It’s one thing to witness the sausage being made. It’s quite another to see legitimately poisonous ingredients tossed in alongside the pig lips and ass parts.
In their zeal to own the rubes, the mainstream media is spending their Labor Day weekend inventing stories based on their view of people living in non-coastal states. Much like they highlighted two or three stories last year of people ingesting fish tank cleaner in an effort to ward off COVID, they’ve found their 2021 version of hydrochloroquine in horse de-wormer Ivermectin.
The narrative goes that bib overall-wearing hicks in flyover country are SO determined to avoid getting the COVID vaccine that they are latching on to tenuous reports about the efficacy of ivermectin in treating the symptoms. This hits on too many stereotypes for the august media class to ignore. They are now reacting with all of the dignity of a starving wolf attacking a three-day old pork chop.
The two most egregious violators are an organization that has a fairly-good reputation…and another whose reputation is shit—yet still gets gullible people to take them seriously. The Associated Press reported that 70% of recent calls to the Mississippi Poison Control Center were from people who had ingested ivermectin to try to treat COVID-19. A correction issued a short time later acknowledges that it was actually only 2%. I’m just a silly yahoo from the foothills, but even I know that is not a “correction.” That is a “refutation.”
Given the AP’s business model, hundreds of local/regional outlets shared the original story. It is unknown how many have shared the correction but it is substantially less. Of course, that’s the way “fake news” spreads these days. The unbiased Mainstream Media makes a “mistake.” 99% of the time it is a mistake that casts Republicans in a negative light. If these were truly honest mistakes, then SOME of them would paint them in a positive light…law of averages, right?
But no. These are mistakes borne out of a preconceived effort to make conservatives look bad. Most of them are the result of journalists abandoning all professional discipline in order to “get one over” on someone they hate.
Of course they issue a retraction/correction, as if that makes everything better. And of course that retraction is seen by about a tenth of the people who saw the original story.
Again…if these mistakes sometimes made rural conservatives look better than they deserve, you would have a point. But they do not. They primarily flow in one direction. That is because they are NOT “mistakes.”
Going even lower than the AP, enter the reliably-execrable Rolling Stone magazine. The publication that has been at the center of two of the worst cases of journalistic malpractice in modern history is STILL churning out pablum that some are ingesting like so much ivermectin.
They were not content to err with a mere mathematical error. Oh no. They put out a story that would have made a National Enquirer editor wince. They reported that an Oklahoma hospital was so overwhelmed with patients who had overdosed on ‘horse dewormer meds’ that gunshot victims were having to wait for beds.
I mean seriously. This reads like Proggie Fan Fiction. They picked up the initial details from a local newspaper. But instead of taking the extraordinary step of calling the hospital to confirm the findings, they ran with it—with a few embellishments. Of course, a quick call to the hospital would have told them they were treating NO such patients. And had NEVER treated anyone with those symptoms. Ah, but that would have shredded the narrative about stupid MAGA supporters slurping horse medicine and being hospitalized, preventing treatment of all of the rednecks who are being randomly shot because of all of the guns roaming around in Oklahoma. I swear, I bet the writers got sexually excited while drawing this one up.
And the liberal Twitter Blue Check Brigade could NOT help themselves. They shared this story with reckless abandon. It was funny to watch their reaction hours later when the story was exposed as bunk. Some were STILL trying to make it true. Most just dirty-deleted their tweet. A couple of honorable ones issued a mea culpa and took their medicine.
This story, and the vociferousness with which it was shared shows the true colors of the media and their allies. They gobbled it up and asked for seconds—and were completely incurious about the source. That’s because they’re not hungry for the truth. They are hungry for nourishment to feed their predetermined narrative. They could NOT ignore a story like this which seemed to be the Holy Grail in terms of narrative-enhancing tropes that they could exploit.
It brought to mind another Rolling Stone hoax that checked off all of the same boxes. The Duke Lacrosse case dominated the headlines in 2004. When it broke, the mainstream media sprang into action. Soon, stories appeared in the Durham Herald-Sun about the “culture” of the lacrosse team. Of course that means they were mostly rich white boys. The Raleigh News and Observer even sent reporters to the Jersey suburb where two of the accused lived—taking special care to point out that the average home in the area sold for nearly a million dollars. They featured pictures of the subdivision, lest anyone think they were making it up.
