Spectrum

“The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum.” ~Noam Chomsky

Not just in politics, but in most fields there are possibilities that are immediately discarded without discussion.

It’s something to be on guard against.

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Good job, Don.

Because of Donald Trump’s rants, standing for the national anthem now feels more like an endorsement of his policies than an act of patriotism.

I always thought it was kind of weird to have a national song that is only sung prior to sporting events, a song so difficult to sing that even professionals have a hard time hitting the notes, a song that’s really just a lyrical version of the fight scene in Cool Hand Luke.  I only stood up for it because the song seemed to mean something to the people around me, even if I didn’t quite get it myself.

But now I don’t feel like I can stand in good conscience.

Sha la la la la la

The Evil Party™’s plan will allow insurance companies to charge seniors quintuple what everyone else pays, whereas under the Slightly Less Evil Party™’s plan they would only be charged triple.

Either way, I’m seeing zero incentive to save money for retirement.  Under the auspice’s of either plan you’re likely to die deeply in debt, probably impoverished.

So unless you have some special affection for the health care industry’s shareholders– and personally, I do not– the only strategy that makes sense under this system is to save nothing, live for today, and live the best life you can for as long as you can.

If this were a Dickens’ novel, Steve Scalise would awaken and renounce his mean spirited, racist, homophobic past, and work tirelessly to ensure that all Americans have access to the same level of health care that saved his own life.

Sadly, this is not a Dickens’ novel.

*bang*

Steve Scalise pushed through a “health care” bill that will strip coverage from millions of people, resulting in the deaths and suffering of– at a minimum– thousands.

They will die one at a time, surrounded by family or alone. They will live lives of poverty, crushed by overwhelming debt. They will linger in pain, even though cures and medications exist, because they don’t have the means to access them.

Violence doesn’t always happen with a bang.

Sometimes it’s as quiet as the stroke of a pen.

Dormant Fears

I don’t know why this thought occurred to me in the small hours of the morning when I should have been sleeping, but it suddenly hit me that when the bomb exploded over Hiroshima that morning in August, it wasn’t just 70,000 people who died instantly. It was also animals and plants.

There were cats and dogs who had just had their breakfast. Kittens were nursing. There were birds coming to feeders, butterflies coming to flowers. The flash would have caught some birds and insects in flight, never to land.

Carefully tended autumn gardens would never be harvested. Flowers that were sources of beauty vanished. Bonsai trees, lovingly cared for sometimes for decades, in an instant turned to steam and smoke.

I was a child of the Cold War, and grew up with the fear that a madman would destroy the earth. Sometimes when I left for school I wondered if I’d ever see my parents again. I knew I could vanish in an instant, before my mind was even cognizant of what was happening.

Those fears faded with time. For most of my adult life I didn’t think anyone would be so evil, so cruel, so unthinking.

Until now.

You would think after thirty straight years of daily bombings they would have figured out that violence doesn’t work as a means to solve your problems.

The sad thing is, you can’t be sure which side I’m talking about.