All Hell’s Breaking Lose

August 26, 2020

Daily. The news is just numbing. Every. Single. Day.

Yeah yeah.. pandemic, extreme climate-related weather conditions, fires — haven’t been outdoors but for a couple times in the last week. Oh.. and then there’s the profound threats to the future viability of our democracy.

Then, a couple days ago, yet another breathtaking assault on an unarmed black man.. a shocking murder, this time 7 shots into his back, while three young children sat in the backseat of their family car watching. This unleashes riots in Kenosha, Wisconsin, and then vigilante guys rally to “defend the neighborhoods” and it looks like those guys who decided to take law into their own hands are responsible for two more murders. A absolute cluster-f of responses between federal, local, political (of course) forces.. everyone angling for some kind of control over the situation.

The NBA, who is in the middle of playoffs, is canceling games because teams, lead by the Milwaukee players, are boycotting. It is their response to continued racially-motivated police abuse and the murder of Jacob Blake. Sports people say this is big and very provocative. The players are saying these issues are more important than sports and money.  Powerful.

There’s a big drama playing out in the coronavirus world, as it looks like the president* has decided he’s done with testing and strong armed the CDC into changing its protocols and recommendations.  (My personal opinion, brewing for a while, is that the president* actually wants to see the pandemic overwhelm the country.. part of his scorched earth, burn it all down madness as he realizes he’s going to lose). This is so amoral.

The biggest storm ever to hit the gulf coast will be making landfall in Louisiana tonight. They are using crazy words like, “unsurvivable,” and expect storm surges that will bury whole towns.

And….  there’s the RNC (which I won’t watch).. best described by Dan Rather here:

That is the sentiment that sticks with me this morning as I reflect on day 2 of the Republican National Convention. Even to call it a convention is to miss the point. This was propaganda, the pageantry, power, and symbolism of our federal government – OUR government, we the people – exploited by a president who feels unbound by the constitution in his desperate desire to hold on to power.
A secretary of state from foreign soil pledges sycophantic fealty to his boss with hopes of bolstering his own standing in a political party that has become a personality cult. Immigrants are used as props in the White House by a president who has demonized, restricted, and mistreated even legal immigrants and asylum seekers. Uniformed military personnel are employed in this charade. A first lady, who is an unrepentant birther, mouths teleprompter platitudes in front of an unmasked crowd of true believers during a deadly mismanaged pandemic in a re-imagined rose garden and is heralded by some for her tone.
Meanwhile, in the real America, there is death, desperation, depression, hunger, and heartbreak. Once again a Black family is thrust into the national spotlight by a police shooting. And scenes of violent protests and counterprotests sweep across our national discourse, encouraged by a president who sees personal gain in racial division.
The polls tighten, or do they? What is hitting with the public and what isn’t? How are these speeches playing? These are questions for the mechanics of the horse race. They are the comfortable grooves into which campaign reporting usually falls. They are hard to resist. But they do not accurately see the full scope of the moment.
A line of attack on Joe Biden is that he would be a captive of the far left, that he is somehow a socialist. Nevermind that many of the policies of even the more liberal members of the Democratic Party would be considered mainstream center left in most European democracies. But what one doesn’t hear enough in our media coverage is the term “far right.” Racist and antisemtic authoritarian conspiracy theories are waved off by Republican politicians who know very well what they are about and how they are fueling support for Donald Trump. The trappings of the state are used for naked power politics. Corruption reigns. Foreign dictators are coddled. The rule of law is undermined. Voting is suppressed. This all isn’t theoretical. This is happening now. All of it. And in plain sight.
With all of this power, it is rather amazing that Donald Trump isn’t assured re-election. It is a testimony to the strength and durability of the majority of Americans, across a diverse political spectrum, who see the threat for what it is. Yes, this is a fight for democracy. But do not underestimate the strength and power of those who stand in opposition. Time and again, America has withstood threats – external and internal – in its uneven march to a more perfect union. And time and time again, courageous and energetic mass movements have signed up for service to this nation’s higher ideals. This is a moment of testing, to be sure. It is, as I said, chilling. But it cannot be defeated unless it is clearly seen for what it is.
Know how to get your vote in, and make sure it is counted. See how you can help others have their voices heard at the ballot box. There is so much to despair about, but despair and demoralization is being weaponized by those who seek to cynically hold on to their power. Instead, try to be inspired by a movement of tens of millions across this nation who are determined that this shall not be the definition of America.
So.. how about a nice bird picture:
Not my pic. I don’t know who the photographer is, but she/he got a good one (see those drips? See those eyes? Gosh..