of using either device. At least, in her case, she was unpleasantly shocked at what she did and exclaimed, “Holy shit! I just shot him!” From those words, I can at least surmise that she hadn’t intended to shoot the man, but was obviously caught up in the tension of the moment. It doesn’t change the fact that a man is dead because of her negligent actions, but I don’t see her as cold-blooded as I do Derek Chauvin, who showed no mercy toward George Floyd as he knelt on the man’s neck and killed him in front of bystanders.

But… what I really want to write about today has nothing to do with police brutality. Regular readers of my blog probably know that I pay close attention to who is reading and what people find interesting. I do this because I’m genuinely curious about my readership, but also to see what subjects people enjoy. Sometimes, I write posts that are more for me or people who know me offline than the strangers who come across my blog. I enjoy writing the personal stories more than I do rants about current events. If I’m honest, writing about current events often makes me nervous. Why? Because I notice many people hitting my “contact” page.

Sometimes people hit the contact page multiple times after reading and re-reading some of my posts. I can see that they go to the page, probably looking for information about the person who shares these opinions… and wonder what kind of person I am. Or maybe they actually do feel like contacting me. The thought of that makes me kind of nervous, since you never know what people are going to write.

So far, the few people who have contacted me for reasons other than spam have been very nice. One guy, a German, wrote to ask me to make available a post I wrote about Erin McCay George I wrote for my Blogspot version of The Overeducated Housewife. For some reason, her case has attracted many readers from around the world. I’m surprised I haven’t seen her case profiled on Snapped, although I don’t think she snapped as much as she became overcome by greed. So I reposted that article, as well as a lot of other articles I’ve written over the years.

I heard from Adam Barrows, author of the controversial New York Times love story involving his wife, who had anorexia nervosa. Barrows wrote about how he didn’t try to encourage his wife to seek treatment. I didn’t like all of the horrible negative appraisals of Barrows’ character, so I decided to write about his story. Barrows wrote to thank me. Even two months later, that post still gets a lot of hits. Barrows’ story really resonated with a lot of people, and obviously, people wanted to know how others felt about it. I’m not known for my conventional approaches to all matters. I often go against the grain of public opinion, which is why it makes me nervous when people haunt the contact page. I’m always afraid of getting a ton of hate mail. But, aside from one somewhat irate commenter who wanted to “correct” my opinions, the discussion on that post has been blessedly respectful, and I really appreciate that.

I also heard from a guy in Virginia who was interested in my post about weird murder stories in Farmville, which is the town where I went to college. Farmville is a town that, at least in the 1990s, felt kind of like it was about 30 years behind the rest of Virginia. And yet, there have been some really fascinating true crime cases in that place. Maybe, in another life, I would have been like Ann Rule or Kathryn Casey, and become a true crime writer. I really do find the stories fascinating… better than any novelist could dream up, in a lot of cases.

And finally, I got a note from a lawyer in New Zealand who read my review of Jocelyn Zichterman’s controversial book, I Fired God, and hoped I would also write about Gloriavale Christian Community in New Zealand. I did recently read and review a book about that community, and I am currently reading another book about it.

For the first year, since I moved my blog to WordPress, it took a long time to re-establish a following. Now that this version of my blog is two years old, I’m getting more readers. So far, because I moderate comments, I get fewer flames from drive by readers who don’t like my opinions. But I also have lots of lurkers who haunt my contact page. They go back to it repeatedly. I’m sure curiosity is what takes them there. Maybe some of them would like to rip me a new one because they think I’ve gotten something “wrong”. I always remind people, though, that this blog is just a collection of my opinions and observations. I realize that not everyone agrees with me. I don’t expect everyone to agree, although it’s not very often that my mind is changed by an irate comment. I won’t say it never happens, though.

I remember a few years ago, I read a story about a woman who was murdered by her ex boyfriend, who had also killed three of the woman’s four children. It was a horrific case out of Newport News, Virginia detailing how the police had completely failed to protect the woman, who had just gotten a restraining order that hadn’t been served to her killer. I wrote a post about the story based only on what I read in the news. A relative of the victim wrote to me and asked me to revisit the story with more context thrown in. She was initially upset by my observations, but when I pointed out to her that I was only reacting to the news story and not trying to judge her, she calmed down and told me more about what happened. I was outraged by her account and wrote another post about it. She ended up thanking me. I still look back on that and really feel good that I was able to get more of the story out. In fact, since that story is coming up today, I will repost it after I’m finished writing this entry.

