2022

Identity Crisis

One morning I logged on to my computer, went to my credit card portal, pulled up my statement and clicked on print.

Nothing!

So, I said to myself, let me try again, because with my pathetic technological skills I might have clicked on something else altogether.

Still nothing!

Daughter, I shouted, the printer isn’t working!

Are you sure, asks daughter?

Yes, I tried twice!

Did you click on print?

Yes!

Let’s try it again.

At this point, of course, I am feeling like an inadequate nincompoop, and daughter has that look on her face which says: what did the old woman do this time?! However, daughter couldn’t print either! We turned the printer off, turned it on again, checked all the settings. Nothing doing!

Frustrated daughter calls Tech Support as I am feeling quite vindicated for not having messed up! After waiting on hold for umpteen minutes, the Techie says that everything is in order, all our settings are preserved and we should just rename the printer and everything should be okay. And, that’s exactly what occurred!

So, what happened? Daughter decided that the printer was having an Identity Crisis and couldn’t figure out who it was until we called it by another name!!!

Well! Well!

Is Everything and Everyone in this Country, maybe even the World, having an Identity Crisis at this point?

It seems that Truth is certainly suffering from that syndrome! So are Patriotism, Reason and Democracy!

The commemoration of January 6 that replayed again several days ago sent me into a whimsical, pensive mood, the kind of mood that says: What’s It All About, Alfie? Remember that song and its poignant words?

What’s it all about Alfie

Is it just for the moment we live

What’s it all about

When you sort it out, Alfie

Are we meant to take more than we give

Or are we meant to be kind?

And if, if only fools are kind, Alfie

Then I guess it is wise to be cruel

And if life belongs only to the strong, Alfie

What will you lend on an old golden rule?

As sure as I believe there’s a heaven above

Alfie, I know there’s something much more

Something even non-believers can believe in

I believe in love, Alfie

Without true love we just exist, Alfie

Until you find the love you’ve missed

You’re nothing, Alfie

When you walk let your heart lead the way

And you’ll find love any day Alfie, Alfie

Source: Musixmatch

What happened on January 6 in the United States was shocking not only to me, but to the whole world leading me to question: Do some in this Nation really believe that romanticized version of “fighting” as did the Blues and Grays of yore? Do they actually want to relive those four years of the US Civil War when the estimates are between 620,000 to 750,000 killed? Or, do they want to relive that idealized version that’s in their heads when Both sides thought that they were Patriotically, Gallantly and Nobly fighting on the Right side? Frankly, and from the real time images that we saw on our television screens, it struck me that many of the Insurrectionists seemed to be simply Rebels Without A Cause who had joined in order to derive a sense of Power, a sense of Purpose, a sense of that Manhood that they felt was eroding, an Excitement that had been missing in their lives; a Cause that filled a yearning for a romanticized past. And, Trump obliged by tacitly stoking the fears that their White Supremacy was being challenged! However, their White World as they knew it, was going through the same Upheavals and Identity Crisis that World Society has been experiencing, whether that is more demands for Equality and Justice for “All Others;” more vocalization by Women demanding an equal place within and without the home; more scandals involving the huge discrepancies between the Haves and Have Nots; a new world of technological advances that we were all ill-prepared for . . . and, adding to all that, was a Lethal Virus and Drugs contributing to the feelings of angst. After all, these past few decades have upturned a whole lot of things in all our lives that have led the many to feel disoriented and discombobulated from what was their expectation of how society should be conducted. It is as if their accepted “Normal” of hundreds of years was being replaced by an “Alien” set of rules requiring them to readjust and to accept the fundamental changes rather quickly. They, therefore, want to turn the clock back, to escape from this New World and back into the comfort of the familiar with all its pleasant and unpleasant aspects, because they knew how to navigate that rather than drown in a whole set of new rules, new language, new norms, new expectations. The Trumpists and all those other corrupt Leaders – for their own nefarious objectives, which, sadly, the foot soldiers storming our Capitol were unaware of – capitalized on this not realizing that their mantra of White Supremacy and Colonization cannot fit into today’s model anymore. Don’t they realize that the World is still paying for the Ruthless Empirical Colonialism that engulfed and overtook the World? That the repercussions of those centuries are still haunting us today and will continue to do so for decades yet to come? That the “slaves” (all of us once Colonized humans) of the world have become aware of their centuries of enslavement and categorically refute it? That the Only way forward is for us humans to coexist despite any differences we may have on an ideological, religious or cultural level? Moreover, the tragic reality of all this is how similar the disenfranchisement on the Left and the Right truly is! Befuddling that some simply don’t get it!

“Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.” Leo Tolstoy

“The world hates change, yet it is the only thing that has brought progress.” Charles Kettering

“Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or the present are certain to miss the future.” John F Kennedy

“We cannot change anything until we accept it. Condemnation does not liberate, it oppresses.” Carl Jung

Yes, it has been said by countless poets, philosophers, psychologists, sociologists and so many others. Yet, here we are at this crucial time in our journey on this Planet refuting to change, to accept, to understand the dynamism of Life and its Majority of Beings and their desire to move forward towards coexistence and a more peaceful loving way of life free of oppression and domination, but, rather, functioning within a democratic, lawful, just and equitable life for all. This seems to be easier said than done, doesn’t it? Maybe, like our printer, that is the reason why we are all having an Identity Crisis! And, if so, we need to get over it pronto before we annihilate ourselves, especially since we have seen with our own two eyes how fragile Democracy and Democratic Existence really is!

What’s it all about, Alfie? Without true love we just exist, Alfie! Our choice then comes down to whether we want to Live, or merely Exist. Not a very difficult choice! Really not!

2021

You’re IN . . . They’re OUT!

YOU, who are reading this, are My IN Persons of the Year! Thank you for putting up with my Rants!

Sorry to start you off with some sad news: Davos has been cancelled this year due to the Virus! Oh, no! Where, oh where will all those Davos Denizens schmooze and conspire on how to amass more wealth and hide it – as revealed by the Panama Papers – in places such as Paradise Island, South Dakota and who knows where else? THEY are so OUT! YOU, the people of Chile who elected for President Gabriel Boric, a 35 year old student activist, are so, so IN! It is time for ALL fossilized politicians repeating the same old tired mantras while holding onto their corrupt fiefdoms to get out of the way and make space for new, young blood to steer this sad world, and, as long as they are not corrupt and taking care of their citizens, I don’t care whether you label them Communists, Socialists, Progressives, Democrats, or Whatever!

THEY, who picked Elon Musk as Time Magazine’s Person of the Year, lost a little bit more of their already low credibility! THEY, as well as those who pick Miss Universe, Nobel Peace Prizes (which, save for Tutu and a few others were inane choices) and all other such politicized titles are OUT!

YOU: Chris Wallace (now joining CNN) and a perfect gentleman for sure, and before you Shepard Smith (now on CNBC) who is a most charming  and original fellow, get the Medal of Integrity! You are so IN! FOX News, Rupert Murdoch and his minions, Koch Brothers and some of the pathetic hosts on FOX are way, way OUT! THEY are the Epitome of Opportunism, Greed and Hypocrisy! They are proving that Presidents Putin and Xi don’t need to lift a finger in order to hurt the US, because they are doing it for them!

YOU, BBC News, Democracy Now and NPR with your various programs and excellent anchors, journalists and hosts are way, way IN! All of you know the domestic and international issues, you have the guts, you can be upbeat and jovial when called for and serious when necessary! You have plenty of class, maturity and balance! THEY, most of the Television Hosts and Hostesses of America’s programs on the various channels are really OUT for being mostly gossipy yentas and sensationalist drama Kings and Queens! Grow up, please!

