Lies Are Killing People: Lies and Caring Only for One’s Own Power

On Thursday, 4/2, Ari Melber, on his MSNBC program, interviewed Kirsten Gillibrand and later talked with Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel and others. I greatly appreciated Senator Gillibrand saying “we need truthtellers now.” And Dr. Emanuel continuing with this theme, saying we have to pay attention to facts. Lies are killing people.

 

The Coronavirus is making it abundantly clear what half of the population of the US already knew—not only that DT lies, constantly. Not only does he do so to serve his own self-interest or express his ignorance. But these lies are dangerous. They can and are, right now, killing people. We have to combat the lies, distortions, fake news in order to save not only ourselves but the lives of all those we care about.

 

Likewise, earlier in the week Senator Chris Coons (D, Delaware), and on Friday, Rachel Maddow, talked about the fact that DT, just like George Bush with Katrina, and most of the “reduce government” GOP, feel it is not their job to save lives in a crisis, not their job to organize the manufacture and supply of medical equipment or relief aid.

 

In fact, according to CNN and recordings of the “news conference,” on Thursday, 4/2, DT’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, who is now in charge of the coronavirus relief effort, chastised governors for asking the Federal Government to send the medical supplies in its stockpiles to the cities and states that desperately need them. At one point, Kushner even said that the federal stockpile of emergency medical supplies is not meant for the states. “It’s supposed to be our stockpile.” The CNN article questioned who did Kushner mean by “our?” I wonder. Did he mean the Trump family? Or the Federal government? If he meant the latter, the Federal Government, clearly that would mean the people of this nation who need them, right? If he meant the former, he shouldn’t be in charge of anything in the government.

 

But maybe the Trump family is exactly what he meant. Kushner’s father-in-law told Vice President Pence to ignore the calls for aid by Governors who did not show appreciation for him. Some states, like Florida, led by devotees of DT, got all the aid they asked for, and quickly. Others still haven’t seen all or any equipment. Meanwhile, DT outbid Governors for needed supplies.

 

Since he became President, DT ignored warnings of a possible pandemic and ignored warnings about this pandemic. He cut funds for the CDC, NSC, Homeland Security, and Health and Human Services to fight global diseases and dismantled the White House team in charge of global health security.

 

According to the New York Times, he has invoked the Defense Production Act hundreds of thousands of times to help the military.  But now, when so many lives are at stake, he won’t actually use it. There is no rational reason for this behavior except that he doesn’t think it is in the best interests of corporations to use this power, or he thinks it is not in his best interest to end the crisis quickly, and not his job to serve the best interests of most of the people of this nation. This is one aspect of what “smaller government” means to him and to many in the GOP.

 

It is not just that DT is totally unsuited for the Presidency but that he will use anything, even a pandemic, as a means to serve his own ends, even if those means end up sacrificing the nation.

 

We need to get or stay healthy, and when we can, make calls, write letters, put up signs, do everything we can not only to vote but to get others out to vote in November, and secure mail-in ballots for all. As we can now see, our lives might depend on it.

Speaking with the Medicine Buddha

I was reading an article by David Michie, in a September, 2018 “Lion’s Roar” magazine, about “How to Invoke the Medicine Buddha,” and I immediately did the practice. In this time of threat and anxiety, it was just what I needed.  It reminded me of healing visualizations and meditations I had done in the past and found helpful and enjoyable.

 

And afterwards, I wanted to invoke this Buddha for all of us. I wanted to stand before him and talk directly with him ⎼ or allow him to speak directly through me. I wanted the Medicine Buddha to speak to our nation, to help us all heal, heal our neighbors, this country, this world. We need so much medicine nowadays, medical supplies, an anti-coronavirus vaccine. An anti-ignorance vaccine. A pro-compassion vaccine.

 

Today we are seeing what society looks like when the whole is greatly stressed. I remember looking at paintings of the plague in the Middle Ages. And I look around me. The sky is still the sky. The birds still call. Sometimes it rains. Sometimes the sun shines. It doesn’t look like the plague. Unless, maybe, you go to some city hospitals and see the freezer trucks they are using to store the dead. Not quite a horse driven wagon full of bodies, not the “Black Death,” thanks to modern science, but there are comparisons.