For some reason, true crime posts are the ones that really capture people’s interest the most. I’m always willing to hear from people who want more of the story explained. I’m sure there are some people who read my posts and are actually involved in the cases. Maybe they want to say something to me… or maybe they’re just curious. I don’t know. But I will admit, the contact page lurkers who repeatedly hit that page are a curiosity of mine, too. What are they looking for? There’s nothing on that page but a form, powered by WordPress. I can only think that they’re deliberating sending me a comment. I can’t blame them for that. I’m famous for turning comments into content. 😉

Well… here’s hoping the news gets better today. I am glad Derek Chauvin, at least, has gotten some well-deserved justice delivered to him. It doesn’t bring me joy to see anyone locked up, but I do think he got exactly what he asked for when he made the decision to brutalize and kill George Floyd, who was helpless and crying for his mother as he was dying. I’m sorry for all of Chauvin’s friends and loved ones, as well as his other victims. I also feel much for Floyd’s family, but am specifically mentioning Chauvin’s family and friends because they probably won’t get much sympathy. People never think about the perpetrator’s loved ones when something like this happens. They are suffering, too, and deserve some regard… although Floyd’s family rightfully deserves more attention right now.

It’s time for Chauvin to pay the piper and do his time. And, I will go on record now to state that I fervently hope the two cops who hurt Karen Garner are also made to answer for their brutality toward that poor woman. Watching that video and listening to those cops, seeing how they manhandled a frail and obviously confused lady, was horrifying to me. But even so, I try to keep in mind that cops have a tough job these days. I wish more of them had common sense and more humanity, though.

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politics, racism, Trump

Trump praises people with “good genes” and the “racehorse theory”…

Yesterday, I wrote about a Facebook convo I had with a male Trump supporting Christian who chastised me and a couple of my friends for painting Trump supporters with a “broad brush”. He claimed that he isn’t a racist and loves the Lord, and that the Lord is “using Trump” to do great things in America. He had a problem with the fact that I compared Donald Trump to Adolf Hitler. From yesterday’s post:

For goodness sakes! Another Hitler reference. ? Now listen, Hitler would have never support Israel. Israel was under attack but it wasn’t by this President. Further more, Hitler was a socialist. He was driven by hatred and discontent. Trump is a competitor and wants to win. That’s getting old and tired.

And he also didn’t like that I accused him of drinking the KKKool-Aid…

Where do the references to Hitler, KKK, etc. come from? Do you have actual proof of those things? Why is it that before he became President all of the liberal media morons worshiped him and we’re giving him awards?

Well, as it so happens, this morning I was handed an example of Trump’s racist proclivities on a metaphorical silver platter. A friend of mine shared this article from The Rolling Stone, which covered Trump’s recent rally in Bemidji, Minnesota, a small city in the northern portion of the state. At the rally, which was mostly attended by lily white people, Trump rambled about a number of alarming issues.

At the beginning of his rally, Trump spoke about refugees, claiming that the subject of resettling them is one of the most pressing issues in the election. Minnesota is where a number of Somalian refugees have been resettled and, in fact, one of Minnesota’s representatives in Congress is resettled Somalian refugee, Ilhan Omar.

How the HELL did Trump win?

Then he went on to speak about the racial unrest in Minneapolis, a direct consequence of the public execution of George Floyd, a Black man who was wearing handcuffs as a White police officer pressed his knee into his neck and suffocated him. Trump then seemed gleeful as he remembered how Ali Veshi, an NBC correspondent of color, got hurt when he was struck by a rubber bullet…

“It was the most ‘beautiful’ thing!” It will be beautiful when this orange shitstain finally gets flushed.

As the crowd roared, Trump said, “Wasn’t it a beautiful sight? It’s called law and order!” Yes… something else Hitler and his cronies liked. Law and order.

Then, with his base fully buttered up with talk about reporters getting hurt while covering protests and not allowing Somali refugees safe harbor in the “land of the free and the home of the brave”, Trump goes full on racist as he compliments Minnesotans for their “good breeding”.

Ah… “good breeding”… “good genes”… Eugenics!

Maybe at face value, these comments don’t seem overtly racist. He talks about Minnesota’s settlers who didn’t have a lot of money, but they had each other and lots of grit… and “good genes”.

