photo by Sheri Dixon

Sunday, July 11, 2021

Death of a Car Wash

 I've been using the same car wash for about 20 years. 

It's old and shabby and looks like the brushes may be made of needles and the soap may be acid, and I honestly can't even tell you the name of the place because those painted letters on the front of the building curled up and died at least ten years ago but ya'll, when you first drive up there are 2 guys who do the pre-entry scrubbing of bugs off the front bumper and backs of the side mirrors and inside the tire wells. There's a tip bucket hanging at the front of the line with a rock at the bottom to keep the bills from flying out. The vacuums only work part of the time, but it's close to work and the same guys have been working there the entire time I've been using it.

I wash my car once a week so they know me. Like. They know me.

They razz me because I can't reach the tip bucket and make T-rex arm motions when they come to take my $2.00 and they thank me for the tip.

They comment when I get a new car and say how much they like it.

They compliment me on every hair color change.

They give me shit when there's mud all on the car and I apologize for living in the country.

At Christmas I tip them $20 and every few months they tell me they upgraded my wash to Premium because I'm one of their favorite customers.

At the beginning of the pandemic, they told me to be careful and I told them the same.

When my Jack Ball came off of my antenna in the car wash, the Jack Ball that had traveled over 10,000 miles bravely grinning into the wind until its smile wore off, they turned off the machines and walked the wash and found him.

A few times a year, the car wash closes down because shit breaks and they wait for a part, so I didn't worry too much when it shut down a few weeks ago.

But it's not open yet and there are construction vehicles there tearing out the vacuum stalls. When the big door is open, you can see all the brushes on the floor like a gigantic pile of dead daddy long leggers swept into the corner of the porch. 

It's become clear that my car wash is defunct.

Now, there's a new car wash about five minutes up the road from the old one. It's a super-fancy see thru tunnel and I hate it. 

But I promised Bitsy (the car) (shut up) that I would wash her every week, since she used to live in Plano and now lives in the forest like a barbarian, so it's really the least I can do. 

The new car wash has a mobile app and a monthly subscription and any of their locations will computer-recognize your license plate and just open the gates even if you wash your car every five minutes for a monthly fee of $36. I was spending $12 plus a $2 cash tip every week at the old car wash so...yay?

I downloaded the app and yesterday, I drove up to the gate of the new car wash. It magically opened and I drove in. There are no guys with brushes, no tip bucket with a rock in the bottom to keep the bills from flying out, just a sign with the written instructions that are in every car wash: Drive onto track. Put car into neutral. Sit back and relax.

So, I did that. Drove onto the track and put the car into neutral. I was just starting to relax when I heard yelling next to the car and turned to see an angry man hollering, "DO YOU HAVE IT IN NEUTRAL???" I pointed at my gear shift clearly in neutral and he grunted and slapped blue tape over my back windshield wiper.

Why no, grumpy man. I'm in a hurry, so I thought I'd just run thru the car wash doing about 80.


There's a man who would *never* have retrieved a road-worn Jack Ball.

And there are still bugs on the front bumper and backs of the side mirrors.

Thursday, May 20, 2021

Texas Leads the Way in Moral Cruelty Yet Again

 Wow. Since October, huh? 

Guess there wasn't anything to talk about between then and now.

Other than that election thing.

And that pandemic thing.

And that insurrection thing.

Just to catch us up a bit, I'm glad Biden won. He wasn't my first or even fifth choice (he was my last choice just above that batshit insane Marianne chick), but he's a million times better than our little fascist-wannabe-dictator, and I can say that truly now, after the little fascist-wannabe-dictator held his little fascist-wannabe-dictator insurrection. 

I hope he dies soon (DJT, not Biden).

I hope every deluded asshole who stormed the capitol gets thrown in jail and gets a big ol' gun' takin' felony attached to them FOREVER.

I'm glad Biden took this pandemic seriously and we might even be getting out of it, in spite of the idiots who still think it's a made up thing and vaccinations are a libtard plot. 

But right now, lemme talk about abortion, because today, our governor, who treasures life *so much* that he let over 100 Texans die during an ice storm and over 50 THOUSAND Texans die of Covid, who makes sure poor kids don't get food or health care and that schools are kept barely functioning, signed a bill to protect life.