 

But as each level of our society is stressed, it is the small things that hold us together. It certainly isn’t our deluded leader, not the supposed head of the Federal government. Many state or local leaders are being helpful, and certainly first responders, doctors and nurses are risking their lives for others. Retired and other health care workers are volunteering to work in overstressed hospitals to care for patients. Cashiers and the people who stock the shelves in the grocery store. Individual people as well as the systems they maintain. It is our families and friends. Relationships. Even though we are all isolated, or maybe because of it, we are more sensitive to relationships…..

 

To read the whole post, go to The Good Men Project.

Using Corona Shock to Sacrifice Democracy

Just imagine hearing someone describe you as expendable, or saying you weren’t worth saving from a disease. And this isn’t “The Lottery,” the short story by Shirley Jackson, about a small but modern village that sacrifices a person each spring to ensure a good harvest. It isn’t the ancient Inca who sacrificed children, or ancient Britain or Sumer. This is the United States, today.

 

This is the Lt. Governor of Texas saying people should go back to work despite the pandemic, and the old people who are more vulnerable and might therefore die from the illness should be glad to sacrifice themselves so the economy can be saved.

 

It includes Larry Kudlow, DT’s chairman of the National Economic Council, saying: “we’re gonna have to make some difficult trade-offs”, i.e. we’re going to have to let some people die so the Stock Market can live.

 

It includes the Governor of Florida, Ron DiSantis, who kept open their beaches so the young could frolic in crowds and later bring the virus to towns and cities throughout the nation. But the old—they could be sacrificed.

 

It includes Republican Tate Reeves, the Governor of MississIippi, who decided to override all town and city stay-at-home orders to send workers back to their jobs, despite increasing numbers of coronavirus victims in neighboring states. And DT has decided that by Easter, all will be well. People must go back to work. His economic numbers must look good.

 

Esquire Magazine has a highly disturbing article about just how far the far right has been taking the meme that some need to be sacrificed. This sacrifice never includes the rich (I think they would sacrifice a Jewish or person of color who was rich) and never includes decreasing the profits of large corporations. One spokesman talked about social isolation as creating a “demonic atmosphere” — maybe they think a commitment to save all lives is Satan’s work.

 

In contrast, Governor Cuomo of New York said it’s not an either-or choice, to protect public health or protect the economy. “My mother is not expendable.” There are choices the President could have made for the last two months and could make now to avert a deeper disaster, but he isn’t doing it. For example, he could use the Defense Procurement Act to get manufacturers to switch to producing more ventilators and other medical supplies. He has signed the order to invoke the act but hasn’t (as of 3/25) used it to get anything produced….

 

To read the whole post, go to The Good Men Project.

Using Imagination and Mindfulness to Inquire into Big Questions

**This article was written and scheduled to be published by the Education that Inspires online magazine 6 – 8 weeks ago, before we knew the devastation the coronavirus could have on our world. The post now seems to me an artifact of a lost time. But one thing I hope we learn from the response to this pandemic is how important it is to constantly improve our critical thinking capacity and enhance it with emotional awareness and compassion. And our whole culture needs to put education, public education, in the prominent position it and our children deserve. Our public schools need to be set free from Betsy DeVos and those like her, set free from the 30+ years of corporate attacks on public education masquerading as “reform,” and allowed to teach critical thinking enhanced by imagination, social-emotional awareness and compassion. If we learn how to think more critically and compassionately, and we study our world and examine what our political representatives say, and do, more clearly, maybe there will be less of a chance anything like this situation will happen again. For now, maybe this post can inspire online educational discussions.**

 

Teenagers are natural philosophers, when the educational environment is open to them asking sincere questions. They are constantly asking themselves, their friends, and, hopefully, their teachers questions like: “Is love real? What does friendship mean? Who or what am I?” So, one of the first things to do is discover what questions the students have related to the course ⎼ or life⎼ and what questions they think must be answered to better understand the course material.

