Addendum…

There’s still such a rumble out there about Simone Biles’ supposed “dereliction of duty,” I’m posting another story that deserves to be remembered. Simone Biles stands as the Greatest Of All Time in gymnastics, and owes the world precisely nothing. That she’s being dissed for declining to risk life and limb for people she’ll never know and who will never attempt to rise to the greatest heights of anything whatsoever, is sublimely ridiculous, end of story.

🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸

The woman on the left is Elena Mukhina, the 1978 women’s gymnastics World Champion. She broke her leg and was not permitted the appropriate time to heal. Soviet gymnastics coaches pressured doctors to remove her cast early so she could start training for the 1980 Olympics. She protested heavily, as she knew her leg was not properly healed and would not withstand the grueling training regimen typical of her sport. Trainers and coaches dismissed her concerns and forced her to continue her training.

While practicing the Thomas Salto (since banned for being so dangerous), she under-rotated due to her newly weakened leg, and she landed on her chin. She broke her neck, which rendered her quadriplegic for the rest of her life. She was 20 years old at the time and died at 46.

Reports from Tokyo are that Simone Biles does not trust her own mind and body right now. Given the high level of difficulty (and danger) of the skills she performs, it is asking A LOT to expect her to continue to perform before that self-trust is restored. By pulling out of the team finals, she is listening to her body and her mind and giving herself enough time to heal so she can continue being the badass Queen she was meant to be.

Simone is doing what Elena was not permitted to do – be a voice for her own body and mental health. Anybody who would malign Simone for pulling out of the team final (and daring them to settle for the silver medal) should consider how they’d feel if, instead of reading the headline “Simone Biles pulls out of team final,” they were greeted with “Simone Biles paralyzed during dismount.”

And if you asked the rest of Team USA if they’d rather have a healthy Simone Biles or a gold medal, you know damn well what they’d answer, and they wouldn’t have to think for a second.

Angie Woodson – 7/27/2021

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But did you die?

Things… they change. Having taken a step back from the abyss lately, I’ve been dragging my psyche into fewer angst-ridden areas of life, but I’m nevertheless acutely aware of the controversy swirling around Simone Biles and other Million Dollar Babies of the sports world this year, and particularly this week. Apparently some round-headed pretender who likely couldn’t pull the trigger on a chin-up has called Simone Biles “a selfish sociopath” and “a shame to the country” for putting her health and well-being ahead of gold medals. According to Charlie Kirk “We are raising a generation of weak people like Simone Biles.” She’s so embarrassingly weak she does death-defying gymnastic moves nobody else in the world has ever thought of. What a taker.

So hey, if you live through it, no harm done, right? Everything for Mother America. That sounds a little 3rd Reich to me, so I’m giving Byron Heath a guest-essay spot this morning…

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This realization I had about Simone Biles is gonna make some people mad, but oh well.

Yesterday I was excited to show my daughters Kerri Strug’s famous one-leg vault. It was a defining Olympic moment that I watched live as a kid, and my girls watched raptly as Strug fell, and then limped back to leap again.

But for some reason I wasn’t as inspired watching it this time. In fact, I felt a little sick. Maybe being a father and teacher has made me soft, but all I could see was how Kerri Strug looked at her coach, Bela Karolyi, with pleading, terrified eyes, while he shouted back “You can do it!” over and over again.

My daughters didn’t cheer when Strug landed her second vault. Instead they frowned in concern as she collapsed in agony and frantic tears.

“Why did she jump again if she was hurt?” one of my girls asked. I made some inane reply about the heart of a champion or Olympic spirit, but in the back of my mind a thought was festering:

*She shouldn’t have jumped again*

The more the thought echoed, the stronger my realization became. Coach Karolyi should have gotten his visibly injured athlete medical help immediately! Now that I have two young daughters in gymnastics, I expect their safety to be the coach’s number one priority. Instead, Bela Karolyi told Strug to vault again. And he got what he wanted; a gold medal that was more important to him than his athlete’s health.

I’m sure people will say “Kerri Strug was a competitor–she WANTED to push through the injury.” That’s probably true. But since the last Olympics we’ve also learned these athletes were put into positions where they could be systematically abused both emotionally and physically, all while being inundated with “win at all costs” messaging. A teenager under those conditions should have been protected, and told “No medal is worth the risk of permanent injury.” In fact, we now know that Strug’s vault wasn’t even necessary to clinch the gold; the U.S. already had an insurmountable lead. Nevertheless, Bela Karolyi told her to vault again according to his own recounting of their conversation:

“I can’t feel my leg,” Strug told Karolyi.

