Why the GOP will lose the 2020

Presidential Election

Whoa, amigo, where have you been? I’ve been waiting on this GOP article for quite some time. Did you forget your promise? No, no I most certainly didn’t. Been putting a new roof on the ol’ abode and got stuck in renovation, construction, tunnel vision. It happens…So now, before I start painting the castle’s exterior, it seems like a good time to rail on the Republican candidate and his chances for reelection. Oh yeah, baby. Are you going to let ’er rip? Yeah, I believe so. Well, this a family-friendly writing, so it will seem fairly anemic for some, but I promise to leave no stone unturned. Some of the more benign transgressions, of which there are multitudes, such as nepotism, large donor appointees, using political office for personal, monetary gain…I’ll not articulate upon. If I did, this simple article would evolve into one of the largest tomes ever written. No, we’ll just stick with the basic facts, such as character flaws, campaign promises, and the near destruction of our American democracy. You’ve got my attention, amigo. Will the walls come tumbling down upon our Commander-in-Chief? My dialogue would indicate as much, but the presidential election results, come this November, will decide the correctness of my thoughts. May the “Force” be with us. Oops, probably shouldn’t have said that. Hey, you’re going to let the horse run, right? So loosen up on the reins, slap the steed on the rump, and let her fly.

A quick qualifier before diving into the meat of this article. I’ve chosen to divide my thoughts into two sections. First, we’ll look at Trump’s pre-pandemic endeavors, and then, at the end of this writing, we’ll briefly look at how our Commander-in-Chief dealt with Covid-19. I’ve done this so we will not forget about his first three years in office. With the pandemic and BLM movement occurring simultaneously now, it’s easy to overlook Trump’s initial attempts at governing, which in my opinion, were a complete debacle and should never be forgotten.

Now, with that said, where to begin. Why will the GOP lose the 2020 election? Well, let’s start with the obvious. Donald Trump is an outspoken, unfettered racist. There’s nothing he can do to alter that perception. Oh, he occasionally tries to endear himself to African Americans, but its pure tokenism. For example, between now and Nov. 3rd, you’ll hear a lot about the “Opportunity Zone” legislation he created. It puts in place low-interest government loans and reduced tax incentives for developers if they’ll improve impoverished areas in our country. There’s more to it than that, but that’s the gist of it. Several small problems, though: One, very little oversight. Two, very vague terminology. And third, no mention of minorities getting preferential treatment in gaining contracts. Hmmmm, this kind of sounds like Trump cronyism at its best/worst to me. I see a whole bunch of white financiers wringing their hands over this deal. Enhanced gentrification, here we come. Yeah, this Opportunity Zone deal is typical Trump “double speak.” I truly believe the man doesn’t realize how transparent his endeavors are. 

To realize Trump’s true racist nature, all we need to remember is what Donald Trump has done on Reverend Martin Luther King Jr.’s National Holiday. He’s mostly played golf in his gated communities, gone on unimportant political excursions, or sat in the Oval Office twiddling his thumbs. I believe this year, in an unannounced, impromptu excursion, Trump visited the King memorial in Washington DC for a quick photo op, and then jetted off to Switzerland. The man doesn’t have to announce his racism. He lets his actions do the talking .

Donald Trump’s racism is not directed solely toward African Americans. No, it is much broader and expansive than that. In the last three-plus years we’ve witnessed his racist attitudes and actions being played out politically against Hispanics, Asians, Muslims, and Native Americans. I’m sure to have left out other peoples, and I apologize for this. The point being that the man’s racism borders on or simply mirrors what the world witnessed in Nazi Germany during the thirties and forties. Pretty disgusting.

Come November 3rd, there isn’t anything Donald Trump can do to alter the facts. No amount of smoke or mirrors can hide what he’s done during his presidency. Racists will vote for the guy and those of us who believe in “liberty and justice for all” will vote for Joe Biden. There’s more of us than them. Advantage Democrats.

Before I go much further, I need to explain the fundamental, driving force behind Donald Trump’s presidency. He’s a greed-head, narcissistic bully. The man does everything possible to improve his image while debasing others, and often uses bullying tactics to accomplish these ends. This explains his compulsive need to belittle and blame previous presidents and others for their errors and his consequential problems. Also, these character flaws explain his need to terminate so many of the US treaties and pacts negotiated before him. Narcissists need fall guys to remain unsoiled and pretty, and bullies don’t like rules created by treaties and accords because tyrants function best without regulations interfering with their methods. This one truism, Trump being a narcissist bully, pretty much explains every effort of his presidency. Throw in greed-head with narcissistic bully and you have Donald Trump the man and United States President.

With that said, let’s move on. How can one assess a sitting president’s worth? One traditional manner is to revisit campaign promises and see how many came to fruition. Trump made lots of promises, some realistic and others just political, emotional rhetoric…On the emotional rhetoric side, the best example is “build a wall.” No, Mexico didn’t pay for the few miles that have been completed to date. The military budget was unconstitutionally pilfered for the job, and some conservative investors were scammed by none other than Trump’s right-hand man, Steve Bannon, into believing their donated monies would be used solely for wall construction. Federal prosecutors in New York think Steve and comrades used the investors’ dollars for personal gain. How can a simple outlandish campaign promise turn so ugly? Easy, look at the character of those people involved.

Let’s try and put some logic and organization into this campaign promise stuff. I’m going to make this easier for us by first looking at promises that completely reached maturation without a hitch. Trump promised tax reform and immediately produced. The rich and corporations now pay much less to the federal government in tax revenue. Some poorer people pay less in taxes and some middle-class tax payers, like myself, pay more to the Feds come April 15th. Trump also said he’d put a conservative onto the Supreme Court. No brainer. Republicans control the Senate…done deal. Also, our sitting president wanted us out of many treaties and accords his predecessors negotiated for our country, and he did just that. He removed us from the Paris Climate Accord, took us out of TPP (Trans Pacific Partnership), renegotiated NAFTA, threatened to leave NATO, and removed us from the Iran Nuclear Accord. I’ll take a closer look at all these strategies later on in the article. Blunders would be more accurate than “strategies,” but for now, let’s just say that these tactics are directly related to our sitting president’s greedy, narcissistic, bullying personality, and have nothing to do with bettering America or American lives.

I must mention another promise he campaigned on and relentlessly tried to fulfill. His successes were hit or miss and we have the judicial system, mostly, to thank for his failures. Trump campaigned on a “federal deregulation” platform, and has continually tried to reverse federal regs that his predecessors penned into law. Mostly he was unsuccessful, due to court rulings, but for me, he got his way far too often. I’m reminded of a friend’s comment following Trump’s victory in 2016. My friend noted that the most often repeated sentence Donald Trump would hear while in office was, “but, Mr. President, you can’t do that.” I believe my amigo’s insight held true. Remember back in 2018 when he tried to roll back the mpg and auto emission regulation developed by President Obama. In this case he mostly didn’t succeed because of environmentalist litigation, the wishes of state governors and legislators, and the fact that the auto industry itself didn’t want these laws dismissed. On the flip side, Trump removed enough environmental regulations to open up hundreds of thousands of acres to fracking in New Mexico and Texas, reduced the sizes of numerous national monuments, diddled with the Clean Water Act, etc. Even with the November elections looming before us, he’s still tearing away at our planet’s ecosystems. The North Slope developers just got the okay from the Feds to start exploratory drilling and the Army Corps of Engineers just gave the thumbs-up to those wishing to develop the Pebble Mine complex in Alaska’s pristine Nushagak drainage system.

There you have it. Trump’s successes. He gave himself and corporations big tax cuts, put new Supreme Court Justices into place, deregulated many protective, environmental laws, and pulled us out of numerous international treaties, accords, and pacts. Not much of a legacy, really. The man was pretty much a “no show,” in regards to doing much with his “office” and all that it provides.

Now, let’s review Trump’s failures, and there’s no better place to start than our country’s economy. Remember Trump’s grandest campaign promise was the revitalization of the American economy and the reestablishment of its greatness. Why didn’t I place this promise in the success category? Simply put, it doesn’t belong there. A little history before I continue. Trump received from President Obama an economy completely healed from the Great Recession. Unemployment was down, GDP was chugging along with annual improvements of 2.2 to 2.3 percent, interest rates were low, national debt heading in the right direction, the stock market had rebounded, and American’s confidence in the economy had been rejuvenated. What a gift for Donald Trump. Of course, if you remember Trump’s dialogue, he inherited a mess. Well he did not, and he should have taken the ball and scored a touchdown. That didn’t happen. What’s happened to our economy since Obama is anemic at best, and at worst a total disappointment. GDP got a bump from Trump’s tax renovation, and rose to a 2.9 annual percentage growth for a moment, but for the most part GDP has stalled at 2.5 or 2.6 percent during Trump’s presidency. This outcome from the candidate who promised 4, 5, or even 6 percent GDP during his tenure. Didn’t happen and the man had the lowest interest rates in recent history to work with. The stock market has stayed healthy, but even this is an illusion in regards to the health and well-being of average Americans. The stock market owes its growth to corporate players, one percenters, and retirement fund managers. They have the cash in our present economy and have kept the Dow numbers up where they’re at. Before Covid-19 America enjoyed the lowest unemployment numbers since, well, ever. Something for a president to hang his or her hat on. Kind of. Let’s look closer. The service and retail industries saw large growth during Trump’s tenure. The medical profession saw good growth, also. To be expected. We’ve got an aging population, requiring more attention from doctors, and with consumer confidence up, you’d expect more service and retail jobs. Construction ticked up a little, as did most other business sectors. Again, to be expected in a growing economy. On the other hand, manufacturing, the one sector that Trump promised big numbers in, had little growth. Actually manufacturing lost jobs in 2019 and 2020. Many economists blame Trump’s trade wars for these losses. Donald Trump couldn’t produce and sustain those proffered manufacturing jobs, just the ones that would make “America Great Again.” His inept international economic strategies derailed any substantial growth in US manufacturing, and in general, I’d place his overall grade for economic growth a C-minus at best.

