Virus Coping

Today was Swiffer-ing and cleaning day. We do it ourselves nowadays since we cancelled our cleaning team for the time being. They, like many others, have been sadly deprived of their income due to this Pandemic. So many will be falling through the cracks, and what desperation mixed with frustration is capable of doing worries me to no end! While dusting my bookshelves, I switch the television on. I often do that these Virus days simply to hear other human voices. When I listen, I get snippets of real News in between an abundance of superfluous Views spewed by our agenda-driven so-called journalists who dominate the airwaves with plenty of nonsense, and who are looking to sensationalize, or seeking that Gotcha moment! Anyway, I notice – as I am pretty sure everyone has – how most of the so-called journalists, analysts and other specialists are either airing their segments from their home studios, or their homes. I am most amused, though, by how most of those broadcasting from their homes have the same backdrop: Bookshelves! How did that convergence occur? Was it Happenstance, or Copy-catting? Some of them, such as the many on our MSM, and, especially, most on FOX, would do better with the Enquirer, and other such sleazy tabloids as a backdrop! Anyway, I do hope that the MSM channels are not the only source of news that smart people listen to. There are many other listening and reading choices for those with more discerning intellects.

So, while the Left has this vindictive vitriol and irrational hatred for Trump, and the Right has this stupefying adoration and over-exultation of him,  the divisiveness ends right there, because irrelevant of whether our so-called journalists and analysts are on the Right, the Left, or the Center when it comes to the Foreign Policy of these United States they are ALL in agreement save for some superficial, half-hearted and purely cosmetic differences. Am I the only one who thinks so, I wonder? This issue has been a Constant since I arrived to these shores in 1981 right after the Iran hostage crisis was over. At that time, it was Iran that all branches of our government, the “specialists” and all our media had termed as the Enemy. Through the years, I have seen how there has to be a Designated US Enemy no matter whether it is Republicans, or Democrats in control of the government: Iran and Cuba, except for very brief interruptions here and there, have been Constant Enemies; Afghanistan and the Taliban are Enemies in whose pursuit we demolished the whole country and ended up losing that war, just like we lost Vietnam; Iraq and Saddam, the Enemy, where we did not find any WMDs which was why we attacked that country in the first place and sent it back to the Stone Age; Ghaddafi, the Enemy, and Libya which we have totally devastated; North Korea, and Kim, the Enemy, about whom Trump later said: we fell in love; Venezuela, and Maduro, the Enemy, where we continue to exert criminal sanctions and organize coups with our despicable Puppet Guaido and those elusive “contractors,” while Always denying that we do, though no one believes us anymore; the issue of Russia’s annexation of Crimea in the Ukraine and of how annexation is A-Okay if Bibi is doing it, but not Enemy Putin. Hypocrisy? Double-standards? You don’t want to know my furious thoughts on this. Russia again, and Enemy Putin’s Meddling in our Elections, which begs the question why is it alright for the US to meddle Anywhere and when Russia does the same it becomes a Crime? Hypocrisy? Double-standards? You decide. And now it is Enemy China and the Virus that Trump chose to pooh-pooh and then blame China for Everything while asserting that our response was blameless. Hypocrisy? Double-standards? Obviously! What really troubles me, though, is that  the United States has this insatiable need for a Scapegoat, a Wag-the-Dog distraction, an Enemy, a Battle, a War at all times. As I finish dusting, I am pondering if all those television personalities with all those books as their backdrop could analyze why confrontation and double-standards are so much part of this country’s DNA? For, what purpose do all these books serve if not to educate and enlighten human beings, rather than simply to support one’s “views”? Are they merely snobbish décor? I have little faith that the paid hacks on the Left and on the Right would address this stuff, or any issue that really matters. However: Trump Said, Trump Did, Trump Tweeted? Unending, although I must admit that the Virus has somewhat shifted their 24/7 focus on him!

Earlier this month, we were reliving the Kent State University massacre that Nixon (whom Trump says he learned a lot from!) had authorized, and during which four students were gunned down by the National Guard, nine were wounded, and hundreds of students were traumatized. Nixon’s argument – which proved to be totally false – was that there were Outside Agitators instigating the students, and that Internal Dissent was destroying our Freedoms! I mention this because we were remembering that May 4th. Commemoration of exactly 50 years ago, and to illustrate how the Ruling Powers always manage to find  justifications for their actions, irrelevant of whether those are founded, or unfounded, and irrelevant of which of our political parties is the Ruling Power! How corrupt!

As I mop my floors I think how once this Pandemic hit us it began revealing fissures in governments throughout most of our “civilized” world, especially in so many aspects of our Exceptional Nation and to how dysfunctional, how unethical, how party-driven, how cruel are so many of our laws, how blatant it has become to see that the powerful, whether on the Left, or on the Right, have always been looking after their own interests first while throwing crumbs to the people, such as the trillions of supposed relief funds that have not yet reached those who need them most, while bestowing millions on corporations, and some were paid to fly-by-night companies! Transparency? Dream on! However, and to be fair, when it comes to this Virus that came upon the world so quickly, so lethally and is so unknown and so unpredictable a Perfect Response was next to impossible, and all nations were late in wrapping their arms around it, whether it was China, Europe, or the US. Nevertheless, Trump fumbled our response “bigly,” and if I were to do, or say, half the things he says and does some “bodies” would have emerged out of the shadows and cuffed me already while marching me straight to the Paddy-wagon (Irish for cop car)! Just sayin’!!