Ain't that some shit.

In Texas, you can now, as a civilian, file a lawsuit against anyone you suspect of having had an abortion or anyone you suspect has performed one. And an illegal abortion is anything after 6 weeks gestation, so basically...all of 'em.

People always wonder that I'm "pro-abortion". Because I love babies and kids and OH  MY GAWD THEY ARE KILLING BABIES HOW CAN YOU BE FOR THAT?

Know how many pregnancies get terminated by Mother Nature? One third. One third of all pregnancies get flushed out- most before the 6 week mark and for sure before the 12 week mark, just because shit's wrong with the fetus and it won't be a human for whatever reason. One. Third. 

Despite all the grisly videos you can find about "the horrors of abortion", women have been terminating pregnancies since they figured out how it worked. More importantly, MEN have been *insisting* on terminating pregnancies since they figured out how it worked. People have been making these decisions for thousands of years and yanno what the holy books say about it?

Nothing. Jack shit. In fact, the Bible says a fetus becomes a person when it takes its first breath. That ain't at 6 weeks gestation. 

Also, no one NO ONE goes 8 months being pregnant and wakes up one day and says, "Yanno what? Nah. I'ma kill it" and drives to the abortion clinic. NO ONE.

Also, the *less than 2% of abortions* done that are "late term" are done because the baby is dead or the mother will die if it proceeds. Because that's not the worst nightmare a woman can have. Fun story. When I first moved to Texas, I worked with a woman who told me that her first pregnancy was a baby who died at 8.5 months gestation. And her doctor would not do a c section to remove the dead baby because it was "God's will she should carry to term if He wanted her to" so she walked around with her DEAD BABY INSIDE HER for a few weeks. That right there is a god I have zero use for.

Oh, sure. Some will be fucking magnanimous about it and say, "Except in the case of rape or incest" but will qualify that if the rapist is her husband it doesn't count or in states that allow you to marry your cousin at the age of 14 it doesn't count or anytime it makes a man look doesn't count. 

What if her husband/boyfriend insists on unprotected sex but doesn't want a baby? What if they already have 3 kids and birth control failed and they cannot afford another one? What if...she just doesn't want a baby BECAUSE ABORTION IS LEGAL AND IT'S NONE OF OUR FUCKING BUSINESS?

Everyone can "Oh, but she can..." all day long with things she could do or should do that will bring this precious bundle of joy into the world but the bottom line is SHE'S NOT YOU. SHUT THE HELL UP. SHE'S DOING HER BEST. 

Would I get an abortion? I don't know. I've been *lucky* enough to have never been in a position where I would feel so cornered, so over my head, so bleak of future, that it would come into play. I'm not a good person. I'm a damn lucky one. That's it.

I do know that this new law will cause many deaths. Because desperate women will turn to do-it-yourself ways to terminate a pregnancy that will kill them. Because men will be so angry that their wife/girlfriend/one night stand "got herself pregnant to trap me" and kill her. But hey. Totally worth it, right? Even if that leaves those women's *other* kids without a mom...because most women who get an abortion *already have other kids*. 

So, go for it, assholes. Stick your goddamn noses into shit you have no idea about and make life a million times worse for a lot of people. Take something that 100% should be between a woman, her god (if she has one), and her doctor, and make it your own little power trip. Force her to have that precious baby so you can then turn around and deny baby *and* mom any help whatsoever and punish them all for their "bad life decisions". 

As long as it's just women who are getting fucked over, it's cool.

Because if men were the ones getting pregnant, I guarandamntee they would sell abortion kits at Home Depot.

Thursday, October 8, 2020

It's Almost Time to Vote. Are You Ready?

“I’m urging my supporters to go into the polls and watch very carefully because that's what has to happen. I am urging them to do it,” Trump said toward the end of the debate against Joe Biden, the Democratic nominee."

Well, isn't that special? I'm curious. Exactly *what* are they supposed to be watching for? Because people just go in, vote, and come out. Obviously, what he wants is for his batshit crazy cult members brave patriots to keep their Bald Eagle eyes peeled for...what? I'm afraid that it's going to be hella boring for the poor dears. So, I have a few things I may do, just so they can say they've done their master's bidding no matter how stupid or illegal it is patriotic duty:

* Especially if they are armed, bring a tape measure to be sure they are the legal 100 ft from the entrance to the polling place. Ask them to hold the end while you pull the rest to the door. They need to feel useful. 