“We got to go one more time,” Karolyi said. “Shake it out.”

“Do I have to do this again?” Strug asked.

“Can you, can you?” Karolyi wanted to know.

“I don’t know yet,” said Strug. “I will do it. I will, I will.”

The injury forced Strug’s retirement at 18 years old. Dominique Moceanu, a generational talent, also retired from injuries shortly after. They were top gymnasts literally pushed to the breaking point, and then put out to pasture. Coach Karolyi and Larry Nassar (the serial sexual abuser) continued their long careers, while the athletes were treated as a disposable resource.

Today Simone Biles–the greatest gymnast of all time–chose to step back from the competition, citing concerns for mental and physical health. I’ve already seen comments and posts about how Biles “failed her country,” “quit on us,” or “can’t be the greatest if she can’t handle the pressure.” Those statements are no different than Coach Karolyi telling an injured teen with wide, frightened eyes: “We got to go one more time. Shake it out.”

The subtext here is: “Our gold medal is more important than your well-being.”

Our athletes shouldn’t have to destroy themselves to meet our standards. If giving empathetic, authentic support to our Olympians means we’ll earn fewer gold medals, I’m happy to make that trade.

Here’s the message I hope we can send to Simone Biles: You are an outstanding athlete, a true role model, and a powerful woman. Nothing will change that. Please don’t sacrifice your emotional or physical well-being for our entertainment or national pride. We are proud of you for being brave enough to compete, and proud of you for having the wisdom to know when to step back. Your choice makes you an even better example to our daughters than you were before. WE’RE STILL ROOTING FOR YOU!

Byron Heath 07/27/2021

*****

I have excruciating memories of Kerri Strug’s sacrifice for those farging bastidges. No one should ever ask that of any athlete.

*****

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Thoughts on a weekend…

  • The weekends disappear as fast as they ever did, but without that pit of dread at the end.
  • Wish the Jayhawks could have made it into the Sweet 16… but they gave it what they had to give. Onward.
  • Spring teased us with early warm temps and now she’s keeping it all under wraps… just chilly, cloudy, and breezy enough to encourage me to stay inside. Tomorrow = 75º and WINDY so… a compromise.
  • Last week held the most disturbing revelation so far of what we’re becoming: a bill signed into law by Georgia’s governor making it illegal to give water to voters standing in line… for eleven hours or longer in the heat and humidity because most of their polling places have been removed, but only in the Black neighborhoods.

The Bible Belt has lost the plot, boys and girls…

Hauling a golden image of their Christ-figure into the midst of their convocation… outlawing a cup of cold water given in kindness… canceling and thwarting the rights of any demographic they don’t like… it’s hard to see the appeal unless you’re a Nazi at heart.

Sunday Homily 03/28/2021

Overcoming and halting our slide toward fascism will require massive determination and a full cognizance of reality.

Kim sent me the link to an independent study done after WWII, a search for the human WHY. As now, the seeds of destruction were planted long before that war and its ghastly consequences, and as the article says “… the steady movement toward tyranny is measured as drips, not as a flood.” The people interviewed for the study had strikingly similar comments: The changes happened so gradually, but so relentlessly, that we woke up too late and our freedom was gone.

https://gen.medium.com/this-is-how-it-happens-c289765df373

What do you do if you’re Nazi Germany and you’re wrong and losing the war? A chilling answer from the article:

“We have to justify our having injured those we have injured, or we have to persuade others to our guilty view in order to implicate them in our guilt.”

History confirms that statement. And the article at the link is pleasingly brief but chock full of insights. Good read.

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It’s Thursday in America… page 225

Kim Smith 03/04/2021

Day 354 – 03/04/2021

This is the day. We’re here… March 4th. Word on the street is that Q is in charge, the former guy will be re-inaugurated today as America’s rightful president, JFK Jr. and Elvis will appear on the Capitol steps, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton will be impeached, and Mike Pence will turn into an actual Q-tip and spontaneously combust, setting off fireworks INSIDE the dome. It’s gonna be LIT, America! Meanwhile, Congress opted to take a skip day, which puts a damper on the fun and games, and I’m just gonna hide and watch while the dreams go somewhere to die. My sympathy to those who find themselves on the wrong side of history today.

