June 6th, 1944 Is A Day That Should Be Remembered

   June 6th, 1944.
   This is a monumentally important date in history, for on this day, forces of the Western Allies under the command of General Dwight D Eisenhower stormed beaches in Normandy, France.
   The liberation of Western Europe from Nazi occupation had begun.
   It was a massive operation that had been in the works for months. It took time for troops to be gathered in Britain and then properly trained for the attack. Another big problem was that the Germans knew an invasion of some kind was coming, but the German High Command didn’t know for sure exactly when or where it was going to strike. So the Allies conducted massive deception operations to try to the confuse the Germans. These included creating a phantom army with fake tanks and aircraft, fraudulent radio transmissions, and the use of double agents. The purpose of all this was to hopefully fool the Germans into thinking that the main attack was going to occur at Pas de Calais, which is the narrowest point between Britain and France. The deception operations also tried to mislead the Germans into thinking there were other possible targets such as Norway.
   Another issue facing the Allies was about when atmospheric conditions would be optimal for an invasion. Planners had a set of criteria that they wanted met for an attack to take place.  One example was going in under a full moon. You must remember that in those days, they didn’t have modern night vision goggles like today, so a full moon was important for the pilots, airborne/glider troops, and navy personnel who would be operating the night before soldiers would be storming the beaches. They also wanted the landings to occur at or just before dawn between low and high tides with the tide going in. Part of this was so that attacking forces could see some of the obstacles that the Germans had set up, but at the same time they didn’t want soldiers to be too far out since they would have to run across the open beaches under fire. Hitting at dawn also allowed the ships to get closer, hopefully undetected by the Germans. The result of all this was that there were only a few days each month that would work for the invasion. And the more postponements that occurred, the greater the chances that the Germans would see through the deception operations that were going on and realize the attack was going to be at Normandy. If that had happened, it would have been a disaster because German forces could have focused on the Normandy beaches and then badly outnumbered Allied troops trying to come ashore.
   General Eisenhower and the High Command were initially going to invade June 5th, but it was postponed because meteorologists were predicting really bad weather that day. As a matter of fact, when word came of the postponement, some ships had already set sail so that they had to turn around and return. On the 5th, meteorologists predicted that there would be a window of better weather for June 6th, but as we all know, meteorology is not an exact science and there was always a chance they would be wrong. Trying to land troops in stormy seas would likely have been disastrous, but the longer the Allies waited, the greater the chances the Germans would see through the ongoing deception operations. So the decision of go or no go on June 6th must have been agonizing. But General Eisenhower and the High Command made it.
   June 6th was set for D-Day.
   Just after midnight, approximately 23,000 British and American airborne and glider troops began landing behind German lines. Their job was to sabotage targets like bridges and railway lines, seize important points, and create general confusion.
   An armada of over 5000 landing craft and other ships had crossed the English Channel and at or around 6:30 a.m. begin landing troops on five different beaches. British and Canadian forces attacked three that had been codenamed Gold, Sword, and Juno while American forces attacked Utah and Omaha. Soldiers landed on the beaches, which held various obstacles designed to damage landing craft or tanks that got in too close, barbed wire, and mines (many of these were attached to the obstacles). Allied troops had to get through this in the open while under bullet, grenade, and artillery fire from German troops who were fighting from entrenched and fortified positions.
   On that first day, progress had gone fairly well at Gold, Sword, Juno, and Utah beaches, but Omaha was another matter. The American forces who hit Omaha took heavy casualties. Germans had strong entrenchments and fortifications on the bluffs above and rained terrible fire upon the soldiers who were trying to cross the open beach below. Another complication for the Americans at Omaha was that of the 29 specially designed amphibious tanks, 27 sank in the choppy waters and never made it to the beach. And of the other tanks that had been taken to the beach on landing craft, many were knocked out. So it was pretty much up to infantry. They had to work their way across the open beach with little or no cover and deal with barbed wire while under withering fire and then battle their way up the bluffs to take out German soldiers who were fighting from entrenchments, bunkers, and pill boxes.
   By the end of the day, Allied forces had established beachheads at all five sectors and had landed over 156,000 troops in France. But it came at a price. Allied casualties are estimated to have been over 10,000 on that day. Of those, 4400 were killed in action.
   The liberation of Western Europe had begun.

