condescending twatbags, politics, social media

Good riddance and GFY, “buddy”…

Today’s featured photo is a screenshot of signs seen posted in the United States. People are so delusional about Trump and his ilk. I don’t get it.

It always amazes me how quickly and easily people will sacrifice real life friendships and family relations over politics and religion. I’ve seen it happen repeatedly over the years, but ESPECIALLY since Donald Trump became our dear leader. In my 48 years on this planet, I have never seen a world leader as polarizing as he is. I have quit speaking to a lot of my family members over Trump (and they have quit speaking to me), and Bill has lost so-called “friends” because he isn’t a Trump supporter.

Trump has a lot of obnoxious cronies, too. One such man is Rush Limbaugh, who announced in February that he has lung cancer. I remember when the news came out, a lot of people were laughing and rejoicing about it. I wasn’t laughing or rejoicing, but I can’t say that I have a lot of sympathy for the man. I’ve been aware of him since the 1980s. My late father was a big fan of Rush’s radio show. I think Rush is an asshole, but that doesn’t mean I wish him ill. I just want him to go away.

Rush Limbaugh has made his name by being hateful and insulting. And yet our feckless leader has awarded him the Medal of Freedom and Trump supporters are shaming people for thinking Limbaugh kind of deserves what he’s getting… not just being sick, but being derided for being sick. As the “good book” says, “God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.

Anyway, ol’ Rush was in the news yesterday, saying that his lung cancer is “terminal”. A recent picture of him was included with the CNN article. Rush is looking pretty gaunt. I wouldn’t have recognized him.

My husband, who is a lot less temperamental and outspoken than I am and almost never posts on Facebook, shared this comment in response to the news:

I know what I’m about to say is the result of unskilled thinking, but this appears to be an example of Karmic Justice. The organ used to spew years of hate, vitriol, and self-centeredness will be his undoing.

I see nothing in this comment that rejoices in Rush’s ill health or impending death. I see no derision or mean-spiritedness. It’s just a simple and truthful observation. It seems almost fitting that Rush would get lung cancer, since his lungs have made it possible for him to spread his negativity for decades over the airwaves. But… as to the actual cause of Rush Limbaugh’s illness, I don’t know. It probably has nothing to do with karma and more to do with bad luck and bad habits.

A few minutes after Bill posted this comment, he got this response from a man he knew thirty years ago. This guy was a non-commissioned officer in the Army and someone Bill had always liked and respected.

Bill when did you become such a bad person? I really do not want to see your filth end up on my screen so I guess it’s adios buddy.

And then he unfriended Bill.

Well… I must admit that comment flipped my bitch switch. I don’t usually feel the need to take action on Bill’s behalf, but it was getting close to bedtime and I am really fed up with hypocritical people who follow people like Donald Trump and Rush Limbaugh and then have the nerve to call my husband a “bad person” for making a valid observation on HIS own space. So I sent Bill’s ex friend a private message:

“Nice that you unfriended my husband for speaking his mind on his page. I am glad you unfriended him. Go fuck yourself.”

He did respond to me, but I didn’t bother to read what he had to say. I’m sure it was the usual tripe spewed by these types of mouth breathing fuckwits… a sarcastic remark like “Wow, classy!” He probably followed it with some mansplaining comment that I’ve read and heard a hundred times before from people like him, including my own father. Instead of reading more of that shit, I blocked him, because I have enough people like him in my life. I don’t know him at all, but I do know Bill, and I KNOW he is one of the most decent, kind-hearted, loving men ever. And he’s brave, too, because for thirty years, he put on a uniform and put up with self-righteous dickheads like his ex “friend”, running their mouths about the virtues of capitalistic Republican politics while they worked in what is actually a very socialist “government run” career.

Another one of Bill’s Trump/Limbaugh supporting friends shared this… You have the nerve to lecture people about not being hateful when you publicly support two men who regularly insult and abuse anyone who doesn’t kiss their enormous Big Mac built fat asses? Get the fuck out of here with that.

Seriously… if you’ve served in the military and get free health care for yourself and your family, live in government owned quarters (which not everyone does, but enough do), buy food at the commissary (again, not everyone does), and accept educational benefits paid for by taxes, then you are not so much against socialism, are you? Because when you’re in the military, the government pretty much owns your ass… and potentially your family’s asses, too, depending on whether or not your spouse chooses to live with you as you are moved from place to place for years on end.

While the military lifestyle is not for everyone, and not everyone who’s served makes it a career, enough people are fine with the conditions. The benefits and perks, especially for retirees, and all paid for by taxes, are pretty damned sweet. And I have yet to meet anyone in the military or a military retiree who would willingly give them up, although I am sure there are people out there who would. I do remember reading, several years ago, an op-ed written by a retired officer named Tom Slear who felt his military benefits were too generous. I also remember the outraged comments left for him by his “brothers-in-arms” who basically had the same sentiment for him that I did for Bill’s former “friend”. To be clear, I don’t fault veterans for having these generous government provided benefits and enjoying them. They have certainly EARNED them. But those taxpayer sponsored benefits aren’t exactly stellar examples of the Republican ideal, are they?

Bill was very dismayed that he lost a “friend” over his comment about Limbaugh. Like I said, this was a guy Bill knew early in his military career and for whom he’d had much regard and respect. The guy who posted the comment wasn’t really a friend, though. They were connected on Facebook, sure, but it’s not like they interacted a lot. And by doing what he did, he revealed his true lowlife character. Seems to me he could have just quietly unfriended or unfollowed, rather than resorting to publicly insulting my husband. That would have been the decent thing to do. Instead, he calls my husband a “bad person” and accuses him of spreading “filth”. Well, it may be unbecoming and unladylike of me to tell him to go fuck himself, but that is precisely what I think he should do. Clearly, he’s not grown up enough to hang out with adults on social media.