* Bring some fun items from home. Go in, vote, and come back to your car and...change your hat, put on a wig, add a shirt or change your facemask. Do it a minimum of five times. Tell the poll workers inside you're just playing with your friends outside. Obviously don't try to vote again because that's against the law...just like the voter intimidation going on outside.

* If the stupid motherfuckers brave patriots don't appreciate your attempts to engage them in a friendly manner, throw some soup cans at them. If you are questioned, feign genuine sadness and say, "I just thought they looked so hungry out here" and then lob a few cans of Coke for good measure. To wash down the soup, of course. 

Ya'll. If the quote at the top of this page (on the heels of his verified 20,000+ lies he's told us) doesn't convince you that we need to kick this deranged asshole our current president to the curb, I just don't know what to think about you. 

Were you hit in the head with a can of soup?

Sunday, September 20, 2020

Dream. 9/20/20

 We lost a national treasure when the light dimmed and quietly went out in the sharp, intelligent eyes of Justice Ginsburg. In an extraordinarily dangerous time, her passing made our path just a little darker and our loads just a little heavier. 

She always told the truth and always championed those without a voice. Depending on where you were on a variety of hot-button issues, you either adored her or abhorred her, but there was never a lukewarm response to the Notorious RBG. 

RBG passed away two days ago.

I did not sleep that night. I tried, but I just couldn't. Sadness, trepidation, the accelerated overall anger, worry and disgust of the last four years of a nation deep in the throes of a DJT presidency and global pandemic, all overwhelmed me and I just couldn't do it. I was exhausted with grief, but could not settle into blessed unconsciousness. 

Last night I slept, and had an odd and random but starkly lucid and detailed dream. One of those dreams where you are sure you've been at it all night but it was probably only a few minutes. One of those dreams where you wake up and think, "Wait. It wasn't finished" and you get up, pee, and go back to sleep even though it's already time to get up...and the dream unpauses and continues. 

I don't know if my dream had one thing to do with the death of RBG or anything other than a subconscious desire to turn back time. Normally, this is a bad idea, since a huge chunk in the center of my life was the stuff of nightmares. Only the first 14 years and these last 25 years have been worth a damn, other than the birth of my elder two children. I'll happily claim and keep those. And part of these last 25 years have been overshadowed by the deadly health issues my husband (finally got a good one and that's the one who gets smited? That's some Grade A bullshit right there.)

But the dream was insistent enough that I messaged my brother to see what happened to the house in the dream and powerful enough that it brought back a lot of memories and history and pesky enough that it's 5:45pm and it's still right in the front of my brain. 

So, while other people much more eloquent and much closer to the Force of Nature that was Ruth Bader Ginsburg are writing beautiful eulogies to her, you get to hear about my dream.

Because for some reason, my anger has been a little less volatile today; my despair a little softer. I have no idea why. Regardless, here you go.

Important background. From the time I was two till the time I was twelve, we lived in a little rent house on a shady street in the blue collar town I was born in. It was an older house, probably built in the 30's or 40's, with a front porch and big trees in the front yard. There was a living room that flowed into a dining room that flowed into the kitchen. Two bedrooms and one bathroom were off to one side, entered from the dining room. Most of the dining room was taken up by my mom's spinet piano and a standing bird cage with a parakeet in it.

There was a one car garage and a tiny back yard with a big stockade fence along the back lot line. This fence was lined with hollyhocks that came up every year. The north side of the house was lousy with lily of the valley. The other side of the fence was the yard of a huge old tudor-style house whose lot took up fully half of the city block, with the eight other smaller homes and their tiny yards clinging to it like a litter of puppies.

Our town is the original home of companies like SC Johnson, JI Case, InSinkErAtor, and Western Publishing, as well as Hamilton Beach. Lots of factories and lots of wealthy factory owner families. 

The Wustums had two daughters who both got married around the same time- each to another wealthy family's sons. Mom and dad Wustum told their daughters that they would build each of them a home as their wedding gift. One chose a gracious white columned Southern style home and the other a rambing tudor home. They were across the street from each other. This was back in the 20's, so by the time we were renting our tiny house, both couples were at or near retirement age. 