Continue reading “June 6th, 1944 Is A Day That Should Be Remembered”

Pride Is Here

6-2-21
   Well Pride has arrived. A time for LGBTQ+ people to be proud and celebrate who we are. Many cities and communities have a variety of celebrations, although the COVID pandemic has changed some of how it is celebrated. In normal times, there are festivals, parades, declarations by local governments, and so on. Rainbow flags as well as the flags of a variety of LGBTQ+ groups are more prevalent, and on social media, LGBTQ+ people will say Happy Pride and put various LGBTQ+ symbols and colors on their profiles. For many, it’s a time to be proud who they are, to celebrate, and help spread the word and educate others.
   But for many LGBTQ+ individuals, Pride is not so happy. It can be a tough time for quite a few people. The reasons for this are quite varied. There are many LGBTQ+ still suffering in the closet, surrounded by prejudiced family members, coworkers, and others who create such a toxic environment that the LGBTQ+ person is too afraid to come out. There are others who have suffered personal setbacks or tragedies that have tarnished their feelings about Pride. In addition to these are numerous LGBTQ+ people who don’t feel much sense of community because of intolerance and lack of understanding coming from too many members of the straight and gay / lesbian communities. Examples of people who often feel this way are those who are bi+ (bisexual, pansexual, fluid), genderfluid, genderqueer, non-binary, transgender, asexual, and intersex. Too many of us feel like we don’t really belong anywhere. And I said “us” on purpose because I’m bi+ and genderfluid myself.
   So for a variety of reasons, Pride can be a difficult time for many LGBTQ+ people. So, to those for whom Pride is an amazing time, try to be considerate and understanding of those for whom this month is difficult. Take a moment to educate yourself and learn about the reasons why some people are hurting right now. Perhaps open your mind a little bit with regards to those who are bi+, genderfluid, genderqueer, non-binary, transgender, asexual, and so on.
   And to those for whom Pride is not so happy, be strong and hang in there. It’s okay. I understand because Pride is a difficult time for me as well. Believe in yourself and never give up.
   Remember:
   Believe in yourself and never give up!

Republicans’ Killing A Bipartisan Congressional Jan 6th Commission Undermines US Democracy