This was Bill’s very gentlemanly response to his friends… he only has 77 of them at this writing. He really doesn’t post on Facebook much, and when he does, he’s a lot more respectful than I am:

So I was just unfriended for being “such a bad person” for expressing myself on my own space. Any other takers? You might as well get it over with. Honestly though, I try really hard to respect your space. Why is it so hard to respect mine?

Ironically, earlier tonight I was reflecting on Dr. Manhattan’s words in “Watchmen”. “I’m tired of this earth, these people.”

Are these the words of a “bad person”? I think not. And if you’re a military veteran who truly supports freedom, then it’s beyond hypocritical to shame people for speaking their minds. I may not wish ill on Rush Limbaugh, although he probably deserves the derision he’s getting, but I kind of hope Bill’s ex “friend” falls into an open manhole. I don’t want him to get sick or die, I just want someone or something to knock some sense into him.

And RUSH got the Medal of Freedom? I think Michael J. Fox should get it.

I don’t like hypocrites, and I’m really tired of Trump and his cronies, to include self-absorbed loudmouths like Limbaugh who egg on divisiveness and spew hatred. I don’t wish for death and illness for most people because that’s not the decent thing to do, but if someone is nasty and hateful and becomes terminally ill, they probably shouldn’t expect a lot of sympathy. Pointing that out does not make someone “bad”; it makes them astute. And if you’re too dumb to see that, and want to publicly unfriend your old friends, then good fucking riddance. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

Standard
politics, Trump

Pissing off my friends and family, one meme at a time…

Okay… actually, I don’t have that many friends and family who are Trump fans and still follow me. This year has really been a test on many levels. The stress of the pandemic, along with the political shitstorm, has made it harder to stay “friends” with people who differ with me politically. I just don’t have the time for the bullshit. But that doesn’t mean I don’t still see it sometimes.

A few years ago, I kicked a couple of my cousins off my Facebook page because they would not stop confronting me about my “liberal” views. I don’t really consider myself a liberal, per se. I’m for decency, fairness, and rational thinking. I do have some liberal views, particularly when it comes to social issues. But I also have some conservative leanings. I’m really more of a centrist than anything else, and in the past, voted Republican more often than Democrat. I cannot forgive the Republicans for Trump and Mitch McConnell, though, and as the years have passed, I find myself less and less willing to vote red.

Seriously…

A couple of my cousins refuse to respect the political views of those who don’t think the way they do. They are condescending and overbearing, and I can’t bear to talk to them anymore, even on Facebook. So they had to go… but I’m still friends with people who are friends with them, and I still see their heavy handed condescension toward the precious few liberals in the family.

I swear, Trump could run stark naked down Pennsylvania Avenue, shoot a dozen Black people in the head while fucking half a dozen underaged prostitutes who are also giving him golden showers, and people would still champion him! I don’t understand it. Is it JUST because he’s a “Republican”? Because he’s really not. He never was.

Trump would probably wear these.

People in my family are, by and large, extremely conservative. I have noticed that a few folks have gone to the left, but it’s mostly dyed in the wool red at the ol’ homestead. These folks are basically really good people, but they have cognitive dissonance when it comes to their politics. And they fucking LOVE Donald Trump! One of my very conservative cousins has a daughter who is refreshingly open-minded and, dare I say it? She’s a liberal, and a couple of my relatives can’t stand it. I suspect that since my liberal relative is still quite young, they feel emboldened to browbeat her for her views.

So my liberal first cousin, once removed, has been posting a lot of liberal stuff on her Facebook page. And my cousin– who is her uncle– has been taking her to task much the same way he used to take me to task before I kicked him and his brother (my liberal cousin’s dad) off my page. I have been really tempted to chime in on the discussion because I want to offer support. But then I remember how frustrating and pointless talking with him is and I decide not to. Instead, I give her supportive reactions as I inwardly groan at how offensive his comments are and how sad it is that he has so little respect for an obviously bright, ethical, and humane person.

This cousin, by the way, is the same one who won’t write the word “shit”. He thinks that calling shit “shot” makes him a better person. He is overbearing, argumentative, obnoxious, and bigoted. When I was younger, he seemed like a “strong” person, protective and caring. Now, he just seems like a control freak who can’t respect smart women. It saddens me how dumb he seems to me now, despite his attempt at using big words and his smug, patronizing air.

So when I saw today’s featured photo in the Duggar Family News group, I decided to share it. Not surprisingly, it resonated with a lot of my friends, some of whom also shared it. One friend shared it and immediately offended her Republican friends, who can’t see that supporting a man like Donald Trump makes people question how Christian they really are. More than one of them brought up abortion, which always boggles my mind. If you are truly pro-life, why would you support a man who is doing his very best to fuck up the world for all the babies they want to force to be born?

Listen… there is NO doubt in my mind that Trump has paid for abortions. If he hasn’t paid for them, then he has been supportive of women who get them when they are convenient for him. Donald Trump is a well-known philanderer. It is a fact that he cheats on his wives, and that means he has sex with women to whom he’s not married. How do Christians reconcile the fact that Trump does these things?

Last week, a Christian explained to me that God is using Trump to do “great” things. Really? Is this really just about abortion? I don’t get it. The Jesus Christ that I learned about in Sunday School was about helping the sick, the downtrodden, the poor… and anyone else who needed love, understanding, kindness, and acceptance. What I mostly see among “Christian” Republicans is judging, slut shaming, and an “I’ve got mine; screw you!” attitude. Oh, and they like their guns, too… They’ve got a real problem with a woman terminating a pregnancy– ending the life of an unconscious, undeveloped fetus who has no concept of life or death– but they want their goddamned guns! They have this attitude, even though so many very young people who aren’t so long out of the womb have been killed by guns!

