The Russian invasion of Ukraine and how far Putin is going to push it – what a tragedy!
Our upcoming trip to Europe: I just booked a cruise with an extension in eastern Europe. We start with five days in Poland, then get the cruise in Prague and sail to Berlin. I hope the War of Russian Aggression or a new variant of Covid-19 doesn’t interfere with our trip, which starts in April. I REALLY need to travel right now!
The environment/climate change. This is always on my mind. Also, getting a blurb to put in our weekly newsletter from the Environmental Concerns Committee, of which I seem to be chair.
The book I am currently reading, Braiding Sweetgrass – excellent! I’ve been taking notes!
Whether Republicans are going to retake the House and/or Senate in the upcoming midterm elections. They are projected to win because that’s the tradition in midterms, but does it have to be? The Dems need to do something to improve their messaging! More GOP control will be a disaster, especially with the kooks that run the party now!
Whether I have time to accomplish everything I want to accomplish this week.
Every week Fandango’s hosts a challenge, for those who choose to accept it, called Who Won The Week? It is the opportunity that fellow bloggers have to highlight someone in the news (good or bad) that takes the ‘prize’ for that week.
Meanwhile, many conservative states have passed or are considering legislation to restrict voting turnout and have either fired or threatened state election officials, who have been besieged by threatening phone calls and messages (some have received death threats, including local election officials who are Republicans and Trump supporters) and many of these officials are being primaried by more loyal Trump supporters who would go along with falsifying results of future elections if Republicans lose in their districts.
If Trump’s supporters follow his directive – and there is little reason to think they won’t – it may not be difficult for Democrats to maintain and even increase their Congressional majority. That would be good for the Biden administration, who currently must curry favor with two conservative Democratic senators, Joe Manchin and Kristin Sinema, who seem to currently have the power to shape Biden’s “Build Back Better” comprehensive reconciliation infrastructure bill.
I don’t have high hopes that all Trump supporters will not vote in the midterm elections, but Trump has only one concern: himself. His fans still don’t get that he has no interest in improving their lives or helping the country; he only cares about himself, as a true narcissist. Even so, I like to think right now that maybe electing Democrats isn’t a lost cause after all, and for that reason, Trump gets my vote for the person who “won” the week.
Pick three words to describe this past year. (please keep them PG. Thanks). frustrating, appalling, anger-inducing
What were the best books you read this year? Or the best movie you saw? The best books I’ve read this year are not new: I don’t normally read Stephen King, but I loved the novel 11/22/63 which I read for a book group. Other than that, I have read a lot of novels written in the 1990s set in ancient Egypt. Historical fiction is my favorite genre and right now I’m kind of obsessed with ancient Egypt. All the books written by Pauline Gedge are excellent. I also read some political books, including Mary Trump’s book about her uncle: Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man. Once I’d read that I could predict how Trump would react to losing reelection – he wouldn’t and doesn’t accept it! But the best political/social non-fiction book I read this year was Caste by Isabel Wilkerson. I highly recommend it.
One of the best movies I saw was on Netflix, Social Dilemma – it’s fairly new, and I encourage everyone to see it. You’ll never look at Facebook the same way again! I don’t see too many movies, unfortunately. I saw some old ones that either I never saw before or wanted to see again such as Out of Africa (somewhat of a disappointment) and Dr. Zhivago (because I just finished the novel The Secrets We Kept about smuggling the manuscript of the novel by Boris Pasternak out of the Soviet Union). I enjoyed seeing Dr. Zhivago again, although the copy we got from the library had a lot of scratches. A lot of what I watch are news shows and videos we watch on our community broadcasting channels. Also PBS series such as Nova and Masterpiece.
Because there was lots of time for looking inward, what is one big personal lesson you learned this past year? Perseverance – the pandemic has lasted longer than perhaps it should have due to mismanagement and lack of leadership. What galls me is how people just drag it on longer by refusing to wear masks (see answer to the next question). I have persevered by accepting what is. I don’t like wearing a mask any more than anyone else; I don’t like not being able to go out with my friends; I especially don’t like not being able to travel – but it’s what we have to do to stay healthy! I’ve read a lot of books and worked on my artwork, and have tried to take a walk every day that has weather I can tolerate.
Another lesson is gratitude: being grateful for the blessings I have, appreciative of people who put their lives on the line to save others, and not taking anything for granted. I see happiness in small things: reading a good book, watching flowers bloom, and baby chicks grow. Nature continues on as usual.
Do you think Covid has strengthened or weakened societal bonds? I would love to say strengthened, and I think on an individual level, that may be true: developing or solidifying relationships, appreciating the different jobs people do that may put their lives in danger during a pandemic, and working together to solve problems. But societally, our country is even more divided. I am somewhat surprised at this. I am surprised that in spite of the federal government’s terrible handling of the pandemic, over 70 million people in this country voted to reelect Trump! Fortunately they did not prevail, but I am appalled at how people have protested the dumbest things, such as wearing masks as an infringement on their freedom. Sorry, but their freedom ends where the next person’s begins so they need to take some responsibility for their behavior and not infect other people when they leave their home! And the denial of science – there are still people who are sick with Covid, go to the hospital and when told the diagnosis, deny it and say it’s a hoax! Why don’t some people believe doctors and nurses who put their lives on the line to save others? It’s all become politicized and it didn’t have to be. Trump and his Republican lackeys politicized it, instead of helping to unify the people of this country in combatting it.
It’s really shaken my confidence in the citizenry of this nation as supporting democracy and our values, such as stewardship, responsibility, and compassion. It’s also made me fear we can no longer have a dialogue – there are alternate messages of what is truth. How can one dialogue with a person that doesn’t share the same reality?
What is a New Year’s Wish You’d Like To Share With the World?
May 2021 give us 2020 hindsight and may the new year bring us the light at the end of the tunnel!
My predictions (for the United States of America):
1. Trump will lose the election in November, in spite of the development of a vaccine for Covid-19 or at least the promise by medical experts of a vaccine being available soon.
2. While the new administration will attempt to repair relations with our allies, and will have some success, there will continue to be wariness abroad about American long-term political and economic stability. That could include restrictions on American travel to some countries.
3. Most students will return to school in the fall of 2020. However, there will not be a unified response to the question of school reopening while still in the throes of the pandemic; instead, each state and/or district will create a patchwork of solutions to keep students (relatively) safe in order for them to return to school.
4. In spite of the lessons of the pandemic about the inherent problems of our society (racism, inequality, lack of affordable health care for all, etc.), the new administration will struggle to solve these problems. We will not achieve universal health care for all, but there will be some progress made, such as lowering the age of eligibility for Medicare to 60. An economic slump will continue to plague us, however, for several years.
5. Because of the election of Democrat Joe Biden for president, and Democrats regaining control of both legislative houses, there will be serious attempts to mitigate climate change through sane environmental policies – the EPA will be restored to its pre-Trump mission and effectiveness, policies to encourage the move to cleaner energy sources will be proposed, and the U.S. will re-enter the Paris Climate Agreement. The federal government will be restored to a more professional and less corrupt state.