5-18-21
   Well, the Republicans did it. They killed any hope that a bipartisan Congressional Commission will investigate the January 6th assault on the United States Capitol Building.
   Think about that. What happened on January 6th has never happened before in American history. We’ve never had an angry mob of American citizens storm the Capitol Building like that with the intent of interfering with a legitimate national election. What occurred on that day was of major significance, and as such, a bipartisan Congressional Commission is not only recommended, frankly, it’s essential to make it clear to the entire world that US Democracy will continue to stand and thrive into the future.
   But instead, Republicans killed any hopes of a Commission.
   The fact that the Republicans did this is beyond disturbing and sickening. It’s dangerous. There are times when issues arise which are so vitally important that partisan politics should be put aside. Frankly, it should be a no-brainer that a bipartisan Commission is entirely in order here.  And the proposed Commission would have been based on the 9/11 Commission with an equal number of Republicans and Democrats on it and both sides having subpoena power. Democrats also agreed to the Republican demand that the Commission wrap up by the end of 2021 so that it didn’t push into midterm elections.
   What is going on?
   In my opinion, it’s a symptom of the dangerous path the Republican Party has been going down of late. Most Republicans are bowing to Donald Trump’s whims and demands no matter how outrageous or incorrect those demands may be. Some may be doing this because they’re true believers while others may be doing it out of fear, fear that Donald Trump will speak out against them so that they may lose their future reelections, and many Republicans are especially worried about the midterm elections. They appear to be putting party loyalty and a tendency to blindly follow an authoritarian wannabe, Donald Trump, over standing up for American Democracy and the United States Constitution.
   It’s obvious why Trump doesn’t want a January 6th Commission. Trump’s outrageous rhetoric and lies about the election clearly instigated the mob who then stormed the US Capitol Building. So Trump is afraid that he’s going to be made to look bad by a Commission, and there are other Republicans who fear that as well because they were parroting Donald Trump’s lies too.
   But it’s also extremely troubling the way there are Republicans such as Mitch McConnell who, while they may have laid the blame on Trump immediately after the January 6th events, have since changed their tune so that they no longer appear to hold Trump responsible to any significant degree. Many Republicans started downplaying the assault with one even referring to the mob as “tourists.” Tourists?! Are you kidding me?! They literally assaulted the United States Capitol Building on live TV. The entire world saw it happen! Those were not tourists.
   This is so dangerous to our democracy. We have a major political party, the Republicans, that is bowing to the disturbing will of one person, Donald Trump, despite the fact that that person has been spreading outrageous rhetoric and flat out lies. Instead of learning about what happened in a bipartisan way for the good of country, the majority of the Republican Party want to sweep the Jan 6th assault under the rug because of Trump’s outrageous demands and the Republicans’ desire to try to gain more power in the midterm elections. This further undermines American democracy.
   People need to open their eyes about what is going on these days because our democratic values are under threat. Remember the Republican Senators and Representatives who voted against the January 6th Commission and vote them out of office when they come up for reelection. Speak out against them. Make your voices heard.
   Demand democracy!
   Democracy is precious and should not be taken for granted. We must all stay vigilant to ensure our democratic values survive and thrive into the future.
  

The United States And Guns

   The United States of America has a serious gun problem. One way or another, most people know this, although some are in denial and don’t want to believe it or admit it. But it’s true.
   Too many people are dying every single day tragically and needlessly because of gun violence.
   When the Constitution was created in the 18th century, it was a different time. There were no smartphones, communication was slow, the standing army was tiny, and many people lived in small rural communities or farms that were isolated and far away from help if something occurred. If you lived on a small farm in the 1700s, you couldn’t jump in the car and go to the grocery store. Small farmers frequently had to be much more self-reliant growing a significant amount of their own food and sometimes hunting for meat. Also if a criminal came to the farm, they couldn’t call 911. In many ways, they were on their own because it could take hours or longer to alert the authorities and get help. Something else to consider is that the muskets of the 18th century were much slower to reload and much less accurate than weapons today. Someone with significant practice could get off maybe three shots in a minute, give or take. In real world circumstances, it was likely often less than three a minute. And finally, the United States of the 18th century and early 19th centuries relied heavily on militias for defense because the standing army was tiny.
   In other words, the Second Amendment was written in another time when the circumstances were vastly different than today.
  It’s now the 21st century, and the United States has a large standing military, the National Guard, extensive police and law enforcement agencies, rapid communication, vehicles, planes, trains, grocery stores, and much deadlier guns. It’s definitely a different time.
   Let’s start by comparing assault rifles to muskets. A muzzleloading musket from the 18th century would take around 20 seconds to reload and fire if you were experienced, whereas a semi-automatic assault rifle can fire essentially as fast as your finger can squeeze on top of having high capacity clips. Realistically, someone could fire 60 rounds or more in a minute with a much higher degree of accuracy than the old muzzleloading muskets. The people who wrote the Second Amendment likely had no idea that assault rifles would ever exist or be in the hands of civilians.
   Now, let’s compare gun violence in the United States to that of other countries which have stricter gun control laws. First, death by firearms in 2017 per 100,000 people. According to the statistical site, Our World In Data, the United States rate was 4.63. The United Kingdom’s rate was 0.06, whereas Australia’s was 0.18. Germany’s was 0.1, and Japan’s was 0.03. Think about the vast difference between these countries and the United States.
   Now let’s look at the rate of death by interpersonal violence using any method in 2017 per 100,000 people. In the United States, the rate was 6.1. The UK’s was 0.5, and Australia’s was 1.4. Germany’s rate was 0.8 and Japan’s was 0.6. As you can see, the rates are multiple times lower than that of the United States.
   Take a look at these numbers. Look at the vast difference between United States and these other countries. The UK, Germany, Japan, and Australia have crime like the United States does. Their crime rates overall may be a little less than the United States in some cases, but not that much less.
   So let’s be honest about what’s going on. The major factor that explains the significant difference in murder rates is guns. The other countries listed here have much stricter gun control laws than the United States does. That’s the big difference. And if you compare these rates between the United States and other countries such as Belgium, France, and others, you will find similar results.
   It’s clear as day that the United States has a major gun problem and must enact stricter gun control laws. Gun violence in this country is just plain way out of control, and too many innocent people including children are dying every single day because of it.
   I’m not saying make all guns illegal. But there are practical, common sense gun control laws that would make a difference, especially in the long term. Ideas include banning assault style rifles from private ownership. No civilian needs an assault rifle. Assault rifles were created to kill human beings in times of war. That’s what they were designed for. Not for hunting animals or sport shooting. Restricting the size of clips is another practical idea that could save lives. Again, no one needs clips that hold 30 rounds of ammunition or more. Mandatory training and licensing would be a great idea. In order to drive a vehicle, you have to take a test and get a license, so why not do something similar for guns. Also, more extensive background checks would save a lot of lives as would tighter laws on proper storage of guns and ammunition when not in use. Too many kids die in tragic accidents when they grab their parents’ loaded gun that was sitting below the bed.
   By instituting laws like this nationwide, many lives would be saved, and law-abiding citizens who want to have a gun for hunting or similar would still be able to do so. As a matter of fact, many gun owners support gun control laws like this.
   So it’s definitely time to act. People need to stop automatically opposing gun control legislation ideas. Too many Americans are needlessly dying every single day. It’s time to enact better gun control laws.
   Future innocent lives are literally at stake.

