Bushboy has a Last Photo challenge where he invites us to post the last photo we took that month. I took my last photograph in November at our most unusual Thanksgiving dinner! It was just the two of us, with the Thanksgiving meal delivered to us, just like every dinner is delivered to us since COVID-19 arrived on the scene. In the evening, though, we were able to talk and play games with part of our family via Zoom.
I sort of cheated…the actual last photo was of me sitting at this small table, but I didn’t actually take it – Dale did!
Do we control technology or is technology controlling us?
There are humans out there that control technology – they are the technology inventors, software creators, Silicon Valley movers and shakers, and the people in India that you call when you need maintenance on your computer. But the vast majority of the human population in modern society is controlled by technology. Once the technology is put out there with plenty of fanfare and advertising, people feel they simply HAVE TO have it. A lot has been written and speculated about this. Will computers eventually take on minds of their own and LITERALLY control us? AI (artificial intelligence) is a big subject these days.
When I make a call to a company, I get a recorded voice giving me the option of choosing 1,,2,3,4,or 5 and once I’ve made my choice, half the time the call hangs up. Most cars manufactured in the 21st century are computerized – I drive a 2017 Prius and the mechanics who work on it need to be knowledgeable about computers. Most of us are so attached to our cellphones that if we leave home without them, we feel as if we’re adrift at sea! I constantly worry about making sure my cellphone is charged – God forbid if it should “die” when I need it to stave off boredom.
There are both positive and negative aspects to technology. Computers supposedly make our lives easier – which they do, except when they break down! Then we can hardly function until they’re up and running again. Who uses maps anymore? GPS can do the work for us – except when we’re out of range of any satellite. TVs, cars, radios, cameras, copiers, ebooks, you name it, they all need highly trained techies to service them when they malfunction. Things that used to be basic technologically (like cars, books and cellphones) now have so many bells and whistles that you can’t possibly learn how to use them all.
With technology comes software and social media. I know that any social media can be abused, there’s cyberbullying, and people get addicted, but I’m not completely wedded to social media so I enjoy it when I go on Facebook or Instagram (I don’t have and refuse to get Twitter) to see what’s going on with far-flung friends and relatives. My email gets out of hand because I get inundated with junk email (a lot of it political) and the important messages get lost in the deluge. Right now I need to clean out both my email inboxes – they have 1,000+ messages in them that go back two years at least!
I understand that this question was motivated at least in part by Fandango’s frustration with the new Block Editor that WordPress is forcing us to use. I didn’t like it at all at first, but then I didn’t know how to use it either and the tutorials they have you link to are not particularly helpful. As with a lot of things, you have to just try something new yourself and over time, you discover the best way to use it for your own purposes. I still prefer the Classic editor but I haven’t even bothered trying to use it lately because if I want to insert a photo, it defaults back to the Block Editor anyway. The only thing I ended up using it for was symbols, like foreign accent marks, but now that we can’t use Classic anymore, I have no idea how to insert these symbols (They are important for those of us who speak other languages – we don’t want to seem ignorant when we write something in one of those languages and it looks like we don’t know that certain words have accent marks, tildes or circumflex accents.).
something beyond my control, I just have to get used to it and adapt. Being able to adapt to changes in a society that sometimes seems to travel at warp speed is important for me to be able to live life with as little stress as possible. Oh, sure, I’ll complain about a change that I can’t understand the need for, but after awhile, I’ll just…accept it and adapt.
My ability to adapt has been a major theme in my life and something I take pride in. Until 2007, I had spent more than 50 years of life finding ways of coping and adapting to something in my brain that I didn’t have a name for. I had poor memory long before becoming a senior citizen and I have always had issues with distraction, reading and listening comprehension, fidgeting, and organization. In 2007, I was finally officially diagnosed with ADHD. I’d had it all my life and knowing this sure helped me understand a lot of the obstacles and difficulties I’d had over the years, and the decisions I made to either avoid them or cope with them. Those decisions were not always wise, but if I had known this was a part of me that I couldn’t change and had to live with many years earlier, I would have most likely made different choices and learned different ways of adapting. Instead I blamed myself as a failure. I cannot take the usual medications prescribed for ADHD, which are stimulants, due to a heart condition. However, if psychiatrists had known what it was in the early 1960s, stimulants probably would have been helpful to me.
