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Posts Tagged ‘Trump’

Coming home to a cold and rainy Nashville has been hard. But our daffodils are in bloom, the tulip magnolia has tiny pink buds, and today the sun has returned. The promise of spring is in the air, along with all the construction noise of living downtown. It’s time for a rebirth; for us to start sorting, cleaning and organizing. After all, next month we move into our cozy, quiet, new/old bungalow!

Then the non-stop news from Ukraine disrupted my Pollyanna tendencies. How could a war like this happen in the 21st Century?

If we could flip a switch back to the last century, I would be heading toward the local library to read up on the history of Ukraine and Russia. After all, I have a vivid memory of my foster mother Nell (a first generation Slovak) crying in front of our black and white TV when Russian tanks rolled into Czechoslovakia. My generation came of age during the Cold War, we are primed to distrust Vladimir Putin. My children OTOH, can barely remember the Berlin Wall.

Instead of visiting the free public library, I Googled the conflict. Did you know that Stalin actually killed 4 Million Ukrainians? FOUR MILLION.

Maybe the reason this earlier genocide didn’t catch the attention of the international press was because Germany was bigger news? Hitler became Chancellor in 1933, but in 1932 Stalin ordered his soldiers to confiscate all Ukrainian grain and farm animals – he deliberately tried to starve the Ukrainian people to death. Children were eating acorns.

Still earlier, Russian Czars knew that to extinguish a culture, you start with their language.

And, very early, the Russian Empire recognized the threat posed by a separate and particularly literary Ukrainian language to the unity of the empire. So, starting in the eighteen-sixties, there was a more than forty-year period of prohibition on the publication of Ukrainian, basically arresting the development of the literary language… and in the middle of World War One and revolution, with other nationalities trying and in some cases gaining independence, Ukrainians tried to do that but were ultimately defeated.

https://www.newyorker.com/news/q-and-a/vladimir-putins-revisionist-history-of-russia-and-ukraine

Along with the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Ukraine finally won its freedom. “On 21 January 1990, over 300,000 Ukrainians organized a human chain for Ukrainian independence between Kyiv and Lviv.

Once an authoritarian state begins to flex its muscles – to demolish a free press and ban books, including those written in a certain language – we must all pay attention. With the election of Mr T, our country came very close to the edge of democracy; our school board members were threatened with violence, and his followers are still trying to ban books! Why would the GOP continue to flirt with our twice-impeached, retired golfer at Mar-a-Lago? The craziest Florida Man I know has been praising Putin. He even fantasized aloud about being president forever like Xi Jinping!

And just like Mr T, Putin is stuck in the past. He probably wishes he’d thought of a “Make Russia Great Again” slogan. Only young Russians aren’t buying it. They live in a wired world, where truth confronts fiction. Only the elderly watch state-sponsored Russian TV. Only the old venture into libraries; young Russians and Ukrainians alike have the world at their fingertips, in their smart phones. This is becoming an intergenerational war, one Putin didn’t predict. Ukrainian civilians aren’t throwing flowers at Russian troops, they are making molotov cocktails!

My Irish ancestors taught the Irish language in schools, even though it was not allowed at the time. What can we do here to help Ukraine? The Flapper always said, “Charity starts at home!” First, I’d work to make sure our own elections are safe and secure, and that ALL Americans who are eligible to vote actually have the chance to cast their ballots. Let’s make election day a national holiday! I’d fight the misinformation and propaganda machine that is FOX news, and I’d contribute to the cause of independent journalism. Subscribe to a newspaper online that isn’t owned by a venture capitalist.

The Washington Post has an excellent article on how we can donate directly to help Ukraine. “Journalists with the Kyiv Independent have done tremendous work covering the war, offering the world constant updates as they fear for themselves, their families and their homes. The Independent has started a GoFundMe asking for support, but they’ve also promoted a separate GoFundMe — “Keep Ukraine’s media going” — for journalists around the country who have received less international attention.” 

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/02/27/how-to-help-ukraine/

We need a virtual human chain today to fend off the Russian bear.

The next generation

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On Monday I was writing about fancy toilets.

Today we’ve learned about Mr T’s habit of tearing up documents and giving them a water burial. Did I ever in a million years think a president would flush paper down a toilet like a toddler? The answer is NO. Is it fair to jump on a certain NewYork Times author for withholding that little nugget until her book is about to be published? Maybe.

