politicians, politics, stupid people

Marjorie Taylor Greene… one of many people who have ensured that I won’t be voting Republican anytime soon.

I was hoping to avoid recent politics today, hence the two reposted book reviews I added this morning. I actually had another idea in mind for this morning that was kind of akin to my current interest in redemption. And yet, this morning, as I read about how Republicans are refusing to support people like Liz Cheney and Mitt Romney, who have publicly supported convicting Trump on his second impeachment, I can’t stop myself from commenting. I never thought I’d support Mitt Romney on anything, but he’s turned out to be a fairly decent person, compared to his fellow Republicans. Ditto for Liz Cheney of Wyoming, who voted with Democrats in spite of heavy pressure from the Republican Party to excuse Donald Trump for his part in riots that went on at the Capitol three weeks ago.

This morning, as I was having a conversation with Bill about redemption and wondering if it’s really worthwhile to apologize for anything, since so many people are hellbent on crucifying others, I realized that I probably won’t forgive the Republicans anytime soon. It’s the party that gave us Donald Trump and, more recently, brand new Representative Marjorie Taylor Greeene, of Georgia. Ms. Taylor Greene was only very recently installed in the federal government, having been elected in November 2020. During that time, she’s made quite an impression.

What the hell is this woman doing in a leadership position?

In 2018 and 2019, Marjorie Taylor Greene, then apparently just a regular QAnon moron, made some shocking statements on social media indicating that she thinks Democratic leaders such as California Representative and Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, ought to be executed. In a January 2019 post, Greene “liked” a comment advocating “a bullet to the head” of Nancy Pelosi. In April 2018, when a poster asked if we could “hang” former president Barack Obama and former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, Greene responded:

“Stage is being set. Players are being put in place. We must be patient. This must be done perfectly or liberal judges would let them off.”

Marjorie Taylor Greene has also harassed victims of the Parkland school shooting. She’s all about maintaining her “Second Amendment rights”, sparing no thought or feeling for actual victims of gun violence. David Hogg didn’t respond to Greene’s harassment. She doesn’t warrant a response. She has no compassion, no empathy, and absolutely ZERO business leading people. What a vile, contemptible, shameless person she is. I wonder how she’d feel if she or one of her loved ones were killed or injured by gun violence? Doesn’t it make sense that people like David Hogg, who have truly suffered due to this issue, would want to change the gun laws?

Marjorie Taylor Greene is a despicable person, and yet she’s being rewarded by Republicans for her disgusting violent views.

To add insult to injury, and perhaps the reason that I’m joining the chorus in writing about this woman, is the fact that she evidently thinks journalists shouldn’t be allowed to do their jobs. At a town hall meeting two days ago, reporter Meredith Aldis wanted to ask Greene about the backlash she’s gotten this week due to her poorly considered social media posts of the not too distant past. Greene’s response was to rebuff her, saying “I’m talking to my constituents.” Then, Greene’s staff complained to security that Aldis was “causing a disturbance” and demanded that Aldis leave the public proceedings, which Aldis and other reporters had been invited to attend. A sheriff’s deputy even threatened to arrest Aldis and her crew for trespassing at the town hall meeting.

And finally, when Greene was confronted about her questionable social media posts, she had this lame excuse:

“Over the years, I’ve had teams of people manage my pages. Many posts have been liked. Many posts have been shared. Some did not represent my views. Especially the ones that CNN is about to spread across the internet,”

Nope. It’s YOUR page, Marjorie. It’s YOUR responsibility. If other people are posting things using your name that you don’t agree with, you should do something about it. Otherwise, people are going to conclude that they’re your thoughts and opinions. And based on the video I watched this morning, it’s clear that you’re full of shit. You don’t have any regard for other people and you should be expelled from public office. You are obviously someone who puts your “right” to own a gun over other people’s right to live without fear of being shot. You should be ashamed of yourself, and so should your supporters. Unfortunately, you belong to a party that is contemptible and will not do the right or decent thing to purge itself of corrupt and inept individuals like you.

