Everyone Needs To Work Together To Defeat The COVID Pandemic

9-11-2021
   I’m fed up!
   We are still in the COVID Pandemic folks! This is a fact! The Delta Variant is much more contagious than earlier variants and is spreading very quickly. This is also a fact. Many hospitals around the country are filling up again with COVID patients. We are at the point now where people who need ICU beds aren’t always able to get them, and as a result, some of these individuals have died when they likely could have been saved if they had gotten into ICU. Now consider that of the COVID patients who are in ICUs, the significant majority are unvaccinated individuals.
   Think about that. We have safe vaccines available that we know are very effective in decreasing the chances of getting severe disease from COVID, yet millions of Americans are still refusing to get vaccinated even when they could. Hospitals are getting overwhelmed and people are dying who could have been saved otherwise because so many people are refusing to get vaccinated. This is a cold, hard fact!
   On top of this is how so many people in the United States refuse to wear masks when they should. Masks work! They decrease the chances of people spreading and catching the virus.
   Masks are most effective when everyone is wearing them, particularly inside spaces with less ventilation. Consider this: you have a room full of people. If one of those individuals has COVID, that person is shedding the virus as they breathe and talk. The virus then spreads on small water droplets (>5 microns) and probably also in the form of much smaller aerosolized particles. The droplets fall into the ground quicker, whereas aerosols can linger in the air for hours. There is evidence that COVID can be spread via both methods. If someone with COVID is in such an environment without a mask on, then everyone right around that individual will be at risk of breathing in virus laden droplets that the person is breathing out. The longer these people are in close quarters to the COVID individual, the greater the chance they will become infected, especially if they’re not wearing masks. Individuals who are inside the room but a little farther away may also be at risk via breathing in virus containing aerosols. This risk obviously goes up if they are in the room for extended periods of time and aren’t wearing masks. But if everyone, including the individual with COVID, is wearing a mask, then the risk of other people getting infected significantly goes down. This is because masks help decrease the amount of virus that is breathed out into the atmosphere of the room by the COVID individual while also decreasing the amount of virus the uninfected people might breathe in.
   Now imagine this room is full of your kids and their teacher at school.
   This is why mandatory mask wearing in schools is so vitally important right now. We are seeing a significant rise in the number of minors catching COVID (and going to the hospital) right now. These kids who are getting infected can then in turn spread the virus to others in their household, some of whom might be at greater risk of getting severe disease.
   In order to get a better handle on this pandemic and defeat it, everyone needs to work together like happened during World War II. During that conflict, people worked together to achieve victory. Everyone from civilians to soldiers. But this is not happening during the current COVID Pandemic, even though we are at war with a virus. According to Johns Hopkins University, as of September 11, 2021, 659,018 human beings have died in the United States alone from this virus (418,500 Americans died in WW2). Too many people are not wearing masks / social distancing when they should and too many are still refusing to get vaccinated even though they could. These individuals are being extremely irresponsible and selfish. They are the major reason why hospitals are getting overwhelmed with COVID patients.
   It’s time for everyone to do their part for the greater good, like occurred during WW2. People who are able, need to get vaccinated immediately, and everyone should wear masks (and social distance as much as possible) when inside public places or in concentrated outdoor crowds. If enough people would do this, we would get a much better handle on the COVID Pandemic, which in turn would save lives.