When I first started writing for a newspaper back in the Berkshires, I was happy just to have a job other than pioneering-new-mom-on-the-side-of-a-mountain. Bob was off working crazy hours and I was left tending to the wood stove while making my own baby food with a tiny Mouli grinder. I loved researching and writing about “black ice,” and anything else my editor had to offer.

And by researching, I mean calling people up on an actual phone and asking them probing questions. Writing while the Bride napped, then bundling her up and getting in my all-wheel-drive to plow through snow to hand in my essay at the office, only to take my red-penned papers back up the mountain for rewriting. Yes, I know I’m starting to sound like an old codger.

The work of a newspaper reporter, no matter where they happen to live, is essential to a happy and healthy democracy. I watched the Washington Post reporters, Woodward and Bernstein, cover the Watergate story and take down a president IRT. They chased after the money and helped to uncover most of the secret tapes Nixon had hidden, thanks to a Supreme Court ruling. Bob and I were just dating at the time, and I was writing for my own enjoyment.

Connie Schultz, a Twitter pen pal, received a Pulitzer Prize when she was writing for the Cleveland Plain Dealer in 2005. She had the audacity to ask some coat check girls where the money in their tip jars went after everybody left. She spoke to the management of the company, and wrote a most brilliant and truthful expository essay. The Pulitzer Board awarded her the Commentary Prize “…for her pungent columns that provided a voice for the underdog and underprivileged.”

“The job of the newspaper is to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.”

https://robs1024.medium.com/journalism-is-not-activism-acedf41858c6

At the Berkshire Eagle, I knew I was in the midst of something sacred.

I asked my editor once if I should take a writing class, but I guess the nuns taught me well with all that sentence diagramming. He didn’t want me to “change my voice,” and over the years I never have. I’ve tried to connect the lines between what’s happening in our public life with my own private thoughts. Bob says I think in metaphor, and once told someone, “She writes about anything and everything.”

Which sounds bad until you remember I just wrote about toilets.

Last night we had dinner on the porch with cousin Peg who also happens to be a journalist. Turns out our little Bug is working on her school newspaper, so they had a lot to talk about under the outdoor heater! My granddaughter gets to interview teachers and ask them anything she wants!

I’ll have to tell the Bug about Woodward following the money, and Schultz asking young women about their tip jars. Journalism, at its best, is an honorable profession that can be dangerous at times. Now we’ve learned that Mr. T brought classified documents to Mar-a-Lago when he left office; kinda pales when you compare this to Hillary’s emails about lunch plans.

Sometimes Bob would read a piece I was working on and ask me if I was ready to be, ‘fill in the blank’ – arrested, stalked, fired, or worse. I’d just laugh and say my phone number is unlisted. We didn’t have Twitter on our dumb phones back in the day.

In 2021, UNESCO reported 55 journalists around the world were killed. It’s not an especially high number on average, but the kicker is “Eighty-seven percent of all killings of journalists since 2006 remain unresolved… The organization noted too that women journalists also face a “shocking prevalence” of harassment online.”

And that’s what bothered me about the criticism of a certain NYTimes writer in the Twitterverse today. When does a journalist have a duty to inform?

No animal was hurt in the making of this picture

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Did you have an imaginary friend when you were young? I don’t mean Santa or the Tooth Fairy; more like an apparition about your own age to hang out with. I didn’t, my children certainly didn’t, and so far the Grands haven’t mentioned it. Then why do I feel like a good proportion of adults in our country are living with or within a delusion of some sort?

Some believe that Mr T is still president. Some even believe that there is a Democratic cabal of pedophiles running things. Blaming ‘the other’ for the unexplainable isn’t anything new; we burned many witches to death in Salem don’t forget. But thanks to social media, crazy talk can spread like a wildfire today.

“In 2020, QAnon supporters flooded social media with false information about Covid-19, the Black Lives Matter protests and the presidential election, and recruited legions of new believers to their ranks. A December poll by NPR and Ipsos found that 17 percent of Americans believed that the core falsehood of QAnon — that “a group of Satan-worshiping elites who run a child sex ring are trying to control our politics and media” — was true.”

https://www.nytimes.com/article/what-is-qanon.html

Okay, 17% doesn’t seem too bad, until you realize that means about 55 MILLION people! This is not counting the rest of the Republican party who may know the BIG LIE isn’t real, but don’t have enough courage to say so… because of money, power, getting primaried or just plain fear of Mr T and his gun-toting followers.