It’s the same with technology. I either have to adapt or get left behind. As a result, I am as dependent on my cellphone as anyone. Having ADHD, being able to do so many things on my phone is additional distraction I probably don’t need, but on the good side, I have games and web sites to entertain me when I am forced to wait – in the car, in the doctor’s office, etc. And changes on WordPress – well, if I want to continue blogging, I guess I’ll just go with the flow.
WHERE DO YOU NOT MIND WAITING? I don’t mind waiting almost anywhere if I have either a charged phone or tablet, or a book with me. If I’m in the middle of a good book, I actually LIKE waiting, so I have a good reason to read! I’m fine if I’m not overheated or in a crowd of people.
WHAT IS IN YOUR FRIDGE RIGHT NOW? It’s chock full of lots of leftovers and produce we purchased yesterday at the farmer’s market. The door shelves have drinks and condiments. There is literally no room in there for even one item more!
IF YOUCOULD ONLY SPEAK ONE WORD TODAY, WHAT WOULD IT BE? Wow, that’s hard – I can’t imagine only being able to say a single word in a day – it reminds me of a book I read where girls and women were restricted to only 100 words a day.
It would depend on the day. If I were in the middle of something and wanted to be left alone, I guess I would say, “Leave!” Then I’d use gestures to get my point across.
WOULD YOU RATHER BE TRAPPED IN AN ELEVATOR FULL OF MEN WITH BO OR WITH THREE SOAKED DOGS? (THIS ASSUMES THERE IS NO COVID-19.) COVID-19 or not, I would probably prefer the dogs. Men (or women) with B.O. is absolutely the worst smell in the world – it makes me gag! In fact, I even thought of it a couple of weeks ago when one of the SYW questions was what is the worst smell.
GRATITUDE: I am grateful for all the people in society who wear masks in public and maintain 6 feet of distance. These are the people who care about others and realize that when living in a society, one has rights but also responsibilities. Taking these simple measures during a pandemic makes sense and is for the well-being of all.
I am also grateful for Mary Trump, whose book comes out this week. Anything that will help people understand how dangerous 4 more years of Donald Trump would be, so they will vote him out of office, deserves my gratitude.
A Guy called Bloke is asking some important questions about mask-wearing this week. Also, I’m shocked at how many people he’s seen that are not wearing them!
1] Are you currently wearing face masks when you go out into public wherever you are in the world and 2] what type of masks are you wearing? [As in practical or stylish?] Yes, I do wear a mask when I go into a building, but not outside. I live in a senior community and we have a lovely campus where we can take walks and meet up with others. I try to maintain distance when passing people while walking, and I always do carry a mask with me. Since my husband and I have a house, we don’t need to worry about wearing a mask when we leave the house, but we do carry one.
My masks (I have four of them now!) are cloth. One is plain gray but the others have colorful patterns, not that I care really. The one I like best was made by my sister-in-law, who made six of them for our family members. It’s not particularly stylish – it has a pattern of cherries on a black background and fits me well. I like the fit and the fact that when I breathe, it doesn’t stick to my face! I have 3 others, but that one is the best. I throw our masks into the wash every time I do laundry, so it’s kept quite clean.
Also – how do you feel about the wearing of masks? Do you see it as a protection or an infringement on your civil rights? I don’t really like to wear a mask – probably most people feel this way – but I do it because the medical experts say it is effective in reducing the rate of infection of the virus. If the droplets containing the virus are in the air, using a mask helps me as well as others. I also follow the rules imposed in our community which are more stringent due to having a population of elderly people.
I do not think it is an infringement on my civil rights – it’s more of an infringement of my rights when others DON’T do it out of silly notions that somehow the Constitution protects their right not to wear a mask! They are just being selfish! This is a worldwide PANDEMIC, an emergency situation! This has nothing to do with politics and we should all be united on this! You don’t get to just ignore the requirement to wear a mask in a store, for example – I saw a video on Facebook of a 77-year-old woman in Costco who didn’t have a mask and when they gave her one, she refused to wear it. She sat on the floor and then asked for a refund for her purchase because they would not let her roam the store without a mask. When she left the store, she threw the mask on the ground. She supposedly is trying to make a point – although I don’t think she has a point, she just looks foolish! Her rights end where mine begin. Society is not a free-for-all where any individual gets to do whatever he or she damn well pleases. For those that think that way, drop out of society, go live by yourselves! As a society, as a nation, it is our duty to respect each other’s rights as well as assert our own. It’s in all of our interest to comply with society’s rules, for the betterment of society and thus our own lives as well.