https://ourworldindata.org/grapher/homicide-rates-from-firearms

https://ourworldindata.org/grapher/homicide-rate

https://www.numbeo.com/crime/compare_countries_result.jsp?country1=United+States&country2=United+Kingdom

A Bipartisan Congressional Jan 6th Commission Is Desperately Needed Right Now.

5-22-21
   On January 6th 2021, the entire world watched as an angry mob literally assaulted the United States Capitol Building in an effort to try to stop Congress from doing its constitutional duty in certifying the results of the 2020 election. It was sickening, heart-wrenching, and disgusting watching as rioters clambered up walls, busted out windows, broke open doors, and brutally attacked law enforcement officers as they forced their way inside. We heard many of them chanting how they wanted to hang or kill Vice President Pence, Speaker of the House Pelosi, and others.
   The events of that day are things that most people around the world never thought they’d see occur in the United States of America. The peaceful transfer of power has been something that Americans have been proud of since the foundation of the United States Constitution. It was something which America had that many other countries struggled with. Yet here we all watched as an angry mob attempted to stop the election results for being certified by the United States Congress.
   This is huge. We as a country have never seen something like this happen in the United States.
   So it makes sense and frankly is vital that Congress should have a bipartisan commission to investigate the events in order to discover what happened and try to prevent it from ever happening again. All Americans should want this. We’ve had bipartisan Congressional commissions before such as the 9/11 Commission.
   So it’s unfathomably astonishing and disgraceful that most the Republicans in Congress are opposing such a commission. Some things are so vitally important that political bickering and partisanship should be put aside and the greater good of the country placed at the forefront. But instead of doing that, many Republicans appear to be placing their party and the will of Donald Trump ahead of the country and the United States Constitution. This is yet another example of the dangerous, disturbing, undemocratic path that many Republicans are following these days as they blindly obey Donald Trump even when Trump is clearly out of line.
   I hope a January 6th Commission is formed and does a thorough investigation. Our democracy desperately needs this. It’s time for people to put the needs of American democracy and the United States Constitution above petty squabbles, party loyalty, and political maneuvering.

