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Mellowed links and The Vote

Cleaning the Capitol Building after the January 6, 2021 Insurrection

With the impeachment of Donald J. Trump behind us, it is time for reflection on the events of the last month. On any day, I collect more links than I can read in a week. Most of us are like this. Bombarded with information, it’s hard to choose the quality from the click-bait. If I wait a few days, the stuff I thought important in the moment, was just chaff in the wind. That is why I let my reading list mellow. When I return to it, I find most of it is junk.

I am guilty of using multiple systems to keep my links. One Note from Microsoft is an old favorite. It has a browser extension that lets you keep a bookmarked link to the article, or just the text of the article for later reading. I prefer the text only option because I find it difficult to read comfortably with a dozen banner and interstitial ads interrupting my thoughts. We abondon most content on the internet because of those interruptions.

I use an ad blocker to stop the distractions, but feel guilty for denying hard working creatives the meager income all that noise provides. Many years ago, Firefox added a reading mode feature that dispensed with the noise and let you return to the ad laden page when you finished reading. I used it religiously.

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Endurance and The Coronavirus

This story, especially in 2020, is important. First, just as an adventure story, like in my science fiction, someone is going to pay the price for the adventure. There is usually a character who will sacrifice their life for the better good. Sometimes, a character will charge into battle to give everyone else a chance to escape.

But in this story, that didn’t happen. With the crew of the Endurance, no one gave their life. No one sacrificed themselves. They all survived.

Now think of 2020. Think of COVID-19, and of the coronavirus, and how we, especially as Americans, have reacted to this pandemic. We didn’t jump into it all together and proclaim that everyone is going to survive. No, that didn’t happen. We didn’t even say, “hey one of you go out there and die for the rest of us.”

Actually, I guess we did. Early in 2020, the Lieutenant Governor of Texas said. “Maybe you should go out there and get sick.” His argument was that maybe if grandma and grandpa get sick, or something like, then maybe they will die, but that will be better for the rest of us. He honestly thought we were all fine with that. I called it the cult of death.

Now think of the first responders. Especially here in America, where we are always making a big deal about the first responders. Think about how they raced into the buildings on 911 and how they brought out survivors from the forest fires. Think about the mass shooting in Las Vegas when the cops went towards the bullets to stop that man from shooting all those people.

But in 2020, when it became inconvenient to support the first responders, when individuals were going to have their dinner interrupted, or their movie, or concert time dropped, or their basketball or football game cancelled, well then screw the first responders. Screw the doctors and the nurses who are working six days a week 20 hours a day to see our loved ones through this difficult time.

Those nurses and doctors are first responders. Every time an individual takes some selfish action to go to a game or a family gathering, people get sick. People go to the hospital, and people die.

So I want you to think about the crew of the Endurance and how they survived through 1914 to 1916 on the Antarctica ice. Some of these individuals ended up dying in World War One, where they died in combat. That’s a whole other thing if you have an ethical dilemma with violence the way that I do. All of them survived the 1918 flu, which was two years after they survived the Antarctic. I think that’s important. That the crew of the Endurance survived, and I think that it’s an important tail to revisit now in 2021.

Put aside those selfish desires and think about those crews in the hospitals. Those nurses and doctors and the admin people, the cleaning crew, everyone in the hospitals, and what they are doing to give the rest of us a chance to survive.

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Smoking and January 6, 2021

Leo Tolstoy wrote the definitive judgment on Christianity in his book The Kingdom of God is Within You. You should read it. If you can remain conscious, and mindfully absorb the arguments Tolstoy makes about non-violence, it will forever change your view of humanity. Mahatma Gandhi read it and freed India from the British empire. Martin Luther King, Jr. used it as a mirror to show how hateful and violent white Christian America really is.

America was born with the twin infections of greed and slavery, but its founders embraced intellectualism and science. The new infection of anti-intellectualism—a fundamentalist refusal to acknowledge the world as something other than a fairytale—was the spirit of January 6, 2021.

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