During the Trump administration, the gap between the lower economic classes and the rich has widened considerably. This is because he couldn’t produce more higher paying jobs, like manufacturing. His economy stumbles along on the back of service industry and retail job growth, neither of which produce living wages. People had jobs, could make the monthlies, and had a little left over for discretionary use. Annual income has ticked up a bit during Trump’s presidency, but even this is a misleading statistic. Trump’s economic strategies didn’t aid these numbers at all. Personal income has risen mostly because several states have raised their minimum wages. Minimum wage directly affects the service and retail sectors, just the ones seeing the most job growth, so basically, the uptick in annual income has everything to do with what the states have done and nothing to do with Donald Trump’s plans and maneuvers.

Trump’s economy has been a bust, and even worse, he’s left Americans, both present and future, with a huge national debt. This is the largest batch of red ink that I can ever remember seeing, and there’s rumblings of a weakening dollar because of this imbalance. Remember, his tax cuts were not followed by fiscal restraints, and this one-two punch will have to be addressed by other administrations, long after Trump is gone. Also, our trade deficit is the largest that it has been for over a decade. Did 45, personally, do anything to improve our economy significantly? I think not, and believe future economists will say the same. Trump was given a gift from Obama, a healthy economy ready to do even better. Trump, instead of scoring a touchdown, dropped the ball, tried to punt, and then, shanked it. Trump’s economy, a major disappointment. Advantage Democrats.

A quick note before carrying on. In the midst of writing this article, my hometown newspaper reported a slight uptick in the purchase of durable goods when comparing June and July numbers. Seems the upper classes, due to lack of vacation travel, have more discretionary monies to spend, so they’re buying new cars, kitchen appliances, washers and dryers.…Doesn’t really affect most of the country, but you can be sure we’ll hear about this small, upward movement during Trump’s 2020 campaigning.

On the 2016 campaign trail, Trump made much of his business and negotiation skills. Often, he did this in conjunction with debunking Obama’s or Bill Clinton’s abilities. He promised to rectify previous poorly designed treaties and accords such as NAFTA and the Trans Pacific Partnership. TPP attempted to facilitate trade between eleven Pacific Rim countries and the United States. Notably, China was not a member of the group, which of course put the United States at the head of the table. Consequently, a fairly advantageous pact for the US. Trump’s ego and bullying tendencies caused him to disavow both treaties. They weren’t brokered by him and they came with rules that inhibit his ability to strong-arm lesser countries.

Let’s see what Trump accomplished. In regards to NAFTA, a new economic treaty, USMCA, was signed into law in 2019. It took three years to get this deal brokered. What did it actually accomplish? Well, some Midwest dairies get to sell more product to Canada. Automobiles must have 75 percent of their parts manufactured in the signees’ countries, up from 62.5 percent from the NAFTA agreement. Forty to 45 percent of automobile parts must be produced by workers making at least $16.00 an hour (not a living wage). This of course does nothing for Mexican auto employees because the 40 to 45 percentage of workers can be found solely in the US and Canadian labor force. And lastly, of dubious note, Mexico is encouraged to allow auto workers to form unions. Really? Encouraged? I’m sure the drug cartels and corporate owners want to see a viable middle class created in their country. Both these groups, corporate owners and drug lords, prefer a 21st century indentured servant class. You know, a group of employees, with little leverage, and singing “I owe, I owe, so it’s off to work I go” each morning before arriving at their poverty-level jobs. Oh yeah, there’s a “sunset” clause (totally offensive term) that allows everything to self-destruct in 16 years. There you have it. The terms I just mentioned are the ones most often touted by the administration. Wow! Three years got us that. Which was the better agreement, NAFTA or USMCA? You be the judge. NAFTA did away with all tariffs and duties placed upon products traded between the treaty members. Again, which accord did the most to strengthen and protect the treaty members’ economies? This USMCA accord is total crap! Oops, I mean a total PR scam that does almost nothing to make “America Great” and enhance American lives. It’s complete reality TV show stuff with absolutely no meat to chew on.

Okay, how about Trans Pacific Partnership? This really is smoke and mirror stuff. Since this agreement was never ratified by all the participating countries, it really never existed, so pulling us out of the treaty had no merit whatsoever. Total PR work at its lowest level. It had great possibilities for the US since we were, as I said, at the head of the table. Could have greatly aided our influence in the Pacific Rim region by shutting out China’s influence and enhancing ours. Trump removed us from the deal, interesting for a number of reasons. One, since the agreement left China outside looking in, you’d think Trump would have approved of it. But bullies don’t like rules…Also, guess who brokered the original deal with the other countries? That’s right, President Obama. In a Trump administration, this automatically doomed TPP, no matter how much it helped American business and influence. Trump’s maneuvering was totally an egotistical, bully, narcissistic endeavor by him to erase Obama’s legacy. To date, there has been no significant effort by the Trump administration to develop another accord of any kind in the Pacific Rim.

Since we’re talking about America’s economy and its connectedness with other countries, seems like a good time to weigh in on Trump’s attempts to influence Chinese business relations with the US. Now remember, Trump wanted nothing to do with TPP, which shut out Chinese influence. No, Mr. Trump chose to take on China himself. Hey, he’s the best economic presidential negotiator we’ve ever had, right? How did things go with the Chinese negotiations? I’d say, not so well. First Trump started a trade war with China for several reasons; often mentioned our Chinese acquisitions of US companies and the consequential acquisition of their US technology. Also, the obvious trade imbalance between our two nations was not acceptable to Mr. Trump. How’d all the tariffs and Trump’s nasty, bullying rhetoric do in regards to changing Chinese economic gamesmanship? It did nothing. As a matter of fact, the Chinese played him like a fiddle. Trump’s lucky that US corporations absorbed his tariff costs and didn’t pass on the price hikes to American consumers. We could have seen considerable inflation due to these added costs. No, American business, flush with capital due to lower tax burdens and a steady US economy, absorbed the higher prices and helped keep inflation in check. Remember, corporate America likes a Trump presidency. They know who cut their taxes and who is constantly deregulating the economic playing field.

Just before Covid-19 took over our country, Trump announced a major victory in negotiations with China. He claimed to have gained considerable concessions from the Chinese, and here’s where Trump was played like a fiddle. The Chinese conceded to purchasing 200 billion dollars’ worth of farm goods from the US. Trump took a victory lap and proclaimed his better negotiating skills when compared to his Chinese counterparts. The Chinese will purchase a large number US hogs and soybean tonnage. Did Trump masterfully outsmart his negotiating adversaries and win these concessions? No, the Chinese just happen to need pork due to their disease-decimated hog population, and they’ve never been able to produce all the soybeans they need. Due to the rapid development of the US/China trade war, no other country had enough time to ramp up soybean production and supply China with the additional tonnage they’ve always required. No, a masterful Donald Trump at the negotiating table didn’t win Chinese concession. Simply put, circumstances and timing allowed for a moral victory of sorts for Mr. Trump. The Chinese simply outmaneuvered Donald Trump. Now, they’ve gained a bargaining chip by just doing what they had to do. The next time Trump and the Chinese sit down at the negotiation table, they’ll remind Trump of their concession and ask our bestest ever negotiator to return the favor.

Remember, the “theft” of US technology and the trade imbalance started this trade war. These issues have not been remedied or dealt with at this point. Most of the tariffs still remain in place. The only concessions won by the US are some pigs and soybeans have been purchased by China. Clearly, Trump has missed the mark, and gotten nowhere with his trade war with China.

There you have it. Mr. Trump’s attempts to better America’s international trading positions have gone nowhere. Of course he’ll say otherwise and already has. The man is nothing but smoke and mirrors and reality TV show tricks. Did he improve on NAFTA? Not really. Just wasted our time. Did pulling out of the TPP benefit us? No, if anything it reduced our leadership in the Pacific Rim. Did his trade war with China accomplish his goals? No, it did not. So what have Donald Trump’s international, economic goals done for America? Nothing. In general, they’ve just been inept endeavors. Trump’s international economic prowess, advantage Democrats.

How’d Trump do with US international politics? You probably noticed none of his efforts fell into my successful category, for good reason; the man could care less about international politics, unless it has something to do with economics. He doesn’t believe in America’s democratic process, and trying to foster and develop it worldwide is not on the man’s radar…

So, what were the Trump administration’s “foreign affairs” objectives and strategies? I don’t think his administration really had an international plan. Seemed to me that most of his endeavors were photo ops with national leaders and knee-jerk reactions to geo-political situations. There’s no rational way to discuss his efforts because his efforts lack, just that, a rational basis. So I’m just going to review some of his diplomatic moves and call it good.

He apparently likes Israel and disapproves of a Palestine State idea since he decided to move the US/Israeli embassy to Jerusalem. Really? Are you kidding me? This is the man who wants to defund the Foreign Service. I guess he wants to cut jobs so that he can spend a bunch of money on moving an embassy.

How about the Russian aggression in the Ukraine. Not much being done. Oh yeah, I forgot about the “quid pro quo” stuff. I guess, maybe, he at least noticed there was aggression occurring. Although, it seems that the Ukraine/Russia conflict just offered a vehicle for Trump to get at Biden. I don’t think he really cares what Putin does.

Let’s look at North Korea’s nuclear weapon threat and long-range ballistic missile development. Well, Trump rattled swords and shields together for a bit, visited with Kim Jong Un, and stepped onto North Korean soil. Did any of Trump’s diplomacy change anything? First, let me mention that we, the American people, heard nothing about what Trump and Kim talked about. Diplomacy? There’s no proof that anything like that happened. There was a photo op on the Korean Peninsula, a few phone calls back and forth, and I believe Trump penned a presidential correspondence with Kim Jong Un’s address attached. Diplomacy? No evidence of that. Did the “meet and greet” exchange between Kim and Trump change anything? There’s no evidence of the nuclear bomb development being curtailed, and I guess, Kim is shooting off short-range missiles now instead of long range jobbies. I would suspect this has more to do with rocket fuel prices than Trump diplomacy. Just saying…

How about Trump’s political strategies in the Middle East? Well, his wishy-washy, herky-jerky diplomacy has left the United States as a lesser player now, and Russian and Iranian influence has been enhanced. We still have troops in the area. I know this because a friend of mine has a son deployed there. The young Ranger can peer through his binoculars at a Russian fort that is a stone’s throw away from the American installation. What the troops are doing or what their mission is, is a big fat unknown to me and probably to you, also.