All of us kids had been told (by older kids in the neighborhood) that Old Man Cushman in the tudor house was a mean old man who yelled at kids who dared go into his yard and made trouble for them with their parents. By then, the house was well-covered up in vines and the yard was a mature jungled wilderness. Off to one side, he had beehives. It was a dark and forbidding hulk.

When I was 4 years old, I discovered a hole in the fence in between the hollyhocks just big enough for me to squeeze through. I'd been watching Old Man Cushman tend his garden and he had a big fat aged Labrador Retriever who followed him around. 

I liked dogs. 

I did not have a dog.

I wanted to pet Old Man Cushman's dog.

Old Man Cushman was (I knew) very wealthy, but I never saw him in anything other than one of those one piece worksuits mechanics wear. His was tan. 

He glowered at me from under bushy eyebrows and over grizzled whiskers and asked what I wanted.

"I want to pet your dog."

I petted the dog and then asked what he was doing. 

That was the beginning of many afternoons at the Cushman's. 

His yard was sectioned off in three main areas. There was an area for all of his many types of rose bushes, an area of lawn, of course, and my the back under the trees and up to the fence, were about 20 different varieties of violets from all over the world.  Hanging from the tree nearest the house was Spanish moss that he brought inside every winter. 

I'd help (as much as a child helps) him in the garden, and then we'd go inside, where Mrs. Cushman (also very wealthy, remember) would be wearing her plain serviceable house dress and apron and would always have lemonade and some sort of fresh-baked cookies. 

In retrospect (actually it just hit me this morning) I can't help but wonder what the fuck my mom was doing during the times her 4 year old daughter disappeared from a tiny back yard??? I do know eventually, she made an official visit to be sure I wasn't being a pest, but really, mom? 

The house. Oh, the house. I loved the house. There was a formal living room and dining room, a butler's pantry that led through to the huge kitchen, a sweeping staircase that went upstairs to the master bedroom and connecting bathroom and three other bedrooms and a shared bathroom. Almost half of the second floor was a big open area that had been used as a play room, project room, movie room. In the attic were huge bundles of cedar shingles. When they'd built the house, Mr. Cushman had bought enough shingles to repair or replace the roof three times.

The Cushmans had traveled extensively and the house was filled with things from all over the world. If it was too rainy to garden, I'd help Mrs. Cushman dust all the accumulated bric a brac. 

Considering his fierce reputation, no one trick or treated at the Cushman's, even though they were always ready with name brand candy and Mr. Cushman dressed up as a mad scientist and put a spiked collar on the old Labrador. I always did, much to the horror of the rest of the neighborhood kids. They'd warn me not to- say he was a terrible crazy man who would probably yank me inside and kill me. I just rolled my eyes, skipped up to the cobwebbed and scary music adorned porch and ring the doorbell, then skip on back with my pillowcase full of candy. 

Eventually, my parents bought a house and we moved away. Mr. Cushman died and the Widow Cushman married the founder of SC Johnson and moved to his big house (designed by Frank Lloyd Wright) out on Wind Point on Lake Michigan. Both Mrs. Cushman's sister and brother in law passed away and their big white house was turned into an elegant funeral home. 

The big old tudor quickly passed from one family to another, with the price dropping each time. When my (first) husband and I were looking for houses, we went through the old Cushman Place. It was a wreck. The yard was a mess and there were no rosebushes left. The violets had been overrun by other weeds and been strangled out. The interior had not been kept up and neither had the roof; there were water stains on the ceilings and walls. 

The realtor said, "I have to tell you that no one stays here long because they say it's haunted." I just smiled and said, "It's OK. I know him." Then I looked at my husband and said, "It'll be fine as long as you're nice to me." Needless to say, he did not allow me to buy the house.

It was finally sold as a commercial building and was used as a law office for a while and then a beauty salon...things that did not require anyone to be there after dark. 

OK. All caught up. Now to my dream.

Ward and I had moved back to my hometown and had bought the old Cushman Place. It was still a wreck, but I was ready to bring it back to its old glory and grace. 

We had friends visiting us and I was giving them a tour, telling them the history of the house and the people who had built it. 

