I Need Another Ride

If you have watched the news as of late you have seen beginnings of a fight that if pushed will go on until the end of the current administration. How do you impolitely ask all of Americans to comply with mandates?

If your first thought is a violation of Constitutional rights, you would be on the mark. Why a sitting President would make such a statement is beyond me. Let’s make a broad statement and take it from there. Everyone needs to get vaccinated. If they are not, then you can lose your job. Well, providing that you work for the government, or are contracted by the government, or work for a company with more than 100 employees.

So why hinge the rest of your presidency on something that is about as close to unconstitutional as saying that I’d like for 1/2 of you to stop breathing? What I tend to believe is, your Presidency will always be made to be the success of what happens during it. While blaming previous administrations for issues that you inherited used to work, it just does not fly the way it used to. This allows for a point of saying, we tried to push people to do it, but they decided to not take the vaccine. I don’t blame the government for who gets COVID. To many, that is rather ridiculous. People do what it is they wish to do to the extent they can push it. If we are honest, Americans are just like kids. Tell them they can’t do something and they immediately want to only do just that.

So after the absolute catastrophe that was Afghanistan and our withdrawal from there, this will most likely be the fight right up until we being the next Presidential push after mid-term elections in 2022. We will then have another round of insanity that we had from 2019-2020. Buckle up folks, the ride will only get bumpier from here.

If you wondered why I named the article that I need a new ride. Many people tell you that our country is going to hell in a handbasket. If I have to go, can’t a get a cab, buggy, or limo service? I will even take a rickshaw.

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Someone Call 911

Twenty years can go in the blink of an eye. We are 3 days from 20 years. 20 years of chaos, 20 years of anger, 20 years of melancholy, 20 years of tears, 20 years of terror, 20 years of a new way of living life. Americans have always likened ourselves to be ironclad. No one would dare attack America on its own soil. We had the Trade Center bombing in 1993. Timothy McVeigh had blown up the federal building in Oklahoma City in 1995. The latter of these 2 was an American with a grudge to carry out. If you have ever seen the Gadsden Flag and the phrase, “Don’t Tread on Me” flag, that is the idea of what most Americans felt up to 8 am Eastern time on 9/11/2001.

Hawaii was not a state until 1959. In 1941, it was still considered American soil. One December 7th, 1941, the Japanese Empire said the same thing to America. That attack brought us into a 2nd World War within 25 years. So what lessons did Pearl Harbor teach America? It would almost seem that it taught us that while our outlying areas could be at risk, true American soil was still sacred ground. No one would dare attack America within the confines of its borders.

So, nearly 60 years from the Pearl Harbor bombings, we learn that our soil is not Holy Ground. it is not consecrated by The Pope or some divine entity. What a lesson for us to learn. Nearly 3,000 people leave for work with no thought in their mind that it would be the last day spent on Earth.

At the end of 20 years of war, where are we at now? What have we accomplished? What have we made better than it was on 9/12/2001? Was the price of the War on Terror worth it? Lives? Money? A change in the way Americans are viewed throughout the world?

On the 11th of September, 1683, Islamic armies were turned away in Vienna. It would be the last time that an Islamic Army would truly pose a considerable threat to a Christian power. A day that offered such a large defeat that there has never been another such threat by an Islamic force since.

Does a Christian is better than a Muslim or a Muslim feels they are better than a Christian? Where do you stand in this matter? Why is it so important for Jesus or Allah to be the victor to those who so strongly feel that way? Whatever you may feel from a religious or pride of country, it is important to realize certain things.

Our country is seen by the world as a place where you can be who it is you choose to be. You can speak out against your own nation without fear of being persecuted or killed. Its a liberty that we take for granted quite often. We will always be hated by any religion who’s concept of women is that they are property and not humans. We will always be seen as the snake if we attempt to help others out when atrocities happen that we do not condone.

