Incompetence or Intention?

America’s failed, tragic response to the coronavirus pandemic is obvious when compared to other developed nations. There was no coordinated national response to providing the needed PPE and no consistent message regarding the seriousness of the disease or the urgent need to follow mitigation standards such as masks, social distancing, reduced gatherings and, testing and tracing. There was very little or no funding to support shutdowns and mitigation needs. In March, it was thought by some as only a blue state problem. The CDC and other experts were contradicted or silenced by the Trump administration while unproven drugs and ridiculous treatments were touted or suggested. Lockdowns, shutdowns and mask wearing were politicized and unnecessarily polarized the country. Due to the failed response, the virus spread from the coasts and then ravished the heartland. At the time of this writing, over 330,000 Americans have died from COVID-19. There was a recent surge in infections and deaths due to the number of people who traveled and gathered for the Thanksgiving holiday, all victims of failed and inconsistent messaging.

This is all evidence of incompetence and putting political concerns above good decision making. But was it more sinister than this?Lockdowns and shutdowns tanked the economy and sent millions into unemployment, poverty, food lines and homelessness, although the stock market and billionaires and professionals who could work from home were doing fine. Thoughts of herd immunity, and acceptable losses were publicly considered, but the fact that the working class, essential workers, minorities and the poor would suffer the brunt of the loss was not made public. Those with political power were willing to sacrifice ordinary Americans to avoid funding shutdowns or to hold companies accountable for protecting their workers while hospitals were filled beyond capacity and morgues were overflowing.

The privileged classes are able to honker down and wait for the vaccine, while the rest are left to fend for themselves as the virus culls the herd killing off members of the lower classes! Was this the intention? Was this the cheapest way to navigate the pandemic? Was this a way to reduce the number of people who rely on public assistance? Robert Reich said that billionaires profited enough during the pandemic to pay every American $3000. At the same time, small businesses (built on lifetimes of blood, sweat, tears, heart and soul) closed permanently and middle income American families faced eviction. Incompetence or intention failed the American people!

Intentionally allowing some to die is unconscionable! Allowing a weakened, enfeebled federal response in the name of small government or states rights is irresponsible and imbecilic. Either way, the historians will sort this out, and American Exceptionalism and American status as a world leader in human rights will be greatly diminished if not erased! This is due to the inept, possibly malevolent leadership of impeached president Trump and his Republican enablers. Either way, their place in history is set, I hope they can live with it!

Republicans Dump Democracy

American exceptionalism is founded on democratic norms based in an honor system, not in strict codified law. An unAmerican, undemocratic “strongman” can easily run them over and destroy them like a toddler knocking over the building block structure their older sibling had carefully assembled during their morning playtime. It takes real strength, maturity and true character to abide by our norms and uphold democracy. However, Republicans have dumped democracy by kowtowing to a wannabe autocrat in order to grab power.

Trump supporters have been engulfed by a dense fog created by all encompassing disinformation and conspiracy theories disguised as real legitimate news that actually only deals in lies and false fear without even a hint of adherence to journalistic standards. It’s created an “us versus them” mindset with an in-group versus out-group mentality that is deadly to a successful democracy. Followers of this thinking singularly focus on hating and undermining the “other” rather than being grounded in a specific ideology, creating effective policies and approaching the table in a rational state of mind ready to compromise and negotiate. “Sticking it to the libs” accomplishes NOTHING and destroys what we share.

Right wing media and the president FALSELY claim that the election was rigged or fraudulent. The Trump lawyers filed 60 law suits including two to the Supreme Court, but were unable to provide any evidence under oath. ZERO EVIDENCE! Maybe Trump thought he could steal the election or make others believe that the only way he could lose is if the other guy cheated or more likely just to scam his followers out of a couple of hundred million dollars for his so-called “legal defense fund.” Biden will still be the next president and Trump will just be richer, no harm, right? WRONG!!!

Faith in fair and free elections, and the peaceful transfer of power together are the foundation of our democracy. But, this right wing media fueled Republican charade has caused a third, or maybe more, of voters to doubt the outcome of the election and question the legitimacy of the Biden presidency. This in turn is causing their elected representatives to abandon truth and integrity in order to prolong and reinforce the lie at the expense of our shared democracy so that they can selfishly maintain access to power and wealth. Then they justify these actions by saying their constituents tell them that they believe the election was laden with fraud. The lie comes full circle! It is damaging our democracy!