We’re still bathed in pleasant temps and sunshine, and we have things to keep us occupied and moving forward, so that’s the plan. Kim’s morning and part of his afternoon are full, and this evening is our date with destiny at Sigler’s for second shots. I felt life returning as soon as we got the first one, and all the things I haven’t let myself think about for the past year are rising to the top again.

This picture my friend Ivy posted has all the feels in it and says things I want to but can’t. I don’t think he’ll mind if I save it in my diary for future times when I need its message…

Each successive generation of humans sees itself as the be-all-end-all to the world, but life goes on, over and over. We’ll soon be returning to a less-tethered lifestyle and I hope it will be with the intent to make things better than The Before. It would be a tragedy to have isolated ourselves for a year and learned nothing.

Good news, the Ship of State is afloat again.

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Hearing impaired… page 213

Day 333 – 02/11/2021

Oops, didn’t know I totally left my diary out of the equation yesterday ’til I peeked in here this morning. Wonder what I did all day? Oh yeah, same thing I did the day before that – I watched wall-to-wall coverage of DJT’s Senate trial before a jury of his peers, including an oversized cohort of enablers. The case presented by the House Impeachment Managers is one of the most incredible pieces of work I’ve ever witnessed – a clear, concise timeline of the events leading up to and taking place on January 6th, each dot connected to the next and supported with stills, video, Twitter posts, time stamps, in-their-own-voice sound bites, all seamlessly spooled out without wasted words from the Managers. Only the most jaded in the Senate or elsewhere could deny direct culpability on the part of the former president… therefore, many will. The House Managers intend to wrap up their presentation of evidence today or tomorrow and then his defense team, hastily assembled after the first team walked, will duck and weave in an attempt to put up some sort of wall between Donald Trump and the facts. In their introductory remarks on Tuesday, we got a taste of what that’s going to look like and wall-to-wall watching won’t be a temptation on that round. They seem to have no clue how to deliver a defense they don’t have, and five years of continuous lies have been enough for me. So… I’ll have to find some other excuse for being nonproductive. Ah, weekend just in time – I’m set.

This is history. I watched Nixon’s impeachment hearings on a little black & white TV on a farm in the middle of nowhere, while 3-year-old John played on the floor and napped next to me. The Watergate details were titillating, surprising, in some ways shocking, but Richard Nixon and the events around his impeachment look like kindergarten shenanigans in comparison to what has transpired under DJT. As Dan Rather said, “This is the trial and the evidence the Republicans truly feared.” None of it will change their verdict, but they most certainly didn’t want the world to see it.

The House Managers played this video in its entirety for the assembled jurors… thirteen minutes that ask “If this doesn’t require accountability, what would?”

Should be required viewing for everyone over age eighteen, but I know that’s cliché and won’t happen. It’s crystal clear that Donald Trump carefully and steadily fomented rebellion in an attempt to remain in office, and the results speak for themselves. Another day, another information dump about what he and his posse got up to in the halls of government, and my takeaway is that this can never be allowed to happen again.

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Sunday morning comin’ down… page 198

Photo Credit: Kim Smith 01/24/2021

Day 315 – 01/24/2021

It’s wet out this morning but close to 40º so Kim suited up, made his trek from the city building to South Park and back, and didn’t see another soul the whole time he was out.

Chiefs and Buffalo Bills play tonight for the NFL Championship and there’s likely unlimited sportsing between now and then. The longer the isolation lasts, the more I look forward to the highlights, and another will be that luscious omelet in a bit…

COVID-19 has to be the most insidious thing to hit the planet in eons – it has a billion iterations and never seems to actually leave. This morning, after several symptom-free days, I’m back to gagging, coughing, and other shit, and wondering WTF. NOTE: My omelet went down just fine, I’m relieved to say – I’ll give that one up when I’m dead.

We’re only a few days into a new administration and mindset, but it’s clear that the uncivil war between America’s two factions – democracy vs fascism – is far from over, light years from resolution. How will we choose to gather up the pieces and move on? How will we reconnect with people whose hearts we no longer trust? Rainy days and Mondays make me ask the hard questions.

Lots of work ahead…

********************

More work than we knew – I understand there are people who believe a cockamamie conspiracy theory that goes something like this:

Oh, Mama…

********************

We have to fix some things.