As we enter year 20, let us understand that many of those who are in office today were in office 20 years ago. The anger of 20 years seems to have been faded. We find ourselves doing something that we so often do. We let time fade our minds. We late history become footnotes in a book. Where is Pearl Harbor? Well that is in Chapter 12 on page 287. Slowly, we find that 9/11 is mentioned this weekend, where will it be for you? For your children, and as 20 more years goes by, their children?

It is a time to pray for our country, for those who were lost, those who have been lost defending the honor of the fallen, those who made it home but were never whole again, and for those who have felt the effects of one or all of them.

If you could go back in time to this day. If you could find a way to prevent what started all of this from happening, would you? I would be pretty sure that most would answer yes. While that is not a possibility, letting time take over the lessons we have been given is in many ways, the same thing. Let time heal our wounds, but not our resolve. Let it teach us vigilance and not fear.

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The More Things Change…………

I don’t know my audience, well what little one I have all that well. I don’t know where you have come from or where you may be going in life. I would like to let you in on a little bit of my life though.

Almost 20 years ago to this day, I went to work like any other day. I had a IT class I was in that week. Given the city I was stationed in, public transport made it much easier to get around in certain areas. So, I drove to work and hopped on the Metro subway to head to Bethesda, Maryland. My wife at the time worked as a travel agent for a DoD entity. She was in a new office that day. This was pretty much pre-cell phone times for most of us. I had the all impressive pager. Get a page, find a phone. We had been in class for a bit. I began to get pager notifications over and over. I had asked since she was in a new office to send me the number, but I didn’t ask for her to send it multiple times. I get up to leave and find a phone. When I finally call, I am met with the words, two planes just hit the World Trade Center. In my head, I am thinking, eh, 2 small Cessna I am sure. Some wayward Brooklyn-ite who lost his way to the Mets game. However, the next sentence changed that. The side of the Pentagon was just hit. The one by the helipad. As soon as I heard that, my mind switched gears. I called work immediately. No one answered the phones. I called 2 more times with no answer.

I was in the class with 2 co-workers. One of them happened to be deaf. He could read lips though which helped. I barely got out what had happened to my other co-worker before one of the managers opened the door and told everyone else the news. The instructor happened to be from New York City and knew people who worked at the Trade Center. I continued to make calls with no answer or a busy signal because most of the East coast was using the phone all at the same time. My co-worked drove me and the other hearing impaired person to get his car in Virginia. I used that car to get on Ft. Belvoir and to the apartment. Going to work the next morning was an event. I had finally heard from my boss at 5pm that evening. Until then, I had no idea if anyone I worked with were alive or dead. The next day, you return to a building still on fire. You have no idea how many people died, or if there are people still in the building who could be clinging to life.

Thus began the War on Terror. It did not take us long to begin bombing and occupation of Afghanistan. If you have followed history, you will know that opposing countries have attempted to invade this country for years. In the 1980’s it was the Soviet Union’s turn to invade. To help ensure that there would be no spread of Communism, the U.S. decides to arm the Taliban with our own weaponry. This is when things begin to go South. We give the country a chance to defend itself in such a way to eventually tell the Soviets that it simply wasn’t worth their time, energy, or effort. What it helped do it end the U.S.S.R. Well at least for a minute. If you think its not pretty much the same now with Vladimir Putin, you sort of need to have your head examined.

As of today, 31 August 2021, our time in Afghanistan has come to a close. What has the last 20 years brought us? ABC News provided these numbers. (1)

Lives

U.S. Service Members – 2,448

U.S. Contractors – 3,846

Afghan national military and police – 66,000

Other allied service members – 1,144

Afghan Civilians – 47,245

Taliban and other opposition – 51,191

Aid Workers – 444

Journalists – 72

Financial

Estimated Cost of Afghanistan and Iraq Wars – 2 Trillion

Estimated Interest Paid on the 2 Trillion – 925 Million

Estimated Interest by 2030 – 2 Trillion

Estimated Interest by 2050: 6.5 Trillion

Estimated cost of healthcare and benefits that will be paid to veterans from this time frame – 1.6 to 1.8 Trillion

So, with thousand of lives gone and trillions of dollars spent, what has our occupation of this country achieved for us in 20 years? As a soldier who served my country from 1990-2003, and has worked to support the war effort after I left active duty, I can say with full confidence that we left one group considerably better off than what they were when we arrived; the Taliban. While throwing them and Al Qaeda from power over the course of 20 years, the Taliban still managed to stick around. Enough so that a peace agreement was made with them during the last administration. One that would end our occupation and allow some sort of order. A government we have helped set up would be in power with a U.S. trained Afghan military there to defend their interests.

