Wonder and Woe

Soapbox LogoI am caught between wonder and woe; nearly every single day, these warring emotions capture me and tangle me up. As I scroll through social media, the various news media I regularly read and television news, there are days I am simply unable to process the entirety of our national tragedy. I am seized by the images of where we are as a nation and as a people. As I said, I am stuck between wonder and woe.

Woe, what is it really? How to describe woe, I don’t use the word lightly or simply for effect. The word is one that describes profound sadness, grief or distress. Is this what I feel when I scroll through all my sources of information each day? Do I sink into a miasma of distress at the state of our union, the answer is yes I do more often than not. My grief at what is lost is deep and sits on my heart with great weight. All that came before this moment in time seems to have been for nothing, though I know this isn’t the truth; it is how it feels right now.

Woe, as if an assassin was sneaking in and burying a stiletto in my spirit. It is impossible to avoid the ugly. From the foolishness of elected officials placing dollars over citizen lives to the citizens practicing their 2nd Amendment Rights without a care in the world for their or anyone else’s life. While most of us watch in awe at the sacrifices of first Health care workers stand in the street as a counter-protest to those demanding the stay-at-home order be lifted in Denverresponders and medical care providers, some would stand before them and scream they are the problem; they are part of the conspiracy to destroy the nation and their right to a haircut. I am brought to my knees; I am terrified, sickened and heartbroken by the horrifying examples of heartlessness demonstrated in the halls of power and the streets of our cities.

Woe is all I can feel some days Hell most days. Where once we had giants now, we have simple boors, villains who were lucky enough to align themselves with the party du jour and take advantage of a corrupt system. We are in a feedback loop of massive proportions, one where we are the energy that feeds the terrible and keeps it cycling. We, the people, we have created the monster by turning our heads, tying on our blinders and not standing up to the corruption so blatantly before us. Now we are paying the price for our disinterest with a POTUS of massive ignorance, massive ego surrounded by obsequious toadies willing to say and do anything, including let us die to feed themselves and their need for ‘more‘.

Wonder, yes I always have those moments in a day where my heart stutters and I smile. Sometimes it is a young child singing. Thank you to everything Holy, young children 20200315_114015have not been corrupted by the world yet. Sometimes it is looking out my kitchen window and seeing my Lavender is still in bloom. Then there are those unique moments when I realize this will end and we will be together again.

Wonder at the resiliency of our human nature. We have been brought so low a pandemic is sweeping through this nation, through the world. A virus we have no control over is killing our loved ones and we are not able to offer comfort or even gain the comfort of true mourning. We have been overwhelmed; emotionally, financially and systemically. We are teetering on the edge of the abyss, yet there is hope in the everyday small things.

Wonder at the ability for humans to find thankfulness and grace even in the worst of days. I have read articles and watched mini-documentaries from the front lines. Each time I am struck by the compassion of those who must face the dying every single day, without aid or solutions. Every day I look for stories of kindness and I find them. The small restaurant that feeds those in need, despite being in need themselves. The coffee shop that gives away coffee and pastries to healthcare workers and first responders, despite operating in the red. The small clothing manufacturer that converted his operations at his own cost into making masks and scrubs, selling to hospitals at cost just so he can keep making them. I am uplifted every single day by these stories; by these proofs there continues to be good people in this world and most especially in this nation.

Wonder and woe follow me every day, piercing my heart. I often wonder what we will be when we finally conquer this virus and truly return to an open nation, not what we once were simply open. Will we be different in our spirit? Will we look at our behavior both before and during and shun the ugliness that brought us to that point that allowed our nation to be brought so low? Will we question our standards, morals and ethics as a screen-shot-2014-11-25-at-4-34-05-pmpeople? Will we demand better of ourselves and those who seek high office?

Me? I believe we must start now to consider what it is we want to be and how we want the world to view us as a nation. We will be starting over; we have been brought low and our recovery will not be the work of one man or woman but of all of us. It truly is the right time to demand sweeping change, not the type of change Bernie Sanders and his acolytes were proposing. Certainly not the type of change Donald Trump proposed. But real change to who is in government, how they govern and for how long they govern. The grassroots of this nation must step up, must see beyond all our differences and begin to build true alliances if we want real change in this nation. We must stop he said / she said and start the what do we want, together. The only way anything will ever change for the better for all of us is if we agree to look toward a better future and agree on what that looks like, we cannot fix historical injuries only agree they occurred and are the root of many of the evils this nation has perpetuated.

