The Heart of Courage

After yesterday, I was inspired to look up the etymology of the word courage. It stems from the latin “cor” which means heart. The word has been around since at least the 1300’s.

The heart/courage connection makes a lot of sense when you think about it. The two have been intertwined throughout history. We say, “She had the heart of a lion.” Being told you have a brave heart is a great compliment indeed. “Take heart, my friends,” means have courage in the face of adversity. Follow your heart.

The reason I am thinking of this right now is that it took great courage, yesterday, for all those representatives to vote to impeach Trump after having been locked in rooms for hours, clutching gas masks, while a mob was trying to get to them, many of whom talked of lynching and other forms of assassination. They could hear the guards screaming in pain as they were attacked. They could hear glass breaking and doors breaking and gun shots.

I would have been terrified. Americans usually don’t experience threats to their lives in their homeland, especially as perpetuated by fellow Americans. (Well, unless you count those who are forced to walk among fools who refuse to wear masks in public in the midst of a pandemic.)

When the congressmen emerged, it was to see destruction and theft and death and hate symbols and defecation. It was to see that one of the most honored buildings in this country had been trashed. It was to learn that they weren’t adequately protected, and things could have ended even more horrifically than they did. Whether they realize it or not, I’m sure that the entire congress now has PTSD, and that’s going to back up on them sooner or later.

And yet, those representatives showed up yesterday, to the very room that they had to be rushed out of during the insurrection. They impeached Trump. That took guts for miles.

Yeah, nothing will probably come of it. The senate isn’t cooperating, and there’s not much time left (thank God). But the importance of recording, for all the generations to come, that insurrection is outrageous and unconscionable, made them act, despite knowing that there are people out there who will surely want them to die for it. It took a great deal of courage, indeed.

I particularly admire the 10 republicans who chose to do the right thing. Not only are they risking their lives but also their livelihood. They will be the focus of hate for acting based on facts and their personal integrity, even if it meant they were forced to go against the majority of their peers. It takes a lot to speak truth to power. What heart! What courage!

I couldn’t be more impressed if I were twins. Even though we’ve seen the worst of America during that riot, perhaps there is hope for us yet. I’m heartened by that. Very heartened, indeed.

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Living through History

We lived through history yesterday, and it was for the most part shameful. If you think killing a woman in the Capitol Building is acceptable or, worse yet, heroic, if you can say you love people who would do such a thing, if you call people who mounted an insurrection “true patriots”, then you are a moral reprobate.

A woman died. And she was a Trump supporter to boot. At what point do you admit that things have gotten out of control? At what point do you say enough is enough?

Our transitions of power have always been peaceful until now, even when the results stuck in the craw of the majority. Are you proud of yourselves? Do you have any idea what you’ve done to democracy?

The only reason I said “for the most part shameful” up above is that Georgia, a state I’d long since given up on, just managed to elect their first black senator ever, and also the youngest senator. That’s history, too. I wish that was what I could focus on, because it’s miraculous. But no. Shame on the insurrectionists.

Oh, and then, on top of everything else, protestors blocked my bridge for 15 minutes yesterday, too. 6 cars, blocking every lane of traffic, completely strangling the Seattle evening commute. I have no idea what they were protesting, and frankly, I don’t care. It accomplished nothing but ill will. It didn’t further anyone’s agenda. It was just negative energy. And it stressed me out and caused paperwork.

So, yeah, weird day at best.

I’ll leave you with this wisdom from a meme, in the hopes that it will cause you to untangle some pretzel logic if you happen to be experiencing it:

“You might be in a cult if you believe that:

You can’t trust the votes.

You can’t trust paper ballots.

You can’t trust judges at the polling places.

You can’t trust polling observers.

You can’t trust voting machines.

You can’t trust state canvassing committees.

You can’t trust state recounts.

You can’t trust 50 Secretaries of State.

You can’t trust the National administrator for election security.

You can’t trust Trump’s Attorney General.

You can’t trust Trump’s FBI.

You can’t trust the states circuit court judges.

You can’t trust US district court judges, including Trump appointees.

You can’t trust US Supreme Court judges, including Trump’s appointees.

You can’t trust the last ten Secretaries of Defense.

