Biden, complaints, Duggars, healthcare, politicians

Scientists are worried… what else is new?

Arran let me “sleep in” until about 5:30am. I finally got up because his stomach was gurgling so much that I couldn’t ignore it. He’s been having some issues lately with his stomach and bowels. The vet reports that he has no parasites, so there must be something else going on that will probably smack us in the face soon. He was happy to eat his breakfast, though, and went back to bed. I am now wide awake, having just read more articles on the Internet that have me feeling a bit triggered.

First, I read about how the governors of Texas and Mississippi have decided to pander to their ignorant conservative base by re-opening everything and doing away with mask mandates. To be clear, I hate face masks. I have not made a secret of that. I do think it’s too early for things to go back to “normal”, though. The pandemic is definitely real, and I think this step is probably going to cause a lot of problems that no one needs.

Just because Texas no longer has a state mandate requiring face masks, that doesn’t mean individual businesses aren’t going to require people to wear them. So the onus will be on low paid workers to enforce the rules. Also consider that Texas is loaded with people who carry weapons, many of whom are a bit unhinged. I don’t have the scientific data on this, but I did used to live in Texas, in a relatively liberal part of the state. I saw a lot of crazy shit, and that was during the somewhat sane Obama era. So it’ll be interesting to see where this decision leads.

I did have a good time reading the comments, though… One person described himself as a “front line worker” who was glad to see the mandate go. He wrote that he doesn’t like wearing masks and he thinks people should be able to decide for themselves. Naturally, that upset a lot of people, who just piled on this guy. One dude cited his own experience in the military as he went after the mask free front line worker. But then it turned out the front line worker had also been in the military and got out. The first guy assumed front line guy couldn’t “hack it”. Front line guy said he was tired of being deployed to Iraq. I can’t blame him for that. Below are a few of the best comments in response to this statement:

“My heart goes out to all of the frontline workers impacted by these decisions. Their work has been hard enough. They deserve better.”

While I personally do think it’s a bad idea to re-open everything completely and live as normal, I do think it’s cool that “Mario” calmly took on all the virtue signalers and their tired arguments. I don’t understand why people feel the need to spout off the same crap when someone is obviously going against the grain. I mean, I’m sure Mario has heard that masks supposedly protect other people. I’m sure he’s heard the stupid seatbelt analogy (which, in my opinion, is truly not a good comparison). All he’s said is that he doesn’t like wearing masks and supports people’s rights to choose for themselves. For simply stating that, he gets a whole shitload of blowback, some of which was pretty embarrassing for those who swung and missed.

Why is it that so few people can simply let someone voice an opinion? Why do we have to quash comments by those who go against the grain? Is it really so dangerous for people to speak their minds? You’d think COVID-19 safety measures are akin to the Bible. Going against what the so-called experts say is akin to actual sacrilege to some people. Personally, I think it’s a good idea to stay away from people as much as possible. That’s what I do. I comply with the mask rules, but I hate them and expect that they’re temporary. But God forbid I say that out loud. I’ll get a whole load of people who are graduates of the Google School of Public Health trying to school me on COVID-19.

How is it that I, someone who has actually gone to graduate school and earned a MPH from an accredited program, can’t be on the “masks and closures forever bandwagon” with everyone else? Well… truth be told, I have a feeling that if you were to poll people with healthcare backgrounds, you might find that their personal opinions on this issue probably run the gamut. But the ones who disagree with the official opinions don’t say so, because if they do, they have to deal with backlash like that above and people questioning their competence and intelligence. So while I don’t necessarily agree with Mario’s opinions, I give him credit for having the guts to speak up and take on all of the people who feel the need to correct his opinions and quash his freedom of expression.

The truth is, even if everyone on the planet wore a mask 24/7, people would still get sick and die. And being masked up 24/7 is not a great way to live, for so many reasons. I think people really need to think seriously about that. It doesn’t mean I’m non-compliant, immature, stupid, or selfish to say that, either. But so many people have a knee jerk reaction to anyone who says something that isn’t the norm, especially when it comes to COVID-19. It’s ridiculous, and it shows a serious lack of critical thinking skills. Yes, masks are a good idea for now. But they shouldn’t be a permanent solution. That’s why I think they aren’t akin to seatbelts. And even if I’m totally wrong, I think it’s a mistake to discourage people from sharing their opinions. Information can’t evolve if everyone always says and only believes the same things. Someone has to think outside of the box for innovation to happen.