“You have good genes, you know that right?” Trump said to to a ripple of applause.

“A lot of it is about the genes, isn’t it? Don’t you believe? The racehorse theory,” he added.

What is the racehorse theory?  It’s the idea that “good” genes are the “right” genes. That’s the basis for eugenics, the theory that selective breeding can improve the human race. And you know who else supported that idea? That’s right– you guessed it– Adolf Hitler.

A very interesting German documentary (in English) about children who were kidnapped from around Eastern Europe and forcibly “Germanized”. If you have the time and inclination, I HIGHLY recommend watching this video.

You see, many of the people who champion Donald Trump are good old, salt of the earth, red-blooded American people who have never traveled, don’t read much, pride themselves on being law abiding, and probably don’t know much about history. They don’t like civil unrest or protests. They want people to toe the line and they don’t think too much about what that would mean in the grand scheme of things. They’re the type of people who support the letter of the law, rather than the spirit of it.

These folks aren’t the type of people who are curious about things that happened in Europe back the 1930s and 40s. I’m sure if they listened to the heartbroken man at the beginning of the above video– kidnapped from Poland when he was nine years old and forced to watch as his heavily pregnant mother was stabbed in the stomach with a pitch fork– many of them would have basic empathy. But they aren’t interested in such things. They aren’t curious. They like someone who promises to “restore order”, not encourage them to think beyond the orderly and see the forest for the trees.

Likewise, they don’t know about how kidnapped Polish children were chosen by Germans as if they were pets up for adoption. In the above video, there is the story of Herman, one of the first children abducted from Poland and sent to Germany to be raised by Nazis. An elegant German lady chose Herman from the home where he was living. A nurse told the lady that she could “pick” one of the children, “like at a chicken farm. I want that child; that one wasn’t so good.”

Heinrich Himmler, on the idea that children of “especially good race” from Polish families should be brought up in Germany and help make Germany the “mightiest country on Earth”.

Trump loves to be around people who aren’t curious, yet are easily aroused by charisma and hyperactive talk about making America “great” again and giving them a few more bucks in their paychecks. What do they care about Trump’s comments about people of color from other countries who are fleeing death and destruction in their homelands? Have they even considered why these people would run?

I’ll tell you something else. Although Trump loves talking to people who aren’t thinkers or readers, he doesn’t actually care about them. They’re beneath him because they’re poor. He would never deign to visit the simple home of a person from rural Minnesota and have a meal. He’d rather go to Palm Beach, Florida and play golf… something else a lot of his base can’t relate to, since golf is a very expensive sport for people who can also afford the time it takes to play.

I think if decent people took the time to listen to Trump, they might realize that he’s not a good person at all. There will be a day when people who supported Trump will be on the wrong side of history. They will be akin to people who admired Hitler, especially if he’s not stopped in November. But I know there are people who don’t care about that. They don’t care that they support an unabashed racist, because they are themselves racists.

Remember that back in January 2018, Donald Trump made a very telling comment about “shithole countries”. Here’s an excerpt from an article from The Washington Post from January 12, 2018.

President Trump grew frustrated with lawmakers Thursday in the Oval Office when they discussed protecting immigrants from Haiti, El Salvador and African countries as part of a bipartisan immigration deal, according to several people briefed on the meeting. 

“Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?” Trump said, according to these people, referring to countries mentioned by the lawmakers.

Trump then suggested that the United States should instead bring more people from countries such as Norway, whose prime minister he met with Wednesday. The president, according to a White House official, also suggested he would be open to more immigrants from Asian countries because he felt that they help the United States economically.

In addition, the president singled out Haiti, telling lawmakers that immigrants from that country must be left out of any deal, these people said.

“Why do we need more Haitians?” Trump said, according to people familiar with the meeting. “Take them out.” 

Well… what kind of people are in Norway? Most of them are are White… the same shade and ancestry as people who settled Minnesota. What kind of people come from Haiti, El Salvador, and Africa? Mostly Black or Brown.

Incidentally, people who are in the Ku Klux Klan are also interested in white supremacy and fewer people coming to the United States from what they regard as “shithole” countries. They sympathize with Nazis.

Yep. He’s right.