So nearly half of the country is committed to chaos and disinformation, while the other half is busy trying to get T’s staff to honor a Congressional subpoena in order to get to the bottom of the BIG LIE that led to the insurrection on January 6th.

Mark Meadows, Chief of Staff (2020-2021), can write a tell-all book about his time in T’s White House, and also sue the Senate Judiciary Committee after they plan contempt hearings against him? How does that work, first you pretend to comply with the investigation, and then you have a change of heart? I feel like we’re in a hall of mirrors, which way should we turn, what is real and what isn’t?

This morning I asked Bob why the planners of the Jan 6 insurrection aren’t being called “traitors?” Is it too strong a word? Because Charlottesville was just a rehearsal, while storming Congress in January was a well planned and financed Hail Mary. We need to convict these domestic terrorists, these traitors, before we find ourselves in an authoritarian state.

I recently met a married couple, two women. One was a Protestant preacher and the other was an Episcopalian priest, and no we didn’t walk into a bar. We talked on a porch and they told me that their beliefs only differ on one thing – whether the eucharist is actually the body and blood of Christ.

A loving couple with such a fundamental difference between symbols and reality, and who were gently humorous about it, left me with hope for the human race. That one person can hold conflicting beliefs is normal, you can be a practicing Catholic and still believe in a woman’s right to choice.

But can you call yourself an American and still believe that Mr T actually won the election and/or should be the next president? I mean I kinda believed that Bush stole the election from Gore, but I didn’t buy a gun or storm the Capitol.

Bob and the Grand Dog discussing his walk schedule

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Sleep has been eluding me lately because these days are hard to fathom. Mr T used his soapbox to preach conspiracy falsehoods and push an angry mob to desecrate our Nation’s Capitol. More and more video has surfaced since Wednesday. An Air Force veteran came from California, a QAnon believer, only to be shot in the neck. A Capitol policeman was bludgeoned to death with a fire extinguisher. Another was crushed between doors. Blood was shed.

And blood is on the hands of every single Republican who ever supported this mad president, and thought it might be a good idea to stage an insurrection last week.

Usually reading before bed is a calming ritual. “The Cold Millions,” by Jess Walter has been my escape from our current political dystopia. The book was delivered to my front door, like most things these days, human contact unnecessary. The author’s previous novel, “Beautiful Ruins,” is a favorite so I couldn’t wait to dig in; instead of flirting with the good ‘ole days of Hollywood, Walter aimed his pen at the wild west – Spokane, Washington in 1909. It was a formative time for labor unions.

I like to think my Great Great Grandmother hosted many a union organizing dinner in her Scranton, Pennsylvania dining room. Grandma Mullen was born in Ireland in 1844 and raised 23 children! She lost a few husbands along the way to the coal mines. Over the years, I’d heard that she ran a boardinghouse for miners, and she would feed them IF they would read her the newspaper. I wonder if my ancestor, on the Flapper’s side, could have imagined the future me, writing for newspapers?

In “the Cold Millions,” two dirt poor brothers, Ryan and Gig, are pitted against the emerging upper class of industrial/publishing/judicial elites. And because they stand on a soapbox in the middle of a union rally for the “Industrial Workers of the World,” they are hauled off to jail. It’s not hard to think of a juvenile in an adult jail, our country still manages to make such arrangements.

But peaceful rallying in the street is nothing new. Walter’s fictional characters are based on real life union organizers at the beginning of the last century sick of being swindled by job brokers, their heads beaten with clubs. Over the years, our family has been known to take to the streets. Bob protested the Vietnam War in Washington. I’ve traveled to DC a few times to rally for Reproductive Rights. I was in DC at the 2017 Women’s March and passed many buses filled with our National Guard at the ready… just in case.

Where were they last Wednesday? And why were they late to arrive after Pence and Pelosi summoned them?

All of the action in the book takes place before and after a free speech rally. And this morning I find myself wondering about free speech, feeling self-righteous because I believe in the freedom of the press and glad that Twitter has finally silenced the Toddler-in-Chief. Don’t get me wrong, our liberty hinges on this First Amendment right, but I never thought our government should be run by Tweets! Mr T has been coddled and allowed to spew his lies long enough, I’m just sorry it took so long to silence him.

Yes, sometimes peaceful protests can turn violent when night falls. But these Capitol rioters were signaled by Mr T to turn their anger against the very people who are our legislators. They were chanting “Hang Mike Pence” because our VP refused to overturn an election. The very same people who were carrying “Blue Lives Matter” flags were raging against the police. The same mind-set that led some to attend Black Lives Matter protests, to supposedly protect federal property, were destroying our nation’s artifacts.