I watched body cam videos taken on January 6th. They were included in an article by The New York Times about the riots. On those videos, 34 year old Rosanne Boyland, who was there to protest with her friend, Justin Winchell, is shown being trampled by rabid Trump supporters, who were hellbent on beating up police officers trying to control the situation. These folks, who are usually the ones screaming about how blue lives matter and abortion should be outlawed, were beating on the cops and sounded pretty intent on killing and maiming. They had no regard for a fellow supporter who was being mowed down by the crowd. Likewise, four other people were killed on that day. One woman, Ashli Babbitt, was shot as she tried to break into the Capitol. Two others had medical conditions that were triggered by the excitement. And, a police officer also lost his life to the violence, while another committed suicide a couple of days later.

Marjorie Taylor Greene is apparently all for this kind of behavior. She isn’t shocked or horrified by what’s in those videos. If you have access to The New York Times, I highly recommend watching the videos from the body cams. They are absolutely extraordinary. I can’t believe anyone with a shred of decency would be cheering on this kind of behavior. But apparently, Marjorie Taylor Greene, who wears face masks that read “Trump Won”, is all for it. She actively promotes QAnon theories, which have led to this craziness being unleashed in the United States. It’s absolutely appalling. I can’t believe this is the America people want to live in. I sure the hell don’t. Shouldn’t legislators be law abiding and law respecting individuals? I guess not in Marjorie Taylor Greene’s world.

Anyway… I am disgusted and revolted and I just needed to share it. Maybe later, if I’m feeling energetic, I’ll be back to write about something else.

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politicians, politics, stupid people, Trump

Strange times…

We are definitely living in them. Yesterday was a relatively normal day for me. I’m six hours ahead of my American friends and family, knowing that by the evening, things were going to get weird. But until the evening, we enjoyed a regular day of clouds and drizzle. I did some writing, practiced guitar, washed my sheets, and put together a new bookshelf to hold some of the fancy foodie books I’ve gotten for Bill over the years. An added bonus is that I also have a place to put board games and jigsaw puzzles I’ve done. I thought I’d put the shelf in the living room, but there’s no good place for it down there.

Usually, by now, I would have taken down the Christmas trees. I haven’t done it yet, because the trees make the living room look cozier and I like the lights. I find them comforting. I’ll take the trees down this weekend, when Bill can help me with that chore. Then I’ll do a thorough vacuuming… I’ve made such mundane plans.

And yet, what we saw in the news last night was anything but mundane. Like so many other Americans I was absolutely horrified, but not at all surprised, to see people rioting in Washington, D.C. over Trump’s assertion that the 2020 election was “stolen” from him. It was appalling to see crazed, lawless people breaking the windows in the Capitol building as our lawmakers were evacuated. No, I’m not particularly shocked that this happened. Trump said it would, and it probably made him proud to see all of the chaos reigning as Congress was trying to settle the election.

We knew that many members of Congress intended to object to the electoral votes cast in favor of Joe Biden in certain states. I am sure that the fact that both run off elections in Georgia, one of the formerly red states that turned blue, ended in victories for the Democrat candidates. It’s clear that a lot of people who ordinarily don’t vote came out to make their voices heard, and the majority voted against the Republicans. Republicans, who had been enjoying their powers under Trump, have now been checked by the majority of the American people. A lot of them are pissed off, threatened, and just plain scared that things are going to swing way to the left. So their response is to fight back in a lawless way. One of my conservative friends actually posted this on her Facebook page. All I’ve got to say to it is… wow. Talk about someone who is out of touch with reality.

I feel like half of Americans have Stockholm Syndrome. How can they not see that their dear leader is the biggest abuser of all?

There is nothing cool or honorable about what happened in Washington, D.C. yesterday. So far, four people have died over this stupid shit. A lot of people were injured and arrested. And how many will get sick with COVID-19 remains to be seen. What’s even worse is that the world is watching this crap unfold. This is the kind of thing that happens in banana republics. It’s senseless and ridiculous and completely embarrassing. Trump is cheering it on and encouraging people to be violent and disorderly.

The highest leaders in Washington are talking about invoking the 25th Amendment. It’s an unprecedented move, but it may be the one thing the saves the country.

I really think it’s long been time to invoke the 25th Amendment. It’s sad that it’s only NOW that people in the government and talking about removing Trump from office. Trump was never suited to lead the country, and what we’re witnessing right now is the reason WHY he was never suited. And this behavior is also why I have repeatedly compared Trump to Hitler. It’s not because he’s rounded up six million people and assassinated them, but because his seditious rhetoric inspires the unhinged to react with violence and commit mayhem. It is appalling and terrifying to watch this from afar. I can only imagine how scary it is to actually live near D.C. and see this happening up close and personal. It makes me glad Bill is retired from the National Guard and we no longer live at Fort Belvoir.