Raise your hand if you thought this would work? Weeks for the Taliban to take control turned to days. Why? Well, my thought would be, if you are a male who would be able to go back to having multiple wives and kids; be able to beat them for no reason; not have to compete with them for work; and basically treat them worse than a dog, what exactly are you fighting for if this is your form of religion and living?

We gave a nation hope. Hope that we can change the way in which they live. We gave women the rights they had never had as recognized human beings. They were allowed to go to school, learn to read. How amazing that would be for those who have never had those opportunities. If those things sound familiar, its because we have been there before. Korean and Vietnam should sound pretty familiar to everyone. Promises made and promises broken. Watching Afghan citizens literally cling to military flights and fall to their death should have shown you the quagmire that was being created by a poorly planned exit. Our President promised that he would get everyone out, only to have the last flight lift off a few hours before I write this. That was listed as the last flight out.

It is worth noting that we did not take our goods with us as well. in the ineffective pullout, we managed to leave helicopters, humvees, armoured vehicles, drones, rifles, and other weaponry. So what we have insured in this instance is just like when we came in 2001 and were being shot at with our own weapons provided to defeat the Soviets, if we go back, we will be shot at with our own upgraded weaponry.

What we have is 20 years of an attempt to “change the hearts and minds” of a group of people who have lived a particular way for over a thousand years. The withdraw was so poorly executed while the current administration wished to tell you how many thousands of people were rescued. If you want the numbers that matter? 13 soldiers lost their lives protecting a piss poor retreat. Along with hundreds of Afghans waiting to be evacuated. Maybe clinging to that plane wasn’t such a bad idea after all? Pick your poison; fall to your death or get blown to bits.

For any country that we would go to in the future, what could we ever tell them to make them think we will not screw them over when we leave? Helicopters well pulling people off the roof of the embassy in Saigon. We are pushing almost 50 years to do the same thing. The arrogance of those in charge goes to show us that we never learn lessons from our failures. We had 46 years to get this right. Set a date far enough out to be done and out with everything 2 months beforehand. Evacuate citizens in an orderly and timely fashion. With military authority and escort. But no, we give a date and wait until the last seconds to see it through. We leave behind enough weaponry to stock a revolution.

Our days as an occupier of countries needs to end. Our concept of attempting to make nice with citizens of other countries who harbor those who would do harm to us needs to cease as well. Not everyone wants democracy, and judging by the dropping of arms, not everyone deserves it either. It is time for our country to take a look at the isolationist policies that Woodrow Wilson was such a staunch believer in. I don’t think that we need to go away from the global world, but I do not feel as though we should be the police force for it anymore. We have no incentive to occupy foreign lands. Our purpose should be for one thing only; to protect the interests of Americans. It needs to be made clear that if those interests are threatened that we will use weaponry to retaliate against those whom we find hostile. This is regardless of the country they choose to be in. There no longer needs to be a diplomatic side of these situations. If your country harbors those who intend or have done us harm, we will be coming to annihilate them. We will not ask if its okay, we won’t tell you we are coming, we will simply eliminate the problem via scorched earth. Our Achilles heal has been we want to be liked and have that “we are here to help” mentality. It only has left us to look weak in the eyes of those who wish us harm. You have to fear the response more than you fear those around you. That is what we have to become as a country. It doesn’t make us well liked I am sure. I am also sure we aren’t well liked to begin with. So what is the difference.