Speaking of the Middle East, Trump pulled us out of the Iranian deal and left our allies in the lurch. He said that Iran wasn’t complying with the accord and that his administration would put the screws to the Iranians and bring them back into compliance. No real evidence of this happening, either. As a matter of fact, the Iranians have been somewhat active in the region with little comment coming from the US. I believe the US killed a high-ranking Iranian official in a drone strike, so this shows some thought being given toward Iran and its influence in the area. This drone attack came after numerous muscle-flexing maneuvers by the Iranian government. The Islamic Revolutionary Guard has been harassing oil tankers in the Strait of Hormuz for some time, actually boarding tankers and diverting their passage. An ally of Iran bombed Saudi oil refineries, causing serious damage. All of these events garnered little comment from Donald Trump, although some believe the US drone attack that killed the Iranian official was in response to the above-mentioned Iranian transgressions. The US said little about the maneuver, so whatever political advantage the attack had was lost due to vagueness. What happened next, which brought no overt action from the United States, was, arguably, Iran’s most aggressive act against US military personnel. Iran bombed an Iraq military installation, targeting US military barracks and wounded numerous soldiers. The Trump administration shrugged their shoulders, said, “No big deal,” and promptly forgot or ignored the assault and its ramifications. What is Trump’s stance toward Iran and its prominence in the Middle East? I don’t know. I know he doesn’t like Iran, but what his administration is doing to control and or curtail the country’s influence is a mystery to me.

Trump campaigned on bringing our boys home and ending these long, drawn-out military engagements in the Middle East and Afghanistan. Well a few boys have been shifted around, some sent to Germany, and a few sent home. Basically, everything has been put on hold, and now sits in limbo. I suspect the US military is just waiting for someone with a vision and some leadership skills to step in and give a few directives.

Donald Trump feels NATO takes advantage of the US. He belittles NATO member country heads of state, talks about pulling out, and in general, causes confusion and uncertainty among member nations. NATO is America’s biggest deterrent against Russian regional aggression. I believe Trump doesn’t care about Russian aggression and so, consequently, doesn’t see the importance of NATO. Presently, he’s trying to bully and cause discord between NATO members by repositioning troops from Germany to Poland. Slap in the face to Chancellor Merkel, and Trump’s proposed troop movements are causing more uncertainty among NATO members. Typical Trump tactics: insult and then create uncertainty…“What will I do next?” diplomacy.

One other international political alliance that Trump removed us from needs to be looked at further. I mentioned Trump pulling us out of the Paris Climate Accord in my section devoted to his delivered campaign promises. Again we have the sitting president erasing a previous president’s work. (Quick note; do we have a democracy when one president and his administration erases a previous president’s accomplishments?) Trump did this to appease and aid one of his biggest support groups, natural resource extraction corporations. Removing us from the Climate accord was a definitive, bold statement uttered by Trump. He told his oil, natural gas, coal, and timber producing cronies not to worry; he wouldn’t let international regs get in the way of their environmentally unfriendly extraction methods and the pollution their tactics and products create. Trump basically told the world he doesn’t care about CO2 emissions and that his boys were ready and eager to develop more “dirty” energy and ramp up pollution.

Donald Trump’s administration has not improved America’s influence in the world, and more to the point, he has diminished same. He pulled us out of various alliances, accords, treaties, and pacts. For the most part, he did not even pretend to fill the vacuum left by the US departure, and in the few cases where an attempt was made to construct new alliances, his lack of diplomatic skills and vision created empty, photo op only, allegiances. Trump’s international prowess, advantage Democrats.

We’re getting towards the end of my diatribe; not that I want it to conclude. This article has been a pleasure to write and in a weird, esoteric way, a privilege. Bear with me. I have a few more thoughts to explore and illuminate.

What has Donald Trump done to protect American citizens from the Covid-19 pandemic? I’ve said this or something similar to it a lot in this article: not much. A cartoon that I saw pretty much says it all in regards to Trump’s reaction to our pandemic. T-rex, triceratops, and diplodocus are looking up into the sky and watching the meteor that caused the cretaceous period extinction plummet toward the Yucatan. T-rex shouts out to his comrades, “Oh no! The economy!” There you have it. T-rex, I mean Donald Trump, doesn’t care about us; he just cares about the economy. How many Americans must die in order to keep it chugging along is of no import to Mr. Trump. He just wants it to keep “chugging.” Mr. Trump is a politician now, so keeping voters happy and unaware of motives is secondhand to him. He’ll never utter the words “herd immunity” for fear of losing votes, but that’s what he wants, and all his actions to date promote this result (see article “containment vs herd immunity”). Let’s be frank. The US response or more accurately, Donald Trump’s reaction to the pandemic, is a dysfunctional joke, only no one is laughing. First, he denied that it was a problem. He had everything under control. This response lost us valuable preparation time. Then he started babbling all kinds of unscientific nonsense. “It will go away in the summer,” “nothing worse than another flu,” “drink some bleach. That’ll kill it.”…After babbling nonsense for a while, and watching the death toll mount, he began blaming everyone else for his poor efforts. WHO, China, CDC, and others were all mentioned as reasons for his slow response. If only others had performed better, he could have, too. Next, as his poll numbers began to fall, he began to politicize the pandemic. People who wear masks were extremists. Social distancing and sheltering in place weren’t necessary and would only harm our economy. All of the precautions and strategies mentioned by professionals were left-wing efforts to derail his reelection. Then, Trump started to talk about how he’d gotten the US over the hump and the pandemic was behind us. He encouraged everyone to get back to work and for the country to reopen and return to normalcy. So, just when some parts of the country had “flattened the curve,” Trump’s “reopen” campaign got the virus revved up again. Now, he is once again blabbering about how the pandemic is totally behind us and anyone who says different is just trying to derail his reelection. The man is total 1984-style “double speak and a complete embarrassment. Speaking of which, the world is watching our country’s response to Covid-19 in total disbelief with its jaw agape. Our inability to work together and fight this disease is shocking to most countries and should be frightening to us.

There you have it. Trump’s concern for his precious economy has put him at odds with all those who care for the health of our citizenry. So, in typical Trump style, he’s attacked, debased, insulted, and rejected all those that disagree with his ideas and motives. To date, the US has had the most Covid-19 cases and the most related deaths of any other country on our planet. The buck stops with the man at the top, President Donald Trump. His personal agenda has created the Covid-19 nightmare that we we’re all living through, and that pretty much sums it up. Advantage, Democrats.

Whoa, there you have it. Why the GOP will lose the 2020 presidential election. Simply put, the Republicans have a narcissistic, racist, immoral, greed-head running for reelection who only cares for his own interests. He wants American business to excel, but due to his ineptness and ego has created one international blunder after another, which, in turn, has caused the US economic to stumble along, not gaining any momentum. The man has created a dysfunctional government, George Orwellian style with double-speak as the rule. A good example of this would be our Secretary of the Interior, David L. Bernhardt. Ah yes, the defender and administrator of US public lands. David’s previous job, Oil and Energy industry lobbyist. OMG! Are you kidding me! The entire US government is now filled at high levels with Trump puppets who proclaim administration propaganda on a regular, continual basis. Anyone who has been paying attention knows this and nothing Mr. Trump will and can say between now and November 3rd will deflect the criticism and dislike his administration so rightfully deserves.

 Most “people[l4]  of color” will not vote for this man, and, as I personally can attest to, many moderate Republicans will not cast their vote for him, either. Most of my Republican friends have had enough of him and are not embracing the “Ends justify the means” beliefs that many championed in 2016. The “means,” like Donald Trump, have become too repugnant for them.

Many older voters, both men and women, have lost faith in Trump and won’t vote for him again. The man threw these people under the bus with his “herd immunity” approach to the Covid-19 pandemic. Donald Trump never spoke those words, herd immunity; he’s not that dumb. All of his actions toward the pandemic have steered the US in that direction, though. The man knows Americans vote with their pocketbooks, and a strong economy is his only saving grace. Herd immunity is the best way to keep the economy from slowing up. All of us should note Sweden’s response to the pandemic and the results of herd immunity in that country. Worst Covid-19 death rate per capita in the EU and an economy that’s not much better. Too bad Mr. Trump didn’t take note; a lot of American lives could have been saved if he’d encouraged thwarting the virus vs ignoring it and/or thinking he could manipulate it to his advantage.

No, Mr. Trump will not win reelection, and I can’t think of another president who deserves to be dumped more than 45. When all the dust settles and the smoke of Donald Trump’s administration is blown away by our democratic process, the man will become the loser he really is; any and all influence held by him during office will quickly dissipate into thin air, as will all of his tricks and reality TV show gimmicks. Can’t be soon enough for me. Come on November 3rd, hurry the heck up.

You did it, amigo. The man is toast, for sure. You slapped him up one side, then down the other. Yeah, pretty easy really. There’s not much defense for his presidency. You really think he’s a goner? Like I’ve said, the American voter is a fickle critter and easily swayed. A few timely moves by Trump could totally change the playing field. The Dems have to get out the vote, especially the youth and “people of color” demographics. If they can truly mobilize these groups, Donald Trump will be packing his bags come November, and leaving the White House in January. I’ve got my fingers crossed, my lucky rabbit’s foot in my pocket, and a bundle of sage ready for use, amigo, plus I registered to vote. Good for you, my dear friend, and I hope many others have done the same. It’s time for the beast to be kicked into the gutter where it belongs so that the rest of us can get on with bettering our country and truly making it the “Land of the Free.”

