Truth, Justice, and the Lost American Way

Growing up, mom taught me that honesty was the most important quality a person could have. We may not be able to have a lot of things, those things could be taken away, but no one could take away our integrity or ability to be honest. I had to learn degrees of honesty. It wasn’t culturally acceptable to tell a neighbor that he or she looked fat today. Santa Claus is real, even if he’s more of a concept than a person, and the truth doesn’t always beat being kind. Overall, it was important to be truthful, and mom wasn’t the only one delivering that message.

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Consecutive Day Post 209: How Did I Come This Far and Will We Fail?

Somewhere along the line, someone challenged me to follow through with blog posting for 365 days. I’m decently certain it was one of those free webinars that said if we could commit to it, we would see our blogs become profitable. There may have been more to it than that, but I decided I would commit to one post a day for 365 days. I had come close before – somewhere in the 200 range, so I thought I would just need to buckle down and get ‘er done. So, here I am, on day 209, struggling for something to write about. There are a lot of reasons for this; most of them have to do with COVID-19. But let’s examine how I got through 208 days.

The First 170-ish Days

Basically, the first several weeks I was ready to go. I wrote one or two blog posts a day, and I scheduled them out. I knew I was going to be on vacation, and that gave me a great subject to write about. New Zealand was awesome and learning more about it made for easy blog topics. I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to write while in New Zealand, so I made sure I had enough content to keep publishing even if I didn’t get Internet.

Afterwards, photos and more articles about New Zealand made it super easy to keep writing. I was reading New Zealand related books, including a money management book that made for several articles, and then things went wonky.

COVID-19 and Immigration

The coronavirus hit, and the U.S. downplayed its effects. People were saying it was just another flu. It wasn’t anything to worry about. I kept writing what I could about New Zealand, money management, penguins and the book I was writing: “Tales from an Alaskan Cabin,” which gave me a lot of days published because I was posting each chapter for my Penguinators at Patreon.

My wife and I went to Moscow to get her Green Card visa. That gave me more photos and things to write about. We did some touristy stuff, and we had Wi-Fi, so it was easy to keep up with. When we got back home, we had to wait for her passport. During the week between returning and her passport being delivered, the U.S. had shut down. We weren’t going to be able to get out.

Of course, COVID-19 provided some fodder for writing, especially after watching dumb people do dumb things. Seriously, in the U.S. in cases that have been resolved, a third of the outcomes have been death. It was 36% yesterday and 32% today. Those numbers might not stay that way, but even if everyone else gets well, the mortality rate of those who have tested positive for coronavirus is going to be about 6% for those in the system. Stay the F—k Home and protect your community.

This Evening

Anger and frustration can only take you so far in the writing world. Yeah, I know, Hollywood called Rod Serling “the Angry Young Man,” and he was responsible for an amazing number of great stories in “The Twilight Zone,” “The Night Gallery” and a couple of other TV movies. Still, there’s only so much bile, venom, and stupidity that one person can take. So, I found myself today talking to my mom, writing for money and not in the good way, and without ideas for how I am going to continue posting.

This problem has been coming for a couple of days now. My wife told me to write how I feel. That’s not what this blog is supposed to be about. I want to explore creativity, travel, and joy. Unfortunately, that all seems a little far off. The blog posts I have done with creative intent have fallen flat. Writing about New Zealand or money management seems to ring a little hollow. Why would I give you ideas about going places you can’t get to? Why would I write about money management as the stock market is cratering, and we have no idea what we will emerge to when this is all over?

The Crux of It All

And that’s really the crux of it. We don’t know how this is going to end. All we know is that it can’t go on the way it did before, and those that try are going to end up on the wrong end of another epidemic of illnesses. Even if you’re one of those people who believe this disease will ultimately only kill between .1 and .2% of those who get it, the reality is that it has killed more than 200,000 people worldwide and more than 55,000 people in the U.S. as of April 27. Each of those people was someone who had loved ones. It’s not just a number that you haven’t seen; it’s a person who could be you, your grandma, or your dad.

Change is the only constant, and this is going to require us to change everything. Or we face the consequences of repeating this history. The problem is we don’t have the leadership with the guts to initiate the needed changes. We have a lot of old people that want to go back to the way things were. Even though our supply chains have failed and just-in-time manufacturing practices have shown how they aren’t good for emergencies, with people showing their true colors and profiteering, much like pharma-bro did a couple of years back, and facing the selfishness of millions of scared, over-privileged people whose biggest rallying cry is “I Need a Haircut,” there’s the thought that will be able to reopen like none of this ever happened.

In the End

That’s not how this is going to work. If we ignore what we’ve gone through, we’ll just go through it again. Someone once told me that God (you’re welcome to substitute Karma, Deity, our own choices) keeps giving us the same lesson until we learn it. The time to learn the lesson is now. The time to implement the changes needed is now. We can’t wait for another pandemic or another disaster to teach us again lessons we should’ve learned before. We can either be the initiators of the changes for a better society and world, or we can react to whatever changes other people want to implement. Which would you prefer: To act or to be acted upon? Go out an make a change for the betterment of the world. Let’s let our selfish urges die, and they’ll take this disease and plenty of other problems with them.