None of these stories were meant to bring about truth, perspective or facts. They were meant to add to the myriad of things that already divide us. They injected high-octane fuel into an already-combustible mixture of angst and desperation. The media wanted chaos to fuel sales. And they wanted most of all to outrage people who’ve learned little else other than outrage. It basically confirmed every stereotype that the writers and their editors held about certain groups of people. As such, they abandoned all journalistic discipline and framed the facts in such a manner as to buttress their narrative. Unfortunately, the ACTUAL facts told a much different story.
Even with that saga fresh in their minds, Rolling Stone STILL didn’t give a damn. In 2016, they gave us a pile of journalistic dreck which will stand the test of time. The “UVa Rape on Campus.” It was a story of an alleged rape on the campus of the august school. And it was a lie. The same issues played out. The writers were told a story that appealed to their stereotypical prejudices. When one read the article, it was like each character introduced came straight out of central casting. Everyone wearing clearly-defined white hats and black hats. Sound familiar?
The worst part is, there are rarely consequences for those who intentionally spread exaggerations and falsehoods in order to demonize people they do not like. Yes, Mike Nifong was disbarred for prosecutoral misconduct in the Duke Lacrosse case, but the media ghouls who intentionally poured high-octane fuel on a raging fire paid NO price. The same sanctimonious Senators who cast aspersions on Brett Kavanaugh with no corroborating evidence are (mostly) still in the Senate. The jackasses who tried to immediately cast teens wearing MAGA hats as evil incarnate have still been braying about other BS.
At this point, if you happen upon an ivermectin/“horse dewormer” story, your best bet is to assume the story is BS. That it is merely another attempt by sophisticated urbanites to guffaw at “those Neanderthals” while sipping their Caramel Macchiatos. And you will be correct far more often than not.
I am noting some familiar feelings and thoughts sliding back into my consciousness as COVID-19 makes its unsurprising rebound. Yes, I said “unsurprising.” The virus has mutated and will continue to. Why? That is what viruses do.
It feels like the combination of malaise/ennui/depression I had last fall when case numbers were rising and people were calling me a literal murderer because I simply asked for scientific justification before new restrictions were implemented. I don’t want to go back there but the same people still have social media accounts. I am working VERY hard to tune them out, but I fear it won’t be enough.
The numbers suggest the Delta variant is quite communicable, but not quite as lethal as the original strain. But that second fact is doing little to soothe the nerves of people who have (unfortunately) become quite accustomed over the last year-and-a-half to seeing the dark cloud behind every silver lining. I swear there are people who seem positively *giddy* when they say things like, “We’re gonna hafta close the restaurants again!”
As cases increase more and more are falling back on calls for people to wear masks whenever they’re in the same Area Code as another human. The President of the United States of America is mulling a proposal to require proof of vaccination for doing something as innocuous as driving to another state. And there DO exist people who want to empower the most powerful force on the planet with the authority to FORCE people to get a shot.
I am libertarian. My credo is “mind your own business and keep your hands to yourself.” I cannot imagine a simpler philosophy. But just like there are proverbially no atheists in a foxhole, there are evidently no libertarians during a pandemic. At least no popular ones. Of course, if I wanted to be popular I wouldn’t be a libertarian.
As a libertarian, I will fight and die for your right to NOT have to put something into your body that you do not want. That I even have to type that is depressing. Yet we have become so consumed by fear that there are otherwise-normal people who support empowering an entity with near-limitless power with the authority to force you to have a substance put into your body. Picture a dystopian film about a futuristic society where faceless agents hold down the hero and forcibly inoculate him with something he doesn’t want. Over the top? Yes. But there are people who functionally want to do this to protect themselves from a malady with a post-vaccination IFR of 99.97%. Pre-vaccination, it is a mere 99.7%.
For those of you who are bullish on mandatory mask policies and the like, you have NO right to look down on those who are skeptical. Why should people NOT be skeptical? The same people who told us “two weeks to flatten the curve,” later said, “We’ll get back to normal when the vaccine is approved.” Then they said not until it was available for all adults. Then they said it would have to be received by an overwhelming majority of adults. Also, these are the same people who told us masks were “useless” —then later said they were “critical.” And these SAME people said they would not trust a vaccine developed with the previous President in the White House. But with a new President, that makes the vaccine OK. The question should be, why is EVERYONE not at least a little skeptical? There is copious justification for asking questions about a substance that’s about to be injected into you when the people who insist you get it have been so mendacious in the past.
That having been said, every single bit of evidence that is available screams one conclusion. The vaccines WORK. Now, that does not mean they are 100% effective. Nothing is. Ever. For anything. If 100% safety is your expectation, you will always be disappointed. That is a fool’s errand and an authoritarian’s dream scenario.