I also don’t like how people make assumptions about perfect strangers who dare to speak their minds. I don’t know Mario at all. He could be a fabulous guy. So could all the other people commenting. But we’ve gotten so accustomed to just ripping people’s heads off because we’re behind screens and can’t stand dissenting opinions. It’s alarming how uncivil people are in the Internet age.

Anyway… moving on, because I’ve written about this ad nauseam and I’m tired of it.

The next article I want to comment on is about how scientists are concerned that there hasn’t been a COVID-19 baby boom. Apparently, experts expected that there would be a big increase in babies born thanks to the lockdowns. That didn’t happen. In December 2020, which was nine months after the lockdowns began, health departments in the United States reported a 7% drop in births. And this is causing upset, because of our aging population. From the article:

“We need to have enough working-age people to carry the load of these seniors, who deserve their retirement, they deserve all their entitlements, and they’re gonna live out another 30 years. Nobody in the history of the globe has had so many older people to deal with.”

Okay… first off, when I was getting my MPH, I heard about our “aging population”. I distinctly remember hearing that when smoking fell out of fashion, it put a strain on our healthcare system. People were living longer and developing more chronic diseases. That was causing them to use the healthcare system more, which ran up costs and crowded the hospitals. Yes, it’s a good thing overall that people are smoking less, but now we have a new problem. I finished my MPH in 2002, so it wasn’t that long ago…

Now, it’s 2021, and we have a public health crisis. It won’t be the last one. However, I’ve been hearing for YEARS how overpopulated the Earth is, and how we don’t have enough resources for everyone. I have also seen how shitty things are getting… from global warming and the ensuing natural disasters, to the lack of social justice, to children being forced to go to school at home to avoid a deadly virus. Why in the hell would any sane person want to have a bunch of kids now– sane being the operative word?

I am 48 years old, and I paid off my student loans in 2018. I have yet to own my own home. Imagine if I’d had children and they were trying to launch at a time when there’s massive unemployment and disease. When I was a young person, I could always go work in a restaurant or service industry if I needed to make some money. Right now, people in the restaurant and service industries are hurting because there aren’t any jobs for them during a pandemic. A lot of those jobs depend on tips. If no one is allowed to go out to eat, there go the tips. And I’m sure finding a job is very difficult right now. People go back to school to avoid shitty job markets, run up bills and take out loans… and then they graduate to this shit and wind up financially ruined.

I am fortunate that my mom and Bill’s mom are both very independent. I have friends who are not only trying to raise kids and pay off their student loans, but are also having to support their elderly parents. Children and the elderly are also groups of people who need supervision, and that costs money, too. Both childcare and senior care are very expensive. So I don’t blame people for not reproducing. I always wanted children, but in retrospect, it’s probably a blessing that I never had any kids.

I mentioned this in the Duggar Family News group, and someone basically responded to me with what I quoted above. Not having enough babies means there will eventually be no one to take care of the “old folks”. Well, pardon me, but I think that’s a really stupid reason to have kids… just so there are people around to take care of the elderly. People should have kids because they want to be parents and are up to doing the job of raising them well and providing for them. They shouldn’t have kids just in case one or more of them might want to work in healthcare. That’s ridiculous. Moreover, we all have to die. Maybe we should rethink saving lives at all costs. Dying isn’t the worst thing to happen to a person.

I think there’s little to worry about, though. Justin Duggar just got married. He’s 18, and his wife, Claire, is 20. They’ll probably start popping out kids soon. His siblings, likewise, are pairing up and popping out babies. Yes, those kids are going to grow up Quiverfull, but maybe some will break out of the fundie cult and be “normal”. Anyway… all of this makes me think I might want to look again at buying longterm care insurance. But even then, chances are, I’ll be alone when I’m an old woman… if the virus doesn’t get me first.

Joe Biden has stated that doing away with mask mandates is “Neanderthal thinking”. I think that’s a poor choice of words, given how many of us have close ties to Neanderthals. I found this out thanks to 23andMe. He might want to rethink disparaging the Neanderthals… they’re probably craftier than the average Trump supporting Texan.