  1. The cost of the Afghanistan war, in lives and dollars, Ellen Knickmeyer; Associated Press, 7/12/2021.
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Here We Go Again, Same Old Shit Again

I know it’s been awhile. I sit down at a keyboard every day. I am an IT Administrator by trait. Keyboard time is a daily thing. 30 years worth actually. Enough for carpal tunnel surgery for both hands. But enough about me, where is the world going to lately?

You know that new car smell that you get when you go car shopping? The feel of the grand opening of a new store? In the past few months, America reopened slowly a few months ago. You may have missed it. It is what you would have called a soft opening. It wasn’t like, next Tuesday we open up to full capacity. All you have to do is take your shots just like your vitamins and we will let you get back to the reality you knew of for decades.

We have made it to our 4th variant. Delta has made its way to front of the line for COVID. Suddenly our shots don’t matter, our lives don’t matter, and we begin to shut things back down. One day, I was okay to go places without a mask because I received my shots. Now, dependent on the event or place, I will have to return to wearing a mask. The CDC stated that we need to all be wearing masks again. All the while, being told months prior we could come out from behind the shroud.

I have to wonder at what point the government wants to affect the society it is charged with “protecting?” In the past 2 years rules and regulations have caused enormous unemployment. Since so many people became unemployed, we get legislation to almost double unemployment benefits for some states. So, when people began to try to bring people back, you made more by not working than by going back. So, the people still working get overworked for less than the people just sitting home. Laws are passed to keep renters from being evicted, but to my knowledge, nothing done for the owners of those units to pay for their loans.

Things going back to “normal” seems like a pipe dream now. There are too many questions to pose. Does the next variant get called Echo? Are we following the phenetic alphabet? Do we get more shots? Does the government begin the requirement of vaccination to work government positions? Do movie theaters fade off into the distance? More importantly, how much life do we give up to ensure others live while some will never take the shot, which is their choice, but it does create a question of how we proceed in this new environment. I don’t have answers for all of this. Seems like no one else does either.

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Looking For a Theme

I have written intermittently since starting to post again. I suppose when seeing something I agree or disagree to an exponential degree that sitting on my hands just won’t allow me to sit on my hands without feeling my head begin to burst. Seeing myself marching and yelling or ranting a rally just never seems to be a thing I would be interested in doing. It has never helped that so often when people who protest often can’t give a discernable reason for why they are there protesting.

While I don’t ever expect to make a living off of writing, I would like to find a theme or path for me to proceed in. While politics can be a way to show your support or opposition to ideas in a printed format, I don’t enjoy the anger created. I read and watch quite a few shows about the paranormal and unexplained. I enjoy history a great deal as well. Not the history that often gets taught, but the history that is the true picture of the past.

Anyhow, if anyone reading has any suggestions for a path or theme, I am all ears and eyes. Thank you ahead of time.

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Is There A Normal To Go Back To

In recent weeks, we have seen the status of America begin the shift from closed to open for business. Last year at this time, we were huddled in our living rooms waiting for the CDC to mention which color of shirt would keep us safe from getting COVID-19. But only on Tuesdays. The Tuesday also had to be on an even day. If it was an odd day, it was only from noon til 12:16pm. Unless you were Pacific Time.

Within the last few weeks, we have gone from mask less outside to mask less inside, to full capacity. Those magic cards you were given if you have received your shots seem a bit useless now. I am not sure of the legal ramifications that are afforded businesses. I’m not a lawyer nor do I play one on television.

Today we find ourselves being brought back to the question that has been asked and ignored more times than what I care to think of. Where did all this come from?

Being one who is not the biggest fan of conspiracy theories, it is very hard for me to admit this, but given the questionable ways in which this virus attacked those who would have fallen into a low risk category, it is hard to believe that it just started from someone grabbing the wrong bat-sicle at a Chinese market place. For those who think there are too many things that don’t add up? You are certainly not alone. I personally don’t feel something not manipulated in a lab would have symptoms so broad and complicated to address. While the virus itself may not have been made in a lab saying, working to change characteristics of it to your advantage is certainly not out of the question.