Wonder? Yes, I stand in awe and wonder at the towering strength of our shared humanity. I have a great belief in us, all of us that we can fix what is broken in this nation. I know it will be hard; truthfully, it will be the hardest thing we have ever undertaken. But I believe there are enough of us who truly want this nation to succeed that it is possible for us to overcome all the differences and make it happen.

Stupid Quotient

There is a core of stupidity running through our nation and I am certain it is growing by leaps and bounds every year. I have evidence of this rampant growth, it all around us; it is everywhere.

First, let me explain my philosophical stance on the matter of human stupidity;

Ignorance is a choice, but stupidity is something else entirely, it is akin to a birth defect; passed along through both nature and nurture. One can choose to change their ‘stupid’ quotient (aka StQ); most, however, never do. It is my opinion this is due to our powerlessness to self-assess and identify stupidity as a component of one’s personality or make-up. Thus, we are left with a growing StQ within our population or a lowering of our herd intelligence at both the Intellect (IQ) and Emotional Intellect (EQ).

Are you wondering now, what the hell is she talking about, where is she going with this?

Situation: Starts with the reminder we are in a global pandemic, the world is facing a virus with no known treatment, no respect for age, race or income bracket and zero indication we are currently on the downward side of the curve yet. I live in a state where we are still on Stay-at-home executive orders (though our Governor is planning to allow this to expire soon). This past week I had to venture out, no choice I was out of essential items. So, me being an adult grabbed my gloves and mask and off to the local Wal-Mart I went, it has always been an adventure but now it is terrifying.

Let me start by saying, I get it; really, I do. You are bored and tired of being locked down with your family. This though is no reason for you to consider a shopping trip as a family mini-vacation. You are not helping yourself, your family or your community by carrying your parade of curtain climbers and germ hounds with you grocery shopping.  So, Grandma (age maybe 48), Grandad (age maybe 50), Mom (age maybe 33), two Semen Demons (age maybe 15 and 17), two Germ Hounds (age maybe 10 and 12), two Curtain Climbers (age somewhere 4 and  6), Linoleum Worm (age maybe 2) and Linoleum Worm (age maybe 9 months). Yes, you read this right eight (8) children and three parental figures (3) in this single group. If I had to guess as to who belonged to whom, the older Semen Demon’s belong to the older adults and the younger ones belong to the Mom, who also belongs to the Grandparents. So that is in total eleven (11) people, out and about in the community only three (3) of them wearing masks, none of them wearing gloves.   Except for the two (2) babies, all of them casually strolling through the store, touching everything, loud talking and generally causing a disruption.

As I said, I get it. I am stir crazy myself. I want out of the house too. I would love to sit outside in the new spring air and have a coffee and pastry, people watch or read a book. Instead, I sit on my back porch alone and wonder when it will all end. I haven’t seen my sons, my grandchildren or any of my friends since March 8, seven weeks apart in my house with the company of a kitten and a cockatoo. But the family Twatwaffle thinks they should put me and everyone else at risk because they are bored and stupid.

Do I sound annoyed? I am. The adults in the room are all wondering when the rest of you will take this seriously. The world is in the midst of change; it doesn’t feel as if it is for the better, meanwhile stupid and selfish seem to be joined at the hip in a tango to Hell. Strangely, this tango of boredom can be seen played out across the land, via shopping protestersadventures, protests on the courthouse steps and blocking of emergency rooms. It doesn’t matter your choice of stupid; it is all the same in the end. Your choice of stupid puts everyone else at risk. Your choice of stupid creates a problem for everyone you meet.

The potential infection rate is one person with Coronavirus gives the virus to 14 people who will, in turn, spread it to 5 people each, so this means within a 10-day time span one person could spread the virus to 1,953,125 (edit comment: the previous model was based on different criteria 14 people and 10 hours).

Getting back to my premise of the Stupid Quotient. Each time I see it, I wonder what has happened to our nation, our people. We were not always like this; we did not always have such a large population of the overtly mean, blatantly entitled and overly stupid within our community. It isn’t that we didn’t always have some, of course, we did. But now it seems we have a larger population than ever before. Is it that we give them a more significant voice? Is it that they are more evident than previously? Is it that under these extreme circumstances, they stand out more than they might have before?

I don’t know the answers to the above questions. I think some of the answers lie in the changes our society has seen in the last twenty-five years. These changes have upset the security of many both economically and on an emotional level, even where they might not admit it. The rise of populism, racism, Nazism and other extremist views gives us a glimpse into the fears and potentially the growth of the Stupid Quotient. Combine this with the real dumbing down of our education system, especially when it comes to teaching Civics and History in our public schools, I believe we can answer part of the question.