BUT you can trust Donald Trump.”

What’s REALLY Scary

What a year this has been. I think between the pandemic, Trump, economic stress, wildfires, hurricanes, social unrest, and the fact that everyone seems to be losing their minds to some degree or another, we’ve all been scared enough this year. And here comes Halloween. I don’t know about you, but I’m in no mood to play at being scared this year. I’m over it. I’m done. There’s just too much to be really afraid of these days.

But it would feel weird if I didn’t acknowledge Halloween somehow. Happy Halloween! Can I tell you a scary story?

Most people think psychopaths have to be violent to be considered psychopaths. People hesitate to use the term outside of the serial killer realm. They’ll “downgrade” the nonviolent ones to sociopath. But that couldn’t be more misleading.

Actually, it is estimated that psychopaths comprise one percent of the population, and most of them are relatively functional. A lot of them become bosses and leaders, as a matter of fact. They’ve got that ruthless, cutthroat aspect to their personalities that often gets them to the top. You’ve probably known at least one psychopath in the course of your life, whether you realized it or not. I have known several, unfortunately.

Here’s a fairly standard psychopathy checklist that I copied from an article in healthyplace.com:

  1. Superficial charm and glibness
  2. Inflated sense of self-worth
  3. Constant need for stimulation
  4. Lying pathologically
  5. Conning others; being manipulative
  6. Lack of remorse or guilt
  7. Shallow emotions
  8. Callousness; lack of empathy
  9. Using others (a parasitic lifestyle)
  10. Poor control over behavior
  11. Promiscuous sexual behavior
  12. Behavioral problems early in life
  13. Lack of realistic, long-term goals
  14. Being impulsive
  15. Being irresponsible
  16. Blaming others and refusing to accept responsibility
  17. Having several marital relationships
  18. Delinquency when young
  19. Revocation of conditional release
  20. Criminal acts in several realms (criminal versatility)

So here’s something scary: 4 years ago, we elected someone who possesses at least 18 of those 20 traits (I’m not even sure what number 19 means, and I don’t know if he was a delinquent, because daddy, I’m sure, could always buy him out of trouble), and he has demonstrated this fact time and time again. This man has been leading the free world for the past 4 years, to our detriment, to the point where people have actually died unnecessarily. This is not a political issue. It’s a mental health issue.

But you know how scary movies often make you jump, and you know you’re about to jump, but you still jump? Well, this is even worse. Because the truly, genuinely scary part of all of this is that there are people in this country, knowing all that we know, seeing all that we’ve seen, who will still vote for this man. And they walk amongst us, and look just like us.

If that doesn’t make the hair on the back of your neck stand straight up, nothing will. Don’t assume we’ve got this. Please vote.

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Let Us Fish Protests and Their Ilk

The other day, I saw a large procession of pleasure craft float beneath my drawbridge. I took this picture. From the radio chatter I was able to determine that this was a Let Us Fish protest.

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It seems that the State of Washington, as part of its Stay Home, Stay Healthy initiative, has put restrictions on recreational fishing. These protesters feel that they should have the right to fish. After all, how does it hurt anyone?

Well, as with all of those who are wanting to get back to normal too soon, you’re overlooking how your actions impact others, and I find that extremely selfish.

You will have to gas up your car and your vessel, which means you’re touching gas pumps. You’re probably stopping to get food and snacks along the way. You’re interacting with others at the docks. If you behave recklessly, you’re forcing the harbor patrol and/or the Coastguard to get involved, thus exposing themselves to you. If you get hurt in any way, you’re causing health care workers to interact with you. After all is said and done, you then bring those potential COVID-19 exposures home to loved ones, risking their exposure, and they in turn risk exposing anyone they interact with, many of whom aren’t throwing tantrums because they can’t go fishing.

It’s the same situation with people who are outraged they can’t go to the hairdresser or the tattoo parlor. Get over it. These things can wait. They are not worth anyone’s life.