It actually makes me really angry that the United States lacks the leadership to set an example and to encourage people to follow these mitigation measures. My husband and I are retired and love to travel, which we have not been able to do. And now many countries are banning Americans from entering their territory (such as the EU) because the situation here is so dire. Other countries have gotten the spread of the virus under control – we could too, if we had leadership at the national level. Our country is suffering in many ways because people are non-compliant: more deaths, more spread of the virus, overextended hospitals and medical personnel, students unable to return to school, etc. It is simply inexcusable!!
I live in a state, Illinois, which has had a high number of cases, but we are “flattening the curve” here because most people are compliant with the mandate to wear a mask in public places and to maintain 6 foot distance. The states where the virus is out of control are mostly those controlled by Republican governors who decided to follow Trump’s lead – and not lock down their states early enough – they are now are regretting it, I think! Our governor, J.B. Pritzker, has been critical of Trump’s response and he took measures based on the science early (by mid-March – that was considered early in the U.S.). And the mayor of Chicago is kicking people off beaches who don’t wear masks while out of the water and don’t maintain the appropriate distance from others. She is also exacting fines for people who refuse to follow the mask mandate in government buildings. In private businesses, most are also requiring mask wearing and it’s up to them to enforce it.
In my opinion, it should be a federal mandate due to a medical emergency situation to wear masks, and a fine should be imposed on those not wearing them.
Fandango’s Provocative Question this week is a topic being debated in the news lately. Our non-leader Orange Man wants all the kids to return to school and virus be damned. Many, if not most, districts have been saying that online learning has had mixed results so far. I can easily believe that. Fandango’s question is:
Do you believe that students should be required to return to school for the new school year? If you are a parent, are you at all concerned about sending your children to school? Or are you relieved to get the little rugrats out of your hair?
Fandango acknowledges this question is one of the most dire dilemmas in the countries where covid-19 is out of control, such as the United States by giving these stats:
He continues, “And with between 60,000 and 70,000 new cases each day and 1,000 or more deaths each day, the virus shows no signs of abating anytime soon.
“Donald Trump, the President of the United States, is trying to pretend that everything is fine and that we need to reopen the country and return to ‘normal.’ To that end, he is demanding that schools physically reopen in the fall, even as the coronavirus pandemic is surging through much of the country and is threatening to overwhelm many health care facilities in the hardest hit areas.“
Being an American, I am coming from this perspective. I am going to answer from the point of view of a former K-5 teacher, whose students were in the majority low income and whose first language was not English.
The question of whether or not to send kids back to school next month is really a dilemma and let me first say that I am very glad right now that I retired from teaching five years ago. “Distance learning” is OK, possibly even desirable, for college students and to some extent, high school students. Much of the debate we hear is geared toward high school when solutions are proposed, such as having the teachers rotate classrooms instead of the kids.
I say, YES, students should go back to school but with some major changes. Here are some things I foresee.
Masks:Uniform masks should be supplied to all students free of charge. They should be replaced every day. The first thing I thought of when mask wearing was proposed was all the wiggly, fidgety K-3 students I have dealt with over the years I spent teaching. I could visualize them playing with their masks – pulling on the elastic, putting their grubby little fingers all over the cloth surface, trading masks with other kids, or throwing them at other kids. I can see it even becoming a fad to have the “coolest” mask. The kind of thing that was so distracting that I had to ban certain fad items to keep the kids from fighting over them or showing them off, trading, playing with them, etc. I don’t know if little kids can really understand the importance of wearing a mask and some of them I am sure will not be able to get used to them. In a child’s cognitive development, empathy and the ability to think about something from someone else’s point of view do not really come into play until they are 8 or 9 years old.
Physical distancing: Students should be divided so that some go in the morning, some go in the afternoon, and if necessary, restrict the number of in-class days to 2 or 3. As for physical distancing, this too can be hard. Part of school is learning appropriate ways of interacting with other children. Plus, little kids are really into hugs – they LOVE to hug! Especially their teachers, but also their best friends or to comfort a crying classmate. Many, especially the youngest students, would find it unnatural and difficult to adjust to a strictly hands-off policy. But having fewer kids in the classroom at any one time would help.