 

One of the big questions often raised, although sometimes students can’t verbalize it, is “Do we have free will or is that just a comforting illusion?” It is related to the question of “Who am I?” And: “How much freedom do I have to shape who I am and what I feel?” Such questions provide educators opportunities to develop their students’ critical and creative thinking and engage with the Philosophic Imagination.

 

I remember students gleefully proclaiming in a class discussion that we have no free will. I don’t know if they did this after studying in a science class how every event has a cause, and they were saying to me or to the rest of the class: “I know something you don’t.” Or if saying “there is no free will” was an assertion of it, like saying “I am not bound by old ways of thinking.” It didn’t matter that by saying there was no free will they were denying what their emotions were proclaiming. Or maybe they were just daring me to prove otherwise.

 

Once in a psychology class, we were discussing compassion and one student asked: “Are we really free to be kind when we want? Maybe some people are just born nice. With all that we learned in science about how chemical and electrical messages and genetics control us, how can we be free to decide anything?”

 

I asked: “What does it mean to be free? Does it mean we act without any reason or that there are no restraints on what we do? Or that every time we have a thought or desire, we act it out? Would we feel free then?”

 

“I would feel a slave if I had to express every thought I heard in my mind,” responded one student.

 

“But would I lose my spontaneity if I didn’t act on my thoughts?” asked a third student.

 

Then I asked: “Does what we know or believe influence how we act? If we learned about experiments that show people can learn to act with more kindness and compassion, would we be more kind? Or if we studied experimental evidence that mindfulness training strengthens the parts of the brain that prepare us to act to help others⎼ would knowing that change your mind, or not, about being free to be kind even if you weren’t born kind?”

 

How do you start the discussion? Decide on a question for imaginative mindful inquiry.

 

After students have settled down and we have greeted them, tell them the question for the day. “Our question for today is What does it mean to be free?” Ask them to raise their hands if the question has come up for them in discussions with friends or family.

 

In engaging in this discussion, we need to keep in mind religious beliefs about the question. We might also have to re-shape the questions we ask to meet the age and personal history of our students.

 

One way to start is with an exercise in imagination and mindful inquiry. This can not only introduce the question but develop the skill of self-awareness that is crucial in actually acting freely. And being able to imagine a situation, the implications of one’s words or the consequences of one’s actions, is central to critical thinking and making decisions….

 

To read the whole post, go to the EducationThatInspires magazine.

 

 

How to Stay Sane Together: When You Can’t Leave Home, Make Home A Place You Want to Be

When you see a spouse, friend, sibling, or child every day, how do you maintain and even deepen the relationship? When many of the usual distractions and schedule are interrupted and you are isolated together due to a crisis, how do you stay sane together? It is easy to think each day is the same or you feel cooped up ⎼ or all you think about is what you can’t do and not what you can.

 

In such a situation, it is even more important than usual to increase your moment by moment awareness and realize what you often miss out on, due to your schedule or way of thinking about the world. Do you usually rush through life, from one place to another? Do you often get lost in thoughts or worries? How regularly do you check in on your thoughts, feelings, level of focus or object of awareness? How do you feel right now?

 

Right now you can strengthen your ability to look more clearly and listen more deeply. Look around at the room you are in now. What is something right here that you don’t usually notice or didn’t notice until now? Look at the ceiling, bookshelves, feel the surface of the seat you are sitting on, your belly as you breathe in. Or go outside your house, look up and down the street. What is there that you never noticed before? Or imagine someone who never visited you before was walking towards you. What would she or he see, hear, smell?

 

Notice the quality of light outside. Is it dim or sharp? Is it different from yesterday? How? Or different now than a few minutes ago? How is the light different at 8:00 am versus 4:00 or 5 pm?

 

Look up at the sky. We usually look around us but not up. It is so vast up there, isn’t it? Are there clouds? How fast are they moving or are they so thick they don’t seem to move at all? Just take it in….

 

To read the whole post, go to the Good Men Project.

