Coming apart at the seams

Remember when news was boring? It wasn’t long ago, six maybe seven years. I googled the biggest stories of 2013. The Boston Marathon bombing—that one was huge. Things get pretty tame after that. Lance Armstrong’s doping scandal and Prince George’s birth. Those are a couple of the more notable stories of the year.

Midday today, as I usually do, I clicked on CNN. Breaking News (there’s always breaking news): Trump knew the dangers of Covid-19 in January. He discussed it with Bob Woodward. No, I’m not surprised by this revelation, I also knew the dangers of Covid-19 in January, I even blogged about it. But Trump insisted repeatedly that he had the virus under control. Fake news? No, roll the tape, it’s actually on tape. Now he says he was just trying to keep America calm. An aggressive mitigation strategy might have saved lives, but that would have agitated Americans. No, I’m not surprised by this news, just depressed.

Susan came home from work today. “We need to renew our passports. Trump is going to win.”

“What would we do with passports? No one’s going to let us in.”

I’m tempted to list the hundreds of things going wrong in the world right now, especially in the United States, but you know them as well as I do. Each day the pile gets bigger. From the past week alone: Military personnel are suckers and losers; Coronavirus deaths to top 410,000 by January; Seven Rochester police officers suffocated Daniel Prude with a ‘spit sock;’ California sees ‘fire of the century.’

This last one strikes me as hyperbolic. Over the last three summers, California repeatedly saw fires of the century—we need a new phrase. Each story leaves me a little more off balance. If Donald Trump was hoping to save Americans from agitation or anxiety, he’s failed miserably. I spend my days with a flutter in my stomach. Every time I see an article about the election, I feel sick.

I can’t imagine a single election scenario that doesn’t end in pandemonium. Regardless of who wins, we’re going to see nationwide rioting that far exceeds what we’ve had so far. No one is going to settle for a loss. The United States is coming apart at the seams.

Part two: Defund the Police

I get almost no interaction on Facebook. I was late to the game (2016), disdainful of those who ‘friended’ people they don’t know, and over the past year, every time I get a friend’s birthday notification I think “Is this person really a friend?” My birthday gift to dozens of people last year was one less Facebook friend. I get almost no interaction because I hardly have any friends left.

Yesterday, I posted something that I thought was important, but I only got three likes. Because I thought it sage beyond wisdom, I assumed no one saw it. In a second attempt to spread the word, I decided to post the same thing here. I linked an article with the headline: A 13-year-old boy with autism was shot by police after his mother called for help managing a ‘mental breakdown’

My caption: A perfect example of why we need unarmed intervention teams as first responders. Not to replace the police, but to address crisis situations that are not law enforcement related. This is what people mean by the ridiculous phrase *defund the police*.

Part three: The World’s a Mess

Forty years ago the rock band X released a song talking about everything we’re going through today. Have a listen: The World’s a Mess it’s in my Kiss

23 thoughts on “Coming apart at the seams

  1. Yes, California burns every year. Global Warming is real and its changing weather patterns… plus, people are idjits! I live near the “Valley Fire” in San Diego County. The air has been gross since the fire started, but it’s not the worst fire our area has seen.

    Trump will lose the popular vote again and refuse to leave. 2nd civil war? Possible. I think the military is sick of him though and a good fascist needs the military’s support to stay in charge.

    I read about that autistic boy. It could have been Ben. He’s 12. WE would never call the police. Our city has a crisis team, but regular officers always show up too. PD like their guns too much.

    Cool tune! I was listening to Rage Against The Machine recently and remembering when they played at the DNC in L.A. That was back when my ex and I were very active in politics and social justice. It’s depressing to think how much is worse than then.

    I still have hope though. I think most people are decent and caring. We only hear the loudest and the “news” is all flash. There is kindness and good things happening too, but those arent being reported.

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    • Yes, most are decent and caring, but who the hell are these people who say ‘oh yeah, Trump deceived us on Covid, but Biden will be so much worse. NO ONE could do a worse job than Trump has. Plus when you add in all the damage he’s done to democracy and the public discourse, he’s essentially the antiChrist. It’s a sad state of affairs when we can’t call the police for help because our children might get shot. I try to stay as far away from police as possible.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I agree with Angie. If Trump loses he still won’t leave. There will have been some “mistake.” It makes me nauseous to think about as well.
    When I was a crisis responder for situations like with the autistic boy we were trained in non-violent crisis intervention. How to keep everyone safe without the use of aggression, and certainly without weapons. If the situation was going to be a volatile one, we would bring the police with us. But again, never to use their weapons. All weapons should just be left in their car or at the station if they can’t mentally check the box “I am not going to use this in a situation like this.” It’s really saddening.
    I had wanted to update our passports as well. But it’s true. No one would let an American in anywhere right now. That’s a sad thought too.