If an investigation proves this, what is next? How do you punish someone for what equates to chemical warfare? Is it an organization, a country, or an idolization of theory? We find ourselves at an extremely important time in our society. If proven to be man made, biological warfare now becomes the bigger threat to humanity rather than nuclear holocaust.

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When There’s no More Middle Left to Meet in

I will be 50 this year. It doesn’t seem like it, but I will be. My life says that’s not correct, but my body seems to think I may be underestimating. In my 1/2 century on this rock I have been blessed to see some amazing things. I have also seen things that I wish I could have unseen. What we have made it to in America is what I feel is a tipping point. Justice shows the scales always a bit off kilter if you have ever truly paid attention to the statue. The point in to show the perceived notion of balance in society; the middle ground. Where law and order meet rights and due process. But much like Lady Justice, the scales are never really side by side are they?

My arrival in this world came after a tumultuous decade before. It saw marches and sit ins. It also saw the assassinations of Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, and Martin Luther King. It also sees a President and his brother shot in cold blood. The latter was highly praised in the African American community. The quickest way to silence a person is through death. However, if there voice has meaning and power, it will traverse long past any air still gives it movement. It will echo for ages. Men can die, martyrs live on as long as their cause still breaths.

The area of the country I hail from is in the foothills of The Appalachian Mountains. before anyone asks, I can’t play the banjo, I’m not married to my cousin, and I have all my teeth. It does mean that the culture I was subjected to was far different than those who lived in larger metropolitan areas. Inner city America was and still is much different the rural America. The age of technology has brought both closer to one another, but you cannot substitute one’s environment with enough of something to make it what it is not.

We stand 155 years plus past the end of The Civil War. North versus South; brother versus brother or any number of ways you have heard it compared. Civility would be a true misrepresentation of how our society has transformed in those years. Segregation, Jim Crow laws, The Ku Klux Klan, riots, and lynching are only part of the subjugation that was forced on those who’s only crime was that they did not look like the founding fathers. How do you go from being one’s property to your own prosperity?

We cannot rewrite history. We cannot erase it either. There is no magic eraser or ink that will only appear at a certain angle to hide our past. Much like other lessens in history, we struggle to learn from the mistakes made and find ways to pencil in “facts” in between the lines in ink. Justifying hatred has been around since Cain and Abel. It also helps to find that outlet for your anger and that thing not named yourself to hang responsibility upon. If you don’t think that’s a thing, I would point you to a man who convinced others that the extermination of over 11 million Jews was for the betterment of the world. Because they were responsible for the suffering the non-Jewish population was faced with.

Racism comes in many coats and many colors. None has held more hatred in America than Black vs White. What is the difference? The difference is one thing; the amount of melanin in one’s skin. What else? Not one damn thing. But we find ourselves different in customs, culture, and many other areas. What we start as something may be for necessity in the beginning. As it grows older, it becomes tradition. Again, there are no laws or rules that designate white and black culture cannot have similarities or even have the same things.

Most of us pay either watch the news or read it online. Unless you head is in the sand, you know the troubles we face today. Bigotry is still prominent in America. It never goes away altogether. As long as humans have air to breathe, some will find a way to hate regardless of what they know, learn, see with their own eyes.

Statistics tell us that more black Americans are incarcerated than whites. That gets magnified since there are for more Caucasian people in the U.S. That leaves us with some things that have to be looked at from a point that takes color or the lack thereof out of the equation. Maybe some of these suggestions could make a dent in an issue.