Corona Shock: Getting Perspective and Taking Action to Protect Ourselves and Our Nation

Besides keeping ourselves mentally clear and calm and physically healthy, and helping others do the same, we have to stay informed about what DT is doing to further undermine the health, any remnants of democracy and the security and stability of our nation. After three years of shocks to  our personal emotions, our collective mental health and our political and legal system, almost two months of the coronavirus has changed almost every aspect of our society. So many changes that we can barely digest it.

 

DT did not cause the coronavirus. And our health care system was inequitable, too expensive, cumbersome, etc. even before DT. But so much has been revealed about how his lack of judgement, incompetence and greed has made the crisis even worse.

 

Let’s go back to January 13, 2017, 7 days before DT took office. As Politico reports, DT’s aides, future cabinet members, even a future press secretary, were briefed by President Obama’s aides as part of the transition of power, on topics like preparing for a possible pandemic, and securing funding from Congress to improve our health care system, prepare antivirals, masks, etc. Besides the fact of the instability of the DT administration that has led to about two-thirds of those officials no longer being in their position, there is little evidence that DT took any of the briefing to heart. Susan Rice, who was at the meeting said: “Rather than heed the warnings, embrace the planning and preserve the structures and budgets that had been bequeathed to him, the president ignored the risk of a pandemic.”

 

He further set up this crisis with his tax cuts to the rich passed in 2017. This reduced government income and increased the national debt, thus making the nation more vulnerable and  less able to respond to a crisis such as the one we are in now. He proposed to help pay for these huge handouts to the rich by cutting programs that serve and protect the majority of us, including Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security.

 

DT and the GOP in general have made us all more vulnerable to a pandemic by wasting government time and resources with their attacks on the Affordable Care Act (Obama-Care) and proposing legislation that helps insurance companies more than the insured. If people cannot afford health care, they might not go for treatment when they feel ill, and thus spread the illness to others.

 

DT’s attitude toward public health could at best be called short-sighted and at worst idiotic and cruel. He proposed cuts to the 2020 and 2021 budgets for the CDC. Cuts to the CDC began in 2018 or earlier, when Obama-era health security funding was cut and the agency ran out of money. According to Fortune Magazine, “Overall in 2018, Trump called for $15 billion in reduced health spending that had previously been approved, …cutting the global disease-fighting budgets of the CDC, National Security Council (NSC), Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and Health and Human Services (HHS) in the process.” He dismantled the entire White House team in charge of global health security that was also created by Obama. Later, he denied knowing about this cut, but video of his talking about the cut shows that is clearly untrue. He proposed Medicaid cuts to nursing facilities for the elderly.

 

In fact, The Atlantic ran an article about how DT’s response to the Coronavirus insured the worst possible outcome. As the New York Times reports, DT has continuously minimized the scale of the coronavirus crisis, treating it as a foreign threat that could be eliminated by building a wall to keep it out. He has contradicted his own public health officials, by talking about going to work when sick, shaking hands with people on his travels (as if the warning by health officials to wash one’s hands was nonsense), and claiming a vaccine will be available soon when it will take a year or more to produce. He has politicized the crisis while blaming the Democrats for doing so, blaming Obama (again), making false statements about how our previous President handled the swine flu epidemic, implementing rules that made testing more difficult (but never happened).

 

DT claimed that the media coverage is part of a political conspiracy to destroy his presidency. He focused more on creating his wall against the “foreign virus” then getting out the test kits that are needed to actually stem this crisis and find out who and how many people actually have the disease.  In fact, the US is clearly far behind other nations in terms of the numbers of those tested.

 

It is good that DT relatively quickly stopped travel to and from China. It is good that this week he is trying to actually, finally, listen to scientists and speak more moderately in his briefings. But some of his proposals to reduce the crisis and help those of us who are sick or have lost jobs or businesses due to the illness, will make things worse. For example, his proposal to cut Medicare and suspend the payroll tax will further hurt those most vulnerable in this crisis. Suspending the payroll tax could undermine SSI while doing nothing to help people who have lost their jobs or businesses due to the virus. If you have no paycheck, a suspension of the tax does nothing for you. It predominantly helps the wealthy. Also, his cuts in the food stamp program and proposed cuts in sick leave will only worsen the situation.