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Biden

Now the healing begins…

I was tempted to give this post a provocative title. People who know me offline, know that I often say shocking things. It’s a habit that people tend to either love or hate. Some people think my penchant for being shocking and gross is hilarious. Others disdain it and consider it a tasteless, vulgar habit. Personally, I think it’s more of my form of rebellion. I was encouraged to be classy and ladylike when I was growing up, although looking back on it, I didn’t have that many examples to follow. So here I am…

Last night, as I was eagerly waiting for Joe Biden’s inauguration, I ran across an article posted by Rachel Maddow, a journalist whose wit has really enchanted me over the past couple of years. The article was about “draining the swamp”– as in, Trump rolling back one of his very first policies from 2017. You see, when he was first installed as 45, Trump made a big deal out of a policy that would forbid “executive branch employees from lobbying any agency where they had served for five years after leaving office.” The order also instituted a lifetime ban on lobbying for a foreign government.

But then, in the wee hours of the morning– 1:07am, to be exact– Trump reversed that order. So now, people who are newly disenfranchised thanks to Biden’s inauguration can go for those lobbying jobs to their hearts’ content.

I don’t really care too much about that particular policy. It’s not something that affects me personally, except to point out, yet again, that Trump doesn’t honor his promises. That’s not a new or earth shattering revelation, though. What inspired me was the image of “draining the swamp”. It made me think of a painful, infected, inflamed, oozing sore. So I left this comment on Rachel Maddow’s page.

Phew.

I actually know of what I write. Back in 1996, when I was about halfway through my Peace Corps service, I got a very painful abscess under my arm. It was probably because I got a cut shaving under there. It was the first of quite a few somewhat serious skin infections I suffered from June 1996 until May 1998. I had cellulitis diagnosed three times, but if I’m honest, I probably had it at least five times. Twice, I didn’t go to the doctor for treatment because I didn’t have the money to go and it was located in an embarrassing place (right over my butt crack).

I’m pretty certain I somehow picked up a staph aureus germ while I was abroad. I’d get an infection. It would fester and swell, then burst and heal. Then I’d get another one. Fortunately, I didn’t get sick in either of the cases in which I didn’t see a doctor. But then one day, my luck ran out, and I finally did get an infection that made me really ill, to the point at which I had to go to the emergency room in Gloucester, Virginia. It was on my stomach. I watched as it went from being the size of a 50 cent piece to the size of my hand. I developed a high fever and was in extreme pain. It was probably the worst pain I’ve ever experienced.

I remember going to the hospital in hysterical tears. I cried as I showed the nurse the infection, which was hot, red, and burning with pain. I remember her shaking her head and saying, “Oh my God. That’s got to hurt.” Not long after that, I was hooked up to an IV, getting very powerful antibiotics. When the bag was empty, I felt so much better. My fever went down. The chills stopped. The pain grew much duller. As the days passed, the infection completely cleared, and I was as good as new… at least until the next time I got cellulitis.

Cellulitis causes a really nasty, painful, dangerous infection. It forms deep in the skin and causes searing pain, high fevers, inflammation, and swelling. When it clears, it drains thick, brown, foul smelling, oily pus, that is really messy, sticky, and disgusting and leaves an empty pocket beneath the skin. Sometimes it’s bad enough that you have to be hospitalized to get over it. The second time I got it, I had it on my face. I looked like the Elephant Man, and my doctor wanted to admit me to the hospital. He was worried that my eyesight or even my life could be in danger from the infection. Fortunately, I got better without being hospitalized, but I was left with a scar on my cheek.

I got treated three times before I finally stopped getting those serious infections. The first two times, I had to take very powerful, expensive antibiotics that gave me yeast infections. But the third time, the infection wasn’t so bad and I got well quicker. It was the last time I ever got cellulitis, and I finally went on to recover for good. I remember during that time, I also finally addressed the depression and anxiety that had plagued me for years. It was the start of a much better life for me. I started to heal.

Yesterday’s inauguration reminds me a little bit of that serious infection, and finally getting the cure. I don’t tend to watch inaugurations. In the past, they didn’t interest me. Like a lot of people, I was pretty complacent about politics. I always had the feeling that the “new boss” was the same as the “old boss”. I guess if there’s one thing good that came out of Trump’s presidency, it’s that he jarred a lot of people like me out of complacency.