So… the next time some very nice, Christian, male, Trump supporter wants evidence of Trump’s racist proclivities, I will think about Trump’s comments about Minnesotans and their “good genes”. They were thinly veiled references to eugenics, an idea that stirs up people who believe that White folks are superior to everyone else. It’s pretty disgusting that some people still think that way, but unfortunately, that’s how it is. However, I will grant that a lot of people who support Trump truly do think he’s “good” for America. They haven’t thought about eugenics. They know nothing about what happened in Germany (or America, for that matter) in the 1930s and 40s. It’s not on their radar. Frankly, they probably would rather not know. Ignorance is bliss.

It’s time Trump mounted the “racehorse theory” and rode it straight out of the White House. The White House is no place for him or his ilk. If you really care about America and other people, you will make a better choice and be on the right side of history. It’s that simple.

Edited to add: A bonus video for those who can stomach it.

A very good but graphic video about eugenics… and breeding for performance. Something Trump recently alluded to in Minnesota.

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family

Polluted gene pools…

I’ve been watching with some dismay comments from people near and dear to me. I grew up among very politically conservative Christians in Virginia. My dad was a dyed in the wool Republican his whole life. As he got older, his views became more and more rigid. He’d listen to Rush Limbaugh religiously. He was also a fan of D. James Kennedy, a very conservative Presbyterian minister who had a very right wing religious program that aired every Sunday. I remember how D. James Kennedy railed against liberal politics, particularly anything having to do with abortion.

My dad was a believer.

And yet, as conservative as my dad was, and as racist as he sometimes was, he was probably among the least racist in our family. I think his years in the Air Force made him more open to people who weren’t just like him. Still, I remember a couple of very embarrassing incidents in restaurants in which my dad was egregiously racist toward the wait staff… the only excuse I can think of for him was that he was suffering from the beginnings of dementia.

I remember, on occasion, racist words used in my presence as I mingled with family members. I remember an aunt who told me about how she’d been accused of racism by a former student when she taught high school. At the time, I was surprised. Then, months later, I heard the same aunt casually drop the n bomb in front of me. I heard racist jokes from uncles and cousins, and we all laughed because they were “normal” in my family.

Then, in the mid 1990s, I joined the Peace Corps and left Virginia for Armenia, a country that was once part of the Soviet Union. I met different people from the United States and from other countries. I became exposed to people we used to collectively call “commies”, most of us not knowing the first thing about communism or socialism or the people who lived within those regimes.

Granted, the media and entertainment industries didn’t help. In the United States back in the 80s, Eastern Bloc and Soviet countries were routinely referred to as evil and oppressive. In fact, I specifically remember an episode of Fame, one of my favorite shows back in the day, about a pretty blonde Czech student who had come to New York to study for a month. The principal, Mr. Morloch, says “You’re in a free country now, little lady…” as if she should be thrilled to be in America, even though she’s followed by minders who make sure she doesn’t try to defect. Naturally, she falls in love with Chris Donlon, an American guy who tries to save her from communism.

My time in Armenia forever changed me. My world view was broadened significantly and it seemed like I couldn’t unring the bell. Now, when I am exposed to certain people in my family, I wonder how it is that we’re related. One of my cousins has been spewing some pretty offensive stuff lately. What’s shocking to me is that he’s still a young man. His father is my first cousin… and his grandfather was my uncle, a wonderful, kind, affectionate man. Yet somehow, I’m still sharing the same genes as a guy who seems to be trying desperately to minimize the horror of George Floyd’s public execution by cop last week and the ensuing protests…

Here are a few recent posts by him. He seems very much entrenched in the conservative mindset and despite his protests, is kind of subtly oozing racist proclivities:

He’s definitely not the only one in my family to display this attitude; he just happens to be the most recent one to do so publicly. In his defense, I know where it comes from. My family is from the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, which is full of people who were steeped in old style values. Although most people in my family have either been in the military or went to college or both, I wouldn’t say most of them are travelers. They place a lot of stock on “family values” and protestantism. Most people in my family are Presbyterians, at least on my dad’s side. I don’t know nearly as much about my mom’s side, although I think they’re more liberal– that wouldn’t be hard, though. They’re good people, but they are very much stuck in this way of thinking, and they are not flexible.

I often wonder what they would be like if they spent time out of the southern United States among people who aren’t like them. Would they experience the same “awakening” I did? I’m not saying I’m the world’s most “woke” person, because I’m definitely not, but I can’t support Donald Trump as president. He’s inhumane, racist, and power hungry. I can’t blame George Floyd for being killed last week, even if he didn’t have a clean rap sheet. George Floyd allegedly tried to pass off a counterfeit twenty dollar bill. He didn’t deserve to be tortured and killed for that offense. I think the fact that he supposedly went to Minneapolis to “make a new start” is irrelevant. In fact, if anything, I think his decision to try to start anew is admirable.