What’s next, amigo? What are you going to write about? Not sure; the ol’ abode is pleading for a paint job, and the weather is cooperating. So, that’s next on the agenda. After I put the last brush stroke on the exterior trim, I think I’ll address systemic racism in our educational system. No better place to start. All of us white people need to be educated about racism and the best place to do this is within our existing school systems. Lots of changes need to be made; for instance, it’s time to rewrite history. Change the textbooks? Good place to start. This time write about what really happened to everybody and everything, not just what happened to the wealthy and ruling class. The truth needs to be portrayed before we whites can really alter our ways. Okay, amigo. I’ll be waiting. Hang in there, my friend, and to all of you, dear readers, hang in there as well. Stay safe, be smart, and patient. Good things are on the horizon.

Highway 101 and Laneda Avenue and Black Lives Matter

Whoa! What happened to “Why the GOP will lose the 2020 election”? Well something just as important as the “GOP” subject matter is happening at present, and after giving it much thought, it usurped the “GOP” article. Okay, but is this like a thing? Will you be misleading us on a regular basis? I mean, you’re not building trust here. Hmmm, you know, it’s not done intentionally. Just kind of happens, I guess. Well, do you promise to get to the GOP piece in the near future? Absolutely.…Okay, all’s forgiven. I’d like to know what you’ve got to say about Black Lives Matter, so, let ’er rip.

A wonderful event happened in the small, coastal community of Manzanita, OR, at the intersection of US Highway 101 and Laneda Avenue. Highway 101 is a main north/south artery running adjacent to the Pacific Ocean. Sometimes, it’s a mere stone’s throw from the beaches. Laneda Avenue is a lateral road that departs 101 and heads to the ocean, creating the main street of Manzanita. As you drive west, through Manzanita, small shops and restaurants border the road, and at the avenue’s visual terminus, the Pacific Ocean greets your arrival. The intersection of these two roads forms a “T” and is framed by scraggly coastal pines and a number of businesses: a lumber yard, a restaurant that is closed because of COVID-19, a pot store (hey friend, this is Oregon), and a grocery store mingle with the beach vegetation and create the “welcome mat” for Manzanita. At the intersection, a long, sweeping, 45-degree curve in Highway 101 slows traffic down, helping travelers to easily depart the main thoroughfare and enter the laidback, coastal living of Manzanita.  

The wondrous event I alluded to occurred on the 4th of July this year, and no, it had nothing to do with celebrating our country’s birthday. Parades and fireworks were cancelled because of the pandemic. No, this event was a Black Lives Matter rally, with mostly local participation. People stood near Highway 101 with face protection on and displayed hand-crafted signs supporting the BLM movement. The positive response given this small group of about fifty individuals by passersby was incredible. It was 99 percent affirmative, and almost to a person, those people who drove by and championed our efforts were white. Various vehicles displaying licenses from, Utah, Washington, Colorado, Michigan, California, Wisconsin, Arizona, Tennessee, and of course Oregon all slowly passed by our small gathering. The travelers waved, smiled, honked, clapped, gave the thumbs-up sign, and some thrust arms through open windows with clenched fists raised into air. It was an incredible, spontaneous display of solidarity to a movement that has engulfed our nation.

The significance of this 4th of July event needs some clarification before you can fully understand it. First of all, Manzanita is a lily white, coastal village in the lily white state of Oregon. The number of black people living locally can be tallied on my left hand. The number of black people participating in the Independence Day rally was one and the number of black people who drove by our demonstration also numbered one. You’d think The Black Lives Matter movement is far removed from the intersection of Highway 101 and Laneda Avenue, and yet, it is not. BLM started because of continual police brutality encountered by Black Americans and the undeniable double standard used by officers in regards to policing blacks and whites. Whites get the “reasonable doubt” approach and blacks encounter the “guilty first” strategy. This double standard seems to be thoroughly embedded in our law enforcement systems. It was created by systemic racism, and now is protected and supported by this form of institutional prejudice. Systemic racism as the term applies is everywhere, and so our little corner of the world is not immune. Actually, being an almost totally white populated area puts us smack dab in the middle of the controversy. What lifts my spirits and my hopes is seeing so many white people trying to understand BLM and visibly supporting it. Black vs white will not change systemic racism. That effort hasn’t buried the ugly beast in some 400-plus years. Black, white, and all other colors working together can. When I see videos of marches from all parts of our country, the one striking, marvelous characteristic being displayed is solidarity between all colors and all ages. This is what a societal change must exhibit. It has to be the core of the movement, but is this quality, everyone working together, enough to dethrone the beast?

I’m concerned about where the Black Lives Matter movement is going and if it will create lasting social change. One of my fears is that the present, massive support from everyone will be wasted because of the campaign’s lack of direction and leadership. The movement is in its infancy, and at times, we’re witnessing the violence-prone initial stage which garners much attention and because of this, helps a movement get off the ground and get going. Hopefully, BLM will quickly evolve into organized actions, which will, ultimately, dismantle the systemic racism found within our police departments.

Unfortunately, without vocal leaders getting national media coverage, the BLM movement could flounder and not gain momentum. There are serious, competing national problems jostling with the BLM movement; the COVID-19 pandemic and a national, presidential election, looming in November, are both receiving huge amounts of “air” time. This doesn’t leave much room for BLM coverage. Is this another example of systemic racism? Probably…whatever’s causing the lack of media coverage, hopefully, will stop, and with everything being right, dynamic, focused BLM leaders will emerge soon. The movement needs these visible, vocal leaders, receiving media coverage before it can move on to the next step, creating changes in police policy. Even with massive, national support from a diversified core, and dynamic leaders gaining national coverage, the BLM movement could eventually burn out and achieve very little significant social change.

 The statement “achieve very little significant social change” needs to be justified, and if you would bear with me, I’d like to revisit the past to find evidence that will verify this statement. Years ago there was a massive movement to create social change, eliminate segregation, and in turn, help end racism. We’re going back to the late fifties, the sixties, and the seventies. Let’s set the stage. By the mid-fifties, the Jim Crow laws and their brethren had been around for nearly ninety years. Black Americans were fed up with segregation, and its cause, racism, which the existing white power structure was fostering and promoting. Lincoln freed the slaves, but he did not end racism. What transpired during this twenty-year time span, from 1955 to 1975, was an attempt to dismantle institutional racism and segregation. Rosa Parks (1955 and 1956) helped end segregation on public transit in Montgomery, Alabama. In 1957 the “Little Rock Nine” with the aid of President Eisenhower who ordered the Arkansas National Guard to protect and help these Black students integrate Little Rock Central High, started the desegregation of public schools. Also, in 1957, President Eisenhower signed into law a Civil Rights Act that was designed to protect voters’ rights, particularly the rights of Black voters in the South. The fifties were followed by the sixties and this decade was filled with activism, civil unrest, and violence. The Vietnam War and Black Power movement began during this decade, and demonstrations against the white power structure by both blacks and whites occurred constantly. In Los Angeles, the Watts Riots erupted in the summer of 1964. Also, in that same year, three civil rights workers, attempting to register voters in Mississippi, were murdered by a gang of vigilantes. An American president, JFK, who initiated the political dialogue toward acceptance of desegregation, and the most significant civil rights leader of our time, Martin Luther King Jr., were both assassinated during this decade. The Black Panther Party rose to defend black rights and protect black people from police discrimination and brutality. (Sound familiar?) They had numerous gun battles with police forces in several US cities and casualties occurred on both sides. The sixties ended with the arrival of the seventies, but activism against social and racial injustice continued, and demonstrations against the White power structure didn’t stop. On the campus of Kent State, in 1970, four students who were demonstrating against the Vietnam War were shot and killed by Ohio State national guardsmen. Eventually, as the seventies waned, so did activism and demonstrations against the white power hierarchy. The Vietnam War ended in the mid-seventies and young people, both black and white, terminated their antiwar demonstrations. The Black Power movement was targeted by the FBI, and weakened by continual arrests, trials, and sentencing of its leaders. When the eighties rolled in, a much quieter populace greeted the new decade, which was welcomed by most everyone, especially the country’s white power structure, which had been under attack for over twenty years.

Out of all the turmoil created by the sixties came the most significant civil rights legislation of my lifetime and probably the most important laws since the 1870s. The Civil Rights Act of 1964, signed into law the end of segregation in public places and banned employment discrimination based on race. In 1968, another significant piece of civil rights legislation, the Fair Housing Act, was signed into law by President Johnson. This law forbade discrimination in housing based on race. These Congressional bills, signed into law by LBJ, were powerful deterrents to racism and segregation.

 Here we are, two or three generations removed from the Civil Rights Acts of the sixties and all the demonstrations, the pain, and the suffering endured by the millions upon millions of activists who helped create them. Why do we still have significant systemic racism in our country? Well, because the American people, the demonstrators, the activists of the sixties and the seventies, expected our elected officials and people in power to protect this legislation and see to it that it became modus operandi. We were naïve. These people are just the ones, along with many others, who benefit the most from prejudice and systemic racism. This prejudicial system keeps them in power, and when no one is looking, they do what they can to ignore anti-racist laws and undermine them.

There you have it. Even with everything going its way, the sixties, desegregation, anti-racist legislation failed us. This could happen to BLM, too. Even with its broad coalition and momentum, failure is possible. The sixties legislation looked so promising; it created anti-racist, desegregation laws, which were produced by powerful forces of social change, but it did not succeed in eliminating racism. The sixties did not eradicate systemic racism, and if you don’t eliminate this multi-faceted monster, no legislation, no matter how well it’s written, will be successful against racial bias. What we need to do now, and what we didn’t do in the sixties, seventies, and all years following, is to assume a junkyard dog–like attitude toward the elimination of racism. We need to constantly look for its vestiges. We need to constantly try to sniff it out and locate where it is hiding. If we truly want real social change and the elimination of discrimination in police tactics, we must be vigilant like a junkyard dog and never stop protecting our rights. If we can do this, then the mistakes of the sixties will not be repeated.