  • Every law enforcement officer has to have a body camera and it has to be on.
    • High crime areas will be patrolled more often. However, if arrests made in those areas show that there are dismissals and acquittals that mean bogus arrests, those police will be suspended upon an internal investigation
    • City councilmen and lawmakers need to meet to combat issues in their district. If you can’t provide a safe environment for your district, then the population of it will continue to fall, as well tax revenue to assist in any help. If your district’s crime rate increases 2 consecutive years while you are in office, you can not seek re-election.
    • Law enforcement officers will move to 8 hour shifts. They will also rotate on/off road duty and will be required to participate in counseling. Anyone choosing to decline this service will be terminated.
    • Law enforcement agencies will be asked to look to hire from a culturally diverse group of candidates. Car patrols should consist of officers from different diversities.
    • Officers working within large metropolitan cities will be required to rotate within other areas of the city during their tenure.
    • During any attempt to arrest an individual, all footage will have to be available. Any erased footage or lost footage will result in charges being dropped
    • While speaking with an officer, any attempt to resist arrest or run from the officer will be seen as an act of aggression. This means an attempt to re-obtain a suspect can involve being tackled, man-handled, tasered, or fired upon. Since every encounter will be recorded, it will be up to an “internal affairs” based board to ensure protocols were adhered to. If not, the officer involved will either be reprimanded or terminated. Criminal charges for excessive or unnecessary force will be levied.
    • Any time a person requests medical assistance, it is to granted. If found that the request has been to stall or impeded the process, the person will be charged with resisting arrest. If they use this as an attempt to flea, they will be charged with that as well. The steps listed above show what can be involved in that process.

If you haven’t had a chance to see the clip that Charles Barkley had a few weeks ago, it is worth looking for it. He says that he truly believes that most black and white people get along fine with one another. That in many ways we are put in situations by those that govern us to hate one another. Whether black vs white, rich vs poor, or any other argument, politicians find one thing that is extremely important to remember. It is not your fault, you need to blame, “fill in the blank here.” Meanwhile, politicians just gain money and power while doing nothing. Neither side is interested in fixing anything. They are only there to point out who is to blame. We are all to blame and all of us own a part in fixing it as well. We owe that to ourselves and to one another. It is time for us to work to make things better rather than make sure someone is there to blame. That is not always easy either. For many, they don’t do what is right because they fear that there is no fairness in the process. Those things have to change or we will eventually be Cain and Abel.

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A Year Unlike Any Other

We have all heard the term 20/20 when you have to do that eye test for school, work, or your drivers license. 20/20, perfect vision. You can see good from close up and from far away. Nothing is out of focus for you. Yet the year with the same numerals as this optic diagnosis could not have been further from perfect. For the whole of humanity, there was literally nowhere to hide from what the world was going to offer up.

The year rings in like any other. Hopes for a brighter future emerge at the dawn of each new year. Many look at it as a fresh start or being born again. If you have been one of those who constantly comes to the table with a long list of resolutions that are a lot like the ones you had before, you learn over time that when its your time to change things in your life, there are no specialized dates involved. The only thing you need is the will to move forward with change, not some magical time of year.

Be that as it may, 2020 comes in with hopes for better among us all. The first couple of months weren’t too bad for America. We get to a point where unemployment is at a 50 year low. Our economy is booming. Those 50 years are just as significant for fans of KC Chiefs find themselves winners of the Super Bowl. 50 years since their last Super Bowl win. During the month of February, we began to here rumblings on the news from China. A virus was spreading and doing so rather quickly. If you understand the layout of China, they have 1.4 billion people there. The United States have about 330 million people. We have more land in the U.S. as well as more land that is able to be farmed here.

Raise your hand if you ever heard of Wuhan, China before 2020? I know I had not. If you look it up, you see that you are 2-3 million more people in population for Wuhan than New York City. The largest city in America is 70% the size of a city you have never heard of. Along with this, your living conditions are well, less than perfect. You are living on top of one another. One day on your Wuhan journey, you end up getting hungry. You see the signs for the local market. Well, when in Rome, do as the Romans do. Let’s just see what they have to offer. It’s about that time you realize you aren’t in Kansas anymore Dorothy. Snakes, dogs, and cats all there for your purchase. Some of which are still alive/fresh. Along with those are the excellent bats on a stick. While this has never been 100% on what was the exact cause of Covid-19, it was among many of the possibilities. If you listen to others, there was a biological lab in Wuhan. It would have been easy for someone to have let a little something out just to see how devastating it would be. There is that; plus China is a country that isn’t as forthcoming about things that happen inside their borders. Think of North Korea but with the ability to make billions of dollars via the items manufactured in their country.