Tragedy In Afghanistan

8-17-21
   Afghanistan has fallen to the Taliban as the entire world has seen with tragic images and stories of fear, despair, and horror unfolding before us.  On TV, we saw Afghans clinging to planes as they desperately tried to escape the victorious Taliban. Women have virtually disappeared from Kabul’s streets as they hide in their homes fearful of what the Taliban may do to them. There is serious concern that a horrendous humanitarian disaster is in the making.
   So what happened? How did things come to this?
   There is no simple, easy answer.
   Afghanistan is not like many other countries around the world. It’s still a very tribal society with powerful warlords and chieftains who hold great power over their own territories. It has never been a strongly united nation. It has also been a very male dominated society for ages, especially in the rural areas. Men run the villages and have the power. For many generations, severe limitations have been placed on women in terms of education, jobs they are allowed to do, clothing they must wear (particularly in public), and so on.
   When the Taliban were in power before, they enforced an extremist, draconian form of Sharia law where men were in control. TV, movies, and most music were banned as was media, photography, or art that showed people or other living things. Girls were not supposed to go to school over the age of 10, and women were not allowed to hold almost any job outside of health care (the only reason they were allowed in this area is because male doctors were not supposed to directly treat women). People who committed adultery could be publicly executed, and individuals who stole might have a hand cut off.  Men were required to have beards, and women had to wear a burka (that covered their head and most of their body) when in public.
   The United States got directly involved in the Afghanistan conflict after 9/11 (the Taliban had harbored Al-Qaeda terrorists including Osama Bin Laden). With US involvement, the Taliban were swept from power pretty quickly, but the war did not end. The Taliban retreated to the countryside and continued fighting. The US attempted to establish a democracy in Afghanistan in the hopes of creating a more stable ally in the war on terrorism. Efforts were made to try to improve women’s rights and opportunities in life. But the conflict dragged on.
   Thing is: it’s very difficult to establish a stable democracy in a society that has no real history of it. And when you consider the tribal nature of Afghanistan, warlords, much of the population lacking the opportunity for education, poverty, and so on, the chances of establishing a strong democracy get even worse. It’s a safe bet that many of the warlords and other tribal leaders had no desire for true democracy since it could decrease their power. The Taliban certainly didn’t want democracy with their extreme version of Sharia law. And many of the everyday people were just trying to survive. There has been conflict and war in Afghanistan for decades. As a result, many people will switch sides quite readily depending on who has the most power in their area because folks are trying to survive. A consequence of all this is that the elected Afghan government was weak and many people were hesitant to fully commit to it. There was also a significant amount of corruption going on. Whereas the Taliban combined politics with a twisted, extremist, often barbaric version of religion so that many of their soldiers thought they were fighting a holy war and were more willing to die for their cause. 
   The United States (with NATO involvement at times) spent 20 years trying to train and build up a strong Afghan security force to help keep the Taliban in check and uphold the Afghan government. But due to the situation I just described, Afghan security soldiers were not as committed to their cause as Taliban troops were committed to theirs. So with the US pullout, the morale of the Afghan forces disintegrated.
   The Trump Administration had talks with the Taliban and signed an agreement with them that committed the US to pull out of Afghanistan by May 1st, 2021. The Taliban agreed to stop attacking American forces and promised to separate from Al-Qaeda. While they seemed to uphold the first provision, they likely did not honor the second. Once Biden came into office, he decided to go along with the agreement, though he did extend American presence beyond May 1st.
   Then we all saw how quickly things unraveled. The Taliban had clearly been planning for this. As a result, once enough American forces were out, the Taliban launched large scale attacks on Afghan security forces, and the latter fell apart. The Taliban seized control in less than 2 weeks.
   As to the blame game, there is plenty of blame to go around. Trump is the one who set this final American withdrawal in motion by signing an agreement directly with the Taliban in February of 2020. The Afghan government was left out which seriously weakened it and led to further plummeting of security force morale since they felt abandoned by the United States. Biden inherited this situation and then decided to go along with the agreement. The Biden Administration also seemed to seriously underestimate how quickly the Taliban would overrun the country. This likely played a role in why thousands of people (many of whom are Afghan allies who had helped the United States and NATO) are currently trapped in Afghanistan with unknown futures. Another factor in why so many Afghan allies didn’t get out in time is that the special visa program used to get them to the United States was mired in bureaucracy and staff shortages. It appears the Trump Administration made no effort to fix the issues so that almost a year was wasted. This had to have strongly contributed to why far too few of our Afghan allies got out. Biden did try to improve the program’s quagmire so that the number of approved visas rose from 100 per week in March of 2021 to 813 a week more recently. Plus, don’t forget that this war involved 2 other American presidents as well. There are also the factors of Afghanistan itself (that I’ve already described) which played major roles in the tragedy that is unfolding before us.
   So, what will the future hold? We’ll have to see. Will America be able to get our Afghan allies out of the country? Will the lot of women and LGBTQ people become as bad as last time? Will Afghanistan become a training site for terrorists like before?
   Time will tell.

This Pandemic Is Not Over Folks!

