photo by Sheri Dixon

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?

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Welp, America Had a Good Run...

I last posted here on March 20th, 58 days ago.

The death toll in the US from Covid-19 was 259. Two hundred fifty nine.

Right now? 58 days later?

Death toll in the US from Covid-19 is 90,330. Ninety thousand three hundred thirty.

Fucking hell. 

I'm done with the You Tube videos "proving" that the virus is a hoax, or if it's not a hoax it's a liberal plot to install commie socialism in this country and make us all slaves by chipping us with a fake vaccine and turn on the 5G towers and make us all zombies.

I'm done with complete mouth-breathing knuckle-draggers hollering that no one is dying; that it's all a Deep State Illuminati exercise to see how far they can get us to go. There are no bodies, no exhausted medical workers, this is all to see how acquiescent we will be. Today we are supposed to stay home and wear masks. Tomorrow maybe bunny ears. The next day? Load up on the rail cars to the showers, ya'll.

I'm done with whiny little crybabies refusing to wear masks and stay home because it's 'infringing on their freedoms' who have spent a decade calling those of us who want people to have health care and education "snowflakes".

I'm done with a "president" who stands up and says, "With or without a vaccine, America is BACK!" as Americans continue to die every single day. We're not "back", you insipid dolt, we are DYING. You can't "order" meat packing plants to stay open without making sure the workers are safe. Those cows and chickens won't gut themselves, Brainiac. You can't spitball bullshit "ideas" for dealing with a pandemic when you don't have a minute of medical training, especially on camera talking to a scared populous who is *depending on you for direction*. 

And I'm totally done with hearing, "Well...America needs to get back to WORK. This stay at home thing will ruin the economy!" and have real adult humans speculating on an *acceptable* death rate.

I get it. I get that people are out of work and out of money and losing their businesses that they've spent a lifetime building. I get it and *I understand it*. 

Because here's the thing.

That shit is completely by design. It's end stage capitalism BY DESIGN.

Back to the whole "liberal agenda" thing.

Once upon a time, America went thru a Great Depression. The president who got us out of that mess was Franklin Delano Roosevelt. After it was over, with the horrors of that time fresh in his mind, FDR penned a "Second Bill of Rights", directing that unless America instilled those particular things, we would be wide open for another Great Depression. Those things were-
-the Right to a safe workplace that pays a living wage
-the Right to have access to health care, even if you can't afford it
-the Right to shelter. Homelessness is a neverending cycle.
-the Right to be free from business monopolies and unfair competition; things that kill small business
-the Right to a free and quality education
-the Right to social security, so if you get sick or are out of work, you will be OK financially

These things are what he felt were NEEDED if we were going to survive another huge upheaval in our a worldwide pandemic, for instance.

If we had done those things, we would be in a *much* better place than we are now; financially, physically, mentally. Individuals would have been protected from employment disruption and small businesses would have been strong and thriving, and have government (taxpayer) support in times of need. 

Liberals have been pushing for those things now for 76 years, and for 76 years Americans have been brainwashed by "conservatives" to believe those things are unaffordable, impractical, and downright unAmerican. 

Now, here we are.

We don't have any of those things we needed to have to weather this storm.

And the conservative base is giving the hairy eyeball to anything that smacks of "the liberal agenda", even a small thing like wearing masks in public to slow the spread of the virus (remember...259 dead 58 days ago and over 90,000 today) is sneered at and rejected as "government overreach". Holy hell, ya'll. The virus doesn't give two shits about your exaggerated belief in knowledge of our Constitution. 

It's not a "liberal plot to take advantage of the pandemic to make us all slaves".

Look around, for fuck's sake.

Our government is owned by corporations and special interests- these are the 1% conservatives. The people who are not "doctor or lawyer rich", but people who each hold more wealth than the rest of your entire state's population combined. That's why the majority of the last big tax law bill's benefits went to them and their corporations and not the rest of us or small businesses. Thank the 1% conservatives for that.

Our unions have been stripped of most of their powers and the EPA has been gutted, making workplaces more dangerous than ever. Thank the 1% conservatives for that.

Our minimum wage has not gone up since 2009. That's 11 years, ya'll. Meanwhile the cost of *everything* has doubled or tripled. Americans work longer hours for less pay than anyone else in the first world nations. Thank the 1% conservatives for that.

Americans are not lazy.
Amerians would not just sit at home on their asses without the fear of starvation and homelessness making them go to work.
Americans would not "run to the doctor every day" if health care was free.
1% conservatives want you to think that.

Look. Around.

What's happening in this global pandemic?

What will happen when (not if) our economy crashes, because it will, whether we stay home trying not to die or if we brave death and go back to work. Our economy is toast.

Because we don't have what FDR TOLD US WE NEEDED to avoid what is happening now, the other side of this looks like this:

-massive unemployment and tens of millions without the means to feed or house themselves and their families
-every single small business gone, dead and gone from the tanking of the economy

In the ruins of this nation, those of us who are left, will be forced to work for the places still standing- Walmart, Target, Exxon, etc. 

The end game of capitalism is for all the marbles to be in the hands of a very few, with the rest of us working for them for just enough to keep us from starving to death, but not enough to challenge them.

And we'll be able to thank the 1% conservatives for that.

I'd like to say it's not too late, that we could still change the ending. 

But I'm looking at a nation that cried together, no matter their individual politics, after 9/11 killed 3,000 Americans. As of today, we have lost 90,000 Americans (forty six 9/11s) in under two months, and fully a third of us are literally taking up arms and threatening the rest of us for trying to staunch the flow of death and denying it's even happening.

If we make it through this and come out the other side into anything remotely resembling a hopeful future for 99% of us, it will have to be with an entirely different economic model; one we should have had three quarters of a century ago.

Our window of opportunity is closing fast. Do we have the stomach to stand up to ignorance and greed? The pandemic pushed the capitalism end game to a more abrupt and stark finish than was probably expected, but it also thrust us into a unique position of freedom.

Our economy is fucked, our employment is disappearing, and we're facing literal death unless we do something immense and immediate to help ourselves, our families, our neighbors, and our local businesses. What else could we possibly lose?

1% conservatives have spent several decades grooming their base into a squirrely, suspicious, armed mass who hold that they alone are the only patriots, and the rest of us are commie pinkos who Hate America. Will we *allow* them to endanger the rest of us? Because that's what it's come to.

Do we have the balls to do what FDR directed us to do 76 years ago?