Another proposal that could be included in this would be to expand the school year to year-round. There are already many schools that have year-round schedules, but this maybe could become the norm. This would make it more viable for the students to be in the classroom longer, because they could be rotated in this way too. So, for example, half the third graders in School X would have spring break in the third week of March, while the other half would have spring break in the fourth week of March. Of course, this will probably draw objections from teachers and from parents who have children in different grade levels with different schedules. These are problems that will have to be worked out by each individual institution or district.
“Virtual” classrooms:Some distance or virtual learning will be necessary, probably close to 50% of the students’ school time.Students will be required to participate in the distance learning activities and submit whatever work the teacher requires. Virtual school can only do so much. Some children don’t have access to computers at home, so they’d have to spend their day in a library, probably in close proximity to others doing the same thing. (And how would they get to the library if no one is home to take them?) Also, as I said before, face-to-face interaction is important especially when the students are young.
Entire curricula for online learning will have to be developed and designed; teachers will need extra inservice and professional development days to learn the programs and set up their virtual classrooms, and then to tweak the programs later on. I have no doubt there are plenty of educational supply companies that would love to find a new source of revenue designing, refining, and updating these curricula. The companies themselves might even be willing to train the teachers to use the programs, but probably not all the ongoing training and updating throughout the school year.
Where would the extra revenue come from? There would need to be funds spent on infrastructure (in some cases), equipment, staff (including an increase in the number of teachers), training, curricula, the expenses involved in keeping schools open for longer periods of time, etc. Would governments, however, be able and willing to spend a lot more on education than they currently do? How many referendums for increased school spending would be approved by voters? Because no matter what kind of solutions will be found and agreed to by school boards and parents, it is going to take MONEY, honey!! Beaucoup bucks! Mucho dinero! Too often, way too often, governments impose new requirements with good intentions, but do not provide funding for them. Schools and districts have to stretch their budgets to incorporate the new requirements.
First, they will have to supply everychild with an iPad or laptop computer to use at home. (It will not work in the end if kids have to share their portable computer with siblings.) Sometimes these items will be abused, broken, lost or stolen. It should work pretty well in affluent suburbs, but what about in inner cities? If something happens to the iPad/laptop, whether or not it is the student’s fault, will (s)he be supplied with another one?
I see this as a necessity for any of the solutions being proposed. Even before covid-19, school districts were already making the decision to supply (or not) all students with iPads or laptops, because computers have become vital to all of our lives and kids need to know how to use them and learn on them, whether they have physical school or not. Poorer districts, of course, do not have the means to do as much of this. Inequality enhanced by access to technology will become a greater problem than it already is. And what about rural areas where internet connectivity is spotty? Is the federal government going to provide the infrastructure to correct that, so that every single citizen of this country has equal access to the internet? I’m not optimistic, no matter who is elected in November.
Increase in teaching & support staff: Placing the additional burden of both in class and distance learning on the current staff at any given school will cause more stress and higher rates of attrition. Therefore, creative solutions will have to be found. Team teaching is one good solution, in my opinion. Perhaps new positions could also be created for tutors (who would help the struggling students at home, for example). But I guarantee, a commitment will have to be made to hire more teachers, so that the student-teacher ratio can become more like 15-1 than the current 25 to 30 students per teacher.
I know this is a long-winded answer, but I wanted to make it clear that I don’t agree with just sending students back to school without drastic modifications and a commitment to spending more on education. As a former teacher, I also wanted to lend my expertise to my answer. I know there are a lot of issues I didn’t cover or even think of. Thanks to everyone who read this entire post!
The word for Fandango’s One Word Challenge today is assume.
I think many of the conflicts we have with others, and the rifts between large swaths of society in the U.S. today, are due to the assumptions we make about each other. When we assume things about others, we create or reinforce stereotypes. Here are some examples:
“I assume he is a racist because he supports Trump.”
Although it is hard to understand why a person who is NOT racist would support Trump, there are many people like this. Perhaps for them, racism is not a central issue. I mean, there are even a few Blacks who support him (that I really cannot understand!). While we may think such people are stupid, ignorant, or supporting a president whose policies go against their own interests, it doesn’t necessarily follow that they are racist. Many Republicans hold their noses and put up with Trump because they want to stack the courts with conservative judges or they want abortion to be further restricted or outlawed altogether.