I can see it. Every detail, every leaded window and marble mantle. The mint green kitchen and forest green butler's pantry. Smell the cedar shakes in the attic even though they've long been replaced with standard shingles. Bring back the violets and hang out the Spanish Moss. Dust the mirrored and jeweled elephants from India and smell the fresh cookies out of the industrial-sized oven and eat them with my feet swinging off of the plastic-padded silver chair pushed up to the formica table. 

That was over half a century ago. 

And I can still feel the kindness and gentleness, the quiet manners of the Cushmans, who were the kind of people who couldn't stand pretention, or self-promotion, or the flaunting of excess in any form, and as I'm typing this I'm thinking maybe that's what that memory was for. 

To remind and reassure me that people like that still exist. Justice Ginsburg was one. With her tiny frame and plainly-styled hair, she would wear things that were classic, and understated, and perfect, just like she was. She spoke the truth quietly and without drama, but in a way that meant business, with serious intelligence and passion. 

The brash harpy who inhabits the Oval Office is not real. Nothing about him, his family, or his belief system has lasting value. He's a storm to be weathered, and then he'll be gone. Nothing more. 

It's hard while we are in the middle of the insanity of America today to see it, but our nation is still full of compassion, and intelligence, and steady justice.  

The storm will pass, and take with it the dregs of what too many thought was strength and power, but is really cowardly cruelty and empty pride. 

It's going to get worse before it gets better, and we will always have to be on guard for the safety of those around us. We need to push back against the darkness, and darkness has a way of creating a great ugliness when it's challenged. 

We need to keep pushing, not out of hatred for what is now with us, but with a never-ending determination to get to the other side.

*Photo of the old Cushman Place, now a beauty parlor. Thank you, Mr. Cushman. I love you.

Sunday, July 5, 2020

Hindsight is 20/20...

Yeah, I know. Lots of people are saying what we *should* have done here in the US to keep Covid-19 under control. It's an easy, armchair quarterback sort of thing.

But I'ma do it anyway.

There are two things that we did wrong if we wanted buy-in from the Average American.

Number One: Lie. Oh, we'd *like* to think that telling Joe Public the truth is the best way to proceed with something this serious, but I'm here to tell you, from deep in the right nostril of Trump Country, that that is a woefully hilarious idea. Because here's the thing.

You cannot tell Joe and Karen Public USA to do Jack Shit "to help others". Cannot. Because deep in his/her heart of hearts, they really don't care. Why do you think SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED COLD DEAD HANDS rules here when it clearly should have been disarmed, patted on the head, and delivered to the nearest mental hospital after the VERY FIRST SCHOOL SHOOTING?

They don't care what happens to other people. This is why all the comments that all boil down to, "I don't care if you want to wear a mask, but you can't tell me what to do. If you are in the high risk group, *you* should stay home. I'm not living my life in fear. You do you and I'll do me, boo. Your fear is not my problem." Sure, anyone with a heart the size of A VIRUS understands that's some straight-up selfish as hell bullshit right there, but this is America, and that's a celebration of freedom, doncha know.

So the number one thing we needed to do is lie our asses off. "Everyone needs to wear a mask to protect THEMSELVES. <<< This, they understand. This is a cause they can get behind. If it had been framed like that, every 2nd Amendmenter would have a mask pouch on their holster. I guarandamntee it. "Protecting yourselves" is literally why we have more goddamn guns in this nation than people. "Wear a mask. Wear it everywhere- to the grocery store, Walmart, church, you never know where that terrorist virus is hiding!!!"

Number Two: And this is one that amazes me, considering we have a Very Stable Genius in the Oval Office. At the first whiff of a *possible* pandemic, DJT should have hit the brakes on every Chinese and Mexican factory that manufactures MAGA hats and switched them over to making MAGA MASKS. HOLY SHIT, DO YOU UNDERSTAND HOW MUCH FUCKING MONEY HE COULD HAVE MADE OFF OF THIS THING??? Sure, still blame the Chinese, or the young people, or the libtards for the pandemic, but THOSE MAGA MASKS WOULD HAVE FLOWN OFF THE SHELVES, MAN.

I thought he was some sort of financial guru with a "Very. Big. Ah-brain", for fuck's sake.