Washington DC Is One Of The Most Beautiful Cities In The Entire Country

   Washington DC.
   For many people these days, when they hear those words, they conjure up images of the vicious partisan politics which has been plaguing this country of late. They think of Republicans and Democrats in Congress at loggerheads against each other to such a severe degree that it often seems like little gets done.
   But what a great number overlook or forget is that Washington DC is one of the most beautiful cities in the entire country.
   Really, it is.
   Why, do you ask? I think it’s a combination of its distinctive layout, beautiful architecture, extensive monuments, and lovely parks.
   First, the layout. While Washington DC has the traditional north south and east west grid system of roads, it is also crisscrossed with impressive avenues that run diagonally through the city. This distinctive layout of streets creates unique intersections, such as traffic circles the centers of which often contain impressive monuments.  There are also numerous parks, big and small, scattered throughout the city which frequently contain statues and other monuments.
   Then you have the impressive architecture of the city which includes a variety of styles such as Classical, Neoclassical, Greek Revival, Palladian, Second Empire, Modern, and Postmodern. Another vitally important facet of the characteristic look of Washington DC is the fact that homes and buildings are not allowed to exceed a certain height. There are no skyscrapers within the city limits. The reason for this is so that the US Capitol Building and other monuments can impressively stand out instead of being overshadowed.
   And of course, one can’t forget the heart and soul of Washington DC: the National Mall. This beautiful park runs from the US Capitol Building to the Lincoln Memorial between which stands the towering Washington Monument. Lining each side are impressive national museums, including the National Gallery of Art as well as multiple branches of the Smithsonian Institution.
   The result is one of the most beautiful cities in the entire country. And if you don’t believe me, check out these photos. I think they’ll prove my point
   Enjoy.

US Capitol Building in Spring
DC row houses on East Capitol Street NE
Row houses on East Capitol Street NE
Home on East Capitol Street NE
Historic DC home
Sumner School Building. 1872. One of the earliest schools for African Americans in DC.
Georgetown University
United States Supreme Court
Washington Monument during the Cherry Blossoms
Smithsonian
Smithsonian Castle on the National Mall
Park between Union Station and the US Capitol Building
Statue in DC
View of the Potomac River with the Kennedy Center and Watergate in the background.
Washington Monument in the Fall.
A neighborhood park during the Cherry Blossoms.
The Tidal Basin at sunset.
Korean War Memorial on the National Mall.
Jefferson Memorial at dusk.
Typical DC row houses. There are blocks and blocks of these throughout the city.
An intersection in a typical DC neighborhood of row houses.
DC residential neighborhood
Washington DC neighborhood
FDR Memorial in Fall
FDR Memorial in Fall
FDR Memorial in Fall
FDR Memorial in Fall

Donald Trump And Those Blindly Following Him Are Endangering American Democracy

5-10-21
   I’m deeply disturbed by how Republicans these days have become so extreme in the way so many are following Donald Trump with an almost cult-like zeal. It’s to the point where our democracy is being seriously threatened in the near and long-term future, particularly if this trend continues.
   Donald Trump lied more than any other modern American president, and his outrageous false claims and lies about the election incited the January 6th riot and insurrection at the US Capitol Building. These facts are clear. Donald Trump lost the election fair and square, yet he continues to make outrageously false allegations and claims trying to say he won. He lost. There were international observers overseeing the election. Every single state, including those run by Republicans, certified the election. Ballot counting rooms had Republican, Democrat, and Independent observers overseeing the process and present to deal with issues. In addition to all this, Trump and his people went to court making their false claims about the election and lost over 60 times. And many of the judges who ruled against them were Republicans themselves.
   And here we are with Trump out of office yet still controlling the Republican Party. It is clear that he is expecting and demanding Republicans, especially those in elected offices, to bow to his will and obey his instructions. If an elected official doesn’t do this, then Trump will lash out at them and turn his followers against them. He appears to be demanding that Republicans go along with his outrageous lies about the election and that if elected Republicans want to get anywhere politically in the party, they have to espouse these lies as well. We’re seeing this with the way Republicans are turning on Mitt Romney and Liz Cheney. These two have stood up to Trump with regards to his false claims about the election, and they’re being torn viciously apart by the Republican Party as a result.
   The cult like control Trump is holding over the Republican Party is beyond disturbing and is truly endangering our democracy. Having one person who is no longer in an elected position holding such authoritarian style control over a major political party goes against what democracy is supposed to be about. In addition to this, Trump is convincing many Republicans not to trust United States elections if the person they voted for doesn’t win.
   This situation is extremely dangerous to the future of our democracy. More people in the Republican Party need to speak out against Trump’s horrible, dangerous lies and stand up for the United States Constitution and the American people instead. Will this happen? Right now, the verdict is still out on that which is scary.