My word-counting guardians are tapping my shoulders, again, and I promised them, I’d acknowledge their efforts and react accordingly. I’m going to share a few more thoughts with you, then take my leave. The BLM movement is absolutely essential. Moving our national police forces away from the military units they’ve become and to the “protect and serve” institution which they should be is essential for a healthy country and populace. Eliminating systemic racism from within the police ranks and consequently stopping the prevalent, double standard of law enforcement is a must. Never allowing backsliding or complacency to develop is, also, a must. We can do this!

I’m a bit of an idealist. Can’t help myself. Always been this way. Wear it like a badge of honor. So when I think of the BLM movement, I tend to appreciate it for what it is, a movement to stop prejudicial policing of Black Americans. It’s so important in its own right. Then, I start thinking in a larger, more expansive context, and begin to look at society as a whole. I think it’s time to eliminate systemic racism from our entire culture. Pull out all the stops and go for it. I believe the younger generation is primed and ready for this. It’s time for the corporate world, the political arena, and the educational system to send systemic racism packing. It can only happen with total societal transparency and honesty. So much will have to change and so many institutions and people will have to concede to a cultural power transition. It will take decades to accomplish, but the goal, the destruction of racism in America, will be worth it. Administrations will come and go, but if we’re all diligent and vigilant and determined like a junkyard dog, I think we can achieve a racist-free society.

The BLM movement and in general the termination of systemic racism is a huge, multifaceted issue. I intend on writing many more articles addressing this topic. I have a blueprint in mind, and wish to share it with you. My next writing, well, I think it will be my next writing, will deal with education and how this institution can help eliminate racism in our country. Be looking for it. I promise it’s on the way.

Next Saturday, I’ll be standing at the junction of Highway 101 and Laneda Avenue. I will raise above my head a sign asking for social justice and equality for Black Americans. I’ll be with a small group of people, mostly white, and will be engaging with a larger group of people, mostly white tourists, who will drive by me. I predict we’ll continue to receive favorable feedback. They’ll always be those who pass by with knee-jerk negative messages tossed our way. Their numbers are small. My hope is that in the days, weeks, months, and years to come, with all of us working to end racism, the numbers of racist individuals in our country will become even fewer, and the societal support which sustains them, systemic racism, will erode away and wash into the ocean, leaving behind a nation, truly devoted to the words “that all people are created equal.”

Wow man, you did it. You kept this piece to a tolerable length. There’s hope for you, yet. Yah, maybe there is. You know, it’s hard to write with tears running down your cheeks and falling onto your keyboard and desk top. That might have influenced the word count. Why you crying? Racism’s kind of personal for me, and I find it hard to be stoic under the circumstances. Care to elaborate, amigo? No, no, I think not, at least not right now. Okay, I hear you, brother. Hey, man, get to writing that article about the GOP losing the election. That should be a “piece of cake,” a “no brainer,” a “walk in the park.” Give you a chance to relax and mellow out. Shhhhh…trying to remain unbiased, friend, or I guess, at least, appear to be. Ah, come on amigo. Everybody’s got you figured out. Let ’er rip. Enjoy yourself. Yah, you’re right. I will unchain the beast in my next writing. Damn the guardrails, and full speed ahead. No looking in the rearview mirrors. That’s the way, amigo. Go for it! Uh-oh. Taps on both my shoulders. Gotta go. Stay safe and positive dear readers…until next time…

Why the Dems Will Lose the 2020 Presidential Election

Welcome back. This topic may cause some of you symptoms of nausea or lightheadedness. Others may feel anger or outrage, and still others might gain a sensation of redemption or empowerment from what follows. I would suggest you sit down, buckle up, pull the hand bar down into the safety position, and grasp it tightly. Let’s put our big, adult pants on, and a brave smile. The ride’s about to begin.

Does 2020 really appear to be a Republican victory? If I was a betting person, you’d have to give me some good odds before my response would be “yes,” but of late, we’ve seen some mighty strange happenings in regards to presidential elections; look no farther than the 2016 race and outcome for proof of this statement. There’s no such thing as a “sure thing” in politics. The fickle, American electorate almost guarantees unpredictable election night results, leaving pundits squirming in their chairs, and offering quickly formulated answers for the unforeseen results. This November, undoubtedly, will provide us some political insight into our country’s next four years, but at this moment, can we assuredly predict its result? I think not, and recent history backs up this thought.

“Hey man, enough with the intro. What do you got to say?” Well my impatient, word-counting, time-constrained amigo, your car has reached the summit, and gravity is about to take over. The Democratic primary is basically over and what shook out of the primary tree was Joe Biden. Joe is probably the worst or close to the worst person out of all the viable Democratic primary contenders to go up against Donald Trump. He is not a dynamic, articulate, intelligent, insightful, or a quick-on-his-feet politician, and he will not suddenly develop these characteristics and bring them on the 2020 presidential campaign trail. With Joe, what you see is what you get. He’s slow thinking, struggles with public speaking, and, well, he’s just plain boring. Joe Biden is the only Democratic primary candidate who could make Donald Trump look good in a debate. Not a smart choice, Dems, and one I fear you’ll regret in November.

I’m going to jump off the rails for a moment, and digress to another subject. There were lots of young, energetic, Capitol Hill–savvy, intelligent, articulate Democratic primary contenders. None of them got a “bump” from the Democratic Party’s “Brain Trust.” The older candidates, at one time or another, did. I kind of get it. The powers-that-be decided a familiar, safe, fatherly type with broad political base was the best choice and threw their support behind Biden. I said “I kind of get it” because, though it’s safe, it’s the wrong call. The Democrats needed to pick someone who would make Trump look like a fool in a debate. Someone who could think quickly and turn an ignorant, dubious statement into a lethal mistake. I would have loved to see Amy Klobuchar go toe-to-toe with Trump. That debate would have been worth the price of admission. As it is, we’re going to witness painful, verbal jousting in the debates, which pundits will score, and the results may very well go against the Dems and their platform.

Okay, back on the tracks. Why is Joe Biden the wrong candidate? Well, another problem for Joe’s success is he’s been around forever. With that duration comes lots of sponsored bills, votes cast, words spoken from behind political podiums, and much time spent in the public eye. Such candidates are easy targets for campaign attacks (reference 2016 and Hillary Clinton). This campaign season has been slow to unfold, because of COVID-19, and yet we’ve already heard about Biden’s inappropriate mannerisms with woman; one individual accused him of unwanted sexual advances; and much discussion focused on his son chairing a seat on a Ukrainian energy company’s Board of Directors. (Really? A Ukrainian energy company. Does this seem weird to you? It does to me.) Which reminds me; have we heard anything from Trump’s private detective, oops, I mean personal lawyer, lately? Rudy has been pretty quiet. Does he have a surprise, politically motivated announcement waiting to be unveiled at an opportune moment? Joe Biden is running against an opponent who delights in attacking his adversary’s personality traits and political record. Trump will jump on Biden. I don’t think Joe can adequately defend himself and will appear to be the weaker candidate. Advantage GOP!

How’s your political roller coaster ride going? That first drop is always a doozy. Makes you question why you chose the roller coaster in the first place. Now, you’ve got lots of screaming around you, some nervous laughter, and the people up front are showing off with their hands raised in the air. Stomachs back in place? Well get ready for the side-to-side jolts before the next incline. Donald Trump won the 2016 election because he galvanized what some refer to as the “silent majority.” I’m not sure “silent” describes this group at the moment, and majority is questionable, too. I watched most of the Democratic primary debates. Not once did any candidate focus on Trump’s base and offer them a lifeline to a Democratic administration. There was no attempt to carve off from this group a voting bloc sympathetic to the moderate left ideologies. It was as if these voters didn’t exist or weren’t relevant. I fear that once again Democrats feel invincible. This kind of thinking lost them the 2016 election. For one reason or another, some plausible, some totally erroneous, the undereducated, white, American electorate feel the political left robbed them of their entitlement, “The American Dream,” and left them for some forty years in the backwashes of social change. Wake up, Dems! Trump’s base needs to be reckoned with and helped just like any other demographic in our country. If you don’t better this group’s life and livelihoods, they’ll always provide a solid springboard for any right wing politician. The Democrats, in the primary process, missed their chance to win over Trump supporters. They said the “same ol’, same ol’.” Things like “and we’ll give more money to education.” This simply implies to a Trump supporter that teacher wages will go up again. The Democrats need to be specific and mention relevant suggestions like, “We’ll delegate funds to public schools for vocational and technical classes.” This kind of rhetoric will give Trump’s voting bloc something positive to think about in regards to their lives and living with a left-leaning administration. Some of you will remember in our last “State of the Union” address, Donald Trump specifically mentioned vocational training classes and his support for them. Playing to his base, for sure, but all of us can see the logic that supports this statement. The Dems had better see it, too, because ignoring Trump’s base again, like they did in 2016, could very well get them the same election results in 2020.

Thrown to the left and tossed to the right. “Hey stop this coaster. I want off!” No can do. You’re on this ride till it slows down and comes to a stop near the gate. So grab tight to your safety bar and listen up; I’ve got more potentially disturbing thoughts for you. COVID-19 is disrupting most everything in this country. To date, approximately, 132,000 Americans have died from this disease and there’s no end in sight. In regards to politics and voting, the virus has already messed with our primary process, and will rear up its ugly head, again, come November, and cause more damage. Wisconsin and Georgia primaries have shown us a few major problems. I’m sure a larger variety of issues remain to be discovered and fear that November’s election may expose them.