So anyway, my friend who shared the featured photo got two comments from men about abortion. And since it was late and I’d had my wine, I responded thusly…

…until the Republicans champion policies that make pregnancy and childcare feasible for all women, rather than just slut shaming, I really think this particular argument needs to go away. Moreover, men cause 100% of unintended pregnancies anyway… and they are a hell of a lot more potentially prolific than women are.

The guy came back with this comment:

how in the world does that equate to NOT being in favor of killing babies…….. because YOU wouldn’t do it but you’re ok with someone else doing it?

I’m in favor if the moms life is in jeopardy and in rape…… certainly not because someone didn’t “plan” it

I respectfully will not go on after this because you are right, we could go on for days. But to insinuate that Republicans are not Christians is laughable at best, insulting and misleading at worst……… let he who is without sin cast the first stone.

I have a problem with those who have “situational ethics”. If you want to grant personhood to a fetus, I don’t see how you can make the argument that abortion would be okay in certain situations. A fetus that is conceived due to rape and incest is just as innocent as an accidentally conceived fetus is. So if you’re against abortion for someone who didn’t plan it– because you think it’s murder— I don’t see how you could ever excuse it in any situation.

Fortunately, I disagree that abortion is murder. I do think there are situations in which it’s better and even kinder to terminate a pregnancy than carry a fetus to term. I always think that all people should have the right to privacy, especially when it comes to their healthcare. And since I do think the mother’s life should supersede the developing fetus’s, I think abortion should remain safe and legal– especially when we have immoral dickheads like Donald Trump in charge. So I responded with this comment:

Honestly, if you support a man who brags about grabbing women by their pussies, you kinda lose some of that moral highground… especially since Trump has a history of molesting women and teenagers. I get being conservative, but there comes a point when you really need to assess your candidate to see if he’s actually championing your ideals. I would bet money Trump has paid for abortions because he has a long and very public history of molesting women and, in fact, even brags about it.

As for abortion, when you can get pregnant and it’s your health, livelihood, and reputation on the line, I will be more interested in what you have to say. As it is now, men will never have to personally face the abortion decision and too many of them simply want to control women, yet do nothing to help when those babies arrive. So I will remain pro choice, and thank God that I will soon be beyond being personally affected by whether or not abortion is legal.

I would not want to see pregnant people turned into vessels with rights and privileges that change because they are pregnant. If we are going to force women to give birth, we have to give them what they need to make raising a child feasible. We have to make sure they have adequate housing, healthcare, nutritious food, transportation, and education. And since Republicans are not about providing those things– because that’s too “socialist” for them– then I think we must allow women to do what is best for themselves. Especially since so many men have little thought for what might happen after they deposit their sperm.

A single man can theoretically get hundreds of women pregnant every year. A woman gets pregnant and she’s going to be busy gestating for nine months and will presumably have just one (maybe two) babies. Why are so many people concerned with controlling what women do with their bodies? And how many of these folks have adopted the children who have already been born and need homes? Why is it any of their fucking business what a woman does with her body? Particularly since so few of the pro-life crowd care about what happens after the baby is born?

Either way, I don’t see how Trump really squares with the truly Christian crowd. He doesn’t behave like a Christian. But then, neither do a lot of the so-called religious role models out there. I’m thinking of people like Paula White, Josh Duggar, and Jerry Falwell, Jr. Smug, rich, white people who like power and money and preach about what Jesus would do, but they don’t actually follow Christ’s teachings are not impressive to me.

So I will continue to share offensive memes for my brave Christian friends who are surrounded by Trump supporters. They can put them on their Facebook pages and start shitstorms of their own. Maybe one or two of those right wingers will get a clue. You want to be Republican and Christian? Fine… start demanding that your representatives act like Christians should act. Otherwise, you’re just a massive hypocrite who has imbibed too much of the proverbial Kool-Aid and had your head swirled by cognitive dissonance. As Trump would say, “It’s not a good look”.

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condescending twatbags, language, politics

“Christians” who follow Trump. Seems like an oxymoron… emphasis on “moron”.

Apologies to my dear friend, whose page hosted the topic of today’s post. Also, I hope she doesn’t mind that I cursed in a post her Christian friend read.

I got into a short online spat with someone last night. It wasn’t a very serious spat, mainly because I didn’t take the guy’s comments seriously. Unfortunately, I have gotten to the point at which I tune out most people who are staunch Trump supporters. As each day passes, I find myself with decreasing patience for people who still champion Trump, especially when they profess to be Christians.

A very dear friend of mine shared today’s featured photo. Although I agree with it, I wasn’t going to comment. I usually don’t comment on such things on Facebook, because they lead to pointless arguments with people I don’t know or care about, and then I end up getting upset, although I usually end up with a pretty good blog topic for the next morning. But Bill has been away on business and I was bored and completely sober.

So anyway, I came across my friend’s photo and happened to read the responses. The first was by a male Christian friend of hers who supports Trump. He chastised my friend for “painting with a broad brush”. This was his comment:

Be very careful now! You are getting ready to cross lines that shouldn’t be crossed. I support Trump as President. My faith in the Lord is colorblind and non political. You are using a broad brush my old friend and becoming what you say you are against. I know plenty of people that support Trump that are none of those things. I know plenty of democrats that aren’t socialist and believe in the Lord too. You might want to rethink sharing this post. Just saying.

A mutual friend of ours left an astonished and amused response.

Uh, you support Trump and are warning people about “crossing lines”???!!! OMG, that is PRICELESS. 😂😂😂

When I read the first comment, I just felt tired and annoyed. So I wrote, “I’m so tired of Trump supporters.” And I am. I’m just really tired of them. I’m tired of seeing and hearing Trump and reading headlines about his depressing, trolling comments. I’m tired of watching people in the United States cheer on Trump as others languish or die of gun violence, police brutality, and COVID-19. I’m tired of hearing people praise Trump’s non-sensical gibberish. But I am ESPECIALLY tired of so-called Christians who give Trump respect, support, and a PASS on his bad behavior, when Trump is about as Christian as a broken cattle prod.