I’ve been vaccinated. I got all of the information I could and concluded the risk was worth it. If you reached a different conclusion, that is fine. I would NEVER force you to do something you did not want to do. But for those of you on the fence, I urge you to reconsider. The vaccines work. Even if they do little to prevent the spread of the new variants, the numbers show they are quite effective in easing the symptoms and avoiding long-term complications.
At the same time, one of the biggest incentives to get the vaccination is a return to normalcy. Telling people they are still going to have to wear masks, socially distance and all of the other niggling things they’ve had to do for the past year-plus, even if they get the shot—is one of the best ways of making sure they don’t.
So please. Get the shot. If not for yourself, get it in order to help ensure this fall’s High School and College football seasons can proceed as scheduled. Let’s think about what is REALLY important here.
There has never been a situation in human history where wearing a mask did not offer SOME statistical advantage against the spreading of an airborne disease. The question is, does the advantage you gain justify GOVT mandating that activity?
With the Delta variant giving them the cover they need, some of our leaders are floating trial balloons this week, suggesting that if COVID-19 cases continue their incremental increase, we could be partying like its April-2020 all over again.
On Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control issued updated guidance suggesting that even vaccinated people should wear masks indoors. But by the CDC’s own numbers, the chances of a vaccinated person even contracting COVID is one in 2,640. That is your chance of getting a disease that has a post-vaccination IFR of 99.97%. These are what we call “astronomical odds.”
I have an extremely high threshold when the answer is GOVT enforcement. The advantage gained by the mandated activity must be obvious, substantial, and nearly-universal. There is no way that such numbers justify mandatory masking. If you think they do, then you can justify almost anything. In the world of medicine, this is about as close to 100% as you are going to get when dealing with a new virus.
A quick reminder. We have been told at various points in time by our GOVT that:
***Masks are useless — and they are essential.
***Protests were super-spreader events — and they were safe enough, because of the intent.
***The lab-leak theory was racist and xenophobic — and that it was the most plausible explanation.
***Any vaccine developed while Trump was President was going to be rushed and dangerous — and that refusal to take the vaccine is akin to randomly killing grannies.
Here is something MORE insulting. The science that the CDC is using to justify their mask-wearing recommendation for the vaccinated comes in the wake of a large July Fourth party in Provincetown-Massachusetts. This survey of fewer then 200 non-diverse people is being used to conclude that those who have been vaccinated and have COVID can spread it just as easily as the NON-vaccinated. This study only explored those who were tested. It is safe to assume that someone who did NOT have symptoms never bothered with being tested. So the sacrosanct CDC is basing a recommendation covering 330 million people on a singular incident using TERRIBLE methodology. This is insane.
Another insult came yesterday afternoon. When asked about the vaccine, President Biden said, “It’s still a question if the federal government can mandate the whole country, I don’t know that yet.” Let me help you out President. The answer is “no.” If the GOVT can force you to put something into your body that you may not want, then their power has no limits. I am holding back LOTS of expletives here.
I have been MORE than generous and patient with GOVT leaders on this. I have sublimated a lot of my instincts and common sense to follow the herd on many things. I stood on the insulting floor stickers like a good boy. I got the vaccine. In short, I have done everything asked of me. And it is still not enough. It is never enough.
I was called a conspiracy kook (and much worse) when I opined several months ago that there were going to be leaders who were very reluctant to surrender the authority they’ve had for the past year because of the pandemic. Sometimes I hate being correct.
I will not be the equivalent of a trained monkey and participate in COVID Theater. In real life, Charlie Brown does not always keep trying to kick the football, convinced that THIS time, Lucy is being honest. In real life, after being fooled a couple of times, Charlie Brown tells Lucy where she can insert that football. So be it with masks and floor stickers.
One of the defenses of Critical Race Theory is that it is just a “theory.” Hell, it says so in the title. It’s not only a college discipline, but a grad-school-level study of race and it’s impacts on American institutions like law and politics.
I think we are giving CRT an amount of gravitas it does not deserve. Based upon my observations, CRT is less of a theory and more of a method. It’s method is to see EVERYTHING primarily through the prism of race. Even things that have nothing to do with race, social interactions, etc. It develops not racial consciousness nor racial awareness. It develops racial *obsession.*
My Granddaddy had a saying. (He actually had a LOT of sayings…most of which would earn me a Facebook timeout.). He said if you looked hard enough for shit, you would find it…just about anywhere.