In the midst of a worldwide pandemic, the Capitol mob had the trappings of a war they had been deluded into following. Men wore body armor, some carried weapons. Free speech is fine and dandy, so long as no one gets hurt. Facebook and Twitter give everyone a soapbox, but can their algorithms keep us safe from this fire?

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This is today’s headline on https://www.bbc.com/news ,along with a picture of a man carrying the Confederate flag, and others dressed like Vikings in war paint. They were taking selfies with Capitol police, they were scaling walls and prancing around the Rotunda swinging metal stanchions. This is where we are, and if you say we’re better than this, I’m not so sure anymore.

I’m honestly lost for words, and that rarely happens. They were trying to take down the American flag and replace it with a Trump flag? It’s time to put away foolish things like red hats. It’s time to stop believing in conspiracies and “alternative truths.” Mr T is a lier, a psychopathic, clear and present danger – does it matter if he actually believes these delusions of voter fraud and machine tampering, or if he’s playing us for another get rich quick scheme? Should he be committed or arrested?

T has been blocked from Twitter, yet he still has all of the power of an American President. This is untenable. VP Pence is already in charge, he and Speaker Pelosi called for the National Guard yesterday. I just heard Facebook has finally blocked T – where is his Cabinet and the GOP? Why haven’t they invoked the 25th Amendment?

This is domestic terrorism fueled by the words of a psychopathic liar, our president. Over half of House Republicans backed the effort to reject the votes of the American people. Even after the riot, in the small hours of the morning, “….these are the senators who voted to object to some of the results of the election (and the states they objected to:

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz (Arizona, Pennsylvania)

Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley (Arizona, Pennsylvania)

Kansas Sen. Roger Marshall (Arizona, Pennsylvania)

Alabama Sen. Tommy Tuberville (Arizona, Pennsylvania)

Mississippi Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (Arizona, Pennsylvania)

Louisiana Sen. John Kennedy (Arizona)

Florida Sen. Rick Scott (Pennsylvania)

Wyoming Sen. Cynthia Lummis (Pennsylvania)

https://edition.cnn.com/politics/live-news/washington-dc-election-riots/h_102b6c46f9c4776e2eb4541bc97a106e

Remember those names.

A peaceful transfer of power will not make this go away. Racism and hate run deep in our country, one rioter sported a tee shirt that said “Camp Auschwitz.” We must stop calling these people militia, or protesters – this is white nationalism, domestic terrorism and they must be accountable. Every act of vandalism at the Nation’s Capitol must be prosecuted to the fullest. Don’t look away.

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You just can’t make this stuff up. Thanks Ana Navarro-Cardenas for reminding me of last week’s highlights cause you know, I didn’t watch the RNC rally at the White House this week.

  • “Bannon indicted for swindling Trump’s base
  • Trump ordered to pay Stormy’s legal fees
  • Trump’s niece recorded the sister saying he’s a cruel, phony, liar
  • Conway Family saga (see previous post)
  • Now, Jerry Falwell says his wife had an affair w/the pool boy (while he watched)”

And just to cap this wonderful week off, I managed to lift a very heavy box of paint – don’t ask – and now even my elbows are hurting. Lest I forget, yesterday was yet another Tornado Warning complete with sirens. If this pandemic/political/hurricane season isn’t depressing enough, I thought you’d like to hear the rest of the Flapper’s essay on the Great Depression!

To recap – It was 1935, my Mother put yellow food coloring in Crisco and called it butter. My Father was making $7 a week!

“Clothes were hard to come by, and each of my children had only two pairs of shoes, one for the wintertime and one for the summertime (and that was during a good year). I made a schedule of household chores for me to do all day. First, I would feed my children, and send Shirley and Brian off to school.

Then on Mondays, I would do the laundry (by hand on a washboard, since we had no washing machine). and hang it out to dry on the line. On Tuesdays I would iron the clothes. Wednesdays I’d clean the upstairs of the house, and Thursdays the downstairs. Fridays, I would bake for the weekend and do any shopping that needed to be done. Saturdays were my only free days, and Sundays we’d all go to church and our relatives would come over for dinner and a good game of cards.