That's it.

Those two things done the first week of March would have had us open and running again on May 1. Trump supporters would be happily wearing their MAGA masks straight thru to election day, even if they didn't need to anymore because FUCK YOUR FEELINGS, LIBTARDS.

But we didn't. Instead, we have "leadership" that just in the last few days said, "No, I'm not against masks. If people want to wear them that's fine. I have one I wore the other day. It was dark black" (as opposed to pastel black) "and I didn't look bad in it. I kind of looked like the Lone Ranger." Setting aside that the mask the Lone Ranger wears is OVER HIS EYES, that was the most pro-mask statement ever uttered in this whole thing.

And, we have a population that *despises* anything that smacks of "the greater good", running like scalded hogs at the idea of anything that "socialist". You flat cannot appeal to this mindset by saying, "You wear a mask to protect me and I'll wear a mask to protect you", because they don't give a shit about you. Really. They don't. Not because they are terrible people (altho, I've lost *a lot* of goodwill towards my fellow American since March), but because it's not in their upbringing or wiring to do so.

In America, everyone takes care of themselves FULL STOP. Work hard, grab your bootstraps by the short hairs and haul yourself up that ladder. Don't ask for a helping hand, because if I help you, you will never be independent. It's actually harmful to you if I help you. OF COURSE THAT'S FUCKED UP. But that's America.

And because of that, we will NEVER do anything "to help others" unless there's a reward for doing so, and "avoiding a deadly pandemic" is not good enough.

What do they think we are? A nation of suckers?

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

The Rest of the World Wonders if America Has Had Enough, Yet...

Why is America struggling like a pissed-off snapping turtle on its back biting at its own feet with this pandemic? The rest of the world is watching in horror at what we are *doing to ourselves*, ya'll. It's actually pretty easy to answer if you look at the way our society is set up *on purpose*. We have NO universal health care. Health care is still considered something you only deserve if you can afford it, and/or something intrinsically tied to your employment (which literally kills 80% of entrepreneurship in this nation, but that's another discussion). So, there is NOTHING in place to care for everyone at a national level. Nothing. We have damn few workers' rights, meaning that if our boss says, "Come to work in the middle of a pandemic and I *might* provide a little bit of PPE" you have to go to work, because we have no... ...universal basic income. No safety net that will catch us if we are out of work for any reason.  Other countries are spending WAY LESS per capita and taking care of small businesses AND workers who are staying home by paying them up to $2,000 a MONTH, not a one-time check for $1200 that some didn't even get plus some PPP bullshit loans that went to mostly huge companies. WE SPENT MORE AND GOT LESS FOR THAT SHIT, YA'LL. So, what's the deal? The deal is, every other nation has the mindset that we all take care of each other and everyone is better off. They already have, built into their psyche, a belief in community and when they vote, they vote FOR this stuff, knowing that it will benefit everyone, EVEN THEM. It's not "government overreach controlling everything" like Turtleface McConnell said this morning about a police reform bill that he promises "will go nowhere in the Senate". The people decide what is important to their entire society to thrive- health care for everyone, strong social safety nets, public education thru college...and then they DIRECT THEIR GOVERNMENT to do these things...and if they don't, they get voted out and someone who will do it gets voted in. It's not "sheeple giving up all their rights" bullshit. The bullshit is people in THIS country who are so damn selfish and STUPID about "individual liberties" that they REFUSE to save themselves and their loved ones during a damn PANDEMIC because "the government can't make me do anything I don't want to." Our ridiculous fantasy about "rugged individuality" has been killing us almost since day One of our nation. That's why. Americans have such a twisted and perverted idea of "freedom" that we have been poorer, less healthy, and die sooner than people almost anywhere else for DECADES NOW. That's by design, ya'll. It's the only way American capitalism can survive, by keeping most of us working hand to mouth with no savings and no time off to THINK ABOUT WHAT IT IS DOING TO MOST OF US. We have been sold a bill of goods that we believed, and a pandemic has opened that shiny package up to reveal the rotting stench of the truth. The truth is, "hard work, elbow grease and bootstraps" don't mean shit. If it did, every American out there working 3 jobs to get by and still not have a cent in savings SHOULD be rich. The truth is, we will not survive this "little blip in our history" unless we make drastic changes to how we feel about each other and how this nation is run. Because lissen here, ya'll. The economy was NOT great "until this pandemic thing". MOST of us could not survive 3 months without income, including businesses big and small. THAT'S NOT GREAT. An economy that shatters after less than a month was NEVER strong. The same people who are telling us the pandemic is over and the economy is going to come roaring back by the end of the year are *not* looking out for the average American. They. Are. Lying. Too many people still believe them. More and more are not. More and more are realizing that they've been lied to about everything, and they are pissed. It's about damn time. The protests we are seeing now are not going away. Even in super-regressive areas like East Texas, the protests are not going away, and they are expanding to other actions, other ways to effect the changes we need if we are to survive. Ironically, Covid-19 *may* be the only thing that saves us. As a nation, the *people* are exploding over *everything* that's fucked up here...and it's a LOT, on all levels. Once we realize that it's ALL RELATED, things can start happening in the right direction. It's all related. Racism, poverty, income inequality, access to education and health care, social safety nets, the enduring and never-ending exhaustion most of us feel every damn day. So. Will a pandemic and a public uprising turn this shit around? Or will we die upside down in the sun, mad as hell and chewing off our own feet?