I teared up watching Joe Biden becoming our 46th president. It’s not because I am particularly enthusiastic about him. I have never followed his career and I don’t think he would have been my choice for a candidate. But I have to say that listening to him speak yesterday was a real pleasure. I felt kind of like I did after I got those powerful antibiotics that started to clear the infection that made me so sick. I felt like maybe healing was possible, even if we have to go through some unpleasant and expensive treatments to get there.

Of course, I’ve already lost some friends. Some of my relatives don’t speak to me anymore because I’m not a Trump fan. This morning, I lost an old friend because I expressed basic empathy for Mike Pence, even though I certainly don’t agree with his politics and would never vote for him. But if Mike Pence hadn’t done his duty and stayed faithful to his oath to support and defend the Constitution, yesterday might not have happened. If he had gone along with Trump’s wishes and given in to the threats of the Proud Boys and QAnon, where would we be today? Maybe yesterday still would have happened, but it would have been much harder to pull off. So I am grateful to Mr. Pence for doing his duty, even if I disagree with his political views.

Well worth watching.

Dr. Ramani, in the above video, makes a lot of sense… although perhaps some people think that by recognizing humanity in Pence that I’m enabling their abuser. I’m not, though. I simply recognize that Pence has spent four years trying to work with a narcissist. It doesn’t mean I excuse him for his policies or that I’m a fan of his. It means that I have some basic empathy for him and appreciation that ultimately, he didn’t follow Trump when he was under tremendous pressure to do so.

I guess losing friends and relatives is part of this process of healing. At least I know I’m not the only one, draining the festering abscess of the past few years. I know that recovery won’t be cheap or easy. But I have hope that it will finally begin, if only because we have someone in charge who is an adult with empathy. I have no delusions that the QAnon wackos and Proud Boys are vanquished. I’m sure they’re waiting in the wings, ready to strike. I’m sure Trump’s successor is being trained up and will be ready to attack when the time is right. We have to stay vigilant. But it’s nice to finally have hope.

I also know, having watched Bill deal with narcissists and having experienced dealing with them myself, that what Pence did was actually pretty brave. I know that after he refused to do Trump’s bidding and made him look like a fool to his followers, he became Trump’s mortal enemy. You can rest assured that Pence is now dead to Trump. He won’t ever be forgiven. Maybe some people think Pence deserves that treatment for signing up with Trump in the first place. But most people don’t understand that narcissists are not normal people. Pence probably thought he could change Trump or handle him. He probably thought Trump would drop out and he would take over the presidency. He was duped, like a lot of people were.

I do feel better today, even if some people don’t like me anymore. It’s not like I haven’t been through that before, though… I will survive, stronger, healthier, and maybe with a fresh battle scar or two. I know some people are sad about Biden being our new president. Some people are legitimately frightened, mainly because they’ve been misled into believing conspiracy theories. But others, like me, are very hopeful for healing, messy and painful as it might be.

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Biden, politics, Trump

Is Mike Pence finally “woke”?

Today’s featured photo is a screen grab of a video about the attempted faux coup last week.

Please forgive me for using that term. I kind of hate the expression “woke”. And please forgive me for yet another political post, although I have a feeling I’ll be writing them for some time to come… at least until the dust settles on Trump’s exit from the White House.

I didn’t write anything yesterday, nor did I practice guitar. Instead, I watched a lot of old episodes of Glee and hung out with Bill. We did a lot of talking about the events of last Wednesday. Vice President Mike Pence is probably feeling the heat right now, as pissed off MAGA cultists descended on the Capitol and erected a gallows as they screamed “Hang Mike Pence!”.

Trump stoked the fires of public resentment against Pence for refusing to “undo the will of the People”.

Why were they screaming? Because Donald Trump had expected the vice president to “overturn” the results of the election. Trump repeatedly made the false claim that Pence had the power to nullify the will of the people. He also repeatedly made baseless claims that the election was “stolen” from him. And he encouraged a mob of people to take action against legislators tasked with certifying President-elect Joe Biden’s victory.