I hope, though, with this latest reset, those who have the capacity to combine their Emotional Intelligence with their Intellect, will use it for good. Won’t be afraid to speak up and push real change into our communities. Perhaps, when we finally swing those doors open and realize how good it feels to be together, we will work hard to stay sane, safe and function as a society. This at least is my hope.

Saw You

5 And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 6 But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

Matthew 6:5-6

Easter has passed and it was different for most of us, whether we have children or are part of an extended family. There were no Easter Egg Hunts, no dressing up in our eastereggsSunday Go To Meeting finest, no Family Dinner; none of that was on the menu for those of us following the rules. In fact, most of America was locked up tight with whomever they are isolated in place. Some were fortunate, isolated at home with those they loved, healthy and with plenty. Others were not so lucky as these, a host of things come to mind as to the circumstances that might be in play.

  • They are members of the healthcare community
  • They are members of the retail services community
  • They are aged and their families left them where they were
  • They are isolated alone, by choice or not

Then some chose to flaunt the rules intended to keep us all safe. Those who loudly proclaim God will protect them and their flock from the virus. My question to them, ‘who

will protect the rest of us from you?’ I frankly watched in horror as some Pastors flung open their doors and led their parishioners into the church to celebrate Easter, shoulder to shoulder, hugs and hand-holding all around. Adults, young and old, children running through the sanctuary as if it is a day of play rather than a day of plague. Of course, children will be children and they don’t know what their parents have led them into.

I am stunned by the level of idiocy and greed it must require on the parts of those who would encourage this behavior and those who would mindlessly place themselves and tonyspell3their families at risk. The Pastors who did this were not leading their flocks in good faith; in truth, some said they were making political statements, were willing to fight to the end for their First Amendment Rights of Religion, Free Speech and to Peaceably Assemble. Pastor Tony Spell said;

“True Christians do not mind dying, they fear living in fear. People that can prefer tyranny over freedom do not deserve freedom”.

Other Far-Right Evangelical Preachers have had dreams and spoken prophecies of the Devil and his minions trying to usurp the chosen one from his place at the top of the GOP and this nation.  Using the Hoax of the global pandemic, the Devil is working his will to turn the world against the Chosen One and his mission. They march to a different drummer, that is all I can say. On the one hand, they sell miracle cures and prayers; on the other, they sell a constant stream of demonic intrigue, deep state conspiracy theory and fear-mongering piped into the homes of millions of devoted followers, daily.

There is a constant hum of discontent across the nation now. Perhaps it is the 5g towers, intended to boost our communications, now the source of conspiracy theory and more idiocy. This discontent can be viewed in glorious ignorance across the web from people ED-AZ052_Strass_M_20191011125911from all walks of life. My assumption, they have nothing to occupy their minds. Then some simply cannot be still. Those who can’t wrap their minds into acceptance of a global pandemic of this magnitude. Those people who insist this is instead a grand conspiracy to damage the re-election of the grand poo-bah currently delivering a daily banquet of self-aggrandization and lies to the world.

Finally, perhaps the saddest of all are those who are incapable of understanding or complying with the rules, those we all see each time we must go out for essential items. Those who not only place us all at risk but place themselves and their families at risk.

Have you guessed yet? Yes, it is those who see a trip to the store as a family outing, mom, dad and all the off-spring out for a day at Walmart as if it were Wally World. Worse, mom and dad with masks and gloves while the children have not a lick of protection; baby chewing on the cart to calm their teething gums and two others running through the aisles touching everything in sight. Meanwhile, the teenager is texting and loudly smacking gum while disrespectfully glaring at you when you ask it to move so you can reach what you need off the shelf. I get it; everyone is stir crazy. So am I. But you just brought yourself and your brood to the second most dangerous places to be right now, second only to the emergency room of any hospital.

We are all afraid, I know. Many of us are lonely, staring down financial ruin and future loss while we sit in our homes alone and terrified. Many have learned hard lessons during this isolation, who their friends are, who can be counted on and who was only there for the good times but quickly turned tail when the going wasn’t quite so easy. Yes, opendoorthis is a scary time for all of us. Nevertheless, we will get through it, this isn’t forever and it isn’t the end of times either.

Eventually, if we all work towards the common goal of flattening the curve, we will open our society again. Ultimately, we will fling our doors open again who and what stands on the other side will be up to us, individually and together.

Corona & Lymme

Self-Isolation.

What does that really mean? For you and I, what does self-isolation mean for those of us who actually have to manage our lives from day-to-day, what should we know.