And I’m really sick of Trump supporters claiming that liberals are “socialists” or even that socialism is a terrible thing. The vast majority of them don’t even know what socialism is and are only parroting stuff they’ve heard from equally ignorant people who also don’t know, as they collect their government benefits and rely on publicly supported entities like schools, fire stations, public health offices, and police departments. They often confuse socialism with communism, which also isn’t in and of itself a “bad” thing. Communism doesn’t work too well, but it’s not evil. It’s just flawed, much like capitalism is.

I wasn’t going to comment again, but the original poster’s Christian Trump loving friend came back and left a “polite” response. Well, I suppose it was polite. He’s above using cuss words.

that’s what I mean! Very careful how you batch folks into groups. I never said anything negative about anyone and the only thing you had to come back with was negative. Now let’s talk about character here? Be very careful because we are all being judged. I care for A. I don’t know who you ladies are but I would suggest some soul searching. This time think a little before you come in to our conversation with a snappy comeback. It sounds as though you are not being very receptive to other people’s opinions and you are casting stones when you yourselves live in glass houses. Isn’t that one of the things you say you don’t like about President Trump? I’ll pray for you both.

Sigh… Seriously guy? Save your prayers for the country. The country needs your prayers much more than I do. Many individuals who are out of work, homeless, facing deportation and separation from their children, sick and dying, or drowning in debt need prayers more than I do. I’m doing pretty well, mainly because I am not living in the United States right now. Against my better judgment, I left a response.

I don’t like Trump because he’s a wannabe dictator and a rapist. There is ample evidence of it that dates back from before A, E, and I were born. And I’m tired of Trump supporters because they refuse to see what is right in front of them. He is not your garden variety conservative, you know.  

As for your prayers, you should save them for the country and the many people who are suffering and dying under Trump’s cruel, self-serving, and downright stupid policies. It’s going straight down the toilet.

The Trump supporting Christian wrote this in response:

America will never go down the toilet. The troubles we are having are because we the people have allowed the liberal, progressive politicians run our country for far too long. We are taking it back and that’s with President Trumps help. He knows he works for us and that’s the difference. Obama, Biden, Pelosi, Schumer , etc. think we work for them. We will see where we stand in a few weeks and what the next step is in taking our country back. I will continue to pray for you and thank you for your thoughts👍

I thought about telling him, again, to save his prayers for people who want and need them. Thoughts and prayers don’t do jack shit for people who have lost their homes to uncontrolled wildfires, wind damage wrought by tornados, and flooding caused by hurricanes. Trump doesn’t care about those people, either, nor does he care about those who are giving their health and even their lives to help people in crisis. Trump would rather golf and eat a fucking cheeseburger… and then maybe fuck someone, other than his wife, that he thinks is pretty, although he may not be able to get it up as well as he once did.

But I did leave our Trump supporting friend a comment. It was a provocative one. I don’t usually go this low, but I just felt frustrated and irritated, especially by the guy’s patronizing tone toward me. I’m beyond tired of it.

you have really drunk the conservative KKKool-Aid, haven’t you? Well… we’ll see what the future holds. I am sure many Germans had similar love for Hitler.

Another friend from our hometown, a Black man I’ve known since the fourth grade, was pretty shocked and (I suspect) delighted by that comment. And he left me a hearty response which made me laugh.

Damn! It is not necessary to put both feet in his ass when one is sufficient! You are straight vicious!😂

Then our Trump loving Christian friend came back with this…

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. Look, no true Christian puts his faith in any person. I have as much Faith in President Trump as I do any President. When you look at the proof. He’s is getting done what he said he would do. That means he deserves another chance. If he wasn’t get it done then there wouldn’t be so many upset with him. No, I just think this is because he wasn’t supposed to win and the losing side is still angry. As for Religion and President Trump, the Lord has done his works through many people who weren’t perfect. None of us are.

I apologized, mainly to my dear friend, whose page was hosting this spectacle…

Sorry… I am just really fed up with willful ignorance and “thoughts and prayers”. I happen to live in a place where people have seen this very same shit happening. More than a few of them have mentioned the similarities. Watching the decay of the United States from afar is heartbreaking and scary, and I am tired of condescending platitudes from people who profess to be followers of Christ, yet support a racist rapist who doesn’t give two shits about anyone but himself.  

Generally speaking, I am not vicious at all. I really try to be open minded. But Trump is not like any other leader I have seen in my lifetime.

Then the Christian came back and complained about the language being used. SIGH… I really think God cares about things more important than swearing, like young women being shot by the police while sleeping in their beds. But this was his comment…

let’s not talk about feet and asses. I was trying to keep this above board. Opinions differ and that’s healthy. Why is it when someone hits a nerve foul language and courage through grammar starts? I know I’m right in my thinking because I’m living proof. I have a worked hard my entire life and achieved my wisdom through experience and hard knocks. I don’t get my facts through the liberal media and the lies they spread or some half wit professor paid to spread their socialistic nonsense. 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? The reason I commented to A was because you can’t lump Trump supporters as racists and hypocrites just like I can’t lump you in with thugs and criminals because you haven’t spoke out against the riots and attacks on the police. That would be right for me to do now would it?

My Black friend apologized for his “ass” comment and commended me for my “passion”. Then he asked me not to apologize because people like me give him hope. That made me feel good. But I also wanted to add a clarification, for the Christian guy, just to explain my references to the KKK and Hitler. In fact, if I thought it would do any good, I would also supply links to a couple of blog posts I wrote last year that illustrate why I think of the KKK and Hitler when I see someone doggedly and mindlessly supporting Trump. But I think I’ll just link them here for the curious, since I doubt he’d take the time to read.