Mike Pence, who has been totally loyal to Trump for the past several years, did not do Trump’s bidding. And now, he is discovering what happens when you cross a malignant narcissist. Although he’s probably never been formally diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder, it’s pretty obvious to me that Trump is a narcissist. A lot of people might claim that most politicians are narcissistic. And they would be right in making that claim. But there’s a big difference between being “narcissistic” and having full blown NPD. And even within the realm of NPD, there are varying degrees of it. I think Trump is pretty far on the NPD scale, which means he’s extremely entitled, very immature, and completely focused on himself and his own needs. Couple that with his charisma and innate ability to say what people want to hear, and you have a very dangerous individual.

I don’t agree with Mike Pence’s politics at all, but here he sounds much more presidential than Donald Trump EVER has. But I suspect that Mr. Pence thought Trump would burn out quickly and he would wind up being the 46th president.

Right now, I think Mr. Pence is understanding what it means to go against a malignant narcissist, even when it’s the right thing to do legally, ethically, and morally. Unfortunately, hitching your wagon to a narcissist in hopes of getting ahead often ends in disappointment. Always remember that narcissists ultimately don’t care about anyone but themselves, and it doesn’t matter how loyal you are to them or were in the past. The minute you cross them, you’re in their crosshairs of revenge. They see other people strictly as tools to be used and they have no compassion or understanding when someone disappoints them, even when it’s because they have been put in an impossible situation, as Mike Pence was.

Donald Trump now faces a second impeachment, and Pence is under pressure to invoke the 25th Amendment. If you ask me, he should have done that a long time ago. But I can see why Pence would not have wanted to invoke the 25th Amendment, even though Trump is clearly unstable and dangerous. For one thing, there’s that old boy network of mutual back scratching and political favors. Pence wouldn’t want to piss off his buddies in the Republican party. But there’s also the fact that Trump could go off the deep end and do something much worse than what he’s already done, simply out of spite. And there are thousands of people who want to hang Mike Pence for not being totally obedient to Trump rather than following the Constitution.

This morning, a friend of mine shared a Twitter feed showing people who were mobbing the Capitol being refused return flights as they were being arrested. Some of them are crying pitifully as they are correctly being kicked off of flight, labeled terrorists, and escorted away in handcuffs. Indeed, people who breached the Capitol are being identified, and those who managed to leave the nation’s capital are being arrested at home. Somehow, these folks, in an era of iPhones and surveillance videos, thought they could get away with their felonious behavior without being held accountable. I guess it’s a good thing Trumpers are not known for wearing face masks. It makes identifying the perpetrators of these crimes much easier than it otherwise might have been. And these folks are going to find that Trump will likely do NOTHING for them as they properly face charges, fines, and possible jail time for what they did.

Powerful words from a true leader.

Yesterday, I watched Arnold Schwarzenegger’s speech about the events of last week. I was actually pretty moved by what he had to say. Arnold Schwarzenegger is certainly no paragon of virtue himself, but he would have been 1000 times better in the White House than Trump has been. Unfortunately, Arnold, who obviously loves America, can’t run for President, because he’s a naturalized citizen. But even though I have sworn off voting for Republicans, I might make an exception for Arnold Schwarzenegger, because he’s clearly a much fitter leader. And what he says about the effects of Hitler on his home country of Austria, are very astute. He’s not the only one who has seen the parallels of Trump’s leadership and the rise of Naziism in Europe back in the 1930s and 1940s.

One more thing. I don’t think this is over by a long shot. The MAGA crowd is super pumped and emboldened right now, and while Trump might be riding off into the sunset soon, there’s sure to be someone else waiting in the wings. I suspect it’s someone younger, smarter, more likable, and actually knowledgable of and dedicated to the cause. I don’t think Trump actually cares that much about the MAGA movement. He just wants to stay in power and avoid the extreme narcissistic injury of losing. But I feel certain that there are other people out there who really do believe in forcing America to turn into their warped white supremacist Christian vision of what they think it should be. You can bet that even if Trump’s era ends, someone else will try to do what he failed to do.

We must all stay vigilant and aware of those who want to turn our country into real life Gilead. That’s why I hope Mr. Pence will do the right thing and help the Democrats get Trump out of power as soon as possible. There’s a lot he can do in the next nine days. I’ll be surprised if Pence actually does invoke the 25th Amendment, but I think it’s the right thing to do. I believe our country is in serious danger. I already have more respect for Pence today than I did a week ago. I think doing the right thing by the American people and helping to restrain Trump would go a long way in redeeming Pence’s lapdog image, at least as far as I am, personally, concerned. I do think Pence has more concern for others than Trump ever will. He’s certainly saner and more competent.