There was a time when I had a similarly narrow view. I grew up in a small, conservative, predominantly white, southern town. Many of the people I knew when I was growing up are a lot like my relatives. They are good, decent, hardworking, salt of the earth type people. But they also steadfastly support Donald Trump and his ilk as world leaders. And when someone like George Floyd gets publicly executed by a cop, they try to excuse it.

I used to be much like that myself. What changed me was leaving that environment and being among other people with different perspectives. I’m glad I did this with my life, but now I can’t relate to my family anymore, because I am no longer with them politically or religiously. Some of my friends make me feel uncomfortable. I remember them as wonderful folks, but cringe as they proudly defend Trump and people like Derick Chauvin.

On the other hand, just last week, I defended Amy Cooper, and a lot of people would disagree with me about that. However, I don’t see that situation as the same as this one. I do think people should be able to call the police if they need help, even if other people don’t feel the call is justified. BUT– I feel even more strongly that the police should try their best to do their jobs without killing people. There is NO REASON George Floyd should be dead today. It doesn’t matter if he has a checkered past, and to be honest, I didn’t bother reading the link to see why Floyd needed a “new start” in Minneapolis. I don’t think it matters. What matters is the day he died. He was not a threat to anyone on that day, in that situation. He shouldn’t have been killed by a cop.

I have an uncle who, for years, used to send me racist spam in my email. He was always one of my favorite people. I love him very much, even today. But we haven’t spoken since early 2017, because he kept sending me racist/politically conservative Trump loving spam and I finally asked him to stop. I was relatively respectful at first, but then he called me a “liberal nutcase”. I proceeded to tell him off, including using the word “fuck”. He became enraged and sent me an angry response that was much like the spew I would hear from my dad when he was angry and drunk. It really brought back some horrible memories… and now, I don’t think I want to see my uncle again. I probably won’t see him, because he’s in his 80s and I have no plans to visit Virginia anytime soon. That makes me sad, because I still have some great memories of growing up with him as my uncle. But I can’t abide naked racism on display, especially since he’s not the kind of person with whom one can have a civilized discussion. He has a tendency to argue a point to the death and doesn’t consider the other side.

Fortunately for my family, I don’t think my empty seat at the Thanksgiving table is particularly missed anymore. Last year, when one of my beloved uncles had a stroke and later died, I found out about it on Facebook from a friend of my cousins. No one thought to tell me about it. Their excuse was that they told my sister to tell me. I used to feel very close to these people, but none of them thought enough of me to send me an email or a private message on Facebook. Maybe they see me as a defective member of the gene pool for turning out liberal…

I’m not the only one, by the way. I have another cousin who is a black sheep because he’s not only liberal, but gay. We often commiserate. Last time he went home to see his father– same guy who sent me racist videos and emails– he got into an argument with him about racism and homophobia and was turned out of the house in the middle of the night. This was in November in rural Virginia, so it wasn’t like he could go to a hotel with ease. So much for a loving and supportive family, right? Only if you think and act the way they do…

It occurs to me that this may be why I relate so well to ex Mormons. People who leave the LDS church, particularly when they are members of families with a long history and heritage in the church, are generally very brave individuals who can’t unring the bell. They can’t align with the church anymore, so they strike out on their own. They get ostracized and ridiculed and shunned… and they often turn out to be very interesting and empathetic people who can relate to others.

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rants, religion

What would Jesus tweet?

This morning, I woke up to more news about fiery riots in cities across America. My heart sank as I looked at the pictures and videos of people protesting George Floyd’s horrifying death at the hands of Derek Chauvin, a white police officer with whom Floyd used to work a security detail at a Minneapolis night club. In the wake of Floyd’s death by cop, Chauvin has been arrested and charged with third degree murder and manslaughter, and his wife, Kellie Chauvin, has filed for divorce.

A news item about this…

As I scrolled past that news, I noticed an item about Jerry Falwell, Jr., conservative Christian president of Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, and big time Trump supporter. It’s no secret that Falwell is no fan of liberals, and he’s not a fan of being ordered to wear a face mask. To protest Virginia Governor Ralph Northam’s order that everyone wear a mask in public, Mr. Falwell has decided to turn his into a political statement. He has a mask that has a picture of Northam’s infamous blackface yearbook photo on it and shared it on Twitter.