How will the Dems lose the 2020 election? Well, like I just alluded to, one way is to think the election polling process will run smoothly in November. I don’t know a lot about voting at the polls. Being a resident of Oregon, I’ve been fortunate to vote by mail for most of my adult life. Easy-peasy. Mark your ballot, sign where need be, lick and close the envelope, and drop your ballot off at a collection site. What I do remember about voting at the polls is a group of wonderful, smiling, retired and/or elderly volunteers taking care of business – just the age group affected most by COVID-19. Consequently, during our pandemic-influenced primary season, polling sites were inefficient or just plain closed because large numbers of volunteers were concerned for their health and stayed away. This could very well happen again in November. I read somewhere that one polling site had 600,000 voters assigned to it during the primary. This sounds ridiculous to me, but if that news was available in the media for all to read, then I wasn’t the only person who took note. A GOP strategist could have read the same article and thought, “Ahah, this tactic could really work for us.” The Republicans could easily use the pandemic’s volatile characteristics and ease of transmission to scare people away from the polls. The “Right” feels that by suppressing votes in November, they’ll have their best chance for victory. They can reduce ballots by limiting numbers of voting sites within precincts, and if they targeted precincts favorable to Democrats, an election outcome could be easily swayed. You thought gerrymandering was bad. Think about this possible strategy. The Dems had better plan for such gamesmanship. If they need to recruit younger volunteers for polling sites, get it done. Providing PPEs for volunteers would be a great idea. Making sure adequate amounts of absentee ballots are present and that the needed manpower to mail and count the results is available. Bottom line, get proactive; pick strategies to aid polling site efficiency, put everything together now, and have it ready to implement by November.

“Getting out the vote” is an election year mantra, and rightly so. You need more people voting for your candidate than the other party’s candidate to win. This year, more than others, requires young people’s voter registration to be successful. The youth in our country want change. The Dems need to take advantage of this. The traditional fall voter registration booths on college and high school campuses may not work in September. I don’t know how many kids will be, physically, at school this fall. Do you? Assuming the usual may get you a lot of nothing in our present pandemic environment. The Dems need to develop a plan, right now, to ensure all possible young voters are registered for this coming election. They may need to go door to door in neighborhoods. Further, to get them registered, they may need to set up booths in malls, in parks, at beaches, or wherever else young potential voters hang out. This action would require a large volunteer group that is ready to act. The Dems had better get moving if they want a win in 2020. Inactivity now will cost them votes and only favor a GOP victory.

I mentioned a motivated, youthful movement that is demanding change in our country. If the Dems take this group for granted and feel anyone wanting social justice and is concerned about humanitarian issues will automatically vote Democratic, they may be sadly disappointed. The left cannot assume these young activists will vote for their candidates. I recall a twenty-ish BLM protester being interviewed by a national network reporter. She stated that her candidate, Bernie Sanders, lost his presidential primary bid, and that she could not endorse Joe Biden and would not vote for him in the fall. Ahh, the idealism of youth, you’ve got to admire and respect it, but on the other hand, it’s dangerous. This young woman doesn’t understand that a vote taken from Biden is a vote for Donald Trump. The Dems must accept youthful, political wishes, add them to their platform, and also educate them about the reality of politics. It’s presumptuous of Democrats to take young people and humanitarian causes for granted and dump them all into the Democratic camp. Right now, I don’t see the urgency needed by the left to woo and win over the youthful participants who are demanding police, environmental, and human rights reforms. This cavalier attitude toward young people could invite their indifference to the Dem’s party and platform. Not a good response in a presidential election year, and if this entitled attitude continues, the Dems will lose out on a considerable number of votes. A vote not for Joe Biden is a vote for Donald Trump. Get it together, Democrats, or you’re going to lose 2020.

Maybe COVID-19 is distracting Democrats and the party’s strategists. This disease cares not who wins in November. The GOP “Brain Trust” knows they’re vulnerable in the 2020 election. They’ll use the COVID-19 pandemic to their advantage and allow its disruptive nature to influence voter turnout. The Democrats better not forget this. Protecting the democratic process, making sure all eligible voters can cast their ballot, will require much vigilance and additional volunteers for the 2020 presidential election. Signing up new voters will require the same effort, and harnessing all the diversified, youthful momentum that abounds at present will require understanding this energetic electorate, educating them, and accepting their needs. The Dems need to accept this reality and start addressing these issues with action, now.

Whoa! Where are my word counters? “You just now became concerned about article length? I would have bailed long ago, but this coaster’s speed and height put the kibosh on that idea.” Yah, I hear you, friend reader. In my subconscious, I may have known this article would be lengthy and chose the coaster as an exciting, momentary vehicle from which there was no escape. Once again, I apologize for the subliminal trickery. Take heart, though, because the ride is near its termination; only a few more dips and side-to-sides remain.

There is one truism in American politics that rarely deviates from the norm. The country’s electorate votes with their pocketbooks in mind. This concept has held true, time after time, after time. The country’s present economic climate bodes ill for the sitting president. COVID-19 has created the worst economic disaster since the Great Depression. Unemployment at record highs, many businesses shut down, or partially open, and who knows how many establishments will never reopen their doors. Citizens are running out of money and redemption of unpaid bills is looming near. Foreclosures and personal bankruptcies wait in the wings for their turn at center stage. Things could not look worse. Yet, this could all change. The human spirit just needs a scrap to be tossed its way, a slight glimmer of hope, a hint of possible better days, and all is forgiven. The deeper the hole, the greater the emotional response to the slightest positive sign.

Small, encouraging signs pointing toward economic recovery will quickly change the voting public’s opinion about our country’s future. Such things as weekly “filings for unemployment benefits” numbers growing smaller, and new job growth and rehiring statistics producing optimistic results will easily sway voter loyalty. A “V” shape recovery trajectory will quickly bring back voter confidence even with the pandemic’s harmful realities near at hand. With increased voter confidence, more consumer spending will occur, and this above all else drives our economy toward recovery. Wall Street direction, never a true indicator of economic stability, nonetheless can influence public opinion. If the markets head in the right direction, many Americans feel the country’s economy is doing the same. All the aforementioned situations are presently happening, or nearly happening. Throw into the mix a lower death rate from our pandemic and a possible vaccine looming on the horizon, and an uncomfortable electorate could forgive a mostly derisive, dysfunctional president. Look out, Dems, the perfect storm awaits beyond the horizon.

There you have it. How the Dems will lose the 2020 election. Hey, your ride just stopped near the turnstiles. You can exit to the left. Hope you enjoyed our intellectual roller coaster ride, and please note that I was thinking about your endurance and chose not to address many other factors that could easily cause a Democratic loss in the fall: such things as ballot fraud, a large military engagement, which usually enhances a sitting president’s reelection probability, an Electoral College ambush, etc. Before you’re out of earshot, one last thought. The next article from “Thoughts About American Life” addresses why the GOP will lose the 2020 election. “Oh, very politically correct, Mr. Writer Man. Giving both sides equal time, riding the fence, hedging your bets… Well, no tricks this time. No seat belts, no safety bars, and no hunks of steel moving at insane speeds. I want to read your article in comfort and not fear for my life. Also, I wish the ability to disengage from your thought stream at my own leisure and seek shelter if need be. Capisce?” Yah, I get it. No more ruses. I’ll be “straight up” with you, and in all honesty, this next article will be so much easier to write. Did I just say that? Bad me, Bad me, off to bed with no dinner. Until later, my friends…stay positive and healthy.…

Covid 19 Containment vs Herd Immunity

Welcome back…..Round one is in the books, now, filed for all to see. The bell for round two just rang. Hope you’ve got a front row seat and will enjoy the verbiage posturing for recognition. Thanks to those offering feedback. Your perspectives will help this arena from becoming the”same old, same old” writing event. A very grateful, appreciative, nod goes to my first novel’s editor and my oldest granddaughter who both gave the same advice; they must think alike because their comments were almost identical.” We like what you said, but think your blog was too long. Shorten it up, Word Man.” I threw in the “Word Man” part, kind of an ego, writer’s license thing. Okay….I hear you. This edition of “Thoughts about American Life” will be briefer. Pretty much a sure deal since no “bio” is involved and a couple word counters are looking over my shoulder.

Before getting to the heart of this blog, I’d like to preface the article with some Covid 19 stats. America has lost 120,000 plus lives to this pandemic. Pure and simple, a national tragedy. We have more cases and more deaths attributed to this disease than any other nation on our planet. With only about 4 to 5 percent of the world’s population, this infamous tally should not be ours. How did we get here? In my opinion, lack of leadership and not having a cohesive, national plan created the smorgasbord of mostly inefficient strategies that we see. At the federal level, mixed messages have prevailed; we’ve had smoke blown in our face and been tossed contradictory and misleading language from day one. We heard “the pandemic’s not a problem,” “it will go away in summer,” “we’ve got it under control……” One example from the very beginning of this crises depicts the federal government’s response perfectly. Our president quickly shut down travel from China to the US after hearing about the Wuhan outbreak. Well, kind of. Only Chinese citizens travelling to the US using personal visas were restricted from entering our country. Everyone else from China returned home as if nothing was wrong. No temperature or symptomatic health checks upon arrival were attempted. No quarantine time was demanded, and certainly no passenger’s health was checked on at a later date. Fairly lame attempt at containment. Appears more like a slap to China’s face than an endeavor to stop a pandemic. That pretty much sums up Washington’s Covid 19 response; mostly miscues with political maneuvering thrown in for distraction.

Without leadership from Washington, the State governors were left on their own to fight the corona virus. Now, add to the rudderless ship called USS Washington an armada of similarly disabled vessels and you’ve got serious problems. All governors tried to protect their citizens, some with better results than others. New York’s Governor, Andrew Cuomo, took the helm and led decisively. Other state’s leaders, not so much, and to be fair, many didn’t have the resources that New York started with. To date, the most significant deterrent to Covid 19 has been containment and “shelter in place” strategies that almost all states utilized and to one degree or another, enforced.