Sadly, Republican officials who uphold the truth are being threatened, and many are leaving the party. Hopefully, those still living within the bubble of lies and misinformation will finally see the light and become faithful partners in our democracy because you can’t win by burning down the house of the person you live with! Democracy doesn’t work if one side is bent on destruction! Republicans need to uphold democracy and scrap Trump “destructionism.”

Understanding Our Ever Changing Culture and It’s Effect on Individual Worldviews

My parents were children during the Great Depression and teens during World War II in which my Dad served as an infantryman. They married in 1952 and lived in this time of prosperity and the promises of modernism as the middle class American dream only required a willingness to work 40 hours a week without the need of a college degree or even a high school education. Life was good and simple. Men went to work and women stayed home cleaning, cooking and caring for the children, and everyone in the neighborhood was the same; white, middle class and Protestant (My parents weren’t typical as my Mom always worked outside the home, too). The social norms of the fifties were in full force. I was born into this world in 1956.

Then in 1964, as I entered the so called age of reason (7 or 8 years old) in childhood development, the American counterculture (hippies) emerged rejecting those cultural standards of the fifties. They questioned “…racial segregation, the Vietnam War, sexual mores, women’s rights and materialism.” This counterculture movement, unbeknownst to me, divided the country. “To some, it reflected American ideals of free speech, equality, and world peace; while to others, it reflected a self-indulgent and unpatriotic assault on America’s moral order.” This division never ended and persists today.

By the time, I was 13 or 14, bell bottoms, blue jeans, peasant tops, tie dye shirts, long straight hair parted in the middle and long hair for males too, the Beatles, the Monkees, the Partridge Family, Laugh-In, Love American Style and Woodstock (even though I was too young to attend) defined my world. Peace, love, harmony, music and mysticism were the ideals of the time. The world was new and the old ways were discarded. We were freer to express ourselves and pursue many different ways of living and earning a living. Three years later, I was going to the Disco and styles changed that quickly, but that’s another story. But, between the formative ages of 8 and 16 (1964-1972), I became a liberal Democrat (I’m actually more of a left-leaning centrist) without even knowing that it was occurring. This is when my worldview was formed. It began to form when the Beatles’ song “I Want to Hold Your Hand” was playing at the roller rink and was mostly hardened by the time “Rock the Boat” by the Hues Corporation was playing in the clubs.

The movement ended as the economic crisis of the time forced free spirits into traditional jobs and as the goals of the movement actually became part of the mainstream. The ending of the Vietnam War, improved civil rights and liberties, gender equality, environmentalism relaxed sexual mores, reduced focus on materialism and the acceptance of more casual dress was now the new normal. Mainstream philosophy, art, music, movies, theater, fashion, lifestyle, and social norms were forever changed.

Cultural change has been fluid over my lifetime, but those early formative years will always be my reference point. The self-awareness of the source of my worldview is enlightening as I try to understand others who think differently than me. My worldview was formed without conscious effort over a very short period of time. It was formed by the times and those around me and those who came before me. So, now I understand that everyone’s worldview is based on their individual experience from a very young age. I believe it is tweaked over the years but it’s original form is very strong and ever present, it is seemingly innate.

Even though many of these changes were absorbed by the greater culture, there were anti-change forces present from the very beginning that still exist today, and it has become increasingly stronger lately. Republican conservatism, Christian nationalism, white supremacy, anti-feminism, rampant materialism and the unbridled pursuit of wealth are the counter forces that have finally come into clear view after nearly 60 years of operating in the shadows. The election and presidency of Donald Trump shined a giant spot light on these forces that were not apparent to many of us or at least not to me.

While my worldview was being formed there were only four TV stations that expanded to about eight when UHF came into being and a few AM radio stations (FM radio played some instrumental music at that time). Now, our country is very diverse not just by race and ethnicity but by which media we consume. Today, we have thousands of cable TV channels, ever increasing streaming services and social media websites, internet and gaming platforms, blogs, podcasts and satellite radio. Nearly every divergent thought can find acceptance and reinforcement in this seemingly infinite information web so that the majority of us no longer share a common perception of life. Our simple division of the sixties has turned into a gigantic dispersion of different world-views to the point where ridiculous conspiracy theories slither into mainstream thought. I’m not sure there is any comparison to this time in history, no example of what to do. We can’t even agree on a common reality. Would education in civics and informed media consumption help us sort facts, opinions and fiction? How can a unified message get to everyone? Can I understand world-views formed in the eighties, nineties, oughts, and teens?

I hope this self examination has provided me with greater understanding as I consider the point of view of others. I’ll end with this final question. Who were the 8 year olds in 2016, who are now 12 in 2020? What kind of lifelong worldview are they going to have?