Bill has empathy for Mike Pence. He once worked for a man who is a lot like Trump is. Being second banana to a raging narcissist is a thankless and punishing endeavor. Bill was fortunate in that there were a lot of people who supported him and realized the terrible position he was in, and he came out of that experience relatively unscathed. However, when he was working for that man, it was hell on Earth. I’m sure Pence can relate, because I don’t think he has the same extreme ego Trump has. People like Trump never choose people like themselves to work with them. They look for people who are malleable and trustworthy. So now that Pence could be “woke”, like so many of the rest of us have been for years now, maybe he will earn the trust of the majority of Americans who would like to see Trump removed from power. Even if it means he never again has another peaceful moment.

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psychology, social media

“We’re at war with the virus, not each other”

Yesterday, I ran across an article in the Washington Post about “Friendsgiving”, a trendy holiday that developed pre-pandemic involving young people gathering for a potluck meal. The article was about how canceling Friendsgiving was “hitting some young people hard”.

For some reason, it seems that a lot of people have lost the ability to empathize with others. Based on the comments for the Friendsgiving article, many folks are very grouchy and heartless. Here’s a quote from the article, which I think sums up its main idea:

The coronavirus pandemic has spoiled Friendsgiving, Thanksgiving’s younger and cooler cousin famous for potluck-style meals among friends. While it is a wise public health decision to cancel Friendsgiving, per Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance, experts worry that its absence may exacerbate loneliness among young people already isolated from classmates, separated from co-workers and longing for touchstones of burgeoning adulthood.

Nowhere in that paragraph is there any mention of people gathering anyway. I’m sure some people did get together, against all advice, but I’ll bet more people than not decided to skip it. But that’s apparently not good enough for some people. I read comment after comment from people who wrote things like “Cry me a freakin’ river” and “Get over it”. Or they pointed out that some people, like medical staff or military, have it much worse.

These were the most recent comments on the Washington Post’s article.

I don’t understand why people can’t acknowledge the pain that some people are dealing with during the pandemic. A couple of days ago, I wrote a blog post that mentioned how some young people are having trouble coping with being so isolated. People are actually committing suicide because they’ve lost hope and the will to live during the pandemic. Some people may think that’s stupid, but what right do they have to discount other people’s legitimate pain? Why not just be kind and understanding?

Is it really helpful to call someone a “snowflake” when they’re struggling? Is it really necessary to be snarky and nasty to people who feel hopeless and depressed? Would these eye rolling assholes like to see people killing themselves because they’ve lost hope? Do they like it when they experience loneliness and someone discounts their pain?

I’m sure a lot of these unsympathetic attitudes come from the fact that 2020 has been an unusually difficult year for many people. People are angry, and anger causes grumpiness and lashing out at others. I’m not immune to it myself, although I haven’t suffered as much this year as a lot of other people have. I have, however, been young, scared, anxious, lonely, depressed, and wondering if it was worthwhile to go on living. I experienced those feelings years ago, when I suffered from clinical depression. Fortunately, I had a good therapist and effective antidepressants, as well as good friends and a weekly voice class. With time and effort, I overcame depression, but I didn’t do it alone.

Today’s young people are denied even a face to face conversation or a gentle hug from a loved one. Telling them to “get over it” seems especially unkind right now. In fact, it’s cruel. And yes, I get that many people have it “worse”– but one person’s version of worse might be different than another person’s is. No one person gets to tell another person what should or should not be painful for them. How hard is it to simply acknowledge that someone is having a tough time and wishing them well?

More “get over it” comments.

I get that we’re all suffering to some extent and it’s good to be tough and upbeat in the face of difficulties. But why is it necessary to be so shitty? Are people really incapable of stopping to consider, for just a minute, that everyone has a different pain threshold? It costs nothing to be nice, and show some understanding toward other people. There’s no need to engage in “whataboutism”. Acknowledging a person’s specific struggle takes nothing away from someone who is supposedly suffering “worse”. Who really decides who’s got it “worse”, anyway? Someone who dies of COVID-19 (which they hopefully picked up innocently while fully masked and socially distanced, lest they not be worthy of any sympathy) is no better off than someone who dies of suicide caused by depression. Both people are gone and will likely be missed by others, right? Both deaths are ultimately tragic.

