Giving Thanks Has Special Meaning Today; Celebrating Safely

I almost can’t believe it. Almost. I am going to visit friends, share a Thanksgiving, not virtually, not remote, but in person. Face to face. Maskless. We will be able to see each other’s lips move. We might even hug, not elbow bump. Might. Don’t know yet.

 

We are all boostered. All of us will do a home COVID test beforehand. New hoops to jump through to enable the celebration of a holiday, the first such celebration for us in almost two years.

 

And there is so much to be thankful for. We are alive despite the pandemic.

 

We are relatively sane now one year after suffering four years of a malignant, wanna-be dictator. A man who did his best to shock us into letting him destroy democracy right before our eyes. Who tried to destroy the rule of law as well as truth so we wouldn’t believe the obvious and the factual. Not only about what he was doing to our right to vote but the fact of the earth itself suffering and maybe dying.

 

I am so thankful that President Biden is in the White House, and not the white supremacists, who still disturb the halls of Congress and plot the overthrow of decency and democracy. But, at least for the moment, they don’t totally control things.

 

The tension in the nation has certainly lessened compared to two years ago but is still too high. President Biden has not been perfect by any measure, but he has pushed for more legislation to significantly help the mass of people in this country than I thought he would. He has restored relative rationality to international relations, to facing the climate crisis, as well as ending the pandemic.

 

I anticipated that it would be difficult to get anything done in Congress, due to the GOP’s new identity as the Destroy Democracy Party, and the Party of No, where almost every Republican tries to destroy almost anything Democrats try to pass, especially what would be most helpful to us the people. So I will be even more thankful when Biden and the Democrats end the filibuster, so voting rights legislation passes, along with legislation to promote better childcare, extend the Child Tax Credit, develop clean energy and other environmental legislation.

 

Considering the death threats and incitements to violence coming against him and several other Democrats even from GOP members of Congress, I am so thankful for those who agree to serve democracy.

 

I give thanks to the fact that I still have a voice. The smaller voice of my body and the bigger voice I try to join with, of all those who remember what compassion feels like.

 

And I want to give thanks that I have family and friends, wonderful people, who I’ve known for forty or even fifty plus years. Who care for me and yet aren’t afraid to speak their own truths. Who I can just relax with, be “myself.” Create a holiday with. A celebration.

 

That we also remember, on the fourth Thursday in November, the National Day of Mourning, or Native American Heritage Day. This day reminds us that the story that used to be told of the Thanksgiving holiday is a myth hurtful to Native American people ⎼ and to us if we celebrate and ignore such a painful lie.

 

I wish for all of us a wonderful day of thanksgiving. To remind ourselves of whatever we can be thankful for, to remember those we’ve lost, and what we could’ve lost during the regime of DJT. And of what needs to be done now so we can be safe and celebrate other holidays in the future.

 

*This blog was syndicated by The Good Men Project.

 

Countering the GOP Strategy of Trying to Destroy People’s Faith in Democracy: Instead of Losing Faith, Gain Strength by Staying Engaged

Dan Rather said on 9/10: “It’s almost as if some politicians have decided it’s in their political self-interest for the pandemic to continue to rage.” Almost?

 

On 9/9, Greg Sargent wrote an opinion piece in the Washington Post titled: “How the GOP will exploit Covid to win power and what Democrats can do about it.” I was going to write an article such as this but Sargent saved me the trouble. If you can, please read it. He went on to say, “Here’s a midterm message for you: Judging by the GOP’s continuing slide into extremist and destructive behavior in the face of a surging covid-19, electing more Republicans to positions of responsibility right now would likely mean more economic malaise, sickness, misery and death.” And Democrats are possibly, finally ready to call the GOP strategy what it is.

 

The GOP strategy for “winning” the next election must have become clear to many of us months ago. Going back about 18 months, to shortly after we realized the seriousness of COVID-19 and the nation had shut down, it became clear that DT and the GOP were more invested in saving their political power than saving our lives. They  downplayed or outright lied about the virus, lied about cures, sacrificed workers, children, seniors and people of color to get them back to work and back to schools even when the conditions were unsafe.

 

DT’s main strategy while he was unfortunately in office was shock doctrine material⎼ create enough fear, confusion, and violence, make conditions so bad that people will accept what the wannabee dictator wants. The GOP traumatized the nation for their own political purposes.

 

And now, they are adapting the same strategy. GOP governors, like Ron DeSantis in Florida, are still lying about masks, trying to outlaw mask mandates in schools and cities in their state. He has pushed false cures and undermined the national effort to get people vaccinated, despite being vaccinated himself, by understating the reality of COVID cases in Florida.

 

For most of the summer, Florida led the nation in COVID cases, especially in children. In fact, during that time Florida had one fifth of all the COVID cases in the U. S. Basically, it seems DeSantis has been creating obstacles to healthy practices. As Dan Rather asked, is he doing this so people get sick? Seems so to me.  And then he attacks President Biden for not living up to his promise to put an end to the ravages of the pandemic.

 

In fact, the GOP fight against almost any attempts by Democrats to make the situation in this country better, including fighting COVID relief, or legislation most Americans want and that all would benefit from ⎼ or especially when those measures are most popular.

 

Their actions are de-stabilizing the nation and creating chaos and fear. If we hadn’t already gone through four years of DT, no one would believe, I wouldn’t have believed, they were doing this to get people to think that not only Democrats can’t help them, but democracy itself can’t work.