Wow… really? This does not seem very “Christlike”, Jerry.

A black professor who taught online for Liberty University has already resigned over Falwell’s racist tweets. Dr. Christopher House, who began teaching for Liberty University in the fall of 2019, is an associate professor at Ithaca College in Ithaca, New York, and is also a pastor. Dr. House was alerted to Falwell’s tweets by a friend and cited two of them as he immediately resigned his affiliation with Liberty University.

Dr. House’s resignation letter, which was also posted on Facebook.

Frankly, coming from Virginia myself, I’m surprised that anyone holds Liberty in esteem. When I was a teenager looking at colleges, I would not have considered Liberty, even if I had been religious enough to want to attend a Christian college. Back then, it was not considered a very prestigious school. However, over the past few decades, the school has grown by leaps and bounds, apparently mostly due to its online programs. When I was in graduate school, I knew that online and distance learning were going to be waves of the future, even as some of my professors were against it. My graduate school, the University of South Carolina, was an early pioneer in distance education. Looks like Liberty has cashed in on online education and that’s why it has so much power today. When I was in college, the idea of a professor from Ithaca College could teach remotely to students in Virginia was like something out of a science fiction novel.

But anyway… while I completely understand why so many people in Virginia are chafing at being required to wear face masks, I think Jerry Falwell, Jr.’s decision to provoke more of a racial divide is just reprehensible and disgusting. Now, especially, is NOT the time to race bait anyone. Not while the country is going crazy with riots over the unjustified killing of a black man by a white former cop. It is shocking to me that Jerry Falwell, Jr. considers himself a Christian with this type of behavior. This is definitely NOT Christlike behavior, nor is it appropriate leadership. As Dr. House says, Jerry Falwell, Jr. should repent.

Falwell says that the masks are not meant to be racist. He says he created them as a means of reminding people of who Northam is– that he’s a racist. Perhaps Governor Northam was guilty of racist behavior at one time, but people can evolve and change. I don’t think the Northam of the mid 1980s is the same Northam of 2020. It would be a sad world indeed if people couldn’t learn from their mistakes. Indeed, shouldn’t Falwell, as president of a Christian university, be championing the idea of learning and growing instead of being stuck on something from the past? Christians, in particular, should be open to the possibility that people can grow and be better than they once were. It’s one thing when a person is an asshole and continues to be an asshole. It’s quite another when a person was an asshole and makes an effort not to be one in the future.

It’s true that Governor Northam dressed up in blackface when he was in medical school, back in the mid 1980s. It was wrong of Northam to do that, although in the 80s, the culture was not nearly as sensitive to racism as it is today. Northam has evolved beyond his racist actions of the 80s and done a lot of good for the people of Virginia. My former shrink, a doctorate level clinical psychologist, knows Governor Northam personally and has done work with him on a professional basis, as Northam was a pediatric neurologist before he got into politics. He says Northam is an exemplary man and an excellent physician, despite making a poor choice to wear blackface in the 1980s. Seems to me that being a good Christian includes being forgiving and charitable to others.

It surprises me that Jerry Falwell, Jr. would fault Governor Northam for being politically incorrect by dressing in blackface. Falwell has said he appreciated our feckless dickheaded POTUS because he’s not politically correct. So… while I can understand why so many people hate the face masks and I can see why people are upset with Northam for being caught without one on the Virginia Beach Boardwalk, I also think that Jerry Falwell, Jr. is a terrible example of a “Christian”. He should be ashamed of himself, although I think that much like Trump, Falwell has no shame. Jesus would never tweet this shit, Jerry. Grow up and be a leader.

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disasters, Trump

The country is disintegrating…

It’s hard for me to fathom what is happening in the United States right now. I’m watching The New York Times updating at intervals as people violently react to George Floyd’s murder by cop. After I wrote yesterday’s post, I read about what happened in Floyd’s case. Prior to that, I had only seen the horrifying pictures of him slammed to the ground, hands cuffed behind him, begging for his life as Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin pressed his knee into his neck.

Chauvin’s knee remained on the helpless man’s neck for about eight minutes, causing him to die at age 46. Three other officers, Thomas Lane, Tou Thao and J. Alexander Kueng, were also at the scene. All four have been fired, and prosecutors are trying to determine whether or not to prosecute them.