Anyway, this was my latest post, and probably the last one I’ll write about this, since I have other things to do, like pluck the weird hairs from my chin and upper lip and clean the lint from my butt crack.

To be clear… I don’t think that we’re mimicking the Holocaust yet, nor do I think Trump is just like Hitler. I think he shares many leadership and personality qualities with Hitler and many people are reacting to him in much the same way Germans reacted to Hitler. Trump has also surrounded himself with charismatic toadies like Hitler did, and they are doing his bidding. And those who have read about history will be able to note the similarities. However, to my knowledge, there isn’t an actual genocide going on, which is a very good thing.  

People who support Donald Trump may call themselves Christians and they may not say or do the horrible things Trump has done. But by supporting him publicly and voting for him, they are telling the world that Trump’s reprehensible comments and actions toward women, minorities, disabled people, unattractive people, poor people, fat people, and anyone else who can’t do anything for him are totally okay. And that, in my book, makes his supporters very poor followers of Christ.

By the way, I highly doubt that God cares if H writes “ass” or I write “shit”. They’re just different words for things that everyone has and does. That’s another thing that bugs me about so-called Christians who support Trump. They’re much more concerned about policing other people’s language than they are about demanding decent behavior, competency, and proper decorum from elected officials. Trump also uses filthy language, including a well-known euphemism for vaginas. That’s keeping things above board, right?

Sigh… anyway, I think I’m done with that little online fracas. We have bigger fish to fry. Next weekend is going to be a whirlwind. We are planning to go pick up our new pooch. This was going to be a somewhat leisurely trip down to Slovenia and back by Monday. But a couple of days ago, Bill got a summons to court to serve as a witness. The hearing is taking place on the day we were planning to come back to Germany, and it requires travel to another state. So we’re going to have to rush back, and it’s going to be very exhausting and potentially frustrating, depending on traffic and border stops. With any luck, it will go off without a hitch, and we’ll have something to focus on besides politics, plagues, and police brutality.

However… I will admit that I enjoyed this little clip from yesterday’s news.

It was a little challenge to the protective bubble of followers who usually surround Trump. I got my ballot and voted ALL BLUE for the first time ever. Fuck Donald Trump.

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Military, modern problems, social media

Your shit stinks too…

I didn’t post any fresh content yesterday because I didn’t have anything on my mind that I was just burning to write about. Ever since I moved my blog from Blogspot, I’ve decided it’s better to post quality content over quantity. I realize that some readers may not think the content is necessarily better on this blog. I used to post less about politics and more about Mormonism and steplife issues than I do now. I no longer need to write as much about either of those topics, so I have noticed some formerly loyal readers have moved on. Some people used to like reading my posts about true crime. I do still write about that, but not as often. Maybe it’s because the president is a criminal and writing about him is kind of like writing about true crime, too.

As time passes, priorities change. Right now, I’m fixated more on politics than I’ve ever been. I used to not care at all about politics. Donald Trump changed that. I often like to say that good things can come out of almost every situation. Maybe one thing Trump has done is make people less complacent about their leadership. As people are less complacent about leadership, they also become more vocal about other issues.

Last night, I saw an article on Military Times about how Iraq War veteran Rep. Anthony Brown, D-Md. introduced a proposal to ban the display of the Confederate battle flag on all Department of Defense sites. Exceptions would be made for museum exhibits, state-approved license plates and grave sites of Confederate soldiers. However, the ban would include military work spaces, break rooms, living quarters, bumper stickers and personal apparel. Disobeying the order could lead to disciplinary action.

This measure comes up as the Marine Corps recently banned the display of the Confederate Battle flag. The Marine Corps’ decision was actually fresh news in April of this year, but it’s recently come up again as the Army has not followed suit. Ten Army installations are named after Confederate generals and many servicemembers, particularly those who are from southern states, identify the “rebel flag” as a symbol of regional pride and their heritage.

The battle flag issue also coincides with the Black Lives Matter movement, which has been raging for the past few weeks as people have been protesting police brutality toward people of color as well as the general issue of racism that still pervades American culture so many years after the Civil War ended. There have been lots of protests and riots, but I’ve also noticed some good conversations amid ridiculous displays of false bravado. I’m sure a lot of people reading this post have seen the pictures of St. Louis lawyer Mark McCloskey and his wife, Patricia, in their bare feet as they brandished weapons outside of their historic mansion. McCloskey claims that he and his wife were frightened for their lives as they pointed loaded weapons at about 500 protesters on their way to St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson’s house.

I only know what I’ve read in the news and seen in pictures. For all I know, Mr. and Mrs. McCloskey really were terrified for their lives. However, if the crowd was really that huge, it seems like the McCloskeys’ two guns wouldn’t be enough to stave them off for long if the crowd actually threatened them with violence. If it came down to it, maybe the McCloskeys would have managed to pick off a few people before they were overcome by the huge mass of people. Moreover, in the photos I’ve seen, the McCloskeys don’t look especially frightened. They look angry and aggressive. But I will grant that I wasn’t there and I’m not them, so what they were actually feeling and experiencing, I don’t know.

After I read the Military Times article, I read some of the Facebook comments. I noticed one posted by a German woman. I knew she was German by her first name, Hannelore, but she also identified herself as such when she rather smugly pointed out that Germans are doing better because Nazi symbols such as the swastika are illegal to display in Germany (unless it’s part of an art exhibit or civic education).

I have noticed this self-congratulatory attitude quite often among many Europeans, but especially Germans. They are quite proud of themselves for confronting their past history and trying to make amends. And I would be the first to congratulate them for doing that. I do think it’s admirable that Germans are not afraid to express their shame regarding their not so distant Nazi past. However, just because they’ve banned Nazi symbols, that doesn’t mean there isn’t a problem with racism in Germany. Moreover, I have actually seen the Confederate flag displayed in parts of Europe. So far, I’ve seen it in Italy, Ireland, and Germany. In fact, there’s a Harley-Davidson garage in the very next village that has recently had a “rebel flag” prominently displayed.