 

And since the January 6th attack on our nation and the lies about it, and years of them doing more to take away voting rights than facilitate voting, to undermine the voice of the people instead of promoting it, to not just suppress the vote but control how the vote is counted (or if), ending democracy seems exactly what the GOP are invested in.

 

So, I recommend we all take care of ourselves, yet also read Greg Sargent’s opinion piece, stay engaged, directly name the GOP strategy for what it is, and do whatever we can, no matter how little, to counter the disinformation and attempts to destroy what’s left of democracy in this nation — and get people fired up to vote when the midterm elections come around.

 

There are many historical periods and events that we should never forget. DT’s ineptitude and the way he and his GOP enablers malignantly sacrificed millions to the coronavirus and threatened the very existence of a democratic government, all in a desperate attempt to seize absolute power, is surely right up there on that list.

 

**The Good Men Project syndicated this blog.

 

Treating Each Chance to Vote as Our Only Chance to Vote: When to Remember, When to Forget

We want to forget the painful, the frightening, the disturbing, or usually we do. Sometimes, we hold on to what hurts as if the immediate pain could stave off what lies deeper. Sometimes, we just don’t know what to do.

 

And sometimes, we can’t forget for other reasons. It has seeped too far into who we think we are. Or the pain or discomfort helps us act, so we think we can’t allow ourselves to forget. But how do we learn from pain without hurting ourselves even more, and without making ourselves sick? Sickened, yes. But not sick.

 

Many of us so want to forget DT. It has been an amazing relief to not see his face or hear his ravings on tv. But we can’t forget the crimes he committed or the vulnerabilities he exposed in democracy. He and his GOP supporters are doing all they can to force themselves back into the headlines, to get us to focus on our fear of him returning to power instead of the desperation in his efforts to manipulate media and politics to prevent arrest. The list of possible crimes he has committed and possible criminal and civil litigation is extensive.  It is largely up to us to determine how and what we remember.

 

For example, he is planning to re-start MAGA rallies. His GOP never let the “Big Lie” die and are doing all they can to resuscitate it. We remember how DT tried to steal the election from President Joe Biden by falsely claiming the Democrats had stolen it. Most of us saw this live on tv. To distract us further, he and his GOP minions spouted disinformation from Russians claiming Democrats were in the employ of communists.

 

Now, the GOP are saying the insurrection attempt on January 6th never happened. On May 12, during a House Oversight Committee Hearing, GOP Representative Andrew Clyde said “the House floor was never breached.” “To call it an insurrection is in my opinion a bald-faced lie,” he continued. “If you didn’t know that TV footage was a video from January the sixth, you would actually think it was a normal tourist visit.”

 

He, with the support of most of the GOP, are attempting to turn the “Big Lie” into an ugly reality. Remember, the goal of “The Lie” was to crown DT as the Savior-King and deny political power to the majority of Americans⎼ deny the right to protest and the vote. According to the Brennan Center for Justice, in 47 state legislatures, the GOP have introduced 361 bills to restrict and suppress voting, despite no evidence of voting fraud.

 

Of course, they tried this before, just minutes after it happened. They feel they have created an unscalable propaganda wall and their followers will never try to scale that wall and hear, remember, or believe the truth. And they try to eliminate anyone who stands in their way. Remember how they treated conservative Liz Cheney for speaking truthfully about January 6th or how they tried to intimidate Democrats and other government officials.

 

But we remember that if the GOP win, we lose. No justice, no peace….

 

*To read the whole article, please go to The Good Men Project.

Vaccination Frustration: Holding Accountable Those Who Deserve It

Do you want to be vaccinated but can’t even get an appointment?

 

As we hear about friends or neighbors who are the same age as we are and in the same priority group getting vaccinated before us, it can feel like we’re in a competition and losing, or we’re repeatedly doing something wrong.  Because potential relief is so close, we can feel the threats of the virus even more strongly.

 

We had grown almost used to wearing a mask. It had become weirdly “normal” to stay home or stay at a distance from anyone not in our pod, and to think of other humans as potential carriers of an infection that might kill us if we didn’t take precautions, including washing immediately after leaving their presence. For many of us, a compulsion to wash our hands has become a life-saving aptitude.

 

But now there’s a vaccine. Not a cure, but a preventive measure that could protect us from getting sick or dying. Or protect us from some of the strains of the virus. We had grown accustomed to the restraints. Now, the wounds are raw once again.

 

And the new strains add another level to the threat, another unknown. Who knows if the preventive measures we have used in the past will protect us in the future?

 

Last week, I spent hours trying to get a reservation for an appointment. I have spent more time on getting a reservation for a vaccine than I would have, in pre-COVID days, spent on planning a vacation.

 

I was on the website for a local pharmacy for hours and was so excited when I finally found an open appointment. I had just finished filling out the online form and had pressed submit, only to then be informed that the time slot was no longer available.

 

Then my wife and I were able to reserve a time slot at a state-run venue. After doing so, my wife received a recorded message on her phone saying she wasn’t eligible for the vaccine. We are the same age and in the same priority group. We answered all their eligibility questions to their satisfaction⎼ or so it seemed. Now, we will have to call to object or keep on searching for new appointments.

 

How many of us are experiencing the same frustration?

 

It would be easy to try to blame someone. But who do we blame? Biden has been president for less than two weeks. DT and his administration totally mismanaged the pandemic for a year. They put our lives at risk, often refused to take any responsibility for the pandemic. They  undermined this nation in a great variety of ways as well as undermining the incoming administration, so it is DT and his followers who we would blame.

 

To read the whole piece, please click on the link to The Good Men Project who first published it.