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    • I hadn’t really heard of nonpolice crisis responders. Probably more common in the urban areas. At my last job, a kid threatened suicide and when we called for help, cops came with their guns and tasers and vests. Can’t see how that helps a situation like that. If I could leave the country, I honestly don’t know where I’d go. I suck at languages. Maybe if I went off-grid in the US it would achieve the same thing.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Oh my gosh, that is terrible. I can’t even imagine. I worked for the county right outside of the city – very urban. I was specifically trained to respond to crises in the school (suicide, murder, general major loss – you know, the people they say on the news were called in to help) but also in the community for workplaces facing the same situation. We also had a direct link to the insurance companies – so if someone called in for an appointment feeling suicidal, or an appointment was not available for a month we were asked to go out and do a health check. Or someone called for a relative they wanted eyeballed by a MH professional. I’ve seen a lot of sad cases. I also did telephone counseling. You tried to get their information but sometimes they wouldn’t provide it, and left the call leaving me with a ball in my throat. Most of the time we needed police assistance was when a person was being violent, and they were there just in case talk therapy didn’t help. But no – guns were never drawn. I just can’t imagine.

        Canada. We keep looking to our northern neighbors (who want nothing to do with us).

        Liked by 1 person

  3. You’re totally right with that comment about the police. It’s common practice here in England; armed police only show up in an absolute emergency (a terrorist incident etc.). We’re not perfect, and there’s still a lot of mistrust in the police here, but the number of people killed by them is way, way lower than America.

    Regarding Trump, I saw something on Twitter that amused me – someone posted ‘I’d like to thank President Trump, the last 9 months have been totally calm’ (not sure this comes across, but it’s a joke)

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    • Really, the only response to the trump situation anymore is sarcasm. The whole thing is surreal. I keep waking up expecting to find that the GOP pulled him from the race. Not that I think they will, but it’s what I would do. Freaking embarrassment. A little nugget was inserted into an article I read yesterday. “Much of the world now pities the US.”

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  4. Great read. God is still on the throne. We all got this. TOGETHER. Love WILL drive out hate. The light WILL eradicate the darkness. NOTHING can defeat those who refuse to give up. We got this….keep writing. Love your insights especially the old school music suggestions!😍❤

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Jeff, you and I both live in the “Alabama” section of PA. Trump signs, banners, and flags abound. I don’t get it either. It’s disheartening to think THAT many people really support him. Before 2016, I would have thought it was 10%, tops. I think part of it is that people are enamored by “success”. He “won” the election, therefore many Republicans completely changed their tune about Trump.

    Did you see the latest – now he is blaming Bob Woodward for not spreading the alarm on COVID earlier since Trump told him about it in January? Uhhh…who is the president??? Ugh!!!

    I am working to see that he is not re-elected (writing postcards, volunteering at a voter registration table) but even I am pessimistic.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for doing that. Other than writing a few blog posts, I haven’t done anything. I’m a little annoyed with Woodward about this too. Of course this shouldn’t be a revelation for anyone. People who acknowledge masks save lives still frame the stupid discussion in terms of liberty. Because our whole strategy is invested in a vaccine, it makes me worried that the vaccine is going to prove ineffective. I think we’re being punished by the universe (which from prior conversations you know I really mean aliens)..

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  6. I’ve come to think of the real meaning of “Breaking News” as “this is going to break your heart, your spirit, your sense of reality.” I was horrified by the story of the autistic boy. As I am about the hooded schizophrenic man in Rochester, and the cello playing kid in Colorado and … and … and …

    I agree that there is not an optimistic scenario to latch onto regrading November 4th. I also agree with your wife that it’s time to b prepared, whatever that means. For Dan and me, that means making sure we have what we need for a getaway, or a lockdown. No harm in being a boy scout and being prepared.

    In the meantime, I’m putting one foot in front of the other and one word on the page after another for as long as I can. That’s what keeps me sane. Researching, writing and reading (NOT NEWS) keep me in total thrall that I can still have a life of the mind!!

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    • Loved this response. We are NOT helpless or without hope. We will each do what we can and the rest will come out in the wash. In the meantime, I am enjoying my job, enjoying living alone as lived with fam for 14 years, enjoying my friends via nightly calls and text, hanging out with Jesus on the daily and….living life. The election will come and go. Leadership will come and go. I plan on leaving this place a bit better then how I found it. Keep writing yall. We need each other. We all we got but we all we need.😎❤

      Liked by 1 person

    • I think your approach is more sensible than my freak out every second of the day approach. It’s almost impossible to believe how consistently bad the news has become. And now the fires once again are reminding me that our most pressing problem is global heating. It makes my head spin.

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      • POC had to learn, years ago to CHOOSE to stay positive no matter what. We have no choice. If we focus on all the ways we have to justify our existence to breathe the same air, as everyone else, we couldn’t function. Yes, it’s exhausting. Yet, it has made us more compassionate, I think. Or, so I choose to tell myself. All I can control is how I love, who I love, when I love. I give my love to every commentor. I look forward to each post. I have adopted you all as my peep. I look for you on the daily. Keep trying. Love as much as you can. Life is short. It has been a true honor getting to know folks through your eyes and experiences. We got this. And God has us all…❤

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Apart at the seams, indeed. My hometown is just that. In-person university classes and student parties have yielded a huge spike in COVID cases. Numerous frats and sororities are in quarantine, as are several on-campus dorms. In response, hospitals have closed their doors to visitors. Some students can’t get tested on campus, so they go to the county testing site. The Health Department says anyone who’s been downtown recently has been exposed. The university administration should have seen this coming. They didn’t listen to our local leaders.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That sounds like a nightmare college-town situation. My daughter’s school has been taking covid extremely seriously and so far, they’ve only had a handful of cases. Hopefully it will stay that way. Scary to think that anyone in the downtown area has a possible exposure. Stay healthy.

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