Many writers are saying that things will have to change for the better after this, that there will be more attention paid to Essential Workers, less of the Union busting that has been going on relentlessly since the Thatcher and Reagan eras, more Equality, more Justice, more Compassion, and more Negotiation rather than Confrontation amongst the nations of our world – now more than ever. Frankly, whether it is the irresponsible hacks opining on our television screens, or when I look at all those reckless, selfish humans (my daughter calls them Covidiots!) running around here, and elsewhere in our sick world demanding their so-called “freedom” from stay-at-home guidelines, or listening to some of the thoughtless and corrupt politicians protecting themselves while asking citizens to sacrifice themselves and go back to work without a clear and safe policy, my doubts increase that this could ever happen, and I hope that I am wrong in my perspective. Yes, we are, indeed, living in very sad, inexplicable and dangerous times! Stay very, very put and vigilant everyone! Despite all the inconvenience, eventually, eventually! it will be over!

P.S. Couldn’t we just Swiffer Virus out? Maybe only in Trumpistan?!!



On This Delightful Anniversary

Seven years ago, I started this blog and I have been posting every 15th. and 30th. of the month since then. It has been a terrific and rewarding endeavor. I am very proud of this “stick-to-itiveness,” and of the fact that my 173 posts have been read and viewed by so many. Unabashedly Gloating!

Moving on . . .

So, son messages that he is on his way to buy groceries.

Paranoid Mother of mentioned 43-year-old Son, messages back: Don’t forget your mask, gloves, and make sure to take your shoes off before reentering your home.

Sassy Son responds: No mask, no gloves and I will lick the soles of my shoes before I go into my house!

Harrumph! Harrumph! Could this response be classified as Elder Abuse? Especially that my paranoid motherly cautions were getting plenty of flak even before Virus? Ah, this Virus . . . It has changed all our lives drastically! And, for today, I thought that I would share two posts from a very interesting, creative and original blog (www.everythingafter50..com) that I follow regularly, mainly because my daughters and my adopted daughters are primarily its creative writers.

Here goes . . .


At Camp David…

RJD, #Beirut, #Lebanon

The Donald and I are sitting on the porch sipping our evening drinks (Melania mixed them so I am not so sure if they are good) as the birds sing and the trees whistle above us. We are spending the weekend here at Camp David while Jared and Ivanka are gallivanting between New Jersey and DC. Someone in DC had dinner with them last week and told me that they claim they are corona-immune. Those Kushners!

The conversation resumes from where we left off yesterday, when we didn’t say goodnight to one another. This morning was tense, but during the day, we kind of let it go.

Donald asks “Hey, you still upset with me?”

I give him a long look, lower my eyes, shake my head, and respond “are you going to remain a self-centered prick while I am here, or will you remain so for the rest of your life?”

Our fight yesterday was about sweeping statements and walk backs. Donald was trying to convince me that everything he says is taken out of context and my argument was that he is totally irresponsible about his words, their outcomes, and the volcanoes that erupt from them.

I pointed about that he should read a book called The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz. The Donald said he doesn’t like reading what others spew. I persisted by explaining that from the book, he will learn how to be more responsible for  the words he says and will stop creating needless suffering. He ignored me again.

“Melania, bring me my cheeseburger and fries. Hey, and bring our guest a bunch of green crap mixed with some of those grains that grow in the mountains of Australia (he meant Quinoa from Bolivia apparently), I don’t know what they are called and give her some dressing that my buddy Emmanuel (Macron) made for me, he loves me!”

“Donald, Mr. President, can you stop to listen for once without interrupting and being callous?” “Listen to what?” As he takes in a mouthful.

“Ok, so in the past few weeks, you have uttered more than 7 misleading or false claims such as: ‘Nobody knew there would be a pandemic or epidemic of this proportion.’

“Seriously Don, you had a month of warning when China (your favorite piñata) Italy and Spain were burying their dead at a rate faster than lightning and you kept denying it and saying things like ‘I just think this is something…that you can never really think is going to happen.’ Well it happened. It happened in New York and New Jersey and Boston…you just chose to ignore the warnings and you have no right as it is your responsibility to protect the American public, plus you either fired or didn’t even fill the posts of experts in the CDC. You also slashed their budgets to use the funds to support your megalomaniac agenda.”

“Oh sugar, come on, we did great things with those funds. Who needs bodies filling offices discussing things that have a very very small chance of happening. I think I did the right thing and it was beautiful. I said that this pandemic is going to disappear. One day it’s like a miracle – it will disappear.”

“Don, do you have a version of reality that none of us see? Come on. Melania, talk to him.”