 

And his constant lies, not only about the coronavirus but almost everything, the disinformation campaign propagated by his followers, and his attempts to gag health officials, scientists and others, makes the crisis worse because we can’t trust anything he says.

 

And remember: this crisis began just after DT interfered in the Roger Stone sentencing, fired the former acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire (after he had his aides brief Congress on Russia’s threat to our next election), and replaced him with a DT loyalist. He is clearly trying to turn the intelligence community into an agency to serve his personal political interest, not the nation’s, as he already did at the DOJ. We could go on and on describing his attempts to undermine the rule of law and what’s left of democracy in this nation.

 

We need, once again, to make calls to Congress. We can’t have big protests, due to the virus, only persistent little ones. But we can call and demand investment in health and other infrastructure⎼ we need health care for all, better and free testing, money targeted to assist those most in need, not further entitlements for the rich. A check for a thousand dollars might be nice, helpful for many of us, but will be a bitter pill to swallow by those who lose their food stamps, Medicare, Social Security, hospital bed, or life.

 

 

Here are a few phone numbers of Democratic Senators: NY Dems: Schumer: 202-224-6542 & 212-486-4430, Gillibrand: 202-224-4451. Others: Doug Jones, Al. 202-224-4124; Joe Manchin, W. VA. 202-224-3954; Krysten Sinema, AR: 202-224-4521.

GOP: Lamar Alexander: 202-224-4944, Cory Gardner: 202-224-5941, Mitt Romney: 202-224-5251, Susan Collins: 202-224-2523, Lisa Murkowski: 202-224-6665, Portman: 202-224-3353, Ben Sasse: 202-224-4224, Mike Lee: 202-224-5444.

Dem House: Nancy Pelosi: 202-225-4965

Steny Hoyer: 202-225-4131

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mindful Practices to Use Throughout the Day, To Help Us Face the Coronavirus Crisis

We are, all of us, in a situation few of us, maybe none of us, have ever faced before. It is frightening, because of that newness and because it poses a threat to our health, the health of people we know and care about, and the schools and society that we know and care about.

But how we respond to it is extremely important. We can’t control the situation. But we can control how we respond.

If we take control, plan our days and our time and our actions, then we can feel more powerful. We can do something. We grow stronger.

And as teachers, we have a unique opportunity and responsibility not only to stay healthy, develop our own practice and maintain as clear a mind as we can, but help our students and their families do the same.

Due to the school closings throughout our nation and world, we may have more time on our hands and have to decide how we’ll use that time. Or we may be expected to continue ‘business as usual’ by suddenly coming up with ways to teach online.

When we wake up every morning, although we aren’t usually aware of it, we have a choice. Every morning we can choose how to greet the day.

We can decide what we must do or could do and the best time to do it. We can tie activities that are more unusual or difficult with things we already do, like waking up, going to sleep, and hopefully, eating meals. We can use the activities we do daily already as the basic structure to add the new to the old.

[Teachers, please note: As with any guided meditation or visualization, please try these practices yourself before sharing them with your students. Imagine how your students might respond and make adjustments to fit their needs and history.]

If You Want to Practice in the Morning

When you wake up, you might feel fresh and ready to go, or feel tired, lethargic, or stiff. In any case, your mind is probably clearer in the morning than later in the day. Your body also needs gentle stimulation and stretching. So, it’s one of the best times to do a little exercise and then a mindfulness practice.

 

To read the whole post, please god to MindfulTeachers.org.

Memories Are More Like Stories or Myths than Numbers or Files

It is easy to think our memories are simple and accurate representations of reality, that they are like files that we put away in our mind for times when we need them, or like a bank for safekeeping the past moments of our lives. If we want memories to be a resource to utilize, we have to trust them.

 

But in fact, memories can change. Research shows that every time we access them, they are influenced by or adapt to the situation in which they appear. They are somewhat fluid. So how do we trust them if they change?

 

As we age, it’s not just our memories that change, but everything else about us, our bodies, thoughts, emotions. Memory is complex and there are many different types, mostly depending on how we “store” and “retrieve” them.  I am thinking of long term, autobiographical or declarative (meaning facts or episodes of past events that can be ‘declared,’ spoken about or replayed) memory.

