Beware of False Patriotism

There has been a fascist streak running through this country since the 1700’s.

A friend of mine recently directed me to an offering in the PBS Short Film Festival entitled A Night at the Garden. From the title, you’d expect it to be bucolic. Images in my head include the sounds of crickets, fireflies flashing amongst the trees, a babbling brook, cows lowing in the distance. Peaceful.

Yeah. This video is not that. Not even close.

The video itself is only 6 minutes long. The rest of it is credits. I encourage you to take a few minutes to watch it. It is terrifying. It’s actual footage of the 1939 Nazi rally at Madison Square Garden in New York City. It’s an important film to watch, because history has been repeating itself of late, and since we have more access to misinformation, more of us are vulnerable to this type of false patriotism.

According to Wikipedia, 20,000 people attended that Fascist rally, and when you see the footage, the pomp and circumstance will give you the chills. People marching in lock step, American flags interspersed with Nazi flags. A gigantic image of George Washington, as if he were a god. People giving the Nazi salute to the American flag. Patriotism at its most terrifying.

And wait until you get to the part where the protester runs up on stage and is beaten up by about 20 to 30 Ordnungsdienst, the militia that was organized by the German American Bund to protect them at the rally. They throw the protester to the ground, kick him, and punch him. All this while the speaker looks on and smiles. If the local police hadn’t dragged the poor protester off stage, he may very well have been killed. Instead, they fined him 25 dollars for disorderly conduct (which is the equivalent of $505.66 in today’s money). That must have been a bitter pill to swallow given the conduct of the Nazis that the world would come to know.

At the time of this rally, the Nazis were operating 6 concentration camps. But Americans only stopped ignoring the constant drumbeat of news regarding these camps by around 1944 and by then there were almost too many to count. It’s not that we didn’t know. We just didn’t want to believe or think about it. But when Johnny came marching home with horror stories, there was no more room for denial.

But let’s go back to that Nazi rally on American soil in 1939. This time let’s avert our gaze from the stage. (Yes, please!) Let’s look at the 20,000 Americans in the audience.

One has to wonder how many people in attendance had already joined the German American Bund. This was, after all, pure propaganda, and it would serve that organization well to pack the Garden so people would think that this hatred was the prevailing attitude. Fortunately, Wikipedia tells us that there were 100,000 protesters outside, including WWI veterans wrapped in the American flag.

And this little tidbit from Wikipedia really had me intrigued: “One of the most mystifying disturbances came from a blaring speaker set up in a second-floor room of a rooming house at the southern corner of Forty-ninth Street and Eight Avenue. Shortly before 8 o’clock it began blaring out a denunciation of Nazis and urging “Be American, Stay at Home.” Upon investigation, the room was found untenanted: the voice of these ‘denunciations’ came from a record, timed to go off at 7:55 pm.”

I would dearly love to hear the story behind that.

Mayor LaGuardia hoped that by allowing the rally at the Garden, the disturbing spectacle would convince people that this group was one to be avoided. But he also knew that things were bound to get ugly, so he dispatched 1,700 uniformed officers outside, and 600 undercover officers inside.

There is really no way to know the makeup of the audience. The GAB’s membership rolls were already dwindling. (Hence the need for the rally.) One has to assume that a certain percentage were already members, and that a certain percentage had fallen for the disinformation campaign, and/or were anti-semites who were looking for like-minded friends.

It’s also important to remember that this was 1939, and people had been suffering the effects of the Great Depression for a decade. That’s a lot of disaffected countrymen who were longing to “Make America Great Again.” As we know at present, people are willing to swallow anything if they think it will bring them some relief.

But the attendees that I worry about the most are the very small percentage who had no idea what they were getting themselves into. The posters for this event called it a “Pro-American Rally.” It mentions “True Americanism.” World War II wouldn’t begin in Europe until September, which is a little over 6 months after this rally. And America wouldn’t join the war until December 1941.

But this must have been a really scary time, and one where a lot of people might feel instinctively more patriotic, because they were so afraid. They probably would think that going and rooting for America was a good idea. The poster did not contain Swastikas. The only telltale sign was that all the letters s in the poster are designed like those worn by the German SS. I suspect that those trying to ignore the existence of concentration camps were not likely to look at pictures of those terrorists long enough to focus on the font on their uniforms.

And yet, for those in denial, it would take a special level of moral blindness and an utter lack of independent judgment to walk past 100,000 protesters to go to this rally and still be shocked at what one was walking into. Still, I’d like to think (for our sakes, if not for theirs) that there were a certain number of clueless donkeys who attended that rally and looked on in horror. What must it feel like to suddenly be completely surrounded by people who you are convinced are warped, twisted and crazed? You certainly wouldn’t want to speak up. Here you’d be, expecting to root, root, root for your country, only to discover that this was no baseball game. Under those circumstances, watching someone beaten on stage must have been terrifying.

But please don’t think that this infamous Nazi rally was the only one that ever occurred in America. Far from it. These rallies occurred all over the country. In fact, here in Seattle several rallies were held, albeit with protesters outside. I encourage you to read this fascinating series of articles in Crosscut. The series of six articles is about the forgotten history of the Nazis in the Northwest, and it will make you blink more than once.