2. “She is college educated, graduated summa cum laude, top of her class. I assume she would never vote for Trump.”
Wrong again! Can you believe there are smart, college-educated women who vote for Trump? We assume the profile of a Trump voter is a person who is ignorant, not well-educated, racist, unintelligent, probably disgruntled white male. While many (perhaps a majority) Trump supporters may fit this profile, we should not assume all of them do.
3. “My son’s friends surely will vote this year! They didn’t in 2016 and look what happened. After living through four years of this moron, they’ll be willing to wait for hours in line just to vote him out of office.”
Once again, we should not assume that turn-out in November will be huge. We assumed Hillary Clinton was going to be elected in 2016, and look what happened. Part of the problem was low voter turn-out. I do not understand why citizens would not exercise their right to vote, one of our rights guaranteed by the Constitution. If Trump is re-elected again in 2024, we will most likely have fewer rights than we have now. Our democracy is already flawed; four more years of this corruption and ineptitude would put democracy on very precarious footing.
However, the mid-term elections of 2018 did have a record high turn-out, causing speculation among liberals that this was an indictment of the Trump administration. And aren’t there millions of young people eligible to vote for the first time registering? What about the kids who were passionate to end mass shootings? What about all the American counterparts of Greta Thunberg? Climate change is an existential threat, and so is Trump.
I can tell these things to people until I’m blue in the face, but it doesn’t guarantee they will get their asses off their couches and go to the polls on a nasty cold November day. If we assume that people are going to vote according to their interests, we will also be disappointed. People vote against their interests all the time, whether they know they are doing so or not. Voting is not an objective process – it is most often quite subjective. People vote according to what they feel, not necessarily based on knowledge or facts.
And looking at this from the other side, what do Trump supporters assume about liberal Democrats?
Don’t assume we are all left-wing or socialists. Some of us are, but most are not. Don’t assume that when we protest, we encourage violence. Nothing could be further from the truth. Don’t assume we want to allow anyone to come into this country, including criminals, drug pushers, and rapists. We simply want an immigration system that is humane and respectful to those who seek asylum. Don’t assume we are all in on some insidious plot to ultimately overthrow the U.S. government. Don’t assume we all want to take away all your guns. Don’t assume we want to encourage voter fraud by allowing people to vote by mail. Don’t assume we want to “discriminate” against white people. I am white, why would I want that? We just embrace the ethnic diversity that our country has undeniably become.
I think most assumptions we make about “the other side” are based on our own biases and often are “projections” (saying that ‘the other side’ is doing whatever nefarious deeds that in fact your own leaders are doing).
What we need to do, instead of pushing people away by making assumptions about them, is to communicate with each other. Engage in a dialogue. We will certainly not always agree, and probably won’t change others’ minds about most things, but we can at least understand each other. We may even end up liking each other, sometimes.
AN INJUSTICE ANYWHERE THREATENS JUSTICE EVERYWHERE.
This paraphrases a quote by Martin Luther King Jr. The meaning hasn’t changed – I have just reduced it to six words to qualify for the Six Word Saturday challenge hosted by Debbie Smyth’s Travel With Intent.
We talk so much in the U.S.A. about freedom. Freedom is sort of our motto; it’s a word used casually without thinking too much about it. But what is freedom, really? Yes, there are the freedoms guaranteed in the Bill of Rights. But without justice, what is freedom?
The Pledge of Allegiance we all learn in elementary school ends with the phrase with liberty and justice for all. (Also six words, btw. 🙂 )
Perhaps we need to focus on justice instead of freedom. Because justice includes freedom – justice allows the judged to be as free as anyone else in society. And without justice, one is not really free. Think about it: A law is passed giving everyone 18 and over the right to vote, regardless of gender, race, creed, etc. Yet when a certain group of people is denied the right to vote by voter suppression methods, then that group in reality doesn’t have the right to have their voice heard through voting. This was a problem in the Jim Crow South when blacks were obliged to take a test or pay a tax when they went to register to vote. Although the Civil Rights Act of 1964 put a stop to that, officials in some states have lately found new ways to deny the vote to certain groups. Sure, a lawsuit can be filed, but it may not go into effect in time for people to vote. During a pandemic, do citizens really have the freedom, the right, to vote if they must do it in person instead of by mail?