On March 4, 1933 Franklin D Roosevelt became President! He was the answer to the prayers of the people, and the best president this country has ever had. Even to this day, there is a picture of him hanging in my kitchen, right next to the picture of Jesus Christ. I do not like to imagine what would have happened had it not been for President Roosevelt.

In 1935 Bob finally got a better paying job – $25 a week!! However it was in Jamestown, New York, so he had to move out there.It cost him $10 to rent a room and buy food etc. Back home in Scranton, we received $15 a week. A BIG improvement from the $7 we had been getting. In April, when I had my son Michael, Bob was not able to come home to see him. Soon after his birth however, my husband luckily found an even better paying job… and it was at home in Scranton! We were overjoyed to have him living with us, and to have $35 a week.

It sounds funny now, but we thought we were rich!

Life during the Great Depression was hard. I’m not quite sure how we were able to do it, but we did. We were lucky not to have lost everything, like some of my friends did. I think that our society to day has made it all too easy and normal to throw things away. Why throw away socks with holes when you can mend them? Why throw away food when you can save it for another time? People today are too wasteful. 

If anything good did come out of the Depression, it taught me not to waste things, because you never know when you could lose it all.”

We all know what we’ve got to lose in the next election.

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I stood up clapping and yelling in my empty office after Kamala Harris spoke to an empty auditorium in Delaware on Wednesday. It was her first time appearing with Joe Biden as his running mate, and I was on pins and needles waiting for them. When she said the case against Mr T was “…open and shut,” I swooned. When she called our Toddler-in-Chief a whiner, I Tweeted; then I followed her husband – possibly the first ever Second Gentleman – on every social media platform!

When Kamala said, “I’ve had a lot of titles over my career and certainly vice president will be great, but ‘Momala’ will always be the one that means the most,” I got it.  I’m pretty sure only Italians and Jewish people use Momala as a token of endearment. She married Doug Emhoff, an entertainment lawyer, in 2014 and her two step-children started calling her Momala. Great Grandma Ada, who btw I’ve called Momala for years, called me up to tell me Emhoff was from Brooklyn; and then I read that Kamala broke a glass at their wedding to honor his tradition.

Wait, I misspoke. I wasn’t entirely alone watching Kamala on CNN. Ms Bean had been napping peacefully on her bed, only slightly medicated because of those pesky afternoon  thunderstorms, when my cheering started. I guess I must have been jumping around too much because she joined in with ferocity, barking and climbing up on me. She hasn’t seen me that excited in almost six months, or maybe even four years.

The Flapper was a realist when it came to politicians. Except for the great FDR, I remember her saying, “They’re all crooks.” But my foster parents were dyed-in-the-wool Democrats. I remember them getting dressed up to vote at night after Daddy Jim came home from work. And try as I might, they’d never say who they voted for, although it was pretty clear to me that they voted a straight line Democratic ticket.

After all, the Democrats were for the “working man,” the great “middle class.” I was also told the Irish vote blue, so there ya go. And once Kennedy, the first Irish Catholic president was elected and later assassinated when I was just 15 years old, my tribal loyalties were sealed in stone. McGovern was my first presidential vote, and I’m still proud of it to this day.

Many Dems I know felt discouraged after voting for Hillary in 2016 and watching the electoral college – a holdover from the southern slave states – trample our desire for a woman president. Discouraged and depressed. But this time there is something in the air. Systemic racism has crawled out of the shadows, and sitting on a fence for this election is simply unacceptable. Thanks to this administration, the American people will be asked to make a choice:

Continue running our government into the ground, chipping away at affordable healthcare during a global pandemic, and ignoring the economic plight of our people? Should we vote for a man who has single-handedly destroyed our trust in institutions like the Post Office and makes a mockery of the Justice Department? Or shall we vote for a return to truth and dignity with a Biden/Harris ticket?

She broke a piece of crystal under her heel at her wedding, and she will be the one to shatter the glass ceiling. Painting of Wonder Woman by Ashley Longshore.

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I started off in 1966 at a college in Beacon Hill. Our children were born in the Berkshires. We spent every Spring on Martha’s Vineyard. I’ve always loved the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and I remember fondly strolling around the Boston Commons watching the gorgeous swan boats in the pond. So I was a tad surprised when Bob mentioned, “the tragedy of the commons” while we were listening to President Cuomo. Our lives in New England were the opposite of tragic!

Turns out this is the perfect term to describe where we find ourselves today – starting to reopen the country amid a cultural war over masks.