We’re transitioning now from shelter-in-place to a gradual reopening of our country. Obviously, a critical period of adjustment. We’re attempting to regain normalcy and continue to social distance, refrain from unnecessary travel, wear masks, wash our hands regularly, and avoid large gatherings. How fast will our return to pre-Covid 19 conditions occur? I think that depends on how hard the winds of change blow and from which direction they emanate. There are three societal forces which will, by their very nature, greatly influence our direction and speed. First, there’s the medical profession. It’s the force of caution, the force dedicated to sound, public well-being, and it will push toward the safest, healthiest path. We should listen keenly to them. Another societal force is the business community which is hurting; both large and small commercial endeavors, from mom and pop businesses to large corporations all need some “black ink” to resurface on their ledgers. This group, especially larger institutions with owners, CEOs, boards of directors, and shareholders scare me a little. They’ve got a lot to lose and tend towards rhetoric rather than real substance. Protecting their employees, due to extra costs, could endanger their “bottom line.” Case in point would be the meat processing sector. Everything is fine-and -dandy, until some Health Department employee comes around with a thermometer, and then all hell breaks lose. Cases spike and communities are in trouble. I live in “small-town-USofA.” Everyday I see lumber yards , gas stations, restaurants, grocery stores, and small shops that have gone the extra mile to protect their employees and costumers from contracting Covid 19. I know this can be done. Corporate Americas needs to get on board and ensure their employees a safe environment to work in. Simple as that. No excuses. Get it done.

Before I go much farther, and you begin scratching your head in wonderment, let me address my headings suggested topic, Containment vs Herd Immunity. Containment of Covid 19 is what our medical community is attempting to do. Minimizing travel, staying home if you feel sick and self quarantining, washing hands often, wearing face masks, and avoiding large crowds are all meant to corral or contain this pandemic. Herd mentality or herd immunity is a whole other ball game. Its approach to minimizing the pandemics effects is vastly different. Basically, it calls for most people to become infected and let the chips fall where they may. I’ll be more specific. With herd immunity, instead of precautions taken to prevent contracting the virus, it pretty much runs its course and with an easily transmitted corona virus, like the one we have, about 60 to 70 percent of the population will become infected. The infectious rate at this point will decrease and become negligible. Why? Well, most of those who are in danger of serious symptoms will have died by the time herd immunity is reached. Here’s the rub. We’ve lost 120,000 plus Americans to Covid 19, and only about five percent of our population has contracted the disease. How many more Americans would die trying to reach a 60 to 70 percent infectious rate? Do the math. Estimates are from one million to two million more US citizens will parish. Not a pretty picture. Corporate America straddles the fence in regards to which approach to this pandemic they should adhere to. Protecting their work force costs additional revenue, but loss of manpower due to absenteeism, creates its own problems and consequent loss of revenue. I think our business world will ultimately strike an uncoordinated, dysfunctional compromise between the two strategies. Monetary resources will be the deciding factor; those that can afford creating a safe work space, will do just that and those that can’t, will do the best they can.

The last societal force which I’ll address is the political arena. We’re in a presidential election year and the stakes are high. Reelection to a politician is paramount. It speaks to that public servants success, worth and power level. You can be sure that herd immunity will not be openly discussed by those seeking reelection. Nobody wants one to two million dead Americans on their resume. The Covid 19 pandemic will influence American politics for many years to come, and this year, probably more than the rest. The pandemic has ruined our economy and caused millions of Americans to lose their jobs. It’s responsible for our nations present recession and many wonder how long the recovery process will take, and how many businesses can withstand the economic downturn. Will this disease influence the November election.? You bet! No president who held office during a recession was reelected for another term.

If you needed a quick economic turn-around, and were seeking reelection, which pandemic approach would you utilize. Pretty much a no brainer. Let the chips fall where they may would rule the day. There’s a wonderful old adage, one of my favorites which will shed light on our present administrations chosen strategy, “actions speak louder than words.” We’ll all hear in the next few months about how our president did so many things to curb the pandemic. Actions speak louder than words. Does not wearing a mask help curb Covid 19? Does ignoring sound medical advise from professionals in the field of viral medicine and pandemic control help stop the spread of Covid 19? Does applauding those who flaunt sheltering in place, social distancing, and mask wearing help stop Covid 19? Does having a political rally in an enclosed arena, without social distancing and without mandatory mask usage in a state where corona virus cases are spiking help thwart the viruses spread? I think not. I could go on with more examples, and I’m sure you could throw a few onto the fire, too. The point being is these situations and actions all hasten this pandemics rise, regardless of public outcome. The underlying motive is getting the economy moving in the right direction by November and hopefully out of a recession. Reelection is all important to this sitting president. How many people are thrown under the bus on the route to a second term doesn’t matter. This administration is all about “the end justifies the means,” and portrays this motto on a daily bases.

Well, there you have it, Containment versus herd immunity. I must admit to some deception here. Truly, this blog was about herd immunity and Containment in regards to Covid 19, but it addressed other issues as well. Namely, how do the two strategies interplay with the pandemics influence, force, direction, and politics. Many of you would have groaned, rolled your eyes and moved on to another distraction if I had stated “up front” this article would focus on Covid 19 politics. I get it. We’re inundated all the time with this information. Herd immunity is frightening to me. The whole philosophy of this approach speaks of utilitarian beliefs which imply that a few must sacrifice for the good of the rest. Our culture is capable of so much more than this ideology. So, there you have it; My reasoning for a sleight of hand, and a veiled apology for the same.

Phew! Made it through round two. Felt more confident this go round. Less self doubt and hand ringing for sure. Not sure about the length, though. Did I stay within blog parameters? Let me know. Like I mentioned in my previous blog, there’s an abundance of worthy topics presenting themselves for discussion. Its hard to pick from the list. So, I’ve got a few teasers to toss out. Tell me which ideas strike your fancy. Black Lives Matter calls out for discussion. One could talk for four hundred plus, years, about issues this subject suggests. Why the Dems will lose the November election will interest quite a few and conversely, why the GOP will lose in November, will do the same. A Discussion about reintroduction of wolves into the lower forty- eight should draw some interest, and….Holy jumpen b’jesus, man. That’s writer suicide. Are you crazy? Well, maybe I am. I’ll let you be the judge of that….Until later, adios amigo

When Push Comes To Shove: Thoughts about American Life

Hey, its another blogger and blog site….grooooooan, really? Yes, really. You’ve probably noticed that at the moment, there are an abundance of important topics one can muse about, like Covid 19, Black Lives Matter, and an upcoming presidential election, so I’m jumping into the world of dialog, feet first, damn the guard rails and full speed ahead. Honestly man, why are you throwing words at us, the curious, trusting reader, and why should we deem your passages “worthy? “Okay, fair questions. Here’s my answer to those important and “just” queries: I feel a need to help solve issues; kind of a problematic bane that complicates one’s life, but its my bane, and I carry it proudly. Also, I enjoy writing. Dabbled in it all my adult life: from letters, to poems, to short stories, to novels. There are more reasons why you, the questioning, information seeking readers are being victimized by my “wordsmanship.” For instance, my friends are becoming tired of long, unsolicited text messages and they need a break. Also, my second book is presently shelved, waiting for a better moment in time for unveiling. Not a problem…my first novel sat in limbo for ten years before publication. So, what’s an idle writer to do? Find another platform of course!

So there’s the answer to “why are you writing” and next, comes the defense of “are your thoughts ‘worthy’ of notice?” Holy jumping b’jesus…this guy can dribble on….Well, yes, I can and in all fairness, this is an introduction to me, my writing style and intentions, so cut me some slack, here, and we’ll get through this together. Are my thoughts of import? You be the judge. I’ve been “around the block,” more times than most. The next time I blow the candles out, seventy will be written in colorful icing for all to see. Age by itself doesn’t create insightful understanding; experience must accompany the maturation process. Varied experiences help sharpen perception and challenges put a razor-sharp edge on one’s ability to cut-to-the-chase. (OMG, stop with the metaphors) With that thought in mind, let me continue. I’ve rarely taken the easy path. Consequently, my skill sets and experiences are varied. I passed up as a young man two proffered mid-managerial positions and chose to seek my own way without props provided by privilege or position….along the way, I’ve been a “ditch digger,” (I can really shovel some dirt) not cognitively challenging, but a great workout…. a sawmill, plainer chain “puller,” again, not rocket science, but a great workout…. Head of Room Service at a large Oregon Coast resort…. a Scuba shop employee on the Island of Maui, bar none, best job ever! an educator, most challenging, creative, stressful and rewarding line of work to date…. a home builder, again, challenging, creative, stressful and rewarding…..and a novelist, a uniquely personal and inventive endeavor….left out a number of other “paycheck” producers…. they weren’t as influential as the aforementioned bunch.

Okay, so I’ve had a diversified array of occupations….does that define “worthiness?” nah…could be, I just couldn’t hold a job….How about social and interpersonal relationships? again, diverse hats hang on the rack….I’ve lived in upper-class neighborhoods and impoverished boroughs ….I’ve called friend “one-per-centers” and those who struggle or can’t make their “monthlies.” I’ve kicked around with loggers, doctors, teachers, farmers, ranchers, carpenters, journalists, flim-flam artists, waiters, and oh, so many more people and vocational types.

So you have been around the block…Yep, I told you that, but does anything I’ve mentioned guarantee insightful comment or demand your attention….maybe, maybe not…..Then, why should I listen to your take on American life? Here it is in the proverbial “nutshell.” I’m honest, possibly to a flaw…I’m judgmental, but in most cases, I know where my biases hide and can avoid them. I’ve been around the block, allowing me that great determiner of truth, common sense. Common sense allows you to listen to simple truisms like if smokes being blown in your face, locate who has the most to gain or lose, and you’ll probably find the smudge pot. Also, old adages become doctrines. “If its too good to be true, it probably isn’t, ‘no such thing as a free lunch, ‘there’s more to a book than its cover,” are simple statements that no longer are simple. They’re larger than life. They are life. Continuing on with advocating for my wisdom, and trustworthiness, I’ll toss into the ring my most prized possession; I care about my neighbor’s well being. I want all people to achieve the greatness that resides within them. You know, bottom line, you’ll read my words and appreciate what I say if they resonate with your values and who you are. I’m not a salesman, nor a lobbyist. I will offer my opinion, in hopes that my “take” will aid or enlighten you in some way. Are you still with me? If you’ve already jumped ship, I totally understand and harbor no ill feelings. If you’ve made it this far, I hope our voyage together will be long and interesting….Welcome aboard….