All this falls under the more family-friendly theory that “you see what you are looking for.” And if you train your brain to see race everywhere, you will find it. You will also find the racism you are looking for. It all has to do with your Reticular Activating System.
The RAS is a part of the brain that processes trust. The conscious part of the RAS takes in 40 bits of info per second…while the subconscious part takes in 40 MILLION bits of info per second. The RAS’ function is to filter for what is important to focus on. That is a critical role, since otherwise there would be too much information for your brain to focus on.
The most amazing thing about the RAS is that it can be reprogrammed to focus on certain things and to filter out certain things. Quite often that is achieved through repetition. If you are familiar with the “Tetris Effect” this will ring a bell. A group of students were tested by letting them play hours and hours of the popular game. Afterwards, the students reported that they began seeing Tetris blocks EVERYWHERE! When walking down the street they could “see” buildings being turned over to fit into the puzzle their brain had focused on for 48 hours. They had “re-trained their brain.”
It is not difficult to see how a constant focus on race can produce similar results, leading a person to see it in all things, no matter how innocuous. If you train your brain to see race as the main factor in everything, well then, race quickly becomes the main factor in everything. It is only natural that you then conclude that everything that has ever been done, is being done and ever WILL be done includes that same myopic focus on race. The thought that race is *not* a factor in something is simply not allowed in your world. In your world, the mere suggestion that we judge people on their character and not their skin color is DefCon Level 1 Blasphemy. MLK is truly dead.
Don’t get me wrong. The polar opposite of this would also be bad. Refusing to see race’s role in obvious things like prison sentences and the like is also a fool’s errand. That’s why when I tell people my goal is to be “color-blind,” I am quick to point out that this is not a literal thing. The goal is NOT to “not see color.” The goal is to make sure it does not play a central role in how I regard a person.
And yes, I will point out that the obsession with race that CRT attempts to engender is the same obsession with class that Marxists hope to promote. Honest to God if you replace “race” with “class,” then your standard CRT syllabus is nearly indistinguishable from Das Kapital.
I am not in favor of the spate of laws states are passing to prohibit CRT-based teaching. Those can be easily circumvented and (like all other laws) will most certainly have unsavory unintended consequences. This is a battle over the soul of public education. Will we utilize an approach that hyper-focuses on immutable characteristics? Or will we instead hyper-focus on the limitless opportunities each child brings to the table? Opportunities that will NOT be met if they are taught to view themselves and others primarily by their skin color.
Reading over the transcript from the President’s speech last night, there are few surprises. It was boilerplate Big Government worship. Kinda disappointing from someone who used to be a moderate Democrat. But of course, Biden isn’t the one in charge now.
The most disappointing part came in something that was not in the transcript. It appears our President broke out one of the worse modern-day canards in order to justify further erosion of individual liberty. To wit—the odious “fire in a crowded theater” gambit.
History time. The shouting-fire-in-a-theater analogy was written in a majority opinion by Oliver Wendell Holmes in Schenck v. US in 1919. It was subsequently repeated by untold numbers of censorship apologists in the ensuing century. What was it about? The ruling allowed the Woodrow Wilson administration to throw a bunch of peaceful socialists into prison for violating the Espionage Act of 1917. The alleged “harm” of these anti-war activists, clearly exercising political expression, was undermining recruitment efforts for World War I.
The ruling which this comment supported has since been struck down as unconstitutional. Another interesting factoid? Holmes later denounced his own ruling. He realized the license he had given people like President Biden to declare any portion of the Constitution null and void based on any extenuating circumstances they could imagine.
This has been the go-to argument for people who have issues with the breadths of the first two amendments to the Constitution. If you are frustrated that the First or Second Amendments prevent all of your good ideas from being instituted, then you are just the kind of person the Constitution was designed to frustrate.
To further buttress his position, the President assured us that “no Constitutional amendment is absolute.” Is that so, Mr. President? Tell me…what are the limitations to the 13th Amendment? Are there STILL cases where people can be forced into slavery? What about the 19th amendment? Are they cases where people can be denied a vote because of their gender? This can be brought up about a number of other amendments. You don’t get to tightly interpret the parts you like—then broadly interpret the ones you don’t. That is wrong.
This is to say nothing of the flat-out lies Biden shared in his urge to make sure no one has a handgun capable of firing more than ten rounds. Legislation that would target more than 80% of the weapons in current use is an “infringement,” no matter how you dress it up for defend it.