Now look at the timing of a pandemic. Right as China is about to get hit with a huge rise in tariffs coming into the U.S., there is disease that will sweep across the world that will sicken millions and kill those who are older and/or more medically susceptible to the effects of the virus. What are made to do early on in March? Make decisions that would bring this country to its knees. For a disease that has less that a 1% chance of killing someone, who is going to volunteer to be the one? You or someone you know? Maybe it would be someone you did not know at all, but that option could be given to someone who did not know you. Sounds like an old Twilight Zone episode doesn’t it? Say yes and you will be rich, but someone you don’t know will die. Well that an easy answer, until the next person asked is someone you don’t know. We as a nation have to stop to ask ourselves what is more important; carrying on or caring for one another. At what cost will one have versus the other.

Along with the cost of a life, we find that love for thy fellow man only goes so far. Within days of closures, a roll of toilet paper, paper towels, or Lysol spray were nowhere to be found. If you needed bread, milk, or canned goods, you better have been to the market before word broke. While many had more than enough to survive, those who were older, poorer, or simply too weak to challenge those rushing to hoard all the could gather. Our Black Fridays were no longer about cheap TVs or computers. Running you down for the last 4 pack of Charmin was no big deal though. Humanity at its finest. While those who realized they had more than enough felt their duty was to sell back to us, but only if it was multiple times of the original price. If that is you and you have made it this far, congratulations. You managed to save your body at the cost of your soul.

If the country needed a reason to wake up in the middle of a standstill, we certainly provided one. A man is arrested. The obvious thing to do is instead of placing him a vehicle or anything else is to apply pressure to his body from his head to his feet. All the while, you are being told by this person that they can’t breathe. Do you get up? You let a man die. No one is saying he was a perfect human being. However, the situation did not call for the restraint that was given. So, as has happened before, protests begin. Because we have been ordered to stay at home, that is pushed aside because of marches. Marches that point to a side of America that she just does not want to show for pictures. Her racist angle. Please only get the red, white, and blue; no black and blue please. We also only want fireworks for Memorial Day and the Fourth of July. Please socially distance yourself for those events as well.

George Floyd and Breonna Taylor became rallying cries for BLM. For the first time in decades, you began to see a country see things from as close to one point of view. Closer than it ever had. But its moment was fleeting. Marches turned to riots and looting. When someone uses your battle cry to burn down homes, loot stores, and beat down others who held nothing against you, your cause dies quickly. Not because it did not hold merit, but because others who were not interested in equality hijacked it to give a reason for their actions. How much honor do you bring another when you burn and loot in their name?

With the facts that lives matter, here in St. Louis, we have managed to murder more this year than the year before. All while the city was told to stay at home for most of that time. You do your best to stay away from the areas with the worst reputation. That doesn’t always help though. We’ve had people shot and killed in crossfire on the interstate by the airport. We’ve had children carjacking others at gunpoint and shooting those whom they rob. What is the answer to a 15-year old who shows you a gun and says to get out of your car? My son’s friend was carjacked right down the street. All in a pandemic. All when everyone was suppose d to be at home.

Sports showed us many things. We can shorten a season. We can put people in a bubble. We can stick cardboard cutouts in the stands. We can rent out an island to have MMA matches. All the while we are doing this, we come to see many things. From my viewpoint, it all sucks. I don’t want a 60 game baseball season. I want 162 games. I want a crowd going nuts. I need people in the stands when the Blues score. I need people in the crowd when Lebron crosses over and makes someone look stupid. I need kids chasing fouls in the stands. Even though I’m not there, I need to see that. If I don’t, it takes something away from it that the athletes can’t put back in. One more thing to add. If I can’t see OSU v Michigan, I don’t need a college football season.