Author Michael Wolff said in 2019, Donald Trump’s presidency would end in tears… Donald Trump’s tears. He says Trump is “more isolated, more alone…” and this is the story of one of the greatest political meltdowns in history. How astute he was in June 2019!

Anderson Cooper says speaking to Trump is like speaking to a child.

And yet people are still cheering him on and championing him, to the point of storming the Capitol building and interfering with Congress’s attempts to finalize the election.

Trump has no impulse control. He has no shame. He doesn’t care about anyone but himself, and clearly he is not an adult who knows how to negotiate. He’s just a bully and a tyrant and he needs to be escorted out of the White House… sooner than January 20, 2021. And every single one of the miscreants who breached the Capitol building needs to be arrested and punished. Law and order is for everyone, not just BLM. But… like I said, this isn’t a surprise for me. Donald Trump, like all malignant narcissists, has never hidden who and what he is. If you’ve spent any time with a narcissist, you know what’s coming. Some are worse than others. Trump is clearly among the worst.

I truly hope more people have seen the truth… and we’ll all learn from this craziness.

And now, Joe Biden is formally on track to be our 46th president. Thank GOD.

I am so ready for the Trump chapter to close forever.

I’m also delighted that Mitch McConnell’s unholy reign of terror as Senate Majority Leader is finally over. However, I will commend him and Mike Pence for FINALLY going off on Trump and defying him as he melts down. Too bad it’s taken so long for the two of them to grow spines. This never should have happened. Trump never should have been allowed to run for president.

And finally, a little old school humor that hits home as I watch this crap unfold…

Tell me about it.
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narcissists, politicians, politics, true crime, videos

Gabriel Sterling is outraged. So am I.

My friend Andrew shared the below video this morning. Well, it was probably night where he is, but it was morning when I saw it. I must say, I’m very impressed with the speaker, Gabriel Sterling, an elections official in Georgia who is outraged. Why? Because he and his staff are getting threats over the election results!

People who are just trying to do their jobs are being threatened, all because some people are angry that Trump has lost the election.

I really think this video is worth watching, not just because Mr. Sterling speaks so eloquently about how wrong it is that elections officials are being harassed and threatened, but also because the guy doing the sign language translation is amazing. He expertly conveys the outrage coming from Sterling’s words through his facial expressions and gestures. In fact, the interpreter in this video is one reason why I hope face masks don’t become permanent. He would not be able to do this work so effectively while wearing a mask.

But anyway, back to the original subject at hand. Donald Trump has lost the election. With every passing day, it’s more and more clear that the people chose Joe Biden. I know Joe Biden isn’t perfect, and plenty of people have pointed out why he’s “unsuitable” to be president. Frankly, I think Biden is leagues better than Trump is, if only because he’s not nearly as delusional or narcissistic as Trump so obviously is. I’m clearly not the only one who feels this way. Biden won, fair and square. It’s time for Trump to do the right thing and concede, but I doubt he ever will. To Trump, concession is admitting fault and showing weakness. The reality is, a strong person would admit that he lost, condemn violence and threats against the election workers, and do whatever he could to make things seamless for his successor, for the good of the country.

I watched the video before I saw any of the news articles about this impassioned speech. I hear the pain and frustration in Gabriel Sterling’s voice as he frets about people possibly getting hurt or killed over the election. I sense the total dismay and shock Sterling conveys as he implores Trump to at least say something to the unAmerican whack jobs who are promoting violence against people who are simply doing their duties. The very fact that these folks are being targeted for doing what they’ve been employed to do is one major reason why Donald Trump has to go. He’s done nothing but encouraged division and uncivilized behavior among the American people.

I know it’s not one-sided. Emily Murphy, who is the administrator of the General Services Administration, basically the person who controls the funds that would allow Mr. Biden to set up his affairs as he prepares to take over the White House, has said that people have been threatening and harassing her, too. She refused to grant Joe Biden the funds to start the transition to power in spite of mounting pressure to do her job and growing evidence that Trump’s complaints about corruption and a “stolen election” are false. Murphy finally did her duty, but sent Biden a letter complaining about being threatened. She wrote that even her pets have been threatened with violence.