I was hopeful that the answer to the chaotic Presidency of Donald Trump would not be a lurch to the far-left, with a near-limitless expansion of central government authority and constant erosion of individual liberties. I was wrong. And I have little hope that there is sufficient appetite in Washington (or anywhere else) for the maxim that the Government which governs best is that which governs the least.
The next battle front in the Covid War will still be fought between those who want to live normal lives and those who want to be protected from practically ALL potential harm.
With lockdowns and overt restrictions fading away, the Safety-At-Any-Cost brigade will demand other restrictions, lest one of the dreaded VARIANTS finds its way into the air. They will push for plexiglass requirements at restaurants and most any other indoor venue that has more than five people in it.
They will demand HARD PROOF of one’s vaccination status before attending an indoor sporting event or concert. “Papers, please.”
They will push for the equivalent of Chinese Anal Swabs for anyone bold enough to do something like fly overseas.
They will INSIST that stores do not take up the cute little Kindergarten stickers that tell all of the good little boys and girls where they should stand or they will be punished.
They will force people to undergo temperature checks whenever they walk into a new building. Or maybe from room-to-room. You can’t be too careful, you know.
The same people who screamed “Wear the Damned Mask!” are NOT going to relinquish their chance to impact your life. Not when there is fear to be pimped.
Yes…I am employing hyperbole here…but probably not as much as you think. There is a sizable section of the population who operate under the silly notion that we can eliminate most all societal risk. Subgroups include those who are scared of their own shadows and others who get a VERY real charge out of being able to influence the behavior of others.
We have to beat them to the punch. Before this big transition begins, normal people are going to have to demonstrate that we will NOT stand for a world where we have to have our temperature checked more than a dozen times a day. We will NOT abide having to show vaccination papers in order to walk into an arena and watch the Virginia Tech Hokies choke in another tournament game. We are NOT going to stand in the spot with the cute piece of tape just because it makes you feel better. And if we run a business, we are NOT going to put the insulting damned stickers on the floor in the first place.
In short, we are not going to fashion a society based on the fears of hypochondriacs nor the wet dreams of control freaks. Freedom>Safety. Always. Because if there is no freedom, all of the safety in the world is meaningless.
About 99% of those reading this have long since formed their opinion of Rush Limbaugh. His death this morning, and reading some early reactions, convince me that I might be one of only a handful of people with a nuanced, mixed opinion of the man and his legacy.
So I come neither to canonize Rush nor bury him. But I am NOT exaggerating when I say he was the most influential person in the last fifty years in an industry that I have devoted most of my professional career to.
Rush Limbaugh was Trump before Trump. A big-talking, bombastic figure who exaggerated, bloviated and irritated. But people listened. Those who loved him listened. Those who hated him listened. He was all of these things, good and bad, but one thing he NEVER was—was boring.
When he was gaining a big audience in the late 80’s, I was graduating college and began working full-time at a station in Danville-Virginia. It was a conservative area—but steeped with southern politeness. Rush’s parodies and harsh language was deemed too shocking for the local audience, based on the reaction of the sales people at our station who were marketing the show. Our station was the first in the market to carry Rush. That initial reaction quickly melted away and 12-3pm quickly became our most lucrative time of the day to sell.
This is sort of “inside baseball” for those of us in radio, but Rush Limbaugh changed the way AM Radio was marketed and sold. AM was dead before his show. Major markets had all but abandoned it. But Rush and his team put together a unique network of very small stations in very small markets. Then his talent took over. Quickly those stations got a little bigger. Those markets got a little bigger. And within a decade, he had more radio listeners than any other person on the planet. He quickly eclipsed Larry King.
When I heard about Rush Limbaugh I envisioned a conservative commentator who had a radio show. When I actually HEARD Limbaugh, I instantly realized he was a radio guy who happened to be a conservative commenter. Again—more inside baseball—but Rush’s diction, pacing, delivery and other voice attributes were near-perfect. You cannot live in the radio business and not envy the pipes. He had them.
Before the emergence of Rush’s radio show, you had a hard time finding conservative mores represented in mainstream culture. The driving moral force behind most television, movie and other art was what left-wing values were more treasured. This was rarely overt, but popular culture clearly reflected a left-of-center perspective. Rush immediately filled a void, speaking to people who sometimes felt that society at large didn’t regard them fondly. Go ahead. Call them dumb ‘ol rednecks if you like. But they tuned in. And the number quickly suggested that other demographics were tuning in.