Depression is a real thing. It can be deadly. Being bored, lonely, and cut off from support can push someone to the brink. As President-elect Joe Biden has said, “We’re at war with the virus, not each other…” These are wise, welcome words from someone who wants to be a leader. He’s shown more leadership in two and a half weeks than Trump has shown in his entire lifetime. And I’m going to listen to Mr. Biden and have a heart for those who feel lonely, anxious, and isolated right now. Those are valid concerns.

Just be kind. Show some decency and basic humanity. If someone is feeling sad or lonely and dares to express it, don’t invalidate them by telling them to “get over it” or “stop being such a snowflake.” If you were hurting, you’d want the same consideration, wouldn’t you?

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Biden, rants, Trump

I’m so sick of willfully ignorant Trump supporters…

I get it. They don’t like Joe Biden. They claim he has dementia. They repeatedly bring up his son, Hunter, and Hunter’s “shady dealings” in Ukraine. They’re tired of virtue signaling, holier than thou, politically correct liberals who want to tell them what to do, how to speak, and the “right” way to live. I get it.

Believe it or not, I don’t like a lot of the liberal mindset, either. I, for one, am super weary of reading shaming social media posts about everything from wearing face masks to what constitutes proper character. I think most people are who they are and believe what they believe, and no stale Facebook meme or falsely attributed wise quote is going to change their behavior. BUT…

I truly don’t understand why so many people are so wedded to having Donald Trump as the leader of our country. As far as I can tell, his leadership has been a complete and total disaster. Every president in recent times has been somewhat moderate and had some sense of decency. Trump doesn’t care about ANYONE but himself. How can you be a good person and support such a man as a world leader?

I get being conservative and identifying with the Republican party’s stated values. It wasn’t so long ago that, I too, identified with being politically conservative on a lot of issues. Trump isn’t really a conservative, though. He doesn’t make decisions based on a fiscal or moral compass. It’s all about being in charge and stroking his massive ego, satisfying his libido and insatiable need for admiration and regard from his minions. He would not deign to spit on you if you were on fire. He literally DOES NOT GIVE A SHIT about anyone but himself… and maybe Ivanka, whom he has said he’d like to date if she weren’t his daughter. Ivanka, for her part, appears to be following in Trump’s footsteps, albeit in a slightly more polished way.

Last night, I read the article I linked immediately above– it’s from Vanity Fair, written by Lysandra Ohrstrom, who attended prep school with Ivanka in Manhattan in the 1990s. For years, she considered herself Ivanka’s best friend. As they grew older, it became clear that they didn’t share the same values. This happens a lot as children and teenagers develop into adults. It happened with me and my former best friend, although I also determined that she wasn’t a good friend in general. I know what it’s like to face the painful realization that someone you counted as a loyal friend turns out to be a fraud. Based on this article, that’s what happened with Lysandra and Ivanka. But, just as it was between my former friend and me, the signs were there. And the signs that Donald Trump is a vile, inappropriate, uncaring person were also there. Consider this anecdote from the Vanity Fair piece:

Bear in mind, the author was just a young girl at the time. How would you react if your father, brother, son or husband treated a fourteen year old girl like this?

I’m not surprised by this anecdote. There have been plenty of others over the years. If there had only been one or two stories about Trump being so gross, maybe I could dismiss them the way some of my friends and relatives have. But there have been so many stories of Trump’s piggish behavior toward women that I just can’t turn a blind eye. He’s even said he enjoys grabbing women by their genitals and kissing them, even if they don’t consent to his attentions. I don’t think a person with such a low opinion of other people ought to be leading them.

I am delighted that Joe Biden won the presidency. It’s not because I think he’s a fantastic candidate. I don’t actually know that much about him. But he’s clearly a much more decent person than Trump is and will think more about the people he’s been tasked to lead rather than himself. And, you know what? If something happens to Biden and he can’t complete the term, I would support Kamala Harris as president. At the very basic level, a world leader should care about other people. Trump does not. A man who can treat a teenaged girl like a feast for his eyes isn’t worthy of running the country.