“The tragedy of the commons is an economic problem in which every individual has an incentive to consume a resource at the expense of every other individual with no way to exclude anyone from consuming. It results in overconsumption, under investment, and ultimately depletion of the resource. As the demand for the resource overwhelms the supply, every individual who consumes an additional unit directly harms others who can no longer enjoy the benefits. Generally, the resource of interest is easily available to all individuals; the tragedy of the commons occurs when individuals neglect the well-being of society in the pursuit of personal gain.”  https://www.investopedia.com/terms/t/tragedy-of-the-commons.asp

Bob usually has no luck trying to interest me in economics, but this was different, it’s behavioral economics. The tragedy (sometimes called “paradox”) of the commons refers to selfish individuals going after a “common” resource, like toilet paper, only to undermine its infrastructure causing the total collapse of the resource. And supposedly its origin is from the Old English – 18th Century settlers who would let their animals out to graze in the park at the center of town, the commons. This would result in very little park left for the people, or the animals for that matter.

Remember, in Europe only the wealthiest landowners had beautiful parks and gardens behind high, closed walls to enjoy. Designing parks in the center of our colonial cities represented America’s wish to avoid another class/caste system. And so we had a paradox. Over time, the “tragedy of the commons” came to represent not just landscape destruction, but road and bridge decay as well. It became a metaphor for power and authority trampling over the common good.

Whenever the ME became more important than the WE.

Last night I tuned into Netflix to watch The Great Hack. It is a stunning documentary that helps to explain how we actually got here in the first place! I’ve become accustomed to seeing ads for something I was looking up on one site appear on another, but I had no idea how incredibly my data, and yours, have been harvested, tracked and targeted – in particular by governments and political parties. The film delves into Cambridge Analytica, and how they weaponized our data to influence our 2016 election.

Maybe you’re not one to watch horror movies during a pandemic, but this shows you how, without a drop of blood, Mr T the first ME president, was elected by 0.23% in Michigan!

“…this data trail is being leveraged against us, every day: to sell us things, get us to vote or to stay home from the polls, to divide or unite us according to the whims of whoever has paid enough to take our digital threads and weave them into a web of their own desires….

It uses the scandal as a framework to illustrate the data mining structures and algorithms that are undermining individual liberty and democratic society, one Facebook like and meme at a time.”  https://www.wired.com/story/the-great-hack-documentary/

It’s strange isn’t it? The Boston Tea Party of 1773 kicked off our liberation from colonialism, and Mark Zuckerberg turned a dating site for Harvard’s elite students into a data capturing monolith. From his dorm room, long after I was walking through the Commons to Filene’s Basement. Could it be that this great technological connection we are all needing more and more, isn’t at all about the WE?

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Anyone else feel like you’re mutating? Like we’ve gone into the Matrix, and how the heck do we get back out?

When we drive around town, which is maybe once or twice a week, we are seeing people walking into restaurants, no masks, no problems. We saw a protest on the capitol lawn of American flag-waving, freedom-loving, red-hatted zealots who probably think this virus was a hoax. Clumps of young people sunbathe on blankets all over our local park; probably 10% have masks on.

The city’s Black funeral home is busy every single day, maybe 50% of mourners are wearing masks.

You’ve heard of the old saying, “If you can’t beat them, join them.” I’m almost tempted to go back to “normal,” throw caution to the wind, but the doctors in the family say it’s too soon. It’s as if the combination of spring weather mixed with partial re-opening has affected everyone’s short-term memory. But I urge you to take a look at this website, click on the arrow to the right of the United States to find your state, and look at the graphs for social distancing compared to newly confirmed cases of Covid.

https://covid19.healthdata.org/united-states-of-america

I once said you have to suspend your disbelief to function rationally under Mr T’s Twitter rule. And now he tells us he’s been taking a dangerous drug, hydroxychloroquine, ever since his “Valet” tested positive. And guess what, I don’t believe him.    https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/18/us/politics/trump-hydroxychloroquine-covid-coronavirus.html

I don’t believe anything that vulgar person says. I do however believe my husband, who tells me that deaths will spike on those charts in just a few weeks. I dreamt about Great Grandma Ada last night – we were sitting too close to people at a table in a mess hall that looked like Camp St Joseph for Girls’ St Augustine’s Hall.

If my dream life is getting weird, why not try weird on for size? I enjoyed reading this article in the NYTimes Magazine on Sunday. The author decided to practice some radical behavioral changes while confined, like getting rid of chairs and sitting and working on the floor. It’s almost a Zen reaction, to give into the craziness, the loneliness of this time with the coronavirus.