Rush’s format was completely different. It was not listener/caller-dominated. Most of the content came from HIM. HE was the selling point—not the callers. Now it takes a hell of a personality to carry something like that but he did. For more than thirty years. Trust me when I tell you that carrying a three-hour live broadcast largely on extemporaneous speaking is a chore!
The empire he was able to build in such a short time was remarkable. Limbaugh gave conservatives a national stage with his radio show. I said it at the time and I will say it again—Rush Limbaugh was primarily responsible for the unprecedented Republican takeover of Congress in 1994. He essentially ushered in a new age of politics. Again, you can disagree with the politics, but you cannot deny the impact.
A few years later, Roger Ailes witnessed Rush’s popularity and saw a chance to market to that audience on the television side. The results speak for themselves. Fox News (like them or not) has become a cultural force.
One of the mainstream media’s biggest issues with Rush was the same issues they have with Fox News, right-wing bloggers, etc. They are proof that the old guard no longer has a monopoly on the flow of information. This is the information age. Information is power. In democratizing political information, Rush will forever be reviled by those who once controlled it.
I most certainly did not always agree with Rush and I most certainly was not a fan of his style. To be honest, he was a loudmouthed jerk most of the time. I realize, though, that I was not his target audience. Controversy sells. Volume sells. Drama sells. Rush’s bombastic style and finger-pointing penchant was way too over the top for my tastes. But beneath the bluster, the man knew his stuff. Yes, you had to sit through some eye-roll moments, but there was substance there. He correctly pointed out that the vanguard of left-guided movements like Feminism and Environmentalism were primarily the movement’s most partisan elements. They were indignant about that. Partly because he made it personal. But mostly because he was 100% correct.
And to a lot of conservatives in the early 90’s, it was a welcome break from the norm. Politically, the “norm” at the time was to have Ted Kennedy say something awful about you on the Senate floor—and that would be the only clip the newscast showed. No rebuttal. With Rush giving a voice of dissent, it amplified others that were being ignored. Most notably, a young firebrand Congressman from Georgia named Newt Gingrich.
I am not going to bother checking Twitter today. I’ve seen what some of the more unhinged leftists said about Rush when he was alive. I can only imagine what they’re saying today so I will make sure that I keep it at that. There are a few entities that seem to draw out the inner demon on the left—to make them say things that would make Charlie Manson wince. Brett Kavanaugh was one of them. But Rush Limbaugh was the Godfather. The idea of equating “disagreement” with “hatred” wasn’t born with Rush, but it applied right up until his death. And sadly, well beyond it.
I’m sure a lot of people will say Rush was the precursor to a coarsening of our political and social debates. There is some merit to that. Certainly things have only gotten more pronounced in those areas over the past thirty years. And you could say that they reached their apex with the election of Donald Trump. Rush was the first of the modern-day conservatives to fire back at people like James Carville—whose political rhetoric and attacks too often went unchallenged. Maybe the pendulum has swung too far, but what is worse? A society where one side is able to say most anything about the other—-or one where that other side has a chance to say something back?
Rush Limbaugh was a giant in the field of radio and in American broadcasting. He pointed out thirty years ago that the American left was dominating discussion and he decided to do something about it. He did. Whether you think that is a good thing or a bad thing depends mostly on where you reside on the political spectrum.
As someone who was an indirect beneficiary of his essentially saving AM radio in the nineties, I will tip my cap. As someone who has misgivings about monopolies on speech and opinions, I will nod my head. But as someone who values basic manners, I will give a thumbs-down.
We now return you to your regular social media, where the opinions will be much less cerebral and nuanced. 🙂
Nearly 47 years ago I was in a room at Danville Regional hospital after having my tonsils taken out. I was only seven years old…but I needed to recover QUICKLY!! Why? It was April 8, 1974—and I was worried I would miss Hank Aaron going for the all-time home run record.
Hank hit home run #714 on Saturday in Cincinnati off of Jack Billingham. That tied Babe Ruth. They sat him on Sunday, wanting him to have a chance to break the record when the Braves returned home to Fulton County Stadium. Their Monday night game against the Dodgers was going to be broadcast nationally—a rarity back then.
I had my tonsils taken out that morning and nurses shoved ice cream down my throat while I drifted in and out of consciousness. I REALLY wanted to be awake for the game that evening.
My dad was a welder. He was working on building an addition to The hospital. He was working on the roof that abutted the existing floor where I was being treated. He would crawl in through the window and eat lunch with me.