This flag is in the village next to where we live here in Germany. Harley-Davidson is an American brand, but this flag is flying here on German land. Or, at least it was a year ago. I haven’t recently checked to see if it still is.

So I pointed this out to Hannelore, who came back at me with vehement defensiveness. She pointed out that it’s not illegal to display the rebel flag in Germany. That may be so– and, in fact, it’s not illegal in the United States to display the rebel flag or swastikas, though that may soon change in the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement. However, even in America, if you display one of those symbols, it says something about you. I wouldn’t say most Americans would be alright with a business displaying a swastika, whether or not it’s “legal”. And although I do recall seeing businesses in the Deep South flying the rebel flag, nowadays it’s not a particularly smart business move.

Another German woman piped up, claiming that the Confederate flags were brought to Germany by American G.I.s. But even if that’s true, it’s not like Germans don’t have access to the Internet. It’s not like the owner of the Harley-Davidson garage in Wallau, who is mostly likely German or a resident of the European Union, doesn’t have access to information about the Confederate flag and what it stands for… or what it means to many, especially black, Americans.

I remember this ad from 1981 very well. It aired all the time when I was about 9 years old. Funny thing is, the actors who played Bo and Luke Duke weren’t even from the South.
And one from 1982…

I don’t think less of Germany or Germans because I’ve seen the Confederate battle flag displayed here. It doesn’t necessarily mean the same thing to Europeans as it does to Americans. They don’t have the same history with that flag that Americans have, just as many Americans don’t have the same history with the swastika that Germans have. Moreover, it really hasn’t been that long that the Confederate flag was that controversial. I grew up in the southern United States seeing that flag everywhere, not just in my neighborhood and at school, but also on television.

When I was a child, one of the most popular shows on prime time television was The Dukes of Hazzard, which featured a 1969 Dodge Charger with a rebel flag on the roof dubbed “The General Lee”. The show was so popular that there were toys, games, and other merchandise sold everywhere– I remember having a Dukes of Hazzard TV tray (exactly like the one pictured) and a board game based on the show. I seem to remember McDonald’s even had Dukes of Hazzard themed Happy Meals for sale. The 1980s may seem like ages ago to younger people, but I remember that time well, and I’m still under 50.

I got this game for Christmas one year. I don’t remember playing it more than once or twice. Looks like Ideal didn’t include the stars and bars on top of the General Lee.

I went to graduate school at the University of South Carolina in Columbia. I had an apartment on campus and could see the Statehouse from my window. In 1999, when I began my studies there, the Confederate flag still flew on the Statehouse dome. I watched from my window and on CNN as the flag was finally lowered on July 1, 2000, only to be moved to the Statehouse grounds, where it remained until just five years ago. Republican Governor Nikki Haley ordered it moved to a museum after white supremacist Dylann Roof shot up a church in Charleston, killing nine black church members. As of July 10, 2020, it will have been just five years since the flag was moved… and the United States still has a state that includes the battle flag on its state flag, although it looks like Mississippi has finally decided to change their state flag to one that is more acceptable for modern times. Georgia also used to have a Confederate symbol on its state flag, but that changed in 2001.

I also remember that when I was in graduate school, Maurice’s Piggie Park, a South Carolina barbecue chain restaurant, had Confederate flags in front of its locations. I believe Maurice Bessinger has died since I left South Carolina and his descendants have taken down the flags. But I didn’t finish grad school until 2002. That’s still less than twenty years ago.

An episode of Alice that aired in the 1980s. Boss Hogge and Enos of The Dukes of Hazzard paid a visit to Mel’s Diner, which was decked out with little Confederate flags.

Many people are changing their hearts and minds about the prominent display of racist symbols like monuments and flags, but meaningful change takes time. Some people will never change their minds, and we’ll just have to wait until they pass on to the next existence. The United States is also a much younger country than Germany is. It’s only existed for a mere few hundred years, and there are bound to be “growing pains”. Germany has a much longer history and has already had a lot of growing pains. Moreover, while Germans don’t display the swastika because of their deep shame regarding Hitler’s era, the fact that some Germans embrace the Confederate battle flag tells me that they’re not necessarily any “better” than Americans are. However, to their credit, they do seem to be willing to check themselves when their hypocrisy is pointed out.

Hannelore and I managed to end our discussion on a friendly note, especially when I told her that I’m grateful to be in Germany, especially right now. I’ve been extremely fortunate to have had this opportunity to experience living abroad. I have really loved living here, and have made some friends and memories I hope will last for many years to come. But racism is a worldwide problem. It’s not just a U.S. problem. And just because swastikas are banned in Germany, that doesn’t mean that there isn’t a problem with race based hatred here.

I told a German friend about my conversation with Hannelore and another German lady last night, and how they claimed that the battle flag was introduced by American G.I.s. My German friend, who is a research superstar, provided me with a link to a German news article about how the Confederate flag is being embraced in East Germany, particularly by bikers and truckers. There’s a great love of 19th century North American culture in the east… and there are no American G.I.s posted there. They love cowboys, line dancing, and yes, some of them love the Confederate flag, which is less of a cowboy thing from out west than it is a southern thing. I think sometimes Germans forget how huge the United States is. Yes, Texas is considered a southern state, but it’s a different kind of southern, particularly as you head west, into the newer part of the country.

When we lived in Germany the first time, there was even a (laughable) American style restaurant near where we lived, which featured the German interpretation of American style Old West food and decor. It was once called Sitting Bull, but when we were there, it was known as “Buffalo Bill’s Saloon”. That restaurant eventually closed down, but I seem to remember there were two flags flying in front of it. One was a German flag… the other was American, I think. Bill used to get very upset every time he saw it, because it was extremely threadbare and worn. As a Soldier, he wanted to retire it properly. We ate there once or twice and it didn’t necessarily satisfy our cravings for American style barbecue. But it was fun seeing the western style decor. I don’t remember if it included Confederate flags, although it does seem that some Germans think the Confederate flag is an Old West thing. It’s really more of a southeastern US thing, which isn’t necessarily cowboy land.