I don’t remember any other election fraught with as much chaos and polarization as this one has been. It’s absolutely batshit crazy. And I don’t know how or where people have gotten the idea that it’s appropriate to threaten people with violence for any reason, but particularly over something like a presidential election. The president doesn’t have all of the power… and thank GOD for that.

What good does it do to try to intimidate people? Who taught these people that promoting violence and issuing threats are the ways to make the United States a better place to live? Do the people who have resorted to threats and intimidation really think that is what will make American “great” again (not that it ever really was, our whitewashed history lessons notwithstanding)? Is that what they would like to happen to them someday if someone disagrees with them?

I do think it’s funny, though, to see how some Republicans are finally turning on Trump. It’s like watching rats jump off a sinking ship. Yesterday, I watched a video of Arizona Governor Doug Ducey letting a call from Trump go to voicemail as he was certifying his state’s election results in favor of Joe Biden. Ducey had once bragged that he had a special ring tone for Trump and Pence. Whenever his cell phone rang with “Hail To The Chief”, he knew it was a call from Trump or Pence and he needed to be sure to answer promptly. On the video I saw yesterday, one can see Mr. Ducey signing paperwork as his phone rings with that ring tone. He doesn’t answer. Instead, he glances at the phone and ignores it. Maybe that’s what we should all start doing… although Trump has gotten so big for his britches that doing so could be disastrous. If there’s one thing narcissists can’t stand, it’s being ignored.

Yup… they are all the same, when it comes down to it. There’s no real loyalty in politics. Looks like Doug Ducey has moved on.

Well… it’ll be interesting to watch what happens as the inauguration approaches. Hopefully, not too many people will get hurt or killed by violent, unhinged, and frankly obsessed people. It’s bad enough that people are dying of a dangerous virus. Do we really need crazy Trump supporters running around with weapons, threatening innocent people who are just doing their jobs?

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true crime

Executing Lisa Montgomery… perhaps one of Trump’s last “achievements”.

It’s now abundantly clear that Donald Trump is soon about to be a president of the past. But he’s still trying to leave an orange skid mark on our lives or, in some cases, our deaths. Take death row inmate, Lisa Montgomery, for instance. She is currently the only woman on federal death row. In 2007, Montgomery was convicted of strangling pregnant Bobbie Jo Stinnett, cutting out Stinnett’s fetus, and kidnapping the baby, who survived the attack unharmed.

Montgomery’s execution date was recently announced. She currently has a date with the federal execution chamber in Terre Haute, Indiana on December 8, 2020. Montgomery’s official death date was announced last month, giving her just a few weeks to prepare. Normally, prisoners on federal death row get about four months notice before they meet the executioner. Montgomery’s two public defender lawyers are currently both bedridden with COVID-19. They seek to delay Ms. Montgomery’s execution on those grounds.

If Montgomery is executed next month, she will be the first woman in 70 years to be executed by the feds. Trump probably sees that as a feather in his cap– or, perhaps it’s Attorney General William P. Barr who is so eager to see Montgomery killed by the government. Since July 2020, Barr has reinstated federal executions, which had been on a 17 year hiatus. Consequently, seven federal inmates have been executed since then. Lisa Montgomery would be the ninth federal inmate to be put to death this year. President-Elect Joe Biden has vowed to end the federal death penalty.

I’m not a fan of the death penalty. I won’t say it’s never appropriate– there are some cases in which executions should be done in the name of public safety. For instance, I fully believe that Timothy McVeigh, mastermind of the Oklahoma City Bombing, would have killed again if given the chance. I also believe that the DC Sniper, John Allen Muhammad would have killed again. In their cases, I think the death penalty was justifiable. However, I don’t think most death penalty cases are like that. I mostly think the death penalty should be abolished in the United States, as it has been in all of the most civilized countries around the world. But I especially think it’s wrong in Lisa Montgomery’s situation.

Lisa Montgomery is 52 years old and the mother of four children she had with her stepbrother, whom she married when she was 18 years old. She suffers from extreme mental illness. She had a mental illness when she attacked Bobbie Jo Stinnett. Montgomery told her husband that she was pregnant, but she’d been faking it. In fact, Montgomery, who was 36 years old at the time of the murder, had undergone surgery that rendered her unable to have more children before she’d ever met her husband. So when it came time to produce a baby, she determined the only thing she could do was resort to murder and kidnapping. Of course she was absolutely wrong to do what she did. She definitely belongs in prison. But there are mitigating circumstances in Lisa Montgomery’s case.