 

Maybe memories are more like myths or stories than numbers or files and they guide us in both obvious and more subtle ways.  One memory I have is from 1970, but I am not sure about anything from this time except the broad details.  I hitch-hiked from New York City to Berkeley, California, and  back. It was soon after I returned from the Peace Corps in Sierra Leone and was trying to figure out what to do with my life.

 

Sometime early in the trip I met a yoga instructor in Berkeley. I thought of him as almost a mythical being who seemed to flow through life in tune with the world, and I started to pick this up from him. Synchronous events or meaningful coincidences happened frequently while I was there. By chance, I ran into someone from college, who had been in the theatre group I was once part of, and we spent a wonderful afternoon together. I met and stayed with one cousin and by chance ran into another. Whatever I needed, I found.

 

One day, I decided to hitch-hike to Mendocino to find a woman who I had grown up with. All I knew about where she lived was that she was living in a commune and that there were communes in Mendocino. I got a ride to a small town most of the way to my destination. But then nothing. No cars, no rides.

 

I was beginning to think my whole plan was crazy. How could I imagine I could just set off without knowing my destination and just arrive there? Then a car stopped on the opposite side of the road. A woman emerged from the car with a small backpack and soon put out her thumb. After maybe a half hour, we looked at and smiled to each other. I crossed the road and we started to chat.

 

She asked where I was going, and I told her I was looking for a friend named Susi (not her real name) who was living in a commune somewhere in or near Mendocino. She said she lived in a commune in the area. A housemate of hers, named Susi, had just left for New York to meet up with a friend who had just returned from the Peace Corps. Me.

 

Just then a car stopped for her. She told me the name and location of the commune and then left with her ride. I eventually got to the commune, stayed for a few days, and then returned to Berkeley. It took a few months before Susi and I got together….

 

To read the whole post, go to The Good Men Project.

How Will Our Response to the Coronavirus Change Our Society? Will the Virus Bring Down This Administration?

So many changes are happening in our nation due to the coronavirus and our response to it that we can barely digest it. And this is on top of the three years of actions taken by DT to undermine the safety of our nation and shock our personal emotions, our collective mental health and our political and legal system. And now, every aspect of our society might be threatened along with the lives of many people.

 

DT is not responsible for the coronavirus. But he is responsible for the incompetence of his response to it and for prioritizing the state of the stock market and his own re-election over any concern for people’s lives.

 

DT set the stage for this crisis with his attitude toward public health, which at best could be called short-sighted, at worst idiotic, cruel, or vengeful (as he pointedly cut programs started by President Obama). He proposed cuts to the 2020 and 2021 budgets for the CDC. Cuts to the CDC began in 2018, when Obama-era health security funding was cut and the agency ran out of money. According to Fortune Magazine, “Overall in 2018, Trump called for $15 billion in reduced health spending that had previously been approved, …cutting the global disease-fighting budgets of the CDC, National Security Council (NSC), Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and Health and Human Services (HHS) in the process.” He dismantled the entire White House team in charge of global health security, also created by Obama.

 

DT’s choices for running the health agencies are also suspect. For example, his choice of Robert Redfield to chair the CDC was controversial. Redfield had once claimed the best way to stop the AIDS epidemic in Africa was through abstinence and monogamy and he was investigated for pushing an HIV vaccine as a huge breakthrough despite the lack of proof for its efficacy. DT appointed Alex Azar, former head of drug giant Eli Lilly, to head HHS. Azar had a record at Lilly for predatory price increases. It is debatable how someone with this record could be responsible for protecting the American people from such predatory practices.

 

As the New York Times reports, DT has continuously minimized the scale of the coronavirus crisis, treating it as a foreign threat you could build a wall to keep out. He has contradicted his own public health officials, by talking about going to work when sick, shaking hands with people on his travels (as if the warning by health officials to wash one’s hands was nonsense), and claiming a vaccine will be available soon when it will take a year or more to produce. He has politicized the crisis while blaming the Democrats for doing so, claiming that the media coverage is part of a political conspiracy to destroy his presidency. He focused more on creating his wall against the “foreign virus” then getting out the test kits that are needed to actually stem this crisis and find out who and how many people actually have the disease.