Anyway… I’d really like to see people focus on being less hateful and judgmental all the way around. I think that significant progress toward equality can’t come until people have honest discussions with each other and learn to be more accepting of visible differences while also understanding that, underneath it all, we really aren’t as different from each other as we think we are. We’re all made of the same stuff, and when it comes down to it, your shit stinks just as badly as mine does.

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rants

HYPER hyperbole… about last night…

Last night, I was feeling a bit overwhelmed. I’ve never made it a secret that I don’t like “call out culture”. I’m not a fan of publicly shaming people, even when it seems like they did something egregiously wrong. On my old blog, I frequently posted about how much I despise the “let’s make this bitch go viral” posts.

The main reason why I don’t like those kinds of posts is because sometimes, people get their facts wrong or simply don’t have all the facts. I suspect a lot of people also make erroneous assumptions about people or try to “mind read”. But I also think it’s wrong because the bad behavior that gets caught on camera or social media or anywhere else is always just a fraction of a person’s life. And yet, when people go into public shaming mode, reputations and lives can be ruined. Your moment of outrage about someone else’s decision to go against the grain, and the subsequent decision to spread it on social media, can be personally devastating to another person.

I don’t believe there are very many truly evil, horrible people in the world. I believe they do exist, but I think most people are trying to do their best with what they can. Moreover, I also believe most people are competent and know what works best for them. Most people are capable of reading, and they have normal cognitive ability which makes them able to make their own choices. Personally, I resent people telling me what to do, especially when I know they aren’t any more informed than I am, and a lot of them are mostly getting their information from memes. I gather they wouldn’t like for me to lecture them about what they should or shouldn’t be doing, either.

After hours of seeing post after post about the COVID-19 pandemic and multiple pleas, expressions of disgust and outrage, accusations of selfishness, name calling, and outright bullying, I decided to post that I’m tired of the pandemic shaming. Not surprisingly, the post caught on fire. I got some defensive comments from people who wrote that they felt they had to “speak up” to their friends about the importance of wearing masks. I totally understand that rationale. I understand that people are scared and they think the masks are “common sense”.

I also understand being angry and frustrated by protesters who show up at their state capitals with guns and completely ignore social distancing and face mask guidelines. However… the people who are doing that are almost assuredly not going to be swayed by your indignant posts about how “stupid”, “ignorant”, and “moronic” they are, and the rest of us are going to eventually get fatigued by all the negativity and sanctimony. Besides, so many people are sharing that shit that it becomes overwhelming, particularly for those who have depression and anxiety when things are “normal”. I simply wanted to express another view, and remind people that while they certainly have the right to post whatever they want, they may not realize that those kinds of posts can be damaging in ways they hadn’t considered.

That was where I was last night. I actually cried yesterday. It’s been awhile since I last cried, because for some reason, I’m no longer able to do it with ease. When I was younger, I could cry on demand. That’s not so anymore, and as embarrassing as it was when I used to have regular meltdowns, I now miss having the ability to cry. It’s a good stress reliever and helps dissipate pent up negative energy and anger.

The constant barrage of shit on the Internet has become unbearable, and it makes me think the future is just going to suck. I start thinking that the people who have passed away are the lucky ones. I miss the days when we were totally unplugged, and could lick our wounds in private. Of course, it’s still possible to do that, but it’s not as easy as it was twenty or thirty years ago. Crying yesterday did help a little bit with the mounting stress and dread I’ve been feeling. There have been days when I’ve wondered if it’s worthwhile staying alive. Poor Bill doesn’t know what to say or do when I get like that. I have to tell him, which is upsetting for both of us.

THAT kind of thinking is disturbing and unhealthy. It’s not the kind of thing I can admit to out loud, either, because if I’m honest about how I feel, someone might panic and send the authorities to my house. I am not feeling suicidal. I am feeling like I wouldn’t be too upset if I just died and skipped the rest of this miserable existence. That’s what depression does to me. It’s not rational, nor is it something I’m proud of. But that’s how I feel.

I have also stated that I am not convinced the masks are that helpful. That does not mean that I won’t wear them when they are required. It does not mean that I discourage other people from wearing them. It does not even mean that I don’t see how they could be useful in certain situations, including living in high population density areas like New York City or Beijing, or any other Asian city where the masks have become part of the culture. It also doesn’t mean that I am UNINFORMED or willfully ignorant. I probably have had more education, experience, and training regarding disease transmission than a lot of people have. That’s what happens when you study public health in graduate school and work for the bureau of epidemiology; but you don’t need an MPH to come to the conclusions that I have about the utility of face masks.

I simply feel that the masks are more useful in placating the worried well, and making people feel better, and more empowered, than offering real protection from the virus. There is certainly value in that. And yes, maybe they stop balls of snot and saliva from escaping your mouth and nose and fouling the air. But they don’t stop vapors, aerosols, or people who continually touch their faces, reuse their masks, wear them improperly, and neglect to wash their hands. I have been staying HOME, which is probably better than wearing a mask. A lot of the people doing the shaming can’t even be bothered to read articles before they post reactions and comments to headlines. I’m supposed to take advice and lecturing from THEM?