In addition, by insisting that people go back to work, you’re overlooking some major points. When you get a governor to insist that restaurants reopen, as an example, those who still feel it’s not safe to reopen will not have a choice, because they’ll no longer be able to file for business interruption insurance. If restaurant workers don’t feel it’s safe but the state government does, then landlords will stop allowing people to defer rent and there will be no more subsidies, which means people who are fearing for their grandparents and/or have underlying health conditions will have to work whether they like it or not. If your employer is forced to reopen, but you’ve got increased risk of contracting COVID-19, you’ll either have to quit the job and not be eligible for unemployment insurance or you’ll get fired and those small businesses will be required to foot the bill for your unemployment, which puts a further strain on small business.

I’d have a lot more sympathy for these protests if they weren’t making them so inexplicably political. Many of those boats had signs that claimed that keeping them from fishing is the fault of our “communist” governor. They also had pro-Trump signs. So this was less of a complaint about wanting to fish than it was a rant against the fact that they don’t like decisions being made by a Democrat in their state capitol. Believe me, he’s not enjoying these restrictions either. But he’s trying to save lives.

Encouraging these people to participate in get back to work protests is not about helping the people. It’s about the one percent not wanting to foot the bill, pushing the financial burden further down the food chain, and trying to force you back to work even if it means more people will die.

Yes, I understand that people are hurting financially at this time. But I’d rather take a government subsidy which came from my taxes, or rely on public assistance, or go to food banks rather than put the elderly, the people with underlying health issues, or our frontline workers at further risk. COVID-19 doesn’t care who holds political power.

If the Greatest Generation had resisted food rationing the way we’re resisting doing our part, there’d probably be a swastika flying over the White House right now. We’ve become spoiled. We need to make sacrifices. I know it hurts. But we have to do the right thing, for everyone’s sake. Now is not the time to slack off. We’re all in this together.

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Trump’s Criminal Negligence

It’s 6:30 in the morning and I’m eating a big slice of Watergate Cake. I tend to eat my anger. I wish I had a second slice.

On the commute to work, I heard that Donald Trump is suggesting that injecting oneself with disinfectant might be a way to cure a case of COVID-19. The actual quote, from the video you can see in this Newsweek article is:

“Then I see the disinfectant, where it knocks it out in a minute. One minute. And is there a way we can do something like that? By injection inside or almost a cleaning. It will be interesting to check that, so you’re going to have to use medical doctors, but it sounds interesting to me.”

First of all:

  NEVER inject yourself with disinfectant!!!!! 

I can’t believe I even have to say that, but the leader of the free world just suggested it, so it bears repeating.

  NEVER inject yourself with disinfectant!!!!! 

Even Lysol, the maker of such products, agrees with me. Doing that kind of thing could very well kill you. People have done exactly this to commit suicide. It would definitely be the most stupid thing you’ve ever done in your life, as well as, possibly, the last thing. Don’t do it.

The sad thing is, if Trump says it, there are a certain percentage of his followers, way out there on the lunatic fringe, who have no sense of critical thinking (and probably no health insurance), who will give this a try. I’m sure we’ll hear about this in coming days.

Trump’s words are irresponsible at best, and criminally negligent at worst. Don’t believe me? Here’s the definition of criminal negligence:

“Criminal negligence refers to conduct in which a person ignores a known or obvious risk, or disregards the life and safety of others. Federal and state courts describe this behavior as a form of recklessness, where the person acts significantly different than an ordinary person under similar circumstances. An example is a parent leaving a loaded firearm within reach of a small child.”

Having the world’s most prominent public leader suggesting that we should try injecting disinfectant into our bodies is tantamount to a parent leaving a loaded firearm within reach of a small child, don’t you think?

He’s supposed to be an authority. He’s supposed to be the hub of our pandemic information. And yet he spouts this idiocy. If someone in a major corporation said something like that, he’d be fired.

So, Mr. Trump, if you want to be our leader, and you truly find what you just said to be interesting, do us all a favor and try it out for yourself. Please. I’m begging you. Do it before you say anything else that endangers our lives.

Once again, for those who didn’t hear me the first two times:

  NEVER inject yourself with disinfectant!!!!! 

Jesus, take the wheel…

speechless

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Lockdown Protests? Seriously?

I understand. People are scared. People are suffering from loss of income. More people are on unemployment and are accessing food banks than have in living memory. We are struggling to survive. I get it. I’ve lived it. But that’s the thing. Even this economic nightmare that is raining down upon us right now is better than the alternative, which is death.