Lisa Montgomery has severe mental illness brought on by many years of childhood sexual abuse. Both of Montgomery’s parents were alcoholics, and her mother drank heavily during her pregnancy. Montgomery’s older half sister, Diane Mattingly, a product of an earlier relationship of their father’s, now works as a state employee in Kentucky. She has testified that Lisa Montgomery’s mother was extremely abusive to both girls and would beat them constantly. Mattingly has claimed that Montgomery’s mother would psychologically terrorize the girls, and they got no help from their father, who was in the military and gone for long periods of time. While their father was gone, Montgomery’s mother would bring men home. Sometimes, they would have violent fights in front of the girls. On occasion, the girls would be left with male babysitters who would sometimes rape Mattingly in front of Montgomery.

When Mattingly was about eight years old, her father and Montgomery’s mother separated. Mattingly was removed from the home by child protective services. For some reason, Montgomery was left behind. While Mattingly ended up being placed with loving foster parents who taught her self-worth and helped her recover her dignity, Montgomery was left in a cesspool of violence and depravity. There was no one there to protect her. Diane Mattingly was able to recover from her horrifying childhood because she had nurturing from kind adults who showed her a different way to live. Her sister, Lisa Montgomery, never had that.

After Mattingly left the home, Lisa Montgomery’s mother remarried and had three more children. Her next husband was a violent man who regularly beat the children and psychologically tortured them. He would force them to strip naked and then whip them. The family also moved a lot; by the time Montgomery was a teenager, she’d moved sixteen times. It was hard for her to form connections to other people who could have helped her escape her nightmarish home. But when she did tell people she was being molested– including her cousin, who was a deputy sheriff– no one did anything to help her. In fact, her stepfather used to allow her to be used as payment for services rendered when plumbers or electricians would fix things in the house. When her mother finally divorced her second husband, she told the court that she’d walked in on her husband raping her daughter. She was admonished by the court for not reporting the crime, but no one did anything about the abuse. Her stepfather was never charged. And according to a therapist who worked with Montgomery briefly during her mother’s divorce, Montgomery was left with the idea that it was her fault she’d been repeatedly raped.

Montgomery is an incest survivor who was also a victim of sex trafficking. She has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder with psychotic features, complex post-traumatic stress disorder, temporal lobe epilepsy, and cerebellar dysfunction. There’s also evidence that Montgomery is genetically predisposed to mental illness, and the abuse she suffered during her childhood made that predisposition much worse than it might have otherwise been. Mental health experts assigned to her case have concluded that Montgomery was suffering from psychosis when she committed her crime. And finally, once Montgomery was appropriately treated for her mental illness, she became deeply remorseful.

Although Lisa Montgomery is clearly responsible for killing Bobbie Jo Stinnett in a truly horrific manner, it’s also clear that she won’t kill again. I would not put her in the same class as someone like Timothy McVeigh or John Allen Muhammad or Ted Bundy. I don’t believe she killed Bobbie Jo Stinnett because she got off on killing people. I believe she was out of her mind. And based on what I’ve read about her history, I certainly can’t blame her for being out of her mind.

I think Lisa Montgomery’s execution date has been settled so quickly because Trump is about to leave office and it’s clear that a lot of Americans are changing their opinions about capital punishment. Some people will always be in favor of taking an eye for an eye, and want to see Lisa Montgomery put to death. Frankly, I think a lot of people enjoy the spectacle of the death penalty. But the larger portion of Americans are finding capital punishment barbaric and repugnant, and wouldn’t have a problem with seeing it go away for good.

Lisa Montgomery may not even know she’s about to die. Her mental state is so poor that she’s not very lucid. She spends her days doing needlepoint while her lawyers fight to try to save her life. She has exhausted her appeals to stay her execution. She’s had a hellish life so far. No, she should not be excused for her crimes, but the circumstances in her case are so absolutely terrible that I think she should be granted the chance to have her sentence commuted to life in prison. It’s not ethical to execute someone as mentally ill as Montgomery is. But then, I don’t think it’s ethical to execute most people on death row. I truly believe it’s a punishment that should be reserved for the most extreme cases that involve many people’s deaths.