At our final point, we have watched as two old men who would be better served aboard a floating rest home played shuffleboard and smokey trashy stogies rather than argue over who should be the one running the country. One is way arrogant while the other isn’t exactly the person you ask to hold on to your marbles for safe keeping. Along with their bickering, we find ourselves as divided a country as we have ever been. There are ways I feel this nation is more damaged than it was when the Rebs and Yanks were at Vicksburg. We have to find common ground for us all to live with one another. Nothing is every perfect, but the way to find your own version of perfection is to take two steps back and see what is important versus what you can do without.

Death has been the mantra of our perfect visioned year. From those we have known, to others we have watched for years. Our list offers us those we feel as gone too soon and others who fought bravely and by themselves while taking their last breaths alone. Our panic in the eyes of danger was only overcome when our leaders imposed laws against us taking away freedoms we were damned to live without. Isn’t it funny how what may be in other’s best interest is such a unimaginable thing to do if it involves any ounce of your freedom?

I live my life by a code that I have endured to keep. That among all of this disaster and chaos lies lessons that we can learn. Each of us stands to be educated by them whether it be by the actions of others or ourselves. By not taking that time and effort, we let the sacrifice of others be in vain. Just the same as you waste water for a thirsty man to drink, why let death, tragedy, ignorance, greed, and selfishness be committed only to have them be repeated? If we can learn just one thing from this year, I pray that you bless every second you have. There is not one thing more valuable in this world than time. Time with those you love, those you cherish, those you need, and those who need you.

Be the joy you wish for others to see in themselves. Let the be an example for them.

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Truth?, Justice, and the American Way

I just finished a documentary on HBO. The title, “After Truth, Disinformation and the Cost of Fake News” follows several different stories that occur between 2016 and 2018. Most people associate fake news with the Democratic Party. The documentary specializes in the use of false news that worked against and for both parties.

We search for the truth. We watch shows about it, read on it incessantly, and find every imaginable source we can to prove ourselves correct. I promise that if you watch this with an open mind, you will begin to look over things differently. What we are seeing is indeed the gullibility of America and the dilution of the intelligence pool.

I cannot sit and prophetically tell you that I have not been suckered in as well. We have an obligation to not be a part of the problem. Be sure to check your source. Far more than one source is needed. Before you decide to post that story that does not seem real, check it first and again. Fear and hatred spread much faster than any other thing. We owe it to ourselves to not be the reason for spread of either.

 

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A Whole New World

I am sure when most see those words, we think of the land of Disney and their fairy tales. A side note about that would tell you that some of the original Disney movies were based on Grimm Fairy Tales. Those pesky German brothers wrote many tales. But their stories were far darker than Walt Disney. So goes the American version of dulling down the sharp edge of the sword so others do not harm themselves. Well, buckle up America, I fear we are about to see version 2.0 for those of you watching at home.

For those of us who either have been blessed with a job still intact or have long since retired, the last few months have been anywhere from an annoyance to a humble look at how fragile a country truly is when the threat of merely being able to survive gets in the way. Somehow, all those things you were taught as a child come into play. Wash your hands, cover your mouth when you cough, keep your area clean, give people their distance, and many other things.

We have had 2+ months of sitting at home and waiting out the curve we needed to flatten. What will we come back to once we are given the “all clear?” Not that it really is all clear. We just do not have much more of a choice but to move forward in life. If we do not, we face a collapse that will affect far more than the loss of life.

If you ever see a turtle slowly peep his head out after being scared, it will remind you a lot of what we are about to witness. What will the world we come back to? When you go back to your local store, its doors may be shuttered. Going out to eat? That mom and pop place you always go-to for a good home-cooked meal may be out of business. In the last 4 weeks, we have seen 20 million people apply for unemployment. This does not include those who owned businesses. Those who had everything they owned in shops and businesses. Those who did not get their paperwork done in time for the payout from the government. What we will face coming out of our shell will be, “A Whole New World.”

 

 

 

 

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