I read that Mr. Floyd was arrested for allegedly trying to pass a counterfeit $20 bill. He lost his life over an allegedly fake $20 bill. Guys like Dylann Roof, a white supremacist who shot up Emmanuel AME church in Charleston, South Carolina on June 17, 2015 and killed nine innocent black people who simply wanted to worship, sit in prison awaiting death sentences that will take years to come. Meanwhile, George Floyd, who was never even convicted of the crime for which he was being arrested, dies at the scene of his arrest. George Floyd, who was known as a talented athlete and a “gentle giant”, was treated worse than an animal in the last minutes of his life.

People are understandably outraged. A police precinct in Minneapolis has been set on fire. Stores are being looted by angry people. Politicians struggle to do damage control. I’m sure some of them are as outraged as the public is, but the cynical side of me believes that they also want to be on the right side of history… and by right, I mean correct. Because right now, the “right” side of American politics is pretty ghastly. As the United States falls further and further into disrepute, Trump stokes the fires by saying things like “When the looting starts, the shooting starts,” and calling the protesters “thugs”.

I read this morning that Trump also retweeted a reprehensible comment by a group called “Cowboys for Trump”, who said that “a good Democrat is a dead one.” Trump thanked this group, as its leader, Couy Griffin clarified that he meant Democrats should only die in a “political sense”. But then, in an interview, Griffin basically accused Democratic governors Ralph Northam of Virginia and Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan of treason and said they should suffer the punishment that comes with treason. The punishment for treason is historically death, either by firing squad or hanging.

Meanwhile, anti-lockdown protesters in Kentucky hung an effigy of Democratic Governor Andy Beshear from a tree. The effigy bore a likeness to Beshear, as well as the slogan “Sic Semper Tyrannis”, which means “Thus always to tyrants”. That slogan is well known in history, as it was shouted by John Wilkes Booth in Ford Theater as he assassinated President Abraham Lincoln.

Sitting here in Germany, I feel pretty insulated from all that is happening. The coronavirus, while still a threat here, has been fairly well contained. People are cooperating with social distancing and mask wearing and any protests have been peaceful and relatively quiet. I don’t have to watch the news, since I don’t have local TV. I see what’s happening on social media and read about it in the news… I see photos and read comments from my friends who live in the United States. But from here, it just looks like a horror show from which I’m far removed, even though that’s my country that’s falling apart, and Donald Trump seems ever more hellbent on destroying it by signing new rules attempting to control social media from fact checking his continually ridiculous comments.

As awful as I thought it was when Donald Trump won the presidency in 2016, I never had a clue that it could get so bad so fast. I never thought I’d see the country go down in flames the way it has been, especially this year. And yet, people still champion him. I just don’t know what will happen if he wins in November. I genuinely fear that he will destroy the country. In fact, maybe he already has destroyed it. Do people not see that Trump is trying to act very much like a dictator? Emboldened by the fact that he survived impeachment, Trump is becoming more and more unhinged… and nothing is being done about it.

It really makes me scared and depressed. I worry about the future. Trump has made America hate again. He encourages people to protest against their state governments. He cheers on racism and white supremacy. He excuses his abuse of woman as “locker room talk” as he brags about sexually harassing them. And people still think he’s just awesome. What does he have to do before people open their eyes and see him for the vile person he is?

It’s just so incredibly sad…

Meanwhile, yesterday I decided to prune my social media list. Most of the people I deleted were people I either don’t talk to or have already deactivated their accounts. However, I did decide to unfriend one guy who posts almost nothing but political screeds against Trump or angry posts about an ex who left him in 1985. I’ve never met the guy, nor does he ever post on my stuff. I do have a friend, though, who decided to unfriend him because he had been inappropriate. She wrote that after she unfriended him he sent her a message basically chastising her for “kicking him in the teeth.”

Minutes after I did my pruning, he sent me a private message apologizing if it was “something he said.” I explained that I needed to avoid negative political posts for my mental health. His response was “I won’t bother you anymore. Goodbye.” Then, he blocked me. I guess he wasn’t really a friend, after all. A real friend would want me to preserve my mental health, right? Well… he’s still got over 1200 people who haven’t unfriended him yet. I’m sure he’ll still get his supply from them. What a nut!

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