Sunday, May 31, 2020

Our Nation is on Fire During a Pandemic

I'll just get this out of the way. Donald Trump is not the cause of Covid-19.

Covid-19 falls into the category of "shit just happens" and also "every so often, a germ comes along to remind humans that they are basically meat-sacks that walk upright and have car keys but are really no different than any other meat-sack organism on Earth".

So, it was going to happen no matter who was POTUS. Because germs don't give a fuck what your politics are or what country you live in or what title is engraved on your desk plate. He could have 100% made what's happening in the US because of Covid-19 100% better than it is, but he's not a leader, or a scientist, or a thinker. He's basically much more meat-sacky than the rest of us meat-sacks. For instance, he needs to wear a damn mask. It's not hard and it does two things: It provides a  *modicum* of protection against the virus, and, more importantly, it reminds us to not touch our faces and is a reminder to us and those around us to personal-distance.

But, he's not wearing a mask. Neither are a lot of the Red State governors, making wearing a mask to protect against a pandemic "a political statement". So, this country is already divided between people who take a global pandemic seriously...and those who don't. They don't think we need to do anything differently and are all kinds of pissed-off about business closures and limitations and any sort of inconvenience at all. So, there's that.

Now, we have the *latest* death of a black man literally under the knee of a white cop. On film. The entire world has now watched George Floyd die over and over again. That's caused protests all over the nation. Funny thing about that, though. These protests are peaceful until dark. Then, a different crowd shows up and the violence begins.

City after city is realizing that it's *not* the black population who are setting things on fire and breaking windows. It's white guys who are armed. They are not local to the places they are destroying and they are targeting the very places those neighborhoods need to survive: Grocery stores, pharmacies, small businesses, public buildings...

The White House and its minions want you to believe these are "Antifa", but that's bullshit. I live in the South. I live in Texas (the state that threatens to secede every few years). I live in an area where there are FIVE chapters of the KKK within 50 miles of me. I know that because they *publicly advertise* for members.

These assholes, these White Supremacists, this is their moment. This is what they've been waiting for.

Think about it.

I mean, they've always been here. But public sensibility made them hide under their white sheets and in their enclaves in the forest for decades.

Then, a black man was elected president of the United States.

For eight years, that chapped their asses like nothing else. Obama was a burr under their saddles that festered and burned.

Then...President Trump. The man who made racist comments *on the day he announced his candidacy* and who has never stopped soft-pedaling his response to anything these assholes did or said. Nazis in Charlottesville? Very fine people. He announced that he would be the "law and order" president and unless you live under a rock, you know what that means.

Trump validated their feelers and gave them permission to come out into the open.

All the "Open (insert state name here)" protests? Where brave patriotic Americans gather with their favorite AR's dressed in camo and their Confederate Flag underpants? That's them. Behind all those rallies are White Supremacist groups itching for a "Revolution" where they can "take back" their country once and for all from...well. You know. They actually saw a global pandemic as an opportunity to initiate a civil war...and their president egged them on. He's either evil incarnate or dumb as a sack of wet mice. I honestly don't know which it is from day to day.