I’ve seen a lot of people doggedly championing Trump, though. I don’t understand why. If you just want a conservative leader, why not champion someone who is conservative, but doesn’t treat others with such obvious contempt? Why not expect your leader to be a basically decent person who has respect for other people? What is so incredible about Trump, other than the fact that he emboldens white supremacists?

A couple of days ago, I was chatting with one of my sisters and I remarked that one of our cousins recently unfriended me. My sister asked me why. I wrote that it was probably because I am vocal about despising Donald Trump and I cuss a lot. But then I added, “Anyone who has a problem with my language, but supports a man who explicitly brags about grabbing women by the pussy is a hypocrite, as far as I can tell.”

Yep. Eric Schwartz is right on point with this. Don’t call yourself a Christian if you are still hoping Trump will remain in the White House, even though he LOST the election and is clearly a LOSER.

I know this cousin is a devout Christian. I have always known her to be a decent and good person. But she admires Trump, despite his obviously unChristian, inhumane, disrespectful and outright cruel behavior. It makes me wonder if, deep down, she’s hiding a dark side I never knew. How can any decent person support Trump?

I have another cousin who grew up a Jehovah’s Witness. JWs are famously anti-government. They aren’t supposed to join the military or salute the flag. Her family left the JWs, ostensibly because the local church leaders wanted to install a child molester as a leader. Since leaving the JWs, they’ve become rabidly Republican, and this cousin of mine who is a mother of five and has a beautiful daughter, has posted a lot of political crap about how the election was “stolen” from Trump. I have to wonder if she’s intellectually disabled.

How can anyone accuse Joe Biden of “stealing the election”? He wasn’t the one who installed political appointees who did everything they could to suppress voters. He had nothing to do with appointing Louis DeJoy, a Trump supporter with no post office experience, as the Postmaster General, who apparently did everything he could to suppress mail in ballots during a global pandemic. Even if Biden “cheated”, it seems to me that Trump is also guilty of cheating. But I don’t think Biden cheated. I think a lot of people are just fucking fed up with Trump’s embarrassing shitshow and want him gone, so they legitimately voted for Biden because he could actually win. We all want our lives back, and Trump’s policies don’t facilitate getting things back to normal, nor do they inspire respect from other citizens of the world.

I really do try to respect people’s opinions. I do think it’s important that people vote their consciences as much as possible. I understand that everyone has their reasons for feeling the way they do. I just don’t understand how anyone with a conscience can ignore just how awful Donald Trump and his family are. It’s not just gossip or hearsay. The proof is abundant, and if he weren’t a filthy rich, famous white guy with powerful friends, he would probably be sitting in prison right now for rape.

I read an article in the Army Times last night and noticed the comments… some ignorant woman mentioned Joe Biden’s “dementia”. He does not have dementia. If you ever spent any time with someone with dementia, you’d know just how awful it is to joke about it or speak about it in an ignorant way. Dementia is devastating. My father had dementia, and I saw it change him from a vital, intelligent, strong-willed and strong-bodied man, to a feeble, frightened, helpless shell of himself. I didn’t always have a great relationship with my dad, but I would not wish what happened to him on anyone. It’s truly heartbreaking to watch. How can any decent person make the claim of dementia about Joe Biden, especially if they don’t know him? How can they joke about it? Believe me, it’s not a laughing matter. Dementia is nothing to joke about.

So I posted that Joe Biden doesn’t have dementia, which earned me a bunch of “laughing” reactions from the moronic Trump supporters who refuse to see that their hero is a morally bankrupt buffoon who wouldn’t deign to offer them a squirt of piss if they were dying of thirst. From what I’ve read about Mr. Biden, he lives a healthy lifestyle and does not have dementia. He does make a lot of verbal gaffes. He has issues with stuttering, which only shows that his brain works faster than his mouth does. But I have seen no evidence that he has dementia, and to make light of that condition is reprehensible and disgusting. This is a good read regarding Biden and his non-existent “dementia”…

Anyway… I’m getting to the point at which I’m having trouble separating my Trump supporting friends from their beliefs. I’m still trying to understand, but it’s getting harder and harder. I look forward to Joe Biden taking office. At the very least, maybe he’ll bring some civility and dignity back to the office. If he manages to accomplish anything good, I’ll count it as a bonus. The bar for success is set very low at this point.

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