********************

This Pollyanna chick right here is struggling with the whole thing. I feel far safer than at any time in the past four years, but my happiness and gratefulness for new leadership are heavily tempered by the frightening ugliness I’ve seen coming from other humans. Hard truth: my job is to do what I can do.

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Progress… page 193

Photo Credit: Kim Smith 01/18/2021

Day 310 – 01/19/2021

Inauguration Eve. The Capitol of the United States of America is a Baghdad Green Zone, locked down as airtight as 25,000 added National Guard can make it, with active-duty soldiers standing ready to back them up. Everything is fencing, concrete, and razor wire, with military personnel fully equipped. If we hadn’t watched the armed insurrection on live TV this might feel like overkill. As it is, we simply hope it’s enough.

The New Yorker released footage in the past 48 hours that’s exceedingly hard to watch – just twelve minutes of the violence and destruction that took place both outside and inside the Capitol over long hours on January 6th. The scenes are straight out of hell itself, shocking and deeply disturbing, beyond anything I’d seen in prior videos. If I’d not made myself look at what happened that day, I’d owe it to my future self to do a forced viewing – there’s never been anything like it in our government. It’s rightfully stomach-turning.

https://www.newyorker.com/video/watch/a-reporters-footage-from-inside-the-capitol-siege

Yesterday being MLK Day, there were quotes flowing like a waterfall from Trump admin people and others whose whole lives have been lived in opposition to the things he fought for. They should keep his name out of their mouths forever.

A lot is being desperately put forward from a panicked GOP about unity. Instant unity in the face of one of the greatest upheavals our government has ever gone through – just add water and there ya’ go.

From Twitter: Lindsey Graham saying that the Senate should dismiss the articles of impeachment against Donald Trump to allow for “national healing” is like an abusive husband gaslighting his wife for “tearing the family apart” when she finally calls the cops.

Call me old fashioned, but unity does not mean letting the instigators of an attempted coup off the hook. Show us the slightest bit of contrition and “lesson learned” and we MIGHT think about it. But there’s nothing in that mindset I can unify with – that’s a dilemma going forward.

**********

And so… we go forward anyway, with hope, aware of the harsh realities. Tomorrow is a watershed day – may we all survive it and keep moving. It’s the day we’ve anticipated for five years and we deserve to celebrate it.

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**********

**********

John Pavlovitz on the legacy of Donald J. Trump:

“It’s never been about him. It’s been about your limitless tolerance for his infidelity, his cruelty, his intellectual ignorance, his immorality, his violence, his disrespect for the rule of law, his alliances with dictators—things you once claimed you could never abide in a leader.”

**********

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And we know this to be true:

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On the home front, yesterday was the first day in three weeks that I’ve felt “normal.” No coughing fits, no gagging, no body aches, no chills, no sweats, and only a little exhausted. Progress is a beautiful thing.

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I love sunshine… page 187

Day 303 – 01/12/2021

We have a sunny Tuesday morning in progress, with a high this afternoon in the low 50s, so Kim will be playing PickleBall after lunch. Happy day for him – he turns into a coil-spring when he can’t get out and move.

Not sure what I’ll end up doing today, but if I turn my head slightly to the left I can see several available options, just in my line of sight. Much time will undoubtedly be taken up with, or at least wrapped in, thoughts that never stop.

Six days after MAGA’s failed coup against democratic government, my outrage has only increased. The images, the stupidity, the deaths, the destruction, the total lack of comprehension of what makes us America, the entrenched idea that if you’re white in this country and you ever lose a single thing you BY GOD GET IT BACK IMMEDIATELY!

The terrorists’ representatives in Congress, whose own lives were on the line last Wednesday, are continuing the mantra: The GOP doesn’t lose elections unless we get something very wrong, so we’re saying something’s very wrong and we will reverse this outcome we don’t like, even if it costs us our way of life.

More MAGAs and Qs and general fuck-ups are threatening open assault on all 50 statehouses in the country, and plotting to disrupt Joseph Biden and Kamala Harris’s inauguration.

“Antifa” has also taken a shit in the hall…

And all of the above is sanctioned by a “man” who’s never been told no, never had to lose much that mattered to him, always had a parachute – ’til now. At this juncture, he seems willing to sacrifice everything in his frantic attempt to avoid being outed as a fraud, an abject idiot, a traitor to the United States of America, and a sociopath who has so far allowed almost 400,000 Americans to die on his watch..