Referenced “The Sixties 1960-1969: Counterculture” for this blog.

Trump Accomplishments and Failures

Some Trump supporters state that the economy, tax cuts, conservative judge appointments and his pro-life stance prove a successful Trump presidency while others provide an exhaustive list that includes things like the greatest job creation for minorities ever and moving the Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Non-Trump supporters see chaos and ineptitude, loss of standing in the world and the gutting of governmental agencies, destruction of democratic norms and the rule of law, a complete scary disaster headed by a reality TV star.

The following account of accomplishments and failures are based on Trump’s Biggest Accomplishments and Failures from his One-Term Presidency by John Haltiwanger in Business Insider 11-9-2020. In my opinion, some of the so called accomplishments are not really good for most people. Let’s take a look.


*Reshaping the federal judiciary – this appointment of hundreds of conservative judges and three Supreme Court justices may not seem like an accomplishment to citizens who believe in the constitutional right to freedom of and from religion, woman’s rights and their right to choose and civil rights for all including minorities and the LGBTQ+ community. This may be a win for straight, white, Christian males, but a loss for many others.

*Space Force – this, at first, seemed a little ridiculous, kind of like Trump steaks, Trump water, Trump university, kind of like a ruse to benefit Trump at the expense of others. But, it is real and was created to protect our military assets in space, like satellites. This is an accomplishment, so take comfort in your safety as you toil 60-80 hours a week to make ends meet while a $400 emergency could leave you and your family homeless.

*Tax Reform – this did nothing for 99% of Americans. It only further enriched the rich. It did not result in research and development, infrastructure repair or the creation of comfortable living wage jobs.

*First Step Act – this made modest changes to criminal justice reform, nothing to write home about.

*Defeating the ISIS Caliphate – disbanded but not eliminated.


*Charlottesville and the George Floyd Protests – demonized anti-racism demonstrators while condoning white supremacy and police brutality, and promoting division. Just disgraceful.

*Family separation at the border – a despicable travesty that tore families apart including nursing infants. Horrid conditions, abuse and the death of children were reported while the information necessary for reuniting families was not recorded, lost or hidden. Unforgivable!

*Iran, Syria and Afghanistan – not sure of the specifics, just that they ended up in the failure column.

*Repealing and Replacing the Affordable Care Act – it didn’t happen although it was weakened. However, it’s need to remain in place and expand became overwhelmingly apparent as people lost their employer provided healthcare when they lost their jobs due to the pandemic.

*Impeachment – an accomplishment for Congress, but a failure for the Senate when it voted against removal. The evidence for removal was overwhelming. Trump will go down in history as the most corrupt American president ever.

*Mishandling of the Pandemic Response – misinformation, inconsistent messaging and the failure to coordinate nationally resulted in hundreds of thousands of unnecessary deaths and suffering. At the time of this writing, daily deaths are around 2800 and over 200,000 news cases are being reported each day. ICU beds are filled and healthcare staff are overwhelmed and in short supply across the country. It is critical and getting worse as many ignored CDC health advisories not to travel and gather for Thanksgiving as a result a significant spike in deaths is predicted for the Christmas holiday. In the meantime, our neighbors in Canada are experiencing a fraction of cases and deaths as us proving that effective leadership matters.

*The Economy – the economy has been decimated by the failed pandemic response for most Americans. Big companies, billionaires, stockholders and professionals who can work from home are doing fine, while the majority of Americans are either working in unsafe conditions experiencing the brunt of sickness and death or are unemployed or losing their small businesses, waiting in food lines and facing eviction while McConnell lets the relief bill lay on his desk.

*Damage to Democracy – attacks on the media (freedom of the press is guaranteed by the constitution), lying to the people, deploying troops into American cities, tear gassing peaceful protesters, encouragement of far-right extremists groups, autocratic behavior, interfering in and lying about the electoral process, using office for financial and political gain, thwarting the peaceful transfer of power and the breaking of countless norms that are or were the basis of American exceptionalism and the epitome of what democracy is supposed to be.

Trump’s governance before the election results was spotty and inconsistent at best, now he’s totally absent. He is not addressing the pandemic or the financial crisis that’s leaving millions of Americans in dire straits. This is the greatest crisis to face America since the 1918 flu pandemic and the Great Depression combined! He’s totally engrossed in fecklessly trying to undermine our free and fair election that has been declared the most secure election ever by his own appointees. The Trump presidency is a total and abject failure! Our only hope is to repair the damage and codify expected norms as decency and fairness have proven to not be an innate quality in all Americans even those who rise to the highest office in the land. Without honesty and decency all accomplishments are null.