There are a variety of different resources, so use them. The one thing we should all know is clearing the shelves of your local Walmart or Target is selfish and unnecessary. Come on people, you do not need an entire years’ worth of toilet paper, hand sanitizer or anything else for that matter. What are you going to do when the panic is over?

Did you just spend your rent / mortgage payment on your panic hoarding? You did, didn’t you? Do you feel stupid now?

I am not going to say this isn’t frightening, it is of course. More so because the information we are getting from what should be trusted resources can’t be trusted. But let’s get real with each other and ourselves. We are hurting others, we are hurting our neighbors and our community when we rush to our local big box store and clear the shelves of all perishable goods in our selfish need to hoard. Yes, I heard some idiot passed around a guideline of having a supply of food and other goods to last eight (8) weeks, but if this is true I surely cannot find it anywhere. Let me help you on this one, FEMA guidelines for disaster relief says you should have two (2) weeks of goods for your family. So, unless you plan on trekking to the woods and remaining there, you do not need every roll of toilet paper, every bottle of hand sanitizer and every package of meat available. Really, I promise you even if you are ordered to shelter in place the grocery stores will continue to deliver.

So let’s talk about something else, let’s talk about why we the ‘greatest’ nation in the world are even in this position. Why we, the United States of America are struggling. Shall we start with the infants running the nation? The refusal to accept the testing kits way back in January, for no other reason than hubris and a refusal to engage honestly and openly with international organizations, e.g. NATO, WHO, United Nations and the list goes on.

We are in this position because we elected an infantile idiot who surrounded himself with bootlickers and sycophants who will not say no to him, ever. They will tell him the truth if it runs counter to his world view. They will deliver bad news if it doesn’t align to the version of the fantastical he wants to spin for his loyal 35%.

That is what we have behind the Resolute Desk today. A man child who throws temper tantrums and has daddy issues which he turns on the nation for his personal self-gratification.

What else do we have? Greed. Self-serving and narrow in its focus. Vainglorious and arrogant in their belief of their superiority and right to exist and succeed. Yes, in this case I am talking about all of the Trump’s and their minions. While the nation falters, these high-handed pretentious know nothings continue to make deals on the lives and deaths of Americans and others. While tens of thousands lose their livelihoods, as businesses shutter, schools close and entire cities become ghost towns this Criminal Enterprise finds themselves in the position to control the supply chain for medical necessary testing and supplies; who would have thought, except we all should have known. Why else would we not have accepted help from WHO in the form of test kits, except someone was going to make money somewhere along the way.

Now, our nation is failing. We are not just experiencing a small blip in our economy but a fast rush to Depression. People are losing their savings and will lose more in the coming weeks if they can’t work. Homes will be lost. Bankruptcy will sky rocket in the private sector as both individuals and small business cannot meet their obligations. Our health coronavirus-stock-crash-560x416systems are rapidly becoming overwhelmed, hospitals cannot keep up with demand and do not have what they need to serve patients.

Why? Because despite knowing since December this was coming our government did nothing. This administration was told, they ignored the warnings. In fact when information became public, this President lied, he did what he always does he spun out fantasies and played the blame game. When it became apparent it was going to get worse, what did he do? He set up his Vice President to take the fall, not that I don’t think this is a great idea, couldn’t happen to a better toady than Pence. In the meantime, he set up his favorite all around know nothing Jared behind the scenes to run Black Ops, entirely undermining the Pence led program.

Maybe we should all look at this as an opportunity. Many of our Governors are stepping up and taking necessary actions to keep the people of their states safe. Many Mayors are stepping in and making difficult decisions to keep their cities safe. The executive decisions at the State and Local level are filling the gaps left by the complete lack of maturity at the federal level. Add to this, with only a few glaring exceptions, Congress and the Senate worked in a bipartisan manner to pass the first of the Coronavirus Relief Bills which the President actually signed.

So this gets me back to our behavior, yes that is us the citizens of this nation. We have to stop. Stop being driven by fear, by greed, by me first. We are better than this, at least we have been better than this before. So ask yourself before you grab all ten of those forty packs of double ply toilet paper, do you really need them all? What the hell for? Ask yourself, do you really need every single one of those packs of chicken wings in your neighborhood grocery? Who in Hades are you feeding, the entire neighborhood? Come on people, stop being so damned scared, so damned greedy the world is not ending, the zombie apocalypse is not here.

Maybe things will change a little, but you will not be stuck in your house forever, I promise. Maybe instead of thinking only of your own ass you could think of others and do something good with the time you have. Or maybe you could just take some time and clean up the space in your head, figure out why you are acting so damned bad, what is driving you and your neighbors and start working toward the change you keep talking about, the change you want.

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