What none of the above people comprehend is that on the profound moral questions in American politics — union vs treason, democracy vs autocracy — there is no middle ground. They’ve sacrificed truth for their cause and don’t seem to realize yet that they’re holding nothing but sawdust.

*fewer* points

The good news on a sunny morning is that Rita and I are both feeling better, starting to come up out of the odd haze that is apparently COVID-19. She’s a couple of days ahead of me so she’s been my beacon of hope for better days all along, and once I get past the weak and shaky stage and lose the cough, I’ll claim my win.

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“Well-intentioned suggestions”… page 186b

My friend Randy Mathews graciously said yes to my request to share a piece of his writing here. He says it all so well:

If you’re still a fervent supporter of our president after all that’s happened this week, you might be feeling a little heat right now. That’s understandable. But there are things you could do to help turn down the temperature. Here are a few well-intentioned suggestions:

1. Instead of promoting ridiculous assertions that there were radical leftist infiltrators from Antifa or BLM or the freaking Girl Scouts among that crowd who encouraged the violence and mayhem, try this instead: “Yes, those were loyal MAGA Trump supporters, and I don’t condone their actions.”

2. Rather than insisting Trump had nothing to do with the riots, and that he was trying his best to maintain order and civility, maybe listen to his rally speech one more time, watch the reaction of the crowd to what he said, and then follow them as they move, en masse, directly to the U.S. Capitol. Then ponder whether that constituted an obvious cause and effect – a clear call to action and an immediate response.

3. Instead of vehemently defending this awful man, how about conceding that he’s not especially truthful? He told the rally crowd to march up Pennsylvania Avenue to the Capitol, and said “I’ll be right there with you.” Of course he wasn’t right there with them. He sent them on their way, and then retired to the White House to watch the chaos he orchestrated play out on live TV.

He also lied yesterday, when he claimed he immediately deployed the National Guard to assist the besieged Capitol police. No, he didn’t. Everyone in the chain of command, and every person with direct knowledge of how things actually went down, has disputed that claim. The man is a pathological liar. Admitting that would go a long way.

4. Stop making excuses for the rioters. Stop calling them patriots and freedom fighters. Admit that what they did was dangerous, reckless and illegal. These people entered the U.S. Capitol illegally after forcing their way past uniformed police officers, damaged and destroyed federal property, threatened and assaulted officers who tried to stop them, desecrated the seat of our democracy by waving Confederate battle flags – a literal symbol of the most notorious attempt to overthrow the U.S. government in our nation’s history – ransacked offices, stole official correspondence and other documents, and even urinated on the carpet in a Congressman’s office. They were thugs, hoodlums and criminals. They were domestic terrorists. Conceding they weren’t there with good intentions would be a great start.

5. Reevaluate whether what happened on Wednesday was an isolated, spontaneous event or if it’s worth considering that it was actually the inevitable outcome of a president’s incendiary rhetoric. Then consider whether you are still so eager to throw your support behind someone like that. People died on Wednesday because your president incited an armed insurrection, a violent attack on the U.S. Capitol during a joint session of Congress. Your president, sworn to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States, is absolutely culpable here. In fact, he arguably bears the lion’s share of the responsibility for what happened. Maybe it’s time to admit that he’s not really worth your loyalty or your devotion.

Just give these suggestions some thought. Those of us who have spent months if not years decrying Trump’s never-ending incendiary language, blatant lies and hateful personal attacks have worried things could eventually reach a boiling point. Wednesday’s horrible events were shocking, but they should not have been a surprise. And while there is support for censure, impeachment, and even invoking the 25th Amendment, it’s probable he’ll still be president until his successor Joe Biden is sworn in. It’s a frightening possibility that there could be more violence between now and then. No one really knows what Trump or all his angry, devoted followers are truly capable of.

Now is the time to reflect on your allegiance to this man, and to give serious consideration to whether you have cast your lot with someone who is not deserving of your support. We who all along have seen him for what he truly is will be waiting for you. But make no mistake – we’re not interested in meeting in the middle. In this case, things are pretty black and white. You either see that or you don’t.

Randy Mathews – 01/08/2021

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There’s still truth… page 186

Photo Credit: Kim Smith 01/10/2021

Day 302 – 01/11/2021

Took a news break for most of the weekend and that was a good decision – insurrection, sedition, and treason take time to process. It’s a lot to absorb and new information comes out every hour.