Class, let me have your attention….Today’s topic offered for discussion will focus on “Societal Norms and Responsibilities” more specifically, the ongoing debate in regards to, Masks vs No Masks…..

Sorry about the above, teacherish looking subtitle. Its a little creepy. Don’t know why after so many years removed from formal education, it still invades my privacy. I’ll be more guarded in the future. Hey, it appears that wearing a mask in public is a controversial situation in the USofA. I’m a little surprised, but you know, a lot of mystifying things are happening, so let’s get past my immediate, knee jerk response of “say what?” and really look at this. I think the whole “mask vs no mask” question came about because of numerous comments and biases which, when stirred together, created a frothy, contradictory drink that invited all to take a sip, weigh-in, and proclaim their issue-specific reviews. On the “con” side, we’ve heard everything from homemade, cloth mask don’t protect anyone from Covid 19, to, our first responders need the N95 design, so hands off commoner, to, your stepping on my constitutional rights by saying I must wear one, to, etc…..I’m sure you could follow the “etc” with your own favorite statement. On the “pro” side, I’ve heard two specific thoughts. Homemade masks reduce the chance of infected wearers spreading Covid 19 to others and N95’s do the best job of protecting the wearer from corona virus pathogens. Okay, so why the mask controversy and dagger-sharp looks between maskers and non-maskers as they pass each other. Well, its a little mix of defensive gamesmanship, politics, racism, and societal, class bias all thrown together creating an irrational, somewhat toxic, and potentially harmful mix.

Let’s look at this gamesmanship idea, meaning somebody wanted an advantage or needed to cut their losses, and “played us” with disinformation in hopes of attaining there goal. This is conspiracy theory stuff. Bear with me. I’m not a fan of “conspiracy theories,” but sometimes, they’re a reality. When Covid 19 became a reality in the US, people started hoarding commodities. My favorite, of course, was the toilet paper obsession. I want to say, “only in America,” but….We should have been stashing away N95 masks, sanitizer, vitamin C and any other auto immune stimulate you can think of, plus food stuffs and water. Toilet paper? Okay, enough about the butt wipe. At some point, I believe those in the know realized that a pandemic was upon us, and that PPE’s were not stock piled like previous commissions and administrations had suggested. ” We’re up the creek” fears must have jolted the medical community, and those entrusted with protecting our population from disease, like the CDC, and the PPE manufacturing sector. Someone at this point, not sure who, starting talking about how masks weren’t effective against Covid 19. You can probably point your index finger at all the(I said index) fore mentioned groups. For those of you saying, “What about the White House?” I think at this point the administration was clueless and in denial of the pandemic. The mask disclaiming strategy simply bought time for the medical community to accumulate what supplies they could and industry to rev up production of the same. Realistically, the first responders, nurses, doctors etc. need the equipment, so I have no beef with them getting what they require. My concern is where this mask controversy comes from, and I believe the origins started here.

It should be noted in any discussion of mask protection, the apparent and obvious differences between medical masks and the homemade variety. Professional masks block a large percentage of particulates and pathogens. N95 filter 95% of such things. Homemade masks, not so much, and depending upon materials used and design, the protection range, probably, varies greatly. When I was talking about institutions fearing for the lack of protective gear, I was speaking about the N95. I believe the mask controversy really pertains to homemade masks, although, contradictory and confusing dialog about mask protection began before people started making their own face coverings. I mention this now because the remainder of my discussion focuses, mostly, on the use of products less effective than the N95 grade mask, namely inferior, commercial products, and homemade masks .

Politics play a part in the mask controversy. In a perfect world, one would hope that partisan divide and posturing would be cast aside when dealing with a pandemic. We don’t live in a perfect world, so what we see is what we get. The present administration helped fuel the mask debate. For now, forget about your personal political leanings and hear me out. Our president flat out debunks masks. He makes fun of those wearing them and refuses to wear one himself. He goes so far as to forbid his team from dawning them. This is big. Our country is very polarized at the moment, and whatever the president does, influences his base greatly.

At some point, the facial mask got a positive bump, and people started sewing home versions to be shared with family, friends, and medical facilities in short supply of PPEs. Now, even home grown masks are in demand. Apparently, something was better than nothing. You can”t fool Americans forever, and recognition of mask protection had to be acknowledged. We saw how desperately the medical profession was asking for them. Another reality was influencing are judgement. We couldn’t ignore the three countries which were doing the best in regards to minimizing Covid 19’s devastation. South Vietnam, South Korea, and Taiwan readily accepted mask protection and their citizens wore them religiously, and in these countries, Covid 19 never reached epidemic levels. The message was out. It didn’t have to be written in bold print on a newspaper page or shouted from a street corner. The evidence was everywhere. Masks save lives.

As the first homemade mask made an appearance, so did the negative comments about them. Lots of statements were thrown around about appearance. Let’s toss those comments into the immature, childish round file. The real debate should be about effectiveness. Those in the know, and by that I mean extremely experienced doctors and medical research personnel, have, at some time or another, championed the use of cloth masks. At first, Who, CDC and other national and world health organizations stated that masks only helped protect those in close proximity to a mask wearing, infected person. Just recently, though, the CDC stated that cloth masks protect both ways; the person wearing a mask reduces the risk of infecting others, plus their mask also reduces the chances of contraction for themselves. There you have it. Some really smart people with careers devoted toward stopping infectious diseases and pandemics say that cloth masks will help stop the spread of Covid 19.

Yesterday, I had to visit a big box store. My least favorite excursion in normal times and the pandemic crisis has exacerbated my feelings. Not to worry. I gathered together, multiple masks, hand sanitizer, surgical gloves and wipes for sanitizing the interior of my rig after my shopping endeavor and headed out the door, ready for battle. I toddled off to the box store and made my purchase. I took an informal count of mask vs no mask while shopping and noted a fifty/fifty ratio. What the hell! Didn’t numerous, prestigious people and outfits just champion wearing masks? Yes, they did.

Can contradictive statements and negative, presidential disdain of face coverings cause a large proportion of our populous to shun face masks? The number of people disregarding face masks suggests more factors are present. I believe, one such factor is racism. Seems we can’t get away from that word. For good reason. In every corner of our country, systemic racism exists. The prejudice I’m noting here is the one directed toward oriental Asians. Our relationship with the roughly two billion people of this demographic during the last eighty years has been caustic, to rocky, to qualified acceptance. During WWII, the Pacific Theater was horrifying. The Korean war didn’t help Americans’ perception of Asians and visa versa. The Vietnam war worsened our feelings toward Indo-China and again, visa versa, and of course, our continual “Cold War” with China fuels prejudice on a daily basis. I don’t mention this to open old wounds or discuss pros and cons of American foreign policy. No, I’m just looking at the obvious. Killing someone and having others trying to kill you does not create lasting friendships. Hatred and loathing are words that readily come to mind, and these acidic emotions need to be buffed from peoples day-to-day psyche; prejudice and racism step to the plate and offer a mechanism by which humans can tolerate abhorred feelings they harbor. So, are Americans going to mimic Asian behaviors? I think some will purposefully debunk oriental answers to problems simply because of prejudice and racism.

There are a couple more points to cover before a conclusion is invited to the table. I mentioned earlier that class bias, a symptom of social/economic conditions is a factor helping to create our mask controversy. Two class prejudices muddying the waters are the “don’t tread on me” proponents and their anti-authoritarian stance, and the uneducated vs educated distrust present in our country. There is always suspicion between educated an uneducated peoples. This mistrust and suspicion has increased dramatically over the past few years, to the point where large groups of people ignore or completely reject helpful insight and suggestions, and answers. This can be incredibly problematic during a time of crisis, when the wrong move can have serious, deadly consequences. There’s nothing wrong with being uneducated. Levels of education have much more to do with circumstance than intelligence. What’s wrong is when people trust information from those who are ignorant and distrust information from those who truly have the knowledge and expertise to guide us. I placed the “don’t tread on me” faction together with the under educated group for several reasons; a Venn diagram of these demographics would show considerable overlap and they form a large segment of the present administration’s base.The “don’t tread” people dislike authoritarian types telling them what to do and the uneducated often distrust what authoritarian types say. Add to this, these groups loyalty to the present administration which disdains protective masks, and you’ve got the perfect situation for facial mask rejection.

So its come down to this. I’ve given you a whole lot of what, who, and why about face mask acceptance or rejection. Lot’s of personal bias and facts thrown together in an attempt to look closely at an issue. Why did I write my first blog about our present mask controversy? Well, its deadly important. Lives will be lost or saved because of how we address this issue, and also, influencing my writing, standing in the wings, behind the curtain, a bigger character prevails, one dear to my heart, “Community.” A pandemic, by its very definition, affects all of us. It threatens our national community. Because of this, mask wearing is no longer a “me” situation, but an “us” condition. Like it or not, we are all in this together and connected now by a communal threat; a pathogen that kills indiscriminately. Wearing a mask, now, is about community. It’s about a core societal value, respect. Without respect, there is no trust, no empathy, no desire to help others….no feeling of community, or country. Wearing a mask is about us showing respect for each other. Its saying that your life and health matter to me. You may not agree with facial coverings for, possibly, one of the reasons mentioned above, but this mask thing isn’t about you, its about “us” The data is out there, masks will save lives….Saving a fellow American’s life is a noble goal. Let’s allow masks in a practical, medical sense to fulfill this end, and also, let masks be a positive symbol of our community’s, our country’s health and well being.

Well, there you have it. If you’re reading these words, you’ve made it to the end of my first blog. Obviously, I did, too. Along the way, I audibly groaned, self judged, rewrote, questioned my beliefs, edited my manuscript numerous times, cursed my writing ineptness, wished I’d never started, and in general, tortured myself…..I must be a masochist because I’ll be back in the near future with another blog. Hope you’ll join me, and we’ll continue to look at American life, together…..