Moreover, for some people, the masks are truly an imposition. In fact, in one of the German groups I’m in, a doctor posted this (in German):

Hello everyone,
I would like to address one thing that is very close to my heart:
I see people in my practice every day who are unable to wear mouth-nose protection due to their illness, e.g. patients with respiratory diseases such as asthma, COPD or pulmonary fibrosis. Patients with anxiety and panic attacks or muscle dystrophies cannot tolerate a breathing mask. Some patients are also physically unable to push a shopping cart for different reasons.
If you see these people shopping without protection or without a car, ask them politely why. Sometimes you still don’t get a corresponding answer, because these people are often embarrassed to give the reasons.
But this is no reason to denounce, scolding, or even physically attack these people. They are mostly very unsettled and anxious, they traumatized a humiliation.
Just stay calm and let them shop alone. One or the other without a mask will not change the overall result of the measure.
We citizens should not mutate into the police by ourselves either.

Thank you very much!!!

He makes a good point. It’s like what I started this post with, my comments about public shaming, attacking, insulting, and calling people out, especially when you don’t have all the facts, nor are they necessarily any of your business.

I know some people feel panicky and claustrophobic when they wear a face mask. I’ve seen some people say that those people ought to “suck it up” and get over it for the ten minutes they’re in a store. Maybe a lot of them can and should do that. And I’ve also seen people say that people who are unable to wear masks should have someone who can do their shopping. Maybe they should… Or maybe they don’t have anyone who can help them. Maybe they’re alone in the world. Perhaps they shouldn’t be expected to explain that to everyone who feels it’s their duty to confront them.

Last night, there was some drama on my Facebook page because I posted that I’m tired of pandemic shaming and lecturing… and it got kind of heated. After a few hours, the thread started to die down a bit. I was feeling somewhat better and about to go to bed. Suddenly, someone decided it was time to ignite things with a very strange, attention whorish comment that, to me, had zero to do with what we were discussing. She also granted me the “right” to unfollow her, as she insisted that for her, this had become “personal”. I don’t know what that comment was about. As if depression and anxiety aren’t personal for me.

I was going to let it slide, but then she jumped to another post about an unmasked woman who was arrested in Wal-Mart. The woman wasn’t arrested just because she lacked a face covering. She was arrested because she was being disorderly. There was a video that came with the article, which showed the officer throwing the woman to the ground to put handcuffs on her as her friend was screaming at people to record the incident. Those in attendance gasped audibly and in unison, which means they were shocked by the scene. For the record, I never posted anything about the woman’s “right” to go maskless. My first comment was, “Well, this sucks.” And it does suck on many levels. I don’t condone the way she was behaving, and I initially said nothing about her being maskless. I was, frankly, disturbed by the story and the video, and that was why I shared it. My mistake.

A friend of mine posted an angry, shaming rant about the scene. I thought his comments were over-the-top. So I posted, “She wasn’t arrested just because she wasn’t wearing a mask. She was also being disorderly. I would be very upset if this was how people who simply don’t wear a mask started being treated. That would be overkill, in my opinion.

The person who posted about how COVID-19 had become “personal” for her, then wrote, ”Simply Don’t Wear a Mask” wow. Bit stunned. These days, ‘simply not wearing a mask’ is an act of attempted murder.

Since it was her second outraged post on my page in less than five minutes, and she doesn’t, in fact, regularly comment on my stuff, I was pretty annoyed by what appeared to be blatant shit stirring. But she seemed a bit spun up by the business on my page, so I posted “If you are that triggered by my posts, I suggest you find somewhere else to hang out.” A comment comparing a lack of a face mask to “attempted murder” is a ridiculous, hyperbolic, shaming statement, and I found it very disrespectful, especially since she’d clearly been following my post about how sick I am of that kind of behavior.

Then, on second thought, I decided to unfriend her. Unfortunately, the guy who posted the initial shaming rant– who also seemed to be comparing me to a “protester”– then agreed with her that not wearing a mask is akin to “attempted murder”. I would suggest to both of these folks that they look up the legal definition of “attempted murder”.

According to US Legal, “in order for a person to be guilty of attempted murder, that person should have deliberately, intentionally or recklessly with extreme disregard for human life, attempted to kill someone. There should be some substantial step towards committing the crime.

At this point in time, not wearing a face mask is certainly not akin to attempted murder. The vast majority of people who are out in public are not COVID exposed, and most people who do get sick aren’t going to die. For instance, in Germany, there have been 171,000 confirmed cases. Of those, 138,000 people have recovered. So far, 7,589 people have died. Yes, it’s tragic that they died, but as you can plainly see, most people who have been infected have NOT died.

I got these results from good old Google.

Now, in the United States, things are different. This is what Google says about the USA.

But the United States is not like Germany in many important ways. Whether or not someone recovers has a lot to do with many different factors. Access to health care when it’s needed, overall health, age, sex, and luck have a lot to do with the overall results.

Not wearing a face mask isn’t like deliberately trying to run someone down with a car, throwing them off a ship into waters filled with sharks, or deliberately poisoning their food with arsenic. Maybe if COVID got really deadly for everyone who gets it, not wearing a mask would be more like manslaughter. If COVID-19 were a definite death sentence, I might even be onboard with a manslaughter conviction. But at this point, it’s not a certain death sentence, and those kinds of extreme, “over-the-top” comments are not helpful, nor are they appreciated, especially when I specifically explained that the shaming comments are upsetting to me. I get that people are going to post what they want to on their own pages, but when I expressly explain that I find that shit upsetting, it’s very disrespectful to continue doing it anyway on MY page.

So… to those who are reading this because they want to know WTF, here’s the deal. I have decided that I’ve had enough bullshit from people. For my own good, I have to take better control, not just avoiding COVID exposure by staying home, but also by avoiding people who deliberately try to upset me and stir up drama with COVID hysteria online. This is a tough situation for everybody, and people have the right to their opinions and views. People also have the right to avoid the negative shit. That’s why I’ve started filtering more and will probably get rid of the worst offenders. It doesn’t mean I’m in an echo chamber or denying facts. I’m quite well informed, thank you, and I know where to find advice by people who haven’t been educated solely by the media, Facebook, or memes. And if you’re a real friend, you’ll understand and respect that.

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