If people were angered by the street riots in 2020 and blamed it on everyone but the actual instigators of the violence… but those same people see the attempted coup at the Capitol as noble and right… then we come from two separate tribes. In which case it’s fine if we never run into each other again in this life – we don’t speak the same language. A friend shared this four years ago, and if I change Clinton to Biden it all still applies.

Qanon made their practice strikes against statehouses around the country with January 6th in mind, saw that they weren’t being stopped because they were 99% white male, and declared the coup on our Capitol a GO. It was very much an inside job, with maps and directions provided for finding hidden offices within the complex. Some carried zip-tie handcuffs and were calling for Mike Pence’s head as they burst through the doors. Nobody was arrested for the plot to kidnap and murder Michigan’s governor, so hey, carte blanche! Let’s do what we came here to do! People died that day, including a young policeman who was beaten to death with a fire extinguisher. Another was beaten with an American flag… and a third was thrown over a railing in the Capitol. How’s that Blue Lives Matter thing workin’, I wonder. Democracy didn’t die, not that day, not any day soon because America fought back, but we’ll have to keep doing that – the terrorists are plotting additional attacks for the 17th and the 20th and beyond. Anybody awake yet?

The war is far from over but people more interested in immunity are already pushing for unity. You don’t make common cause with traitors, sorry.

These are not the heroes we’ve been waiting for, these misguided, low-information, absurdly outfitted white men who smeared feces in the Capitol hallways, urinated on carpets, and tore hell out of everything they could get their hands on. They aren’t brave, they aren’t abused, and they aren’t right. They’re just white. And the world has always belonged to them, damn it, and they’ve had all they want of this equality idea, so women and children stand back! Their leader could tell them anything at this point and they’d charge forward again. They’re a dangerous mob looking for direction.

Important note to self on a Monday morning:

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Addendum… page 184b

Photo Credit: Kim Smith 01/2021

From my dear friend Philip Grecian on the disintegrating loyalty to Donald Trump among the ranks:

“Yes, Pence filled in where Trump wouldn’t…making decisions (it was Pence who called in the National Guard) and issuing orders. This does not mean that he would make a good president one day. It simply means that he did what a reasonably sane person with a position of authority would do under the circumstances.

“It appears now that this is the end of Trumpism. Thank heaven. Oh, there will be hangers-on who sit outside in their trailer parks drinking Budweiser and raging about the gummint… but we’ve always had them. For a brief, horrible, five years or so, they had some power and made our lives hell. There will always be people who make our lives hell. Until the day we die and it no longer matters. But these people are quickly losing their national influence. We’ll be dealing with them awhile longer… and we may be hearing from them again in 2024. But for now they’ve been weakened… For now, even many of their supporters have seen who they really are. For now, they will be fragmented. We can help the process by seeing to it that the Cruzes and Giulianis and Millers… and Trumps… are never again in a position to try to bring the country down. And then wait for the next monster to come slouching toward Bethlehem.”

I hope Phil’s right. But the venom hasn’t drained out of this crowd yet and they’re wallowing in the mud of their loss, halted mid-tantrum with no place to go. Thinking, feeling human beings want this over with. Done. But never forgotten, ever, or America will head right back to kakistocracy because it’s the path of least resistance – you don’t even have to think, and after a while you apparently don’t feel much of anything, either.

And now Congress is adjourned until after the inauguration, so who’s watching the baby while they’re away? Dozens of legislators called for Donald Trump’s immediate removal from office… and then went home. Somebody has to be the GOAT who gets him out of our house before he kills us all. If the 25th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution isn’t utilized to accomplish that, then it’s just taking up space in a musty old document and might as well be jettisoned because unless we’re idiots the country will never reach the point of needing it again. OMG, what am I saying… ? Yeah. Better keep it.

And now it’s time to use it.

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Insurrection… page 184

Day 298 – 01/07/2021

My overriding emotion this morning on awakening to the reality of yesterday’s chaos is one of sadness – the inconceivable has happened in our nation’s Capitol and life in the United States is broken. Those who know Donald Trump told us in 2016 that the story would end this way – and the one prediction yet to manifest itself is that he will trigger a thermonuclear device on his way out the door. Anybody know where those codes are?