YOU, Bernie Sanders, my hero forever, and the Wonderful Members of the Squad are so, so IN! YOU are the best! THEY, Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema are so transparently beholden to the corporations padding their wallets while making hollow, opportunistic justifications for not signing onto the BBB (Build Back Better) legislation are OUT! Pinocchio would be ashamed of you!

THEY, who say that some in the Democratic Party have “Gone Too Far Left” are OUT! You know why? Because the ONLY reason they are saying this is not to incur the wrath of Runaway Capitalism! YOU, whom they label “On The Far Left” are only asking for what is Standard in Other Capitalist Democracies that uphold People’s dignity and sense of security. YOU are so, so IN! Stick to your guns, and don’t let Labels like “Socialism” and “Radical Left” worry you! They are nothing but a Pathetic Intimidating Slur!

Listen, I am not an Economist – or any “ist” for that matter – however, I would really, really like someone to convince me that “Inflation” is NOT Corporate Greed. After all, America’s Corporations have been raking in Billions and Gazillions over the past several decades; they have paid their CEOs and Top Managers tremendous salaries while not raising employee minimum wages; they have voodoo accountants who know how to finagle the numbers so that many of them pay less taxes than their minimum wage employees. Therefore, does Anyone want to tell me that they cannot Temporarily eat several months of losses by keeping their prices down and not causing financial stress on the People? Stock Market would collapse? Financial Markets would go berserk? Product Shortages, Supply Chains, Virus Issues are only excuses! Come on now! Come on! THEY are OUT! Unions and People are IN, especially when their minimum wage is raised, and inflation hits them in the face!!!

Let me add this: Joe Biden was Not my choice, though I ended up voting for him since the alternative was dangerous! I always said that he supported every one of our pathetic wars and losing adventures all over this world; that he was a corporatist; that he was one of those hybrid Democrats who is a Conservative at heart. However, people Do Evolve, and I would like those talk show hosts, pundits, pollsters (who believes their skewed results anyway?) and experts to shut the ef up and stop finding fault with him at every turn! Just zip it! This President has arrived to an absolutely ripped and torn apart nation ailing from a virulent virus gone amok and people who do not want to take the vaccine. What is he supposed to do with them? Jail them? Really? To boot, the economy was going down the tubes; a level of misbehavior, rudeness, vulgarity and criminality among some in the population such as has never been seen in this country; a world in total disarray and shifting alliances where the US is no more viewed with either trust or reliability; an unending war in Afghanistan (and all those other places some of which we know, many we do not); conspiracy theories and lies becoming facts as the naive sheep were being willingly led over the cliff; a criminal discrepancy between the Haves and the Have Nots; a nation that is having hysteria and a humongous nervous breakdown. There’s probably more than all that too! So, while I am Not defending Biden, or this Administration, because I am sure that by the time their four year term comes about I will have plenty to say, however, One Year into this Presidency ALL of you out there in front of our faces day and night mouthing off shut the ef up! At this specific time when the country and the world are falling apart, Biden and his Cabinet are doing as decent a job as possible against all those odds! So zip it, and maybe you could find ways of mouthing off that would bring this nation together, heal it, repair it, put it together again rather than continuing to cater to the lowest common denominator! YOU are so exasperating and OUT!

Lastly, to all First Responders – because you are all IN – whether you are in hospitals, pharmacies, fire stations, police stations, driving vans and delivery trucks, construction workers, teachers, making and serving food, working in our grocery stores, picking up our rubbish, reaping and packaging our produce, scientists working to find vaccines and cures in our labs, those tolling the bells for averting climate catastrophes, brave and moral journalists and writers, whistleblowers and all those other seen and unseen humans, visible or not, that keep this Democracy working may you have a Safe, Healthy and Gratifying New Year, and Thank You for all you do . . .

. . . and for the rest of Humanity: May 2022 bring all of us Peace, Justice, Equality, Safety, Compassion, Kindness and Sanity!