8-13-21
   Ok, I know: people are sick and tired of the COVID Pandemic.
   I get it. I am too. We want are lives back. Dream about things being normal. Doing things we used to do. I hear you.
   But folks, this thing is not over.
   The Delta Variant of COVID is much more contagious than earlier variants and is now the dominant form in the United States and much of the world. Case numbers are quickly rising so that almost the entire country is now rated by the CDC as having substantial or high rates of transmission. We are seeing increased numbers of younger people getting severe COVID cases that are sending them to the hospital.
   Thing is: there have been too many people refusing to get vaccinated and not wearing masks when they should. Earlier in the summer, too much of the population started acting like the Pandemic was over. They stopped wearing masks and quit social distancing. This allowed the virus to spread faster. The more a virus spreads, the more mutations occur. These mutations lead to new variants. Add in the fact that many people had not been vaccinated, and you have a recipe for disaster.
   Well, the disaster is here.
   So, everyone needs to buckle down and do their part in battling COVID-19. Practice social distancing and wear masks when inside public places or in large crowds. And unless your doctor has legitimate medical reasons not to, get vaccinated! If everyone would do their part, we could get through this much faster, and that would help people get back to more normal lives quicker and safer. But more importantly, it would save lives.
   So please do your part.
   Practice social distancing!
   Wear masks inside public places and in large crowds!
   And unless your doctor has legitimate medical reasons not to, get vaccinated!

What Happened to Civil Debate, Open-mindedness, the Ability to Compromise, and Getting Things Done in US Politics?

7-9-21
   You know what, democracy can be messy. It sure can. When you look at history, there are plenty of examples of that. A democracy is made up of plethora of different people and viewpoints so that everyone’s not going to agree on everything. There will be disagreements. Political parties push their agendas and vie for more power. At times, arguments can get passionate and quite heated. Again, if you look at the past, there are plenty of examples. The problem these days is that divisions and severe partisanship have gotten dangerously extreme.
   If you look back at the 1980s and 1990s in Washington DC politics, sure, there were plenty of disagreements and battles in Congress. But there was also compromise and bipartisanship as well. Republicans and Democrats in Congress could sit down and hash out compromises to get things done. Senator Ted Kennedy for example was very liberal and quite passionate about his views, yet he could also sit down with Republicans and hammer out a deal to get legislation passed. While neither side got everything they wanted, in the end, they would get legislation passed for the good of the American people. Sure, it wasn’t perfect. But they were able to get things done much better than today.
   Even before Donald Trump took office, political divisions were getting pretty severe, and then when Trump took office, they got much worse since he made a point to encourage and exacerbate divisiveness. We’re seeing political extremes who don’t want to compromise, and while both parties have been guilty of this lately, the Republicans have gotten much worse about it. A disturbing example of this is the statement by Texas Republican Chip Roy when he said that he would “oppose almost everything that Congress does.” He clearly means that he intends to try to stop any significant legislation that is proposed by the Democratic majority in large part to try to increase the chances of Republicans gaining seats in the 2022 midterm elections. And Roy is not the only one guilty of this. Mitch McConnell for some years now has been going out of his way to obstruct and stop legislation proposed by Democrats in his obsession to try to gain and hold a Republican majority in the Senate. Since he is the Republican leader in the Senate, he is essentially trying to gain and hold as much power as he can in that chamber.
   It seems that too many people in Congress are showing more loyalty to their party than to the United States Constitution and the American people as a whole. And in the Republicans’ case, too many are bowing to the authoritarian style whims and demands of Donald Trump as well. This goes against what Democracy is supposed to be about.
   I’m not one of those people that glorifies the old days so to speak. While I think history is fascinating, it is important to be honest about the past and try to understand the good, the bad and the in-between. But one thing I will say is that we need to regain the ability to talk to one another, to listen to one another, to be open minded, to compromise, and to get things done. Both Democrats and Republicans need to do better in this regard. Furthermore, in the Republican Party’s case, they need to separate themselves from Donald Trump and his dangerously authoritarian tendencies and lies. Democracy frequently requires compromise because of the diversity of society. Everyone needs to remember that it’s more important to stand up for the United States Constitution, the American people, and Democracy than be blindly loyal and follow a particular political party or individual. Too many people these days are essentially being more loyal to their political party (and in many Republicans’ case, to Donald Trump) than to the United States Constitution. This trend is not only disturbing, it’s dangerous because history is full of examples of things like this and how they can lead to authoritarianism and dictatorship.
  

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!

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

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.