Thanksgiving is when our entire family gathers, but not this year. The best we can manage is a Zoom meeting with 10 or so families staring at each other on a computer screen and we’re all eating these tiny turkey dinners on TV trays. But we have to be thankful that we’re all healthy, other than what age and time have done to us, but so far, we’ve all managed to dodge the deadlier COVID-19 bullet. We continue to hope by early spring this may all be over.

 

•••

I must admit that as I get older, I feel like I understand less and less about our country:

I can’t understand how people can believe that COVID is some sort of liberal plot and being vastly over hyped by the media. In the last week or so, the numbers have jumped enormously. We’re at over 258,000 dead now and will probably hit 300,000 by New Year’s, and perhaps another 100,000 or more after that, before it’s all over. Vaccines are coming but we’re losing 1,000 people per day. Hospitals are filling up all over the country and ICUs are reaching capacity. Medical staffs are worn out and burning out. At this growing pace, we will have to soon start triaging incoming patients in some places and put some aside to let them die, concentrating on those that have a better chance of surviving. Some states, like North and South and Dakota, have among the highest coronavirus rates in the world and yet the governor of one refuses to recognize the depth of the threat or take any effective action. At some point, obsessive individualism becomes insanity and leaders have to lead even if they are doing some things that may be unpopular.  

I also can’t understand this irrational fear of “Socialism.” To begin, you have to ask yourself: What is socialism?

-Is Social Security socialism? No, that’s not socialism, that’s insurance.

-Is Medicare socialism? No, that’s a society taking care of its elderly.

-Is MediCal or Medicaid socialism? No, that’s public health; in fact, the early health insurance was started in capitalistic Germany in the 1870s.

-Is free public elementary and free public high school socialism? No, that’s public education.

Is free preschool and kindergarten socialism? No, that’s educational support to enabling children to learn.

-Is free food served in some schools to children who can’t afford it socialism? Ditto.

-Is free higher education or land grants, like all the state universities and land grant colleges, socialism? No, that’s building a country.

-Is the transportation network of free roads and bridges socialism? No, that’s infrastructure so capitalism can move goods. 

-Is Fannie Mae and Freddie Mack socialism?

-Is the fact that our bank deposits are insured by the federal government socialism?

-Is the FDA that checks that our food and drugs are pure socialism?

-Is the government bailout of the savings and loan industry in 1989 socialism?

-Is the government bailout of the economy in 2008, the auto industry, the airlines, the insurance industry, the banking industry (except for poor Lehman Brothers) socialism? How can it be socialism if they are all privately owned free capitalistic companies and industries? They all stand on their own without government handouts except when they can’t, or need a change in the tax code, or need another bailout, or want to change their home offices to Ireland so they don’t have to pay American taxes or want us to send in the Marines to protect their business interests, or need to send troops or pallets of shrink-wrapped dollars into Iraq or Iran or Afghanistan, but that’s not socialism, that’s patriotism.

You can see that this really gets confusing.

 

•••

Well, we’re lucky, we finally got a new team into Washington D.C. The worst part of the possibility of losing this presidential election was that we would have to spend the next four  years listening to the “Drama Queen” explaining how he was perfect, but not appreciated enough, and how we never understand that he has a good brain—actually, a great genius brain, not an abnormal brain that many of us suspected. Unfortunately, I don’t believe that Frankentrump is going away any time soon. I suspect he’s going to be coming to us on a new unreality network, hyping conspiracies and hidden alternative facts and UFOs and Trump for President 2024. Of course, I’m not sure if he will wind up serving his time at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue again, or perhaps some other maximally secure federal or state facility, which does raise an interesting discussion.

 

•••

I find myself in terrible conflict. Part of me would like to see Trump, who has done so much damage to so many people, spend his retirement years in a small cell somewhere, with lights out at 9 p.m. and visiting hours on alternative Saturdays. For a man who has spent his life lying, cheating and stealing, there would be some justice in that for his many victims. On the other hand, when you criminalize our politics, you head down a steep slippery path that I suspect doesn’t lead to justice but only to chaos and vendettas that never end because what you do to them, they do back to you. Trump almost stole our government and Constitution away, but the voters had enough sense and many government election officials had enough integrity to save our system—but let’s not kid ourselves. It was close—very, very close, closer than many of us had ever imagined.

 

•••

Lastly, I must confess I’m totally baffled about Trump’s appeal to 70-plus-million of my fellow citizens, but there is no mistaking that the appeal was real, and as soon as I figure it out I’ll let you all know. 

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