I’d be willing to lose everything, sleep in the woods, forage for berries, as long as me and mine are alive. This is a life or death situation that we are in right now. This is real. Nothing else matters.

So, when I see people gathering in groups to protest this lockdown, encouraged by Trump, I’m absolutely horrified. Did you hear me? They’re gathering in groups. That’s the last thing on earth anyone should be doing right now.

If you want to be a fool and risk getting this virus, that’s your prerogative. The world could use fewer fools. But unfortunately, after you go to these protests, you are then coming home to your innocent grandparents and children and spouses, and they in turn will spread it to others, and so on. That’s the whole point. That’s how a virus works.

So your stupidity impacts us all, and will, in fact, increase the length of time that we all have to be locked down. Your protest will have the exact opposite result than you want it to have. Brilliant.

Of course Trump wants you back to work again. He wants you to be a cog in the corporate wheel, always. He wants you to think the world is a shining, happy place before the elections roll around. To hell with you if you die in the process. He could care less about that. How is that not blatantly obvious? He will tweet you into oblivion.

Are you so busy trying to “liberate” Michigan and Virginia, are you so hellbent on contracting and spreading this virus and making this situation so much worse, that you can’t see that you’re expendable to Trump? Don’t you know that this virus cares nothing about your moral imperative? You’re being used as a human, political shield.

For God’s sake, at least wash your freakin’ hands.

Social Isolation protesters

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COVIDiocy

It’s amazing to me how much this pandemic is bringing out the very best and the very worst in people. Today I’m going to talk about the very worst. Warning: this is not going to be a tactful, unifying post.

As this stressful pot gets stirred, it seems that more and more of the idiots in this world are rising up to the surface to make their stupidity known. There has been a marked spike in aggression and violence towards Asian Americans. It’s appalling to witness.

There is nothing that will reveal your ignorance more than seeking out some random person and blaming a virus on them. There’s no better indicator of your overall douchebaggery than spitting or coughing on some old man just because you’re scared and you can’t figure out where else to direct your rage. And statistics are showing that Asian American females are being targeted three times as much as the males. What’s the matter? Afraid to pick on someone your own size? Cowards.

If you think that it’s acceptable to shove or shout at a person, if you think that will solve this problem or improve the situation in any way, then you are an imbecile. Do you think that by spewing your hate at people who are in the exact same contagious boat that you are, you’re living your best life? What would Jesus do? Such class. Your mother would be so proud.

And while we’re on the subject of twits, dimwits, morons, and fools, can you please explain what possible good it does for the leader of the free world (may heaven help us) to call COVID-19 the “Chinese Virus”? What goal could he have other than to spread hate, chaos, and division? How is that helpful? Is that what a leader should be doing at a time when we all need to come together? Where are the comforting and reassuring words? Where’s the compassion? I guess there’s no need for that, since everything is going to be back to normal by Easter.

I’m just so frustrated right now. This should not be who we are. End of rant.

Happy freakin’ Easter, by the way.

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One of These Things Is Not Like the Other

The Presidential Medal of Freedom is the highest civilian honor you can receive from this country. According to Wikipedia, it’s supposed to be given to people who have made “an especially meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of the United States, world peace, cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.”

In the past it has been given to an auspicious list of people, including Mother Teresa, Georgia o’Keeffe, Norman Rockwell, Martha Graham, Sidney Poitier, James Stewart, John Steinbeck, Elie Wiesel, Aaron Copland, Aretha Franklin, David McCullough, Edward R. Murrow, Walter Cronkite, Jonas Salk, Bill Gates, Helen Keller, Martin Luther King Jr., Harvey Milk, Gloria Steinem, Lech Walesa, Nelson Mandela, Pope John Paul II, Desmond Tutu, Margaret Mead, Neil Armstrong, John Glenn, Sally Ride, Hank Aaron, Muhammad Ali, and Billie Jean King.

Yes, there have been controversial awards. No one will ever agree completely upon whom such honors should be bestowed. But I’m still nauseous after the most recent one was given at Trump’s State of the Union Address.