After finishing up work dad crawled in through the window with McDonald’s and hung around until the game started. I was still groggy but determined to watch. Thankfully, Hammerin’ Hank went deep his first time up, allowing me to go to sleep without worrying about missing anything. I slept until Noon the next day.
The next year, as I began my storied Little League baseball career, I did so with a Hank Aaron model Wilson A-2000 glove. Being eight years old, I was convinced that Hank himself had autographed the glove!
Suffice to say, I had no greater sports hero growing up than Hank Aaron. And being young it never occurred to me that my forebears would have considered it taboo for a little white boy from Southside Virginia to idolize a black man. Well, I didn’t see a black male. I saw an elegant athlete with the quickest wrists at the plate I have ever seen (to this day) who could wait forever on even the best pitch and hit it hard. I saw a man who always appeared to be smiling…who was gracious and humble.
I never thought at the time how significant it was to have a father who was raised in SUCH a different time who not only said nothing about my hero-worship, but actively encouraged it. That’s what made it so hard to learn later, while still a kid, that Aaron’s magical chase of Babe Ruth’s home run record had brought out some of the worst letters the US Postal Service have ever delivered. It was staggering the amount of abuse this man was subject to, based solely on the color of his skin. It most certainly was NOT about the content of his character, which was impeccable.
Just by being Hank Aaron, he was able to show an entire generation of little white boys that it was just fine worshiping the athletic skills of a black athlete. Today, we think nothing about such things. Yes there are still major race issues our society must address. But we are MUCH further along than we would have otherwise been because of super human beings like Hank Aaron.
There is an old picture of me I would give almost ANYTHING to recover. Mom took a shot of one of my games at Glenwood Elementary School, where I batted a robust .737 my senior year. Unconsciously, I modeled my swing after Hank’s. Mom took a picture of me during a sweet follow-through on a double. It looked almost EXACTLY like the famous shot of Aaron’s follow-through on his 715th homer. Both arms still over the plate—but the wrists (which generated super-human powers) were already fully bent, having sent another baseball on a light flight. It was my dream to get Hank to autograph that picture of me. Alas, it has been lost to the ages. And now we’ve lost Hank to the ages.
RIP, my hero. I’ll see you one day.
Pomp and circumstance do little for more. I admire precision drill teams for about 90 seconds before I start losing interest. Same with funerals of people I didn’t know. And when the pomp is done in the context of government…an entity of which I am already distrustful, then my interest level drops to near zero.
So, no. I did not watch today’s inauguration of Joe Biden as our nation’s 46th President. Neither did I watch the one from four years ago. Or eight years ago. Or 12. I was busy charging a car battery this afternoon. Previous excuses have included stacking bouillon cubes, bleeding the water heater, rotating tires on my car, raking brush in the backyard, swabbing my belly button for lint. You know, the important stuff. At least more important than Bread and Circuses for half of the population who are giddy that as of today, THEIR side owns the tanks and the guns.
As I’ve explained in previous posts, I have no animus towards Biden. As politicians go, he seems to be one of the few I could actually talk to in a jovial manner. In fact, I believe it was his record as a centrist that allowed Democrats to move his way in the primaries when they realized they didn’t need to fight a fiery demagogue (Trump) with one of their own. And I hope I am correct when I say that the progressives who have counting down the hours until Biden’s nomination are going to be VERY disappointed when Biden begins to govern.
But will he? Will the moderate Democrat that we’ve known for four decades suddenly become a Woke Senior Citizen, giving free policy rein to the loudest and furthest left sector of his party? Will we see Beto become a gun czar? AOC made Secretary of Health and Human Services, Rashida Tlaib appointed Ambassador to Israel? Meh—unlikely on all counts. But still, Biden will have to do SOMETHING to appease the Twitter Mob wing of the Democratic party. We’ll have to keep our eyes open.
If you are like me and measure Government’s success by how much they are *forbidden* from doing instead of how much they’ve done, there is one artifact of the Trump debacle that will pay dividends for years. Despite all of his other faults, Trump deferred to some VERY sharp people in filling three Supreme Court vacancies and 228 federal judicial seats. He had a penchant for following the Heritage Foundation’s advice and appointing strict originalists to these seats. This is not to say these judges will favor right wing policy over left…but they favor the CONSTITUTION above all.
In a period of history when Democrats have control of two of the three branches of government; coupled with the visceral urge to enact revenge on people who have opposed them the past four years, the US Judicial system will be in the best position to temper their zeal. It will be up to men and women in black robes to step in when Democrats try to shed Constitutional restraints in their 2021 Vengeance Tour.