Reports say four people died in yesterday’s terrorist attack on our Capitol, same number as when Benghazi happened – there will be endless probes, hearings, and recriminations, right? Lumpy will sit for eleven straight hours of testimony before this is over, right? Justice will prevail after the great unwashed stormed the barricades, scaled the walls, shattered historic windows, smeared blood on statuary, urinated liberally everywhere, ripped nameplates off the walls, sat in personal offices and at the dais of the Senate with their feet up, taking photos of paperwork, walking away with items, fomenting insurrection with every act, right? Justice will prevail. I guess the Capitol police and reinforcements were saving their rubber bullets and tear gas in case any Black people showed up – in fact, had this event had a color key the Black version would have looked like this:

For the people inside, the roar of the mob came first, then the sounds of doors and windows being breached. A few highlights of the day:

How it started… with Chamber assistants bringing the Electoral College ballot boxes. Staff had the presence of mind to grab the boxes when the mob broke through.
Teach… your children well.
Just an ordinary Wednesday in America. Little troll behind Wolfman Jack has already been fired. Wore his work badge to the riot.
Dropping in…
That’s a big hammer, son, whatcha’ got in mind??
History smashed.
How’s your aim, senators?
Close your eyes for naptime, kids, it’ll be over soon.
Democratic representatives comfort each other.
Arrest this asshole.
And this one.
I also saw confederate flags yesterday – explain that, America.
America has lost the plot.
If these are your heroes, unfriend me, unfollow me, block me out of your life – I don’t know you.

On another note, remember COVID? Almost 4,000 people died in this country yesterday as a result of it. My test came back negative, but since I still feel like dog shit and have all the symptoms of the virus I’m gonna stay right here ’til morale improves. Sense of smell and taste are gone and the sweats and body aches are like a rollercoaster ride. Maybe the swab has to actually tickle your brain in order to get the goods, who knows? It’s a plus if I don’t have it, especially for Kim since there’s no way not to expose him – in which case, this feels like something that needs its own vaccine.

But that was a bridge too far for survivalists.

Meanwhile, the Flight Attendants’ Union says their employees will not staff planes on which the terrorists from the unmasked superspreader try to fly home. Good luck on the DC streets, MFs.

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Touching the past… page 167

Day 276 – 12/16/2020

Kinda frosty this morning – Kim’s hands were icicles when he got back from walking, despite gloves. Now Frosty the Snowman and gingerbread are on my mind, not because I want to DO ALL THE THINGS!! again or go back to an era when that was a big part of life… I just want to remember it all for a while. There’s very little from those times that remains untouched, unsullied, unbroken, and I need to pay homage to that remnant of Christmas joy.

The concept of *HOME* is extra-heavy on my mind today after hearing news from Dodge City, America, my old proving ground… (back-arrow returns to blog post)

https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/politics-news/i-do-not-feel-safe-kansas-gop-mayor-resigns-after-n1251334?cid=sm_npd_nn_fb_ma&fbclid=IwAR0UVHatp9DkrPhRDOZo_PJVVVSCbb_m09DDzLdm_TykEPPZWaqbBx-8Oow

Things like this shouldn’t happen to people like Joyce and Bill Warshaw, end of story… and revealingly, the threats and ugliness are coming primarily from the church people. Warshaw’s Men’s Clothing Store was part of Dodge City from before my memory and I knew Bill’s parents, Max & Dona, who contributed to the life of the town in positive, memorable ways. America’s idiots are destroying what’s best in the country, and Dodge City is losing two stellar citizens. The sadness that grows from the giant rip in the fabric of our society feels like death, illustrated in macabre fashion by the relentless toll from the virus. Things are being carelessly shattered, with no avenues left open for eventual wholeness, no provision for healing. That’s scary – it kind of says there’s no way back. And after some of the comments I read, the only way I would ever want to see the town again is in my rearview mirror, which makes me sad – Ford County was home to the Wagners from 1905 when my grandpa, 19 years old, rode the train from Indiana to Dodge City, Kansas, bought a cow and some provisions, and walked the twelve miles west to his claim. That whole part of the country is in my DNA… but thanks bunches to my mom, the extremism and racism never made it past my skin. People we thought we knew are ripping their masks off now… and we see the faces of strangers looking back at us.

When this is your aim and you’re virtually run out of town on a rail for it…

We so easily lose sight of the most important things:

What was the pivotal moment when half of America’s population stopped sparing a thought for the other half? Was there some event? Has it been a gradual loosening of moral pinnings, too subtle for notice until here we are? Or were we always like this but never had to admit it until now?