Unfortunately, I think it’s likely that Ms. Montgomery will be put to death next month. She’s the victim of an administration that doesn’t care about anyone, but especially people like her. Lisa Montgomery’s life has been incredibly tragic and there was no one there to protect her when she needed it the most. The system failed her spectacularly, and now it will be responsible for her death.

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overly helpful people, rants

I was right…

Remember last week, when I wrote about the guy in Santee, California who went to his local grocery store while donning a KKK-esque hood and mask? In my post about him, I hypothesized that he was simply pissed off about having to wear a mask and decided to protest while still “technically” following the rules. Personally, I think his hood looks a lot like a dunce cap.

According to multiple news stories that were circulating yesterday, it looks like my assumption of what he was trying to do was correct. After he was questioned by local authorities about his decision to dress like a Klansman, the guy explained that he was angry about being told that he must wear a face mask in public, so he decided to rebel against the rules while still technically abiding by them. He told the police that the hood he wore was not intended to be a racial statement, saying “It was a mask, and it was stupid.” So the San Diego Sheriff’s Department has declined to press charges against him at this time.

I haven’t taken the time to look for many reactions to this decision. I’m sure a lot of people are still angry about it and think this guy should go to jail for wearing that hood to the grocery store. However, the Constitution still protects free speech, even speech that is considered hateful. According to the article I linked, the San Diego Sheriff’s Department offered this statement:

“The U.S. Supreme Court has said that ‘[s]peech that demeans on the basis of race, ethnicity, gender, religion, age, disability, or any other similar ground is hateful; but the proudest boast of our free speech jurisprudence is that we protect the freedom to express the thought that we hate,'”

And, as distasteful as the man’s actions are, I am relieved to hear that he hasn’t been arrested. I think too many people are locked up as it is, particularly for non-violent crimes. This is a stressful time for everyone, and I completely understand why many people are frustrated, confused, scared, and angry by this “new normal”. I actually shudder to call it that. I hope this face mask requirement doesn’t become normal for the rest of my life, because I hate it. I also hate the “hall monitor” attitude and borderline hysteria it’s brought out in a lot of people, on either side of the argument.

Moreover, I think banning or restricting any facet of free speech or expression is a slippery slope that can lead to disastrous consequences. To be clear, I don’t have an issue with people facing consequences for making hateful statements, but I would not want to see actual laws passed to restrict speech or expression. As a writer, that would be deadly to my craft. (and I fully understand that some of my readers don’t take what I do seriously and don’t think of me as a writer… that’s fine with me, although I think some of you need to get a life)

Anyway… what that guy did was probably less horrible than what some other people are doing in the wake of being required to cover their mouths and noses. At least in his case, no one was injured and there was no property damaged. This morning, I read about two men trying to shop at a California Target store without face masks. A security guard tried to insist that they wear masks and they got into a fight with him, resulting in the guard’s left arm being broken. The maskless men are now facing felony battery charges.

I read another story this morning about a maskless guy at a 7 Eleven in Oakland Hills, California who become violent when he was asked to wear a mask. The 7 Eleven clerks refused to serve him and he stormed out of the store, kicking and shattering the glass door.

A Family Dollar security guard was fatally shot in Flint, Michigan, because he told a customer that her child needed to wear a face mask. The customer yelled at the guard, spat at him, and drove off. Twenty minutes later, the woman’s husband and adult son came to the store, confronted the security guard, and the adult son pulled out a weapon and killed the security guard.

There have been other incidences of violence… really too many to list in this post, although you can follow the link and find more stories of people losing their shit over what they deem government official overreach. It’s definitely distressing to see people toting their guns to state capitals, threatening and screaming at officials, and protesting against the face mask rules. I am certainly not a fan of the masks, and have stated more than once that I have my doubts that they are that effective. Nevertheless, I would never become violent over having to wear them, nor do I not comply with the rule. I simply stay home as much as possible. I figure nobody wants or needs to see me, anyway.

I feel very grateful to be in Germany for this crisis. Germans, from what I’ve seen so far, are pretty sensible about this situation. And even if sometimes Germans as a whole can be confrontational, they aren’t typically violent here. Even if someone came to blows over face masks, there are a lot fewer guns here anyway.