Both Trump and the White Supremacists are labeling anyone wearing a mask as a "libtard snowflake" and now the president has re-tweeted a video saying "the only good Democrat is a dead Democrat", literally targeting anyone wearing a mask to avoid getting sick. What a windfall for the White Supremacists and their desire to actually and for real stomp out the liberals.

When George Floyd died, these groups hit the jackpot.

All they had to do (they thought) was to show up in *every* mid to large sized city where there were protests, wait till dark, and then...light 'er up, Bubba! Luckily, most cities are already onto this grand plan. Our president is desperately trying to tag this violence on Antifa, but there is NOT ONE GOOD REASON Antifa would set neighborhood businesses on fire. Antifa is literally "anti-fascist". Police departments where bad cops are protected? Yes. Homes of the cops who kill citizens? Of course.

But, Antifa would not destroy essential businesses in a black neighborhood. You'd have to hate black people to do that. Get it, now?

Communities of color are being hit the hardest by Covid-19. They tend to be essential workers and may or may not have access to PPE or the support of their employers to get and use any. They are the most likely to be laid off or fired because of the pandemic. They have less access to health care than a lot of other Americans.

The protests we are seeing from these communities and their allies are a result of...everything. Everything. Because nothing changes for them. Systemically, nothing changes. Every time there's a horrific, impossible to ignore death there's an immediate outpouring of concern and revulsion, but nothing really changes.

Please stop to think about this:

Covid-19 has uncovered everything that is wrong with our nation from the fact that healthcare should never be tied to a job you can lose to the fact that if families and businesses cannot withstand a disruption of 60 or 90 days without going bankrupt WE DO NOT HAVE A STRONG ECONOMY.

*Heathcare should never be tied to a job you can lose*

*If families and businesses cannot withstand a disruption of 60 or 90 days without going bankrupt, WE DO NOT HAVE A STRONG ECONOMY.

Any time there is social disruption, two things happen.

There will be groups that rise up to destroy the fabric of society for their own personal gain and agenda, like the White Supremacists are doing now, with a president who is either knowingly or unwittingly encouraging them to do so. *Their goal is to gain or maintain control of the system to the detrement of others in the same system*.

There will be groups that demand change to the institutions and culture that leaves *any* of us vulnerable. People that believe this nation will never be truly great until no one is homeless, no one is hungry, no one is afraid of interactions with police, or being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Where people don't die of preventable things 100% because they don't have the money to fix them.

Until we are all free and equal, none of us are free and equal.

If my success depends on the subjugation of someone else, that is not success.

OK. What can each of us do?

-If you are able, protest. Be safe. Be aware of those around you. Get the hell out of Dodge before dark when the fucking White Supremacists start their shit.

-If you know any White Spremacists, don't humor them and don't coddle them. They aren't "just products of their time or culture". They learned how to use a cell phone, they can stop being racist. They need to know that what they believe is NOT OK. Never was. Never will be. It's not a matter of "freedom of speech" or "everyone is entitled to their own opinion". If your opinion is that other people are lesser than you are, your opinion is wrong. Period.

-Pay attention to your local and state officials. Let them know that if their policies are inappropriate, they will be voted out of office. If your police department has an abysmal record of abuses, call them out. When enough people *who are not their targets* make it known that their actions are NOT OK, especially if your PD depends on donations to survive, they will change. Tell your elected officials that you support laws and policies that make it easier for everyone to live and be healthy, not harder and then

-VOTE. Yeah, I know. Do it anyway, for those whose platforms you agree with.

-Speak up. I'm an older white woman. The danger to me from speaking up if I see something wrong is negligible to none. Don't walk by. Don't turn away. Whether it's a checker profiling someone at the checkout (asking for ID from a black person when none was required of the 3 white people before them) to police over-stepping their authority in their contact with a Be obviously watching the interaction. Don't be rude. But don't back down.

That last one should be your every day default attitude, since 99% of us can only shape and control our own immediate community.

"Holy cow, that would be exhausting to be so on edge and observant every day every time I'm out in public."

How do you think our black and brown fellow humans feel?

Our nation is on fire during a pandemic.

Which America will rise from the ashes and will you be proud of the role you played?