This morning I’m saying thank you to every person working in a medical capacity during the pandemic, many of them since March – for hanging in, staying on the line, shift after shift, week after week, month after month, while they watch people die in spite of every effort to keep that from happening. They have my full focus through it all, and my arms are always around them. I’m grateful that they haven’t yet abandoned us to our own misery, although they must be sorely tempted every hour. I thank them for being who they are and doing what they do, head-on, straight through, because the task is in front of them, they’re trained for it, and they each started out caring mightily about ALL of it. I’m sorry the ignorant stubbornness of so many humans is kicking the care out of them for now. I’m sorry an already impossible job has been complicated and escalated by humans, the race they’re working to save. I’m sorry this has cost so many of them their own lives… I’m so sorry.

Each square in this solid mosaic is a photo of a life lost to COVID-19 in the medical community.

Relative to Mayor Joyce Warshaw’s experience with the anti-mask contingent, this would be my recommendation in all such situations:

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Round and ’round… page 163

Day 272 – 12/12/2020

In a world-changing pandemic, it’s a bonus to live with someone who likes to see me smile, and he hass hiss vays. Like this morning’s omelet extra-full of beans & cheese… and the flowers he brought me after yesterday’s errands.

Since he made the Saturday Breakfast on Friday, I lobbied for omelets for today and got to have it my way, of course. I mean, why not? Sunday could be pancakes, who knows?!

It’s 36º right now, feels like 27. Just gonna be a damp gray Saturday and we’ll stay tucked in. The omelet will take me to at least mid-afternoon when Kim could have a couple of smoothies up his sleeve, as sometimes happens.

Our two big crises are still hanging over our heads… and which one demands priority? In order for democracy to survive intact, DJT will have to exit the stage very soon. But more pressing hour by hour is that in order for our human population to survive he must turn the virus exigencies over to the experts immediately. Two crises, closely intertwined, each a threat to our existence on its own, and now doubled in adverse impact by the psychopathic efforts of seditionists in government.

Not even his having pre-packed the Court could force them to break the Constitution.

The other half of the nightmare is what coronavirus is doing to us every day without let-up, and it’s rapidly accelerating. This map is from two days ago, December 10th, and the numbers have only gone up since. It gives me a hint as to why parts of the country are seemingly blasé about the whole thing, and might I just add, check out Georgia. Damn.

The planet only grows stranger and more hostile while we humans try to figure out how to stay alive upon it. A lot of things are still waiting for answers…

But let’s paint a happy little bird right here and make it all better… and on with the Christmas spirit.

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Sunny Saturday… page 156

Day 265 – 12/05/2020

Some morning in the next year… or the one after that… I’ll wake up and check the news and not cry. That’s going to be a good day. Second story I read today was about Kansas health officials walking away from their careers, not because of the 80-hour work weeks but because their families are being threatened with violence. The Reno County Health Director resigned in July after having local police watch his house while his wife and kids were home alone, saying the stress and worry simply weren’t worth it. And he isn’t the only one – in the past nine months 27 Kansas county health officials have left their posts, many because they’ve been physically threatened or politically scapegoated. To quote Nick Baldetti, Reno County, pictured in a red MAGA cap, “By the end of the day, you just felt like you were on an island by yourself,” he said. “Whatever decision I made, 50% of people were going to be upset because it was too ‘restrictive’ and the other 50% were going to be upset because it wasn’t restrictive enough.”

That’s the same ratio that says Joe Biden either did or did not win the presidency, despite the facts, including that the popular vote margin has now exceeded 7 million:

Oddly enough, the half of the country that wants to believe Donald Trump won is the same half that’s threatening not only health officials but medical doctors and other personnel for requiring measures against the virus, and simply for representing something they refuse to deal with. That’s so beyond the pale I can’t believe it’s happening in America’s cities and small communities. So I cry. Every day. I guess it helps… I eventually put on my big girl face and get on with it. But I no longer know, nor feel I can trust, about half the people in my life because of the visceral hatred I’ve seen in familiar faces, along with the lack of any willingness to address what’s happening to us as a nation, a people, a family of humans. The pandemic and political divide are breaking us.

But it’s Saturday, the sun’s shining, we just had The Breakfast, and Kim might get to play at SPL or Lyons today. Our little neighborhood is full of dog-walkers and a tiny house finch is perched outside my window. Time to adult-up and savor the weekend…

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