Many of these judges have already abundantly demonstrate that they follow the Constitution—not temporal political whims. Do you doubt that? Ask Former President Trump, who was bitch-slapped several times be judges HE appointed. So because of this formidable check in place, and given the decades of lawmaking evidence we have seen, it’s hard to think President Joe Biden is going to go scorched Earth like so many feared. Yes, there will be significant changes in the makeup and tenor of the Federal Government…but nothing *too* far beyond the usual ones seen whenever a new party moves into that lovely mansion on Pennsylvania Avenue.
Now I’ll quickly change my tune if a smirking Beto O’Rourke shows up at my door and demands I turn over my guns. Actually, I’ll switch my iPad to a live stream. It would be interesting viewing.
Well here is where I resume pissing off some of the people who have likely given me positive comments for the first time. You knew this wouldn’t last, didn’t you?
The worst thing that could happen after this week’s violence in Washington is to forget the actions from all corners that led up to it. Yes, I said ALL corners. This isn’t a “whatabout” or “both sides” commentary…unless it is.
Trump’s appeals to the mob are mere words—unless there is SOME foundation for the mob to be angry. Trump did not create this. It predated him by many years. Yes, he exacerbated it, fed it, and profited off of it. But it did not form out of whole cloth the instant he announced his candidacy.
Like it or not, there are a LOT of people who feel that government and the media are teaming up against them. They feel that both entities have regarded them with contempt for a number of years. Sadly, they found a Champion for their grief in Trump. We saw the fruits this week.
The anger Trump manipulated was formed through a steady series of cultural institutions who constantly drove home the message that these people were responsible for all of the bad things in the world. That their forebears were evil people and that they, by proxy, were also irredeemably evil. That their religion was evil. That the things they respected were evil. It was made worse by a mainstream media who seemed all-too-eager to amplify these points. This may seem silly to you. That’s fine. But it exists. I assure you. You ignore it at your peril. Actually, the peril applies to ALL of us.
Everyone has a breaking point. Trump was a master manipulator who became the avatar for these peoples’ frustrations. He led them to the breaking point, and they let him. They are both to blame.
But if you don’t think the constant scorn that a large segment of our population has endured for more than a generation is not a factor, then you are opening up the door for more unrest. If you cavalierly say “Oh you poor white guys have suffered SOOOO much! Let me get you a tissue” then you are practically begging for more.
The problem comes in specifically identifying these things that contributed to the mob. For most every one of them, you will be able to say something along the lines of, “Well we NEED to do that in order to (accomplish some good deed stemming from racism and Jim Crow laws.)” You will be able to defend a good number of these in such a manner. And you will often be correct. But you will also be tempted to view any questioning of such policies as “racist”. And that’s where the problems begin.
Most white people have been able to NOT go batshit crazy at four decades of being branded a “racist” whenever certain policies or politicians were questioned. But it wears on you. After a while you begin thinking it’s not worth questioning the policies and people, just so you can avoid the inevitable name-calling that will be lobbed your way. Hell, even in writing this post I wondered if it was worth it, since so many people will immediately see it as “racist” and automatically ignore it.
People were made to feel that mere questioning of such things made them a bad person. Once that was established, the threshold became “full-throated support.” This wears on you.
During this time there have been several government policies that specifically targeted a certain demographic for legal discrimination. Affirmative Action is, by it’s very definition, “race-based preference.” Again, you can argue that the intent is noble—and it most certainly is. But the end effect is that there IS a group of people that can be legally discriminated against by the federal government. Now, will this make the members of that group feel better about their government—or worse? And being constantly called racist (or worse) when you question these policies? It wears on you.
And this is to say nothing of the contemporary policies which demand people apologize for their skin color and for the actions of people who have been dead for centuries. This obnoxious view has been de rigeur for some time on college campuses. It is now creeping into modern HR Departments. These are not expectations that come from a place of good will. They come from a place of exacting punishment. It wears on you.
Let me re-state my views so there is no ambiguity. The PRIMARY blame for this week’s violence lies with President Trump and the people who carried it out—along with those party leaders who encouraged it. Every one of them should be chagrined and punished where appropriate. But to think that this is totally a product of one man and his minions is short-sided and dangerous. We will be doing this all over again soon if we fail to properly identify the genesis for this combustible marriage.
This is the advantage of regarding most people with automatic suspicion. I see Trump and his fanbois for what they are. But I also know how they were created. And there are people evidently willing to do it all over again. If you do we’ll be having the same discussion every 10-to-12 years.