Rush Limbaugh? Seriously? The man who compared Presedent Obama to a monkey and coined the term Feminazis? This divisive, hateful, racist purveyor of misinformation? Here are some of the lies he has spread:

  • The existence of gorillas disproves the theory of evolution.

  • A recent decrease in hurricanes disproves climate change.

  • He claimed President Obama wanted to mandate circumcision.

  • He called Sandra Fluke a slut for wanting insurance coverage for contraception.

  • He said soldiers who opposed the Iraq War were phonies.

  • He claimed that the Deepwater Horizon oil rig disaster was created by environmentalists.

  • He stated the Adam Lanza did the mass shooting at Sandy Hook due to the Mayan calendar.

Entire books have been written about the lies this man has told and the problems he has caused. To have this unrepentant racist wear the Presidential Medal of Honor around his neck spits in the eye of every former recipient. Especially during African American History Month.

But then, having someone as president who talks about grabbing pussies and who strong-arms allies at war in order to get them to sway American elections spits in the eye of everyone who has been president, too, and he’s the one who decides who gets the award, so what do I expect?

Next, he’ll give one posthumously to Charles Manson, for getting all of us to put dead bolts on our doors.

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Congressional Hearings Then and Now

Even as I write this, I’m listening to the impeachment hearings. I’ve borne witness to live testimony at every opportunity. I’m finding it riveting.

I’m really impressed with some of the dedicated public servants I’ve had the opportunity to hear. There really are bureaucrats out there who are well-meaning and full of integrity. That makes me feel as though our country may be able to recover from all this divisiveness and corruption. Someday.

Unfortunately, these testimonies have also shined a light on some of the cockroaches in our government. Those who are choosing not to testify are not participating in the process of revealing truth and clarifying the situation. Justice is not the end goal for these people. Their integrity will forever be in question, as far as I’m concerned. Clearly, they have something to hide.

Other cockroaches include those who are trying to stir up drama by using inflammatory phrases in the hopes that they’ll make good sound bites. Comparing this situation to a “drug deal” or an “inquisition” is not helpful, nor is it even remotely accurate. Implying that the closed-door depositions are somehow out of order is absurd. In all types of hearings, depositions are behind closed doors. The only time one sees a deposition is in the movies. Also, attempting to out the whistleblower is an effort to find a scapegoat to deflect attention from the subject of the impeachment.

But worst of all, without a doubt, are the tweets and the bullies who are attempting to intimidate witnesses. It makes this country look like a banana republic. It makes us look like thugs. And it makes me ashamed.

But even as I listen to these hearings, I remember the 8 year old me during the Watergate scandal. Little me threw more than one tantrum because the hearings pre-empted all her children’s programming. And it seemed to go on for an eternity. She was sooooooooo bored! She was furious at her mother for not being able to tell “someone” to restore decent television to the land.

What a difference maturity and life experience make. How radically one’s priorities shift over time. And thank goodness for Netflix.

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The Whistleblower

People seem shocked that the Republicans are calling for the exposure of whistleblower that started the current impeachment investigation. I’m not. People hate those who blow the whistle on their team. I know this because I’ve blown a whistle or two in my lifetime. It never went well for me.

The idea that this whistleblower is some sort of a rat, or a troublemaker, or a liar, is outrageous. I think this person is a hero. Anyone who sees something that’s morally, ethically or legally suspect, and speaks up about it despite all possible repercussions, is admirable. It takes courage.

And make no mistake, this person is not dictating what happens with the information he or she put forward. That person simply identified a situation that seemed wrong, brought it to the proper authorities, and those authorities are now in charge of investigating those allegations. It’s that simple.

That the Republicans are trying to imply that keeping this person’s identity a secret is some nefarious conspiracy by the Democrats is absurd. It’s. The. LAW. And for good reason. If you start exposing whistleblowers, then no one will have the courage to speak up when they see things that they feel are wrong.

And, lest we forget, just about every allegation that the whistleblower has made has been corroborated by other witnesses. So what’s the point in exposing the whistleblower?

I’ll tell you the point. The Republicans are anxious to have a scapegoat to deflect attention from the questionable behavior of Trump. They can’t afford to have us look at Trump too closely at the moment. We might notice that the emperor has no clothes.

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