 

What will we see next? Some public schools and many colleges and universities are shut down. Concerts, sporting events, any large gatherings are being cancelled. Workers are being asked to work remotely. Many of us are sheltering at home, isolated from each other.  All this is understandable. But at the same time, our economy and quality of life is being undermined.

 

Besides our own and our neighbor’s health, we have to watch out for how DT might use the virus to serve his own interest. He has already isolated the US by banning travel to all of Europe except Britain. And why Britain? There are more cases of the virus in England than many other European countries.

 

What will he ask us to accept next in order to re-open schools, restore large gatherings, sporting and artistic events? Will he try to further hide information or gag officials so Americans can’t learn the truth? Will he try to undermine Social Security or other safety net programs in order to pay for treating people with the virus while protecting tax cuts or the safety net for the wealthy? Will he try to cancel or limit voting and political gatherings or protests or legal procedures? Will he further attack or eliminate voices opposed to, or who run against, him? Or, as The Guardian warns, blame immigrants for the virus?

 

Or will our response to the virus unite us, wake us up to the fact that we are all in this together, so health care will be improved? And an overwhelming majority of us, even some of DT’s supporters, will realize just how much he threatens our health, safety, rights and humanity and vote to remove him from office?

 

Update: DT just (on Friday, March 13) declared a state of emergency  to more adequately face the crisis posed by the coronavirus.  This state of emergency is actually justifiable and necessary, unlike his bogus one over the border wall. I agree with a New York Times opinion piece, which called for the emergency declaration while expressing trepidation about a President who is already assuming powers that he shouldn’t be granted and abusing them. I am hoping for the best, considering the dangers this crisis poses, but also watchful.

 

**Update March 21: DT might be appearing more serious about the crisis on televised appearances. But underneath it all, he is still undermining our nation.  Rolling Stone has an article on how DT’s DOJ has asked Congress for legislation giving judges the right to hold people indefinitely and suspend their constitutional rights during the coronavirus and other possible emergencies. Also, DT proposed a temporary suspension of payroll taxes. This cut in taxes could undermine SSI while doing nothing to help people who have lost their jobs or businesses due to the virus. If you have no paycheck, a suspension of the payroll tax does nothing for you. It predominantly helps the wealthy.

According to the New York Times, the GOP just proposed large corporate tax cuts, billions of dollars in loans to corporations, limits to paid sick leave, and a check of up to possibly $1200 to taxpayers, depending on income.

 

 

The Question We Ask Each Morning

The poet, Mary Oliver, wrote:

“Every morning

The world is created…

 

The heaped

ashes of the night

turn into leaves again

 

and fasten themselves to the high branches…”

 

It’s night and the world outside my window is so dark. There is no moon that I can see, and my house is surrounded by woods with no streetlights. But inside, I am lucky. There is another sort of light. My three cats sleep on the bed with me. Two are siblings. Tara, the female, sleeps with her head tucked in her brother’s belly. My wife is changing into sleep clothes.

 

Such trust is here, such vulnerability to each other, that I almost can’t believe it. We do more than keep each other company. We provide the most meaningful light. Together, we release the day and all tensions and questions. We let go of everything except for this moment that we share together. And with great extravagance, we will hopefully let go and sleep.

 

And in the morning… Even though it is still winter, and snow covers the ground, I am awakened early by bird calls. So many species of birds are calling at different volumes and qualities of sound that I feel the earth itself is speaking. Blue jays and crows cry the loudest. But there are also chickadees, woodpeckers, mourning doves, and cardinals. My wife is dressed. One cat is still sleeping. The other two are sitting by the picture window looking out. The light shines so brightly it almost hurts my eyes, until clouds pass overhead and dull it.

 

Each morning asks us the same question, whether we listen or not: what kind of world will we create today?…

 

To read the whole post, go to The Good Men Project.