He answers on Melania’s behalf before she can open her silicon lips, “Ran, this thing, this crazy thing is just a way for my enemies to get back at me and umm…what’s her name…Melania believes everything I say because I am so great. I am the best. Look, I made America great again.”

“But Don, you didn’t! You have done everything to not make America great again: the world hates us, our infrastructure sucks, our innovations are falling behind, we are still spending money on the military-industrial complex and wars, nothing on education, rejecting immigrants and we are still not supporting inner city poor folk.”

“THEY don’t count. THEY are just like those cockroaches at the borders.”

“Mr. President darling (sorry Melania, I smile at her silence), where do you think the nurses on the frontlines come from? Idaho? Nebraska? They come from Africa and Jamaica and South America because we Americans find nursing a menial job. And you have the gall to slander them?”

“When one of your Corona team members, Dr. Anthony Fauci said ‘You’ve got to be realistic, and you’ve got to understand that you don’t make the timeline, the virus makes the timeline,’ you decide enough of him and his scientific theories and now you want to fire him?”

You also said: ‘Anybody that needs a test gets a test. We – they’re there. They have the tests. And the tests are beautiful.’”

“What the f*^% Don, what did you mean by that? The tests are beautiful. The tests are not Melania. They are not beautiful; a swab tickling your brain is anything but beautiful. Don, you need eyeglasses. Hell, you need a lobotomy.”

“You stop here Ran, or we are going to get into it like last night.” And he pouted. I left him alone for 10 minutes as I took a walk into the woods to meditate and calm down. When I came back, I wanted to hit him with one more before I pack my bag and give up my attempt to knock some sense into his thick head.

“Don, you are the best President the United States has ever had. You are the most successful man in business and you are the one who rescued America out of the gutters after Barack, but I really need to know one more thing.”

He smiled, he gloated and sat up straight. Hell, I know how to get to his ego and grab his short-spanned attention! It’s like telling my cats the word “treats!”

“I am all ears. Isn’t this place decrepit. I think I need to bring my team and turn it into a luxurious hotel with my name on it in big gold letters. I think we can knock down these forests here too, what are trees for and I will build the world’s biggest and best golf course…”

Stupefied, I go for the kill. Seriously and with a straight face. “Mr. President, which one did you choose to drink, the Clorox or the Lysol?”

He looks at me, perplexed. He asks why he would do that and I remind him that it was his suggestion last week in the presence of the poor Dr. Brix who wanted to become an ostrich right there and then.

He denied it, he said he never said that. Then he slapped Melania on her derrière.

…The only thing I recall after that are the lyrics from Hotel California “you can check out anytime you like, but you can never leave…”

When Nadiba Speaks, We Listen

Tina F., Fairfax, #Virginia

I am honored to be shut down with Nelson Mandela, the global symbol of humanity and peace.

Mr. Mandela is a very wise man of few, well-articulated words. Our talks have been enchanting.

Mr. Mandela asked me to call him by his nickname, Nadiba. I discovered that his birth name was Rolihlahla Mandela, but every African child who goes to school was given an arbitrary English/Christian name and his teacher picked Nelson. Reminding me of how many ethnicities use English names to fit into the Western world.

As the days passed, my feelings of fear and anxiety became overwhelming. Nadiba calmly said, “I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”

To pass the time, we played games like Scrabble and Monopoly. He recounted how he and his fellow inmates kept busy during the many years of incarceration. Madiba was imprisoned for 27 years, and here I was, losing my mind after a few weeks of being home. He said that no matter how long he had been in confinement, his ideas never died. One must use time alone to reflect, think, and learn. The mind needs to be challenged and nurtured. Physical exercise and a sound mind go hand in hand. Note to self: begin exercising tomorrow.

One morning at breakfast, I apologized because we had run out of bread. Madiba smiled and told me how they were never allowed bread during their imprisonment on Robben Island. His fellow inmates were baffled by the wardens who claimed to be very religious and prayed “give us this day our daily bread,” yet they did not think the Blacks were entitled to share in their daily bread. Nevertheless, he was grateful. “It is what we make out of what we have, not what we are given, that separates one person from another.”

By the end of the month, I was missing my family and friends. I asked Madiba how often he saw his family whilst imprisoned on the island. He told me they were allowed a visitor once every six months and the meeting lasted for 30 minutes. During those meetings, they were not allowed in the same space. Prisoners on one side behind a fence and visitors at least 6 feet away behind another fence, all yelling to each other at once. So the social distancing for him was not too challenging.

I am learning to spend more time alone in reflection, thanks to Madiba. However, I had a burning question for this great man. “Madiba,” I say “with your wisdom as an activist, peacemaker, and president of South Africa, how can the USA move forward with such a hateful, racist leader? He is dividing the country and his followers are armed militias hoping for a White America. I feel we are heading back to the days leading up to the Civil War.”

Madiba calmly responds, “No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”

I tell him that people are proving they are inherently evil and I cannot allow that in my world. “Tina, “ he says “Forgiveness liberates the soul. It removes fear. That is why it is such a powerful weapon.”