Americans are losing their damned minds on both sides of this debate. A couple of days ago, I read a very interesting op-ed about social distancing shamers. Personally, I agreed very much with what Amanda Hess wrote in her editorial for The New York Times. Against my better judgment, I read some of the comments for that piece. Granted, many people commenting are New Yorkers, and New York City, while being a very densely populated place, has also been hard hit by the virus. I can understand why many people there are “hardasses” about the masks. On the other hand, people don’t like being ordered around by busybodies, and the presence of the deadly coronavirus doesn’t change that.

As I was reading the comments for that post last night, I kept seeing the same shrill toned sentiments by a few people who defended their shaming and policing, claiming that the shaming will “save lives”. Personally, I disagree. In my experience, shaming doesn’t usually inspire people to want to comply with demands, particularly when the shaming comes from some shrill voiced pest. That technique probably works better in cultures in Asia, where people are much more community minded. Western cultures tend to value individualism and personal freedoms more, and people don’t like being told what to do, even by their leaders.

I don’t know about you, but when someone tries to shame me, my first emotions are almost always irritation and anger, not a desire to comply. But I’m reasonable enough that I do usually think about what the other person is saying and consider whether or not it has merit. Maybe I’ll change my behavior, but it’s more than likely I won’t. Why? Because I’m a competent adult who can think for herself. I’m more likely to tell the shamer to fuck off. At the very least, they’ll get a serious load of my bitch face, which I’m told by some is pretty devastating. (ha ha ha)

I wouldn’t dream of going up to someone I don’t know and berating them for not doing what I think they should be doing. For all I know, they have a good reason for not following the rules and their reasons probably aren’t any of my business. It’s not my place to call them out unless they’re doing something that directly affects me. If it’s something very serious, illegal, or dangerous, in most situations, I’ll call the police or someone else who has been designated as an authority figure. Otherwise, I’ll just give them a wide berth and go on about my business.

I’ve also noticed that some people think the masks must be on at all times, even if social distancing is entirely possible. The rules I’ve seen have specified that the masks are to be worn when social distancing isn’t possible– that means you can’t stay more than six feet apart from someone else. Some people have taken it upon themselves to shame people even if they’re totally able to be more than six feet away from others. They insist that they have the right because they’re “scared”. That seems like a very imbalanced view caused by hysteria. I, for one, don’t want hysterical people dictating what I can and can’t do, especially when their hysteria is entirely based on their own emotions. I prefer taking direction from people who aren’t hysterical and make rules based on science and facts, rather than fear.

In some of the comments on that article, people were relating stories about being screamed at for not wearing a mask in public when they were nowhere near anyone else. In one story, the shamer, confident in her “moral highground”, came up to a guy and started yelling at him, but she had her mask pulled down as she was doing it. The guy she was yelling at was not near anyone else and he was minding his own business. But she still felt entitled to yell at him because she was scared and was obviously feeling emboldened by her fear.

A year or two ago, people were calling out folks for being confrontational. Remember Barbecue Becky and Permit Patty? These were white women who felt okay about confronting people about what they were doing in public. And folks were all up in arms about that, mainly because the people being shamed were people of color and calling the police on people of color can be very dangerous or even deadly. People took it out on them by smearing them online and making them go viral.

But now, the same people who were angry about the confrontations of two years ago, are now okay with confronting people who don’t want to wear masks, even though the masks are probably much more about making other people feel better psychologically than actually controlling the spread of the virus. I suppose there’s value in placating the scared among us, but I hope it’s not something that will be expected for the rest of our lives. It’s bad enough that the virus has taken away people who were too young to die, and things that are wonderful like travel, good health, eating in restaurants, listening to choirs, brass bands, and woodwinds, and visiting friends and relatives in person. Do we have to turn into oppressive, insufferable assholes, too?

Like I said… I personally don’t really think the masks are that helpful, and while some people are comforted by seeing people wearing them, they give me the creeps. So I simply stay home. That way, not only do I avoid most people who can make me sick, I also avoid people who feel the need to lecture and harass others… as well as those who would resort to violence over being asked to wear a mask. I also don’t have to be reminded of how sad and hopeless life feels right now. I may change my mind as time goes on… and I feel very lucky that I’m not in the United States, where so many people do have guns, short tempers, and the unshakable idea that they’re in the right.

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