I got to thinking about this while reading an Op Ed in our local newspaper, The Daily Herald. Quoting the writer of this editorial, Keith Peterson*: “in many countries the term freedom did not resonate in the ways that it does in American hearts. More often than not, the word that resonated was justice.” Justice is about setting to right a history of wrongs.
Today there was a news item that Donald Trump, through executive order, has modified an Obama-era health care law by excluding transgender people from the guarantee of health care. In other words, if a transgender person goes to the ER, the medical staff does not have to give that person treatment. A transgender person then has the right to sue the hospital or doctor for refusal of health care, but how practical is that when the person needs immediate medical treatment? (By the way, today is the anniversary of the Orlando Pulse nightclub massacre and this month is LGBTQ Pride Month. I do not think Trump’s action on this particular day was an accident.)
Some people would like to ban Muslims from this country or have defaced or vandalized local mosques. The worshippers of those mosques are afraid of violence against them because of epithets written on a wall of their mosque. Where is their freedom to worship? It depends on litigation and prosecution – in other words, justice.
The protests against police brutality in the last two weeks all over the U.S.A. and all over the world have had an impact: many cities are already rethinking the organization and training of their police forces.
Justice sometimes takes time, lots of time. But we must demand it. Freedom and equality depend on it.
*Keith Peterson lives in Lake Barrington, Illinois. He served 29 years as a press and cultural officer for the United States Information Agency and Department of State. Quote taken from Keith Peterson, “World is watching us for justice” in Daily Herald (Northwest Suburban Edition), June 7, 2020, p. 12 sec. 1.
Fandango’s One Word Challenge this week is the topic of risk.
Risk taking is a major consideration these days. With a coronavirus pandemic still raging, while the federal government chooses to ignore its continuation and many states “opening” – opening beaches, restaurants, other places where people gather in close quarters. Of course, one can take precautions to avoid the risk of being infected. But what if something is too important to stay at home and do nothing? When yet another black person was unnecessarily killed by the police, people all over the world took the risk of being in close contact with others to protest. And the protests, being so large and widespread, led many cities to reexamine their police departments to initiate radical reforms. So in this case, for those thousands of protesters, the risk was worth it. We may see a spike in Covid-19 cases within the next week or so that could be traced to the protests. Some of the people who marched and carried signs, even with masks on, may have contracted the virus, and some may die.
To risk one’s life for a cause – that was the choice these past two weeks. It is not a new phenomenon: people have risked their lives for causes they believed in throughout history. Those who work as doctors or nurses in hospitals overflowing with coronavirus cases without proper PPE risk their lives at work every day. Those who hid Jews or joined the resistance movements during the Nazi era in Europe risked their lives. The men and women who fight in wars risk their lives. Those who protested the disappearance of loved ones during the dictatorships in Latin America risked their lives. Young people in China in June, 1989 risked their lives by protesting in Tiananmen Square in Beijing. Refugees risk their lives crossing borders to flee war or persecution, travel in dangerous circumstances, and when they get to what they hope is a safe haven, there is the risk they will be sent back to their countries to certain death.
Yet courageous people continue to risk their lives in some way every day.
If you could choose anyone, past or present, and walk that proverbial mile in his or her shoes, who would you choose, and why would you choose that person?
I have been thinking about this question for a couple of days, since I read Melanie’s response that she would choose Trump and why. I thought her reasoning was good. Tonight after listening to the news of the pandemic, getting worse and more chaotic every day, and Trump’s response worse every day, I decided who I would choose:
A typical die-hard Trump supporter (such as a certain otherwise nice man in Florida that I happen to be tangentially related to)
Why? Because I cannot fathom how, after three months of the worst response by a national leader in the world to a worldwide pandemic, with over a million cases and almost 100,000 dead in the U.S. alone, anyone can actually listen to Trump and still support him.
I know that die-hard Trump supporters have been hearing for years that Democrats are the cause of all the problems in this country. The aforementioned “gentleman” has posted as much on Facebook. He states a problem that really has nothing to do with politics and then blames the Democrats. (The only thing he hasn’t blamed on Democrats is his wife’s terminal illness.) So with this conditioning, this group of gullibles is ripe for conspiracy theorists, the rantings of Rush Limbaugh and the lies of right wing media (as well as the half-truths of Fox). I understand that.