Too Many People Are Hurting Due To A Lack Of Acceptance From Much Of Society.

   Hey there folks. I’d like to talk about something that’s very important which many people don’t realize. The fact is that there are a great number of LGBTQ people who are hurting, isolated, and alone because too many members of the Straight and Gay / Lesbian Communities don’t fully accept us. And this needs to change. It’s the 21st century for crying out loud.
   Who am I talking about you may wonder. It’s actually a lot more people than you may think. Bisexual+, Genderfluid, Genderqueer, Nonbinary, Transgender, Asexual, Intersex, and others (BTIA+ for short) often feel like we’re not fully accepted by most of society so that far too often, we end up very isolated and alone.
   Many people fear, and even ostracize, individuals whom they see as too different. Often, they assume the worst. That somehow we must be confused and untrustworthy. Or that we’re just plain too weird. The result is that they don’t fully accept us.
   The consequences are that too many BTIA+ people end up feeling like we don’t belong anywhere and that people don’t want us. It makes finding true friends incredibly difficult and often dating becomes virtually impossible, despite the fact that we can be just as faithful and monogamous as anyone else and that we want love too. Unfortunately, too many of us are having to face the brutal reality that we are probably going to be alone for the rest of our lives.
   Things need to change.
   The Straight and Gay / Lesbian Communities as a whole need to open their minds and their hearts. BTIA+ people deserve acceptance and a chance. Don’t automatically reject us because of who we are. Try to open your minds and get to know us. We also enjoy the same interests and activities that you do, whether it’s movies, TV shows, and art or good food, travel, and the outdoors. Plus, diversity should be celebrated, not feared.
   We are people too.
   We have hopes and dreams.
   We want to have happy productive lives like everyone else.
   All we are asking for is a chance.
   If everyone strove to be kind, considerate, tolerant, open-minded, and accepting, imagine how wonderful and magical the world could be for everyone.

Proposed Anti-Transgender Bills Reveal How Much Ignorance, Intolerance, And Prejudice Still Exist In This Country

