Get Ready to Vote

It’s hard not to get political these days as 24-hour news channels, with nonstop talking heads, argue for their side of the political spectrum.  So a certain amount of political partisanship is expected over issues like healthcare, the national budget, gay marriage, abortion, and social security. But political partisanship over a highly contagious virus that infects people with no regard to party affiliation sounds counterintuitive to me.

I’ve stopped watching the White House coronavirus briefs because I can only take so much of an insecure narcissistic patting himself on the back for a job well done, as 81,199 Americans have died from COVID-19, and these are just the numbers from people who died in hospitals. There is no count of people who are dying at home from this virus.

Donald Trump has politicized every aspect of this virus. He has blamed lack of testing on Barack Obama, even though COVID-19 wasn’t around when Obama was president. He has blamed the lack of medical stockpile, like masks, ventilators, and PPE on Obama, even though in February of this year, the State Department sent 17.8 tons of medical supplies to China. But even if it were true that Obama left the stockpile bare, why didn’t Trump do anything to replenish it? He’s been president over three years. Seems like that should be sufficient enough time to order ore supplies, I mean, he certainly found time to golf.

Trump has encouraged this country to become even more politically divided over this virus. He has used his Twitter account to agitate his followers. As Democratic governors have issued shelter-in-place orders, Trump tweeted for those states to “liberate” themselves, and people protested with guns, nooses, and Confederate flags.

Just a few days ago, the Wisconsin Supreme Court overruled the Democratic Governor’s shelter in place order, and within hours bars were packed with patrons crowded close to each other, sans masks or any kind of social distancing.

What could go wrong?

Back in April, Trump estimated the death total by August could be 80,000, and here it is mid-May, and we’ve already surpassed that.

I wonder how differently this pandemic would have been handled if we had a competent President, with an uncorrupted administration, in charge.

But we don’t have that, so all we can do right now is wonder, at least until November. Then we can vote.

 

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Here Comes Mueller

Robert Mueller is scheduled to testify in front of Congress this week. I just finished reading the Mueller Report a couple days ago. I started the report July 3, and continued through the 4th of July holiday weekend. As I read about an American presidential campaign having so many contacts with Russians, and Russians trying so hard to infiltrate the US in order to influence an American election, I thought solemnly to myself, Happy Birthday, America.

This is where we’ve come.

The polls show that most Americans haven’t read the report. Hopefully it’s because of lack of time – family, work, school, life – and not for a lack of interest because what’s in this report should concern us all.

According to the report, the Russians’ attack on the U.S through social media to sow discord on our democracy was “sweeping and systematic.” There were hundreds of thousands of fake accounts on Twitter and Facebook of Russians posing as Americans and smearing lies about Hillary Clinton.

I remember those lies. I got nowhere trying to convince a man I know that Hillary Clinton was not heading a child sex ring in a pizzeria in Washington, DC. But he believed the conspiracy theorists that told him there were tunnels trafficking children into the basement of the pizza parlor. Another man believed it too because he showed up with a gun demanding to see those tunnels. Luckily the owner was able to talk the delusional man down until the police came.

But there were more lies. So many lies. Social media was run amok with Russian bots spreading those lies, and Americans didn’t know the difference.

We know from the report that the Trump campaign welcomed the support of the Russians. It should make every American shudder that an American presidential campaign did not notify the FBI once during the hundreds of contacts between the Russians and those in the Trump campaign or associated to the campaign.

In 2000,  George W Bush’s debate prep book was stolen, and Al Gore received the book while he was preparing for a presidential debate with Bush. Gore and his team immediately turned the stolen materials over to the FBI. Yet not one peep from the Trump team to the FBI about the Russian interference. That should infuriate every person who calls themselves an American.

The report found collusion with Russia, but Mueller couldn’t determine conspiracy, mostly because those questioned had lied, or had communicated with each other through apps where texts disappeared, or they simply destroyed evidence.

I hope Mueller is very clear about this part because Donald Trump has falsely claimed too many times that there was no collusion.  I hope Mueller is blunt about every pointed question he is asked, especially those questions about obstruction. Trump obstructed justice on multiple occasions.

I laughed out loud as I read a part of the report where Donald Trump tried to get then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions to un-recuse himself from the Russia investigation and order the FBI to limit their scope to include only future elections. This made me laugh because I remembered as a child when I did something bad and got caught and knew I was going to be punished, I’d yell “Starting now! Okay? Starting now! You can punish me starting now.” I wanted a do over. I wanted my bad behavior from just minutes ago to be forgotten and only my future behavior be judged for punishment.

Donald Trump wanted a do-over too. It’s funny when children try to get away with bad behavior, but when it’s the President of America it’s abhorrent.

America deserves better.

 

American flag on cracked brick wall

Photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net

 

 

 

 

Trying to Stay Sane During Insane Times

I’ve been working on a story for a while, and for a while I’ve been making some good progress. But lately I’ve been distracted, and the usual culprits of previous distractions–Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram–are innocent in this go-around.

My writing time has been severely hampered because I can’t turn off my television to the everyday breaking news drama of this chaotic and dysfunctional administration that is the Donald Trump presidency.  But what really traps my attention are the constant revelations of the Russian investigation, run by special prosecutor Robert Mueller, that leaves me hopeful that someday (hopefully very soon) justice will prevail.

But until that time, my days are spent stressing over what will come of the country I love because the people in charge are trying to pass policies that will hurt the most vulnerable, while benefiting the most privileged.

A few months ago, the Republicans in Congress made me sweat-out a healthcare vote that would have kicked 30 million people off insurance, according to the Congressional Budget Office. Three Republican senators were the difference between life and death for a lot of sick people because the Republicans had no viable replacement plan to ensure their care.

This is sick, but luckily, they didn’t get the vote.

But late last Friday night, the Senate Republicans had me geeking out and watching CSPAN 2 as they got the votes to pass their tax reform bill that according to independent reports, including the CBO, will knock 13 million people off insurance, and raise taxes for everyone making less than $75,000. The tax plan will also add 1.5 trillion dollars to the deficit, which will segue into rhetoric by the Right to attack Medicare, Social Security, and Medicaid (all programs they hate because non-rich people depend on them) to offset the deficit.

This is sick, too.

I’m not a perfect person. I’ve done things I regret, but I would never work to cripple programs that I know benefits children, the disabled, the elderly, veterans, and the working poor. This tax plan, designed to give relief to big corporations and wealthy individuals, at the expense of the middle and working-class, is devastating.

 

The Republicans are trying to play the ‘trickle-down’ theory game again. We saw this movie in 2000 under Bush. It ended badly. Seriously, only Rosemary’s Baby that ends with a woman finding out her newborn baby she thought was dead is actually the spawn of Satan, had a worse ending than the result of Bush economics.

I don’t want to hear Republicans lecture us about why the country’s most wealthy deserve tax breaks first, and why we, the peasants, deserve only what trickles down. Why not give the money to the middle and working-class people first, and then let whatever is left over trickle to the top 1%?

If you haven’t grabbed a poster and stood outside your representative’s office or made phone calls, then you are doing exactly what these incredulous politicians want – nothing.

This plan hasn’t passed yet, and it’s not too late to stop it. But action needs to be taken now. Grab a sign. Make a phone call or two…or fifteen…if that’s what it takes.

But note to self, turn off the TV for a little while and get back to writing. Your sanity and writing career depend on it.

 

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Photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net