But certainly these people must be seeing what is happening all around them right now. What is happening bears no resemblance to the rosy picture Trump has been trying to paint. People are afraid because friends and relatives are getting covid-19 and some of them are dying. People are scared to go back to work where they could be exposed. Health care workers and hospitals are over-extended. Many of the Trump supporters’ friends and family, I’m sure, have lost their jobs and now have no health insurance. (Almost everyone was promised a check from the government to help with expenses during the pandemic. I don’t know a single person who has actually received one.)
Turn on the TV and they will see their “hero” Donald Trump. Every day he blatantly lies to us. He doesn’t know what he is doing. It is obvious to any thinking person that the man is completely out of his league during this crisis. First he tried to deny the seriousness of it, saying it would soon disappear. (Ignore a problem and it will go away – works every time!!) A week or so later, he was saying that the “warm weather” that would come in April would make it go away. Of course, that didn’t happen (nor was the weather in April particularly warm this year – no surprise there). Over the succeeding weeks, he continued to make one false statement or assumption after another.
My memory has never been very good, yet I don’t have trouble keeping track of these statements. So why is the average Trump supporter not beginning to have doubts about a president who can’t get the story straight and constantly contradicts himself or contradicts what is clearly happening in hospitals and workplaces all over the country?
He says he doesn’t “take responsibility” for any of the things that have gone wrong. Even if he were completely blameless, a real leader DOES carry the responsibility for the welfare of his/her country even when that leader has done everything correctly! Trump shows no sympathy, no empathy. Every time he is in front of the public, he is campaigning for re-election. About a month ago, when the CDC officials were still allowed to be present at his daily briefings, he actually had a propaganda video about how great a job he has done since January in handling the pandemic! How does this help the viewers get the information they need to carry on with their lives? If they have to stay at home, what good does it do to tell them how great their president is – why not at least show some empathy for what the people are going through.
When Congress passed relief bills, he took all the credit. He announced that everyone would get a check for over $1000 to help them through (not that that was enough, but still, it was a start), yet few people have received it up until now. He trashes the post office (which would be delivering these relief checks to people) because he is afraid of voting by mail.
He said “everyone who wants a test can get a test” and repeatedly has declared that the United States has done more testing than any other nation. In that case, why do we have the most cases and the most deaths of anywhere in the world? (And this without the widespread testing he claims we have.) Certainly some of these Trump supporters have heard stories of sick people who have gone to the ER to try to get a coronavirus test and were turned away because testing wasn’t available.
So even being indoctrinated by right-wing media, people are seeing what Trump is publicly doing and saying every day. Pence goes to the Mayo Clinic and won’t wear a mask. Trump is so vain he didn’t want to be photographed wearing a mask while visiting an auto plant in Michigan. He took it off within a short time, in violation of the company’s rules. Why do Trump supporters think this is a good thing, that it’s okay for him to put other people’s lives in danger and to disrespect the rules established in that place?
He claims he has been taking a malaria drug as a preventive measure for covid-19 (which is doubtful, but since he insists on it, I will assume he is for now), yet doctors have been saying that there is no proof that it works for coronavirus and in fact, can have serious negative side effects. He muses that maybe we should ingest bleach, because it works to sanitize our counters and toilets. Some really stupid people actually tried it after he said that. This is the thing your parents told you from a young age was dangerous to drink and kept it locked in a cabinet with child safety locks.
And now he is actively encouraging the states to “reopen” their economies and get on with normal life, even though it has already been proven that physical distancing and staying at home, and wearing masks in public, have been effective for at least containing the virus’ spread. I get it – people need to work, they need their lives back. But do they want to risk their lives and their loved ones’ lives so they can go back to drinking in bars and getting haircuts? Do they really want to send their kids to school or go to church if it endangers their lives?
So if I could “walk in the shoes” of an avid Trump supporter for 24 hours during the chaos of the coronavirus pandemic, I would do it. I really want to understand why 39% of the American population still thinks Trump has handled this crisis well. I really want to know why their reality is so different from everyone else’s.