“If you believe that identity is behavior — that you are how you act, not what you think or how you feel — then you understand that adjectives like ‘‘normal’’ or ‘‘functional’’ require constant tending. If you change your conduct, you can change your life: how simple, and how daunting! All it took for me to become unrecognizable was to start acting like a different person. In theory, this should work in reverse too. When this is all over, I can return to chairs and forks and sleep. It would probably be for the best.”    https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/05/11/magazine/quarantine-insanity.html                           

Stay in your PJs, throw out your bras, serve pancakes for dinner! I could actually exist on Bob’s sourdough bread with Irish butter. Submit to the “Evil Empire of Amazon!” My sister Kay just told me I hadn’t changed much over the years, but she was talking about my appearance. Thanks Kay, maybe that’s why I dyed my hair pink? And why I learned how to mend clothes with Shashiko embroidery. If you told me last year that I’d be taking a Pilates class on Zoom today, I wouldn’t believe it.

Change is just about all we can rely on; if we change our behavior, do we change our identity?  92588620-7413-4943-93BD-EC245C16467A

 

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It’s the first Sunday in May and I’ve had my hands in the dirt, potting soil that is; I’ve planted Thai basil and regular basil, oregano and English thyme, French tarragon, rosemary and Italian sage to name a few. Our patio garden is like the UN of horticulture, resplendent with aromatic kitchen herbs mixed in among pots of flowers. And that makes me very happy.

We’ve had lots of time to think about things lately, and to do more of whatever brings us joy and less of the obligatory stuff. Today marks 2 months of our Coronavirus stay-in-place order. For 2 whole months Bob and I have been learning how to navigate staying home, with each other, all the time. Since Bob retired, I figured we’re veterans at this. And for the most part, our 40+ year marriage is a safe harbor, that is until the other day.

I opened the refrigerator door and couldn’t find the lox. I really wanted a lox and bagel, I’d even ordered the “plain” bagels, the kind Bob likes. Turns out, I’m a pro at using Shipt to shop Publix! I prefer “everything” bagels and whipped garden veggie cream cheese, but he’s a purist. It’s Philly’s original bar of cream cheese schmeared on a plain toasted bagel, or nothing at all. And nothing and nowhere could I find the Nova lox!

“You ate ALL the lox?!” I shouted at him.

While the Bride and Groom are on the front lines of this pandemic, the rest of us are holding our own in this storm, staying at home. We even ordered our herbs and vegetables and flowers from our local nursery online, which was difficult for me. I usually put my pots together as I go along, in person, inspecting roots and picking the most beautiful plants. I had to trust them to find just the right boxwood and lobelia.

Then we drove up, opened our back hatch and voila, no-touch garden shopping! But I wasn’t always a gardener, I used to be a newspaper reporter. I went to school board meetings and borough council and planning board meetings. I wrote biographies about colorful characters. I wrote expository essays and tried to make boring press releases palatable. Back in the day, when I had a deadline and people held the actual paper in their hands.

Today is not just the 8th week of quarantine, it’s #WorldPressFreedonDay. Without the fearless pursuit of the truth, without a free press, our democracy will become a true kakistocracy, run by incompetent, lying fools.

“3 May acts as a reminder to governments of the need to respect their commitment to press freedom and is also a day of reflection among media professionals about issues of press freedom and professional ethics. Just as importantly, World Press Freedom Day is a day of support for media which are targets for the restraint, or abolition, of press freedom. It is also a day of remembrance for those journalists who lost their lives in the pursuit of a story. ”  https://en.unesco.org/commemorations/worldpressfreedomday

Today 67,000 Americans are dead, and Mr T tweets about “fake news?” This was his May 1st Tweet :

“Concast (NBC News) and Fake News CNN are going out of their way to say GREAT things about China. They are Chinese puppets who want to do business there. They use USA airwaves to help China. The Enemy of the People!

A free press keeps us honest, it shines sunlight into the halls of power. This pandemic too shall pass, just like this presidency, it will be found on the pages of a history book. And Mr T will not be able to deny the numbers of dead, or his magical/delusional thinking in January and February.

So if you don’t subscribe to a news outlet, preferably one that is independently-owned like the NYT or WPO, think about getting an online subscription. We can plant all the seeds we want this spring, but without sunlight, nothing will grow.

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