4-28-21
   Where in the hell did all this hate come from?
   I’d really like to know.
   It’s the 21st century, and one would hope that we’ve come a long ways as a species. And while there are people who are tolerant, open-minded, and compassionate, it seems there are many these days who are full of intolerance and prejudice. And what’s even more disheartening is how they seem more vocal and are even trying to pass laws based on their intolerance. This latter is particularly disturbing and frankly disgraceful because it harms innocent human beings.
   Think about that. People are trying to pass laws that will harm innocent human beings. And that’s exactly what is happening with these anti-Transgender laws that many Republicans are trying to pass in states throughout the country. And Transgender kids are a particular target with these proposed laws.
   They’re targeting kids for goodness sakes!
   Kids!
   Kids who are already struggling as they try to be who they are and how they want to live their lives. Far too many Transgender kids are already the victims terrible bullying in school from other kids, and on top of that, a great number also have to deal with intolerant teachers who don’t use the correct pronouns and look at them with derision and even disgust. Such incessant, vicious bullying and treatment are major reasons why Transgender kids have higher suicide rates. They need encouragement, support, and help. Not more bullying, intolerance, and hate.
   Yet many Republicans are trying to pass laws that would make the lives of Transgender kids even more difficult by doing things like banning them from participating in sports with the teams that match their preferred gender. What’s even worse is that several of these laws prevent doctors from prescribing medical therapies that help Transgender kids in their journey to be who they truly are. An example of this is how several of these laws prevent doctors from prescribing puberty blockers. Puberty blockers are medications that are entirely reversible and give a Transgender kid time to discover who they are and want to be. We’re not talking about surgery. Doctors are not performing gender surgeries on minors. We’re talking about medication which is reversible and that research proves support and improve the lives of many Transgender kids.
   People who are pushing these anti-Transgender laws clearly do not understand what being Transgender is all about. Yet instead of trying to educate themselves, they are working to pass laws based on their ignorance, intolerance, and prejudice against Transgender individuals.
   This is so sick and wrong. It makes the lives of Transgender kids even more difficult and will increase the likelihood that some will commit suicide. To be frank, those who pass anti-Transgender laws will have blood on their hands.
   It’s time for all of us to speak up in support of the Transgender community and against these horrible anti-Transgender bills. Put pressure on politicians who are pursuing such disgraceful legislation. And when they come up for re-election, vote them out of office.
   It’s time for people to open their minds and their hearts. Educate themselves and strive to be more compassionate and understanding of others, even when those individuals are different from themselves.

The Republican Party Appears To Be On A Dangerous, Dark Path

4-22-21
   Seems to me that the Republican Party is going down a seriously dangerous, dark path when you stop to consider what has been going on lately. Think about it. I’m not talking about tax rates or the like. No. I’m looking at the way too many members of the Republican Party are going along with disturbingly extremist influences that are terribly harmful to other people and undermining to our democratic values.
   We saw this trend pick up steam during the Trump Administration when Donald Trump and others in the Republican Party did things like attacking the free press, encouraging xenophobia, denying science, and viciously going after the election process itself. On multiple occasions, Trump seemed to go out of his way to avoid criticizing white supremacists and other extremist elements, which in turn emboldened them to come out of the woodwork and spread their vile, disgraceful intolerance, bigotry, and hate more than they had in many years.
   Trump’s unfounded, dangerous attacks on the 2020 election then exacerbated the boiling cauldron of intolerance, xenophobia, paranoia, and hate to the point where it exploded on January 6th when the entire world saw the angry mob of Trump supporters literally attack the United States Capitol Building. Even now with Trump out of office, he is still spreading despicable, dangerous lies about the election which is further encouraging these far-right extremists to the point where there is serious concern that they will conduct more domestic terror attacks upon our nation.
   Despite all of this, a large percentage of the Republican Party is continuing to go along with (and even blindly follow) Donald Trump’s twisted, self serving, dangerous, narcissistic whims and lies. They are frequently denying science so that many refuse to wear masks or get vaccinated against COVID (thus worsening and prolonging the pandemic). A scary percentage still question the validity of the 2020 election despite the overwhelming evidence that it was free and fair. This in turn has led to efforts by many Republicans in numerous states to try to pass laws which would make it more difficult for many people to vote, which is clear voter suppression.
   There are other disturbing trends emanating from the Republican Party. One is the way many Republicans continue to deny human-caused climate change and often promote the use of fossil fuels despite the fact that this worsens the climate change crisis the planet currently finds itself in. This is also very narrow-minded economically because the future is not in fossil fuels but in renewable energy instead. Another sickening trend is the way the Republican Party in many states is attacking the Transgender Community, particularly Transgender kids. These attacks are extremely harmful to innocent Transgender people and increase the likelihood that some may take their own lives.
   How long will this go on? How many lives are going to be lost and how much damage will our country have to endure before these dangerous trends by the Republican Party finally abate.
   Many Republicans see themselves as rugged individualists. But their behavior says otherwise. Instead, many have shown themselves to be blind followers who are unwilling to think for themselves, stand up for what is right, or speak out against what is clearly wrong.