It has been awhile since I have participated in Share Your World. It’s usually because I’m busy and don’t catch it; occasionally I can’t relate to the questions. Anyhoo, here are my responses to this week’s Melanie’s Share Your World (SYW).
QUESTIONS: Why do we seem to respect the dead more than the living?
Perhaps we take the living for granted, which is a shame. However, I have been to many memorial services in which I have found out more about the deceased’s life than I had ever known before when (s)he was living. Another reason may be that we respect true heroes. A hero is a person who sacrifices his/her life (if necessary) for others. Thus, we have men and women who have served in our military, fighting wars that supposedly are to help keep us free. (I disagree that most modern wars have done that, but that is another topic entirely!) Heroes are firefighters who may lose their lives while putting out fires or afterward, or leaders who have done something extraordinary – such as Abraham Lincoln. The point is, many heroes die in the act of heroism, which is often how we find out about them.
Still, I don’t think I respect the dead more than the living. The dead are gone and likely are unaware of whether or not their graves are well-maintained. I think it is more important to respect the living – each human being on Earth has something to offer and deserves respect, for what they do or just because they are alive.
I admit, there are a few people that I really do NOT respect. One currently occupies the White House. The other is a man with a toad face who is Majority Leader of the Senate. In spite of the message in the graphic, I don’t respect people who constantly lie or who are hypocrites. Most other vices, though, I will tolerate and respect the person anyway!
Why is beauty associated with morality? Or not? (a few weeks back I asked a similar question, but the key word was MORTALITY, not MORALITY). I have never associated beauty with morality, at least not physical beauty. Perhaps the beauty that “shines from within” because a person lives a moral life makes an association between the two, but I don’t feel beauty and morality are associated. Someone may be very beautiful – physically attractive – yet act like a total A-hole. And I see beauty in nature, so there’s no real “morality” there.
Have gadgets and apps taken away emotions? No, I think they have intensified emotions, at least in the case of social media. People get very upset by negative posts or comments on Facebook, for example. When someone really makes you irate, you go so far as to “unfriend” them!! Social media can make or break someone’s day emotionally. When I travel, I post photos on Facebook and always look to see how many “likes” I get for that day’s post!
Gadgets – such as our cell phones where we can engage easily in social media or texting – can be devastating to a young person who is the victim of cyberbullying, or publishing lies that circulate through Facebook, Instagram, etc. and can be harmful to one’s reputation. Cyberbullying evokes emotions such as fear, anger, shame.
On the other hand, I have found social media and texting to be very positive for me. For my nieces and nephews, and for my son & daughter, social media is the main way they communicate. I have gotten to know – and therefore grow closer – to some of my nieces who live far away so I don’t see them much, but follow their lives on Facebook and Instagram. I coo over the photos they publish of their new babies, and laugh at their antics that they immortalize in their Facebook posts. Then when I actually see them, I feel I know them because I have been accompanying their lives! I know when my own kids are in a good mood by reading their Facebook posts. I also like texting because I have a bit of phone phobia. I would rather text than call someone, so I tend to communicate more with friends or family members who text. My son got me into the texting habit – texting is his main way of communicating with us, his parents. If he calls us at 4:00 a.m., it is unlikely we will answer the phone because we are asleep, but a text message can be read anytime and answered at one’s own convenience.
So I would say that overall, our reliance on apps and gadgets have increased our emotional volatility. We see, we react immediately. We meet and fall in love online. We cherish the photos our families post online and travel vicariously with them. Our apps, especially social media, therefore, influence our emotional ups and downs very much.
And a GPS app that leads me astray makes me feel very FRUSTRATED!!
Is there a perfect life? What’s your version of a perfect life if you care to share? If I had the life that I, sitting here in front of this computer, imagine would be the perfect life, I doubt that it would really be perfect. For example, I might say that the perfect life would involve traveling most of the time. However, while engaged in that life, surely I would find something imperfect about it – I find accommodations inadequate, I miss being home and seeing my kids and my cat. There’s always something one can complain about! If I could dream about the perfect life, I would not imagine the problems that perfect life would create. And therefore, it wouldn’t be perfect!
If you’d like, please share something uplifting or for which you are grateful. I am grateful for the life I have, the advantages I have been blessed with. I am grateful for my imperfect life! (Who needs perfection? It would be so boring!)