Among the things discussed in this series is the fact that one of the local diplomats from Nazi Germany, Baron Manfred von Killinger, was a known Nazi stormtrooper. It was later discovered that he was posted in the San Francisco office to invigorate the already existing spy network in the United States. Later, he killed himself after being charged with implementing the Final Solution in Romania.

It seems that Seattle was lousy with Nazis before the war. In fact, in 1937 there was a Nazi rally at the Masonic Temple, and the Mayor of Seattle was in attendance, and it is alleged that he gave the Nazi salute. I first learned of this disturbing event while I was sitting in that very theater, now called the Egyptian. It was in 2018, and I was there to see Rick Steves do a talk and a prescreening of his upcoming documentary entitled, The Story of Fascism in Europe. This film is not your usual Rick Steves upbeat travelogue. It’s a fascinating documentary that I highly recommend. I blogged about it here.

Crosscut also wrote about Steves’ talk at the Egyptian, and went into more detail about Seattle’s Nazi sympathizers in this article, which was written two years after the series of articles mentioned above. It talked about the Nazi rallies in town, and also that even back then, the NRA was heavily involved with the far right, and would help arm these groups, just as they do to this very day.

It goes on to describe another creepy Seattle/Nazi connection in the form of William Dudley Pelley, a presidential candidate in 1936 who called himself “American Hitler”. He was also the founder of the Silver Shirts, and their headquarters were in Redmond, Washington for a time, right across the lake from Seattle. (Interestingly, Redmond is now home to the Microsoft headquarters.) The Silver Shirts also got a lot of their arms from the NRA and they planned to overthrow the American government. Thank goodness their man was never elected.

According to this article, there has been a fascist streak running through this country since the 1700’s. McCarthyism, with its witch hunt of communists, was fascism pure and simple. But as Rick Steves says, “Fascism is incremental. It’s a slow chipping away of your rights, until one day you look up and you have none.”

Our strongest flirtation with fascism to date was when Trump was elected president in 2016. This article, and thousands of others on the web, make a great case for his unapologetically fascist tendencies. Any time you hear someone shouting about fake news, ask yourself what they are trying to keep you from knowing. It’s a safe bet that these chaos-mongers are fascists. Never let anyone replace your access to professional reporting that is well-investigated and backed up with facts, with their pretty words based on nothing but opinion and rumor.

And, again, beware of false patriotism. We step over its shadows everywhere we go. Sitting in that seat at the Egyptian where known Nazis had sat and saluted both the Nazi and American flags made me want to leap up and run to the nearest shower. I’m sure Germans today feel that way all the time. Or maybe they’ve reconciled themselves with their dark past. I’m sure there are a wide range of attitudes, just as there are in this country.

But if someone is patriotic in the extreme, let your BS antennas go up. I have been saying this for years: A true patriot is one who can look at the country with an unjaundiced eye and criticize it when it needs to be criticized. That person truly wants the best for the country, and would never fall for these rallies that serve up food for thought that has no real nutritional value.

Don’t take the easy way out. Question authority. Exercise the critical thinking skills that so many are trying to prevent us from being taught in schools. These skills, although hard-won, will serve you well. No doubt about it: Nazi flags still fly in America. We need to be ever-vigilant of fascism and resist it at every turn.

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The Wisconsin Wolf Cull

What could possibly go wrong?

It is estimated that there are 1,000 wolves roaming the state of Wisconsin. Or there were, until the Department of Natural Resources allowed the annual wolf cull in February and it got way out of hand. In January, the Trump administration removed federal wolf protections. Coincidence? 

According to an article entitled, “’Reckless slaughter’ is what animal conservation director calls Wisconsin wolf cull”, the cull was to last a week as it has every year for decades, and this time authorities were allowing the slaughter of 119 wolves, statewide. Hunters had a mandate to hunt at night and use dogs, which is something that isn’t even condoned during deer hunting season. What could possibly go wrong?

After the first few days, the cull had to be called off, because 178 wolves had been killed, instead of 119. Many hunters, deep in the woods, claimed they didn’t get the “stop the hunt” order before they bagged their limit. Yeah, because these guys believe in wolf conservation in the first place. I’m sure they planned to be compliant.

I understand that farmers and rural ranchers take issue with wolves. They say they kill their livestock and pets. But you’re living in nature. You need to allow for these things. And there is mounting evidence that apex predators keep the environment healthy for all the other animals and plants. You don’t get to style nature as if it’s a haircut. Or, at least you shouldn’t be allowed to.

Wolves are highly intelligent pack animals that are interdependent. One death impacts the entire pack. The wolf population, nationwide, is too small for this type of slaughter. Ignorance abounds.

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The Heart of Courage

We were shown a great deal of it yesterday.

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

They walk amongst us.

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

Your actions impact others.

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.

IMG_20200426_123108

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

Jesus, take the wheel…

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?

This virus cares nothing about your moral imperative.

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

Your mother would be so proud.

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.

20161219-platt-usa-nyc-immigrant-protest-3000

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One of These Things Is Not Like the Other

The highest award was just given to the man who compared Obama to a monkey.

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.

PresMedalFreedom

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