Cooperative Democracy: A New Way Forward

What if a country’s highest achievement was measured by cooperation? What if the concept of the country was defined not by competition, but by making sure that everyone had enough to live on? Cooperative Democracy would allow people to move forward together, and instead of rewarding the competitive spirit, it would reward the cooperative spirit.

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Coronavirus Delays Our Journey to the U.S.

In Sep. 2018, we applied for my wife’s green card to live in the U.S. We thought we would go about it the right way, so we sent in our money and waited. Then we waited some more. Then we waited some more. In between all the waiting, we spent time in the U.S. with her tourist visa. By Sep. 2019, we still hadn’t heard anything, and we decided to book a trip to New Zealand. It would be easier to get to than if we flew from the U.S.

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For the Love of Money or People: COVID-19

This whole thing comes down to your real values. You have a simple choice. Do you value money or life? And you can see by the reactions and the calls those who truly value life and those who value money. As an individual in a system that requires you to have money to have life, you have to make a decision. How much do you value your current level of living and how much are you willing to sacrifice to not have to put your life and the lives of your loved ones in danger?

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Figure out What You’re Fighting for and Why You’re Staying at Home to Successfully Defeat COVID-19

When protesters go out, against the government orders to shelter-in-place, they are clear about what they are fighting for: the economy, their jobs, their freedom, or against government overreach. They don’t believe the threat to them is important or valid, and they’re willing to take their chances without realizing the threat they are exposing everyone else around them to. Unfortunately, their actions and protests make it more difficult for those of us who are staying inside and trying to mitigate the spread of coronavirus. Where these a—hats have us beat is two-fold: they are united physically, and they have a clear goal. So, why are the rest of us staying home?

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The Selfishness of ‘I’d rather get coronavirus and die, than…’

Protesters gathered in Michigan with their weapons and their privilege to complain about the stay at home orders issued by the governor there. They waved the Confederate flag, gathered in groups brandishing their weapons, held signs saying they would not comply, and blocked ambulances from getting to the hospital. Live free or die! “I’d rather get coronavirus and die than… see a generational company be gone, let America die, let the economy die, GIVE UP MY FREEDOMS!” These selfish a—holes don’t understand what they are doing. If they would like to die, then they better do it quickly and decrease the surplus population. They don’t have to wait for coronavirus; they have guns. It’s the selfish way out, but it’s a lot better than their proposed solution because getting coronavirus isn’t about them dying specifically. It’s about them passing the virus on to someone else and that person dying, and then multiple people dying from one a—hole who decided he or she didn’t want to be inside.

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Shared Experiences: Paul Draper Brings Magic Online

One of the hardest things that anyone has to deal with while staying at home during this pandemic is being alone. Even those who have family and roommates find themselves at wit’s end because the interactions are repetitive, mundane, and sometimes, frustrating. We all need a way to connect with someone outside of our regular sphere of influence. Many people miss the work or school arena for that. So, how can people maintain friendships and relationships while creating a more peaceful home life and providing for a bonding moment with those outside the home? Shared experiences bring people closer together.

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America Needs You! To Stay at Home: Unpatriotic, Unprincipled Draft Dodging in the Age of COVID-19

Abraham Lincoln gave a blueprint for the death of the United States of America in a speech that included this excerpt:

Shall we expect some transatlantic military giant to step the ocean and crush us with a blow? Never! All the armies of Europe, Asia, and Africa combined, with all the treasure of the earth (our own excepted) in their military chest, with a Bonaparte for a commander, could not by force take a drink from the Ohio or make a track on the Blue Ridge in a trial of a thousand years. At what point then, is the approach of danger to be expected? I answer: If it ever reach us, it must spring up amongst us. It cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot, we ourselves must be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen, we must live through all time or die by suicide.

– Abraham Lincoln, Young Men’s Lyceum of Springfield, Illinois on January 27, 1838

Little did anyone suspect how literal his case would be. As coronavirus springs up amongst us, we are its authors and its finishers. As long as we continue to spread the virus, we will be responsible for our own destruction.

The United States is facing, what Surgeon General Jerome Adams is calling, this generation’s Pearl Harbor moment. We are at war with an unseen enemy, and we have all been drafted to fight against that enemy.

Still, draft dodgers abound as they claim bone spurs, bathing in the blood of Christ, and it just doesn’t seem to fit with my style, to help them gather together at church, in parks when the sun shines, and with friends and family they could just as well see over an app on their phone. These draft dodgers burn their hoarded toilet paper and cry, “We aren’t going to follow the recommendations of the experts!”

These unpatriotic individuals with false bravado wave the flag as if they were doing their duty and on the front line. While they are out partying or visiting their congregations, they are ignoring the directions of the generals put in charge to fight this war. Worse, they are putting the actual people on the front lines at risk.

No one is being asked to go and kill people on foreign soil. In fact, we are being asked to do the exact opposite. We are being asked to save lives. We can protect fellow Americans and to keep people from dying by doing one simple thing: stay at home. That’s all we have to do to win this war: stay at home. If you have to go out, wear a mask, wash your hands, and stay six feet away from other people.

What are we fighting for? Our grandparents, our parents, and our children’s future. We are fighting for the very essence of America – its people and their safety. This fight is on our home turf, literally, and the more draft dodging nimrods there are, the worse its going to get, the longer the process of healing is going to take, and the more loved ones we are going to lose. Do your part. Stay at home.