Monthly Archives: May 2020

Who Are The “Protesters” in Black?

Watch this video now.

Whoever these people are, they are not protesters.

The optics are bad shooting up peaceful gatherings so it’s important for authority to establish at least the illusion of justification. By whatever means necessary. So if the protesters won’t loot and burn, then maybe somebody masquerading as a protester has to do it.

The real protesters confronting the guy bashing in windows at the AutoZone suspect he’s a cop. That’s my first guess, too. Hopefully proof of his identity will emerge. If it’s not a cop it’s an unusually well-dressed white supremacist militia yahoo.

In any case, somebody is looking for an excuse to start shooting. Any excuse.

Heads up out there.

Video credit to In the Now. Follow them on Facebook.

How Many Dollars Is a Life Worth (and Why Did We Choose This)?

COVID-second-wave

Our desperation is no accident. Desperation is good for business.

Colorado reopened for business yesterday. There were precautions galore, like these posted on the website of one of our favorite local restaurants:

    • You must wear a mask or face covering until drinks and food arrive and  while you are moving about the restaurant and bar
    • Practice social distancing by staying 6 feet away from other patrons
    • Limit your party size to eight people or less
    • Make reservations if possible
    • Check in with the host and provide your full name, phone number, and email address
    • After checking in, please wait outside weather permitting, for your table
    • Please practice patience with our staff as we are doing our best to accommodate you within our new restaurant dine-in guidelines

We reserve the right to deny service to anyone(s) not following the safety protocols from the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment 

PLEASE TAKE NOTICE OF THE SAFETY PRECAUTIONS WE ARE PUTTING IN PLACE TO
PROVIDE YOU WITH THE SAFEST AND BEST DINING EXPERIENCE POSSIBLE

    • Our team members are all wearing face coverings and are increasing their handwashing practices
    • All team members go through symptom monitoring when arriving at work
    • We are disinfecting all shared surfaces such as menus, tables, and chairs after every use and/or applying sanitation to food contact areas between seatings
    • Menus are available online to view from your mobile device if you prefer – let the host know if this is your preference
    • High touch areas are being disinfected every 30 minutes
    • We have a reduced occupancy capacity and are practicing social distancing of 6 feet
    • We are offering our full menus for take out, delivery, & curbside pickup

My guess is these guidelines are pretty standard around the state, and no doubt health inspectors will be out in force looking for skulls to crack and examples to make.

I have friends working in a couple of these restaurants and it goes without saying I hope all goes well for them.

That said, reopening is as bad a decision as has ever been made by a Colorado governor (and that’s saying something). From the standpoint of public health, this is malfeasance in the first degree. Gov. Jared Polis just killed people.

Let me say that again just so we’re clear:

Gov. Jared Polis just killed people.

How many we don’t know yet, but you can be forgiven for expecting the worst.

Of course, this wasn’t a public health decision. It was an economic decision. How do we know? Well, when you need an extended laundry list of shalts and shalt-nots like the one above so you can eat dinner without killing the neighborhood, that’s maybe a hint.

And as infuriating as it is contemplating how many dollars a life is worth, we understand how this morbid calculus works, don’t we?

Billionaires can’t become multi-billionaires if the doors are shut (okay, okay – yes, one mega-multi-billionaire is in the process of becoming a trillionaire – so maybe there’s an angle after all).

Billionaires are powerfully motivating for our elected officials, many of whom hope to be elected again someday. Most of us regular types don’t worry so much about the rich, though. They’ll manage. But we still support reopening. Why are we on the same side of the issue as those who literally don’t care if we die?

Duh. We care about the small businesses in our communities. We care about workers at the bottom of the food chain – waiters, bartenders, retail clerks, delivery drivers – all those “essential” folks on the frontlines. We know these people. We patronize their establishments. We know the workers. They’re our friends, our relatives. And we know the straits they’re in.

Which means that while we’re not happy about it, reopening is necessary, right?

Oh hell no.

That proposition requires me to accept a deeply flawed assumption: that Capitalism, and our particular brand of feral dog Capitalism in particular, is natural and necessary. It isn’t. That we have no safety net isn’t inevitable, it’s a choice we made. That losing your job, through no fault of your own, means losing your healthcare insurance isn’t just how the world is. It’s how Capital wants it and we’ve acquiesced.

When push comes to shove, the people who shape our economic reality have no obligation to their neighbors or their communities. They answer only to shareholder value – and that didn’t come down the mountain with Moses on a stone tablet.

We could have chosen differently. We can still choose differently, and each day we don’t allows our wealthy elite to consolidate their power just a little more.

Colorado opened its economy because it’s the only way to alleviate our desperation. Way too many of us already live one or two bad months from utter disaster, and thanks to a pandemic that those at the top of the food chain ignored disaster is no longer two months away. It’s clawing at the door.

Our desperation is no accident. Desperation is good for business. It keeps labor costs down and deters people from seeking employment somewhere less exploitative (which keeps turnover down, and turnover is hellishly costly for companies). This is especially true if the employer provides health insurance for the worker and – this is key – the worker’s family.

Desperation means a frightening number of Americans don’t have jobs, they have hostage situations. (And if we had single-payer healthcare like other developed nations, that means employers would have a bit less leverage, doesn’t it?)

Don’t let anyone arguing to “reopen the economy” get away with “we have to let people work to stay alive.” That’s a rhetorical trick aimed at suckering you into accepting their toxic worldview. The real question is this: how did the richest nation in the world get into a mess like this in the first place? Why do regular citizens have to choose between the plague and homelessness?

What if we don’t assume predatory Capitalism, but we make its adherents justify it?

Minneapolis Riot: Hey Google, Fix Your Fucking News Algorithm

Why do I follow “radical” sources like The Left Fist? This is why.

Last night thousands of people took to the streets of Minneapolis to protest the murder of an unarmed black man by white city police officers.

Minneapolis-riot

There was chaos and destruction in Minneapolis Tuesday night as police officers and protesters clashed over the death of George Floyd.

The outrage began with a video showing police arresting the 46-year-old in south Minneapolis Monday night.

“I can’t breathe! Please, the knee on my neck,” Floyd is heard saying in the video.

The video shows an officer kneeling on Floyd’s neck, pinning him to the ground outside Cup Foods on Chicago Avenue and East 38th Street for more than seven minutes. Floyd died a short time later at Hennepin Healthcare.

Thousands flooded the streets at that same intersection Tuesday afternoon to protest Floyd’s death. They packed the area, but were also spread out to try to be socially distant.

This ought to be, if not the top story this morning, certainly a top story. The Left Fist told me about it, but there was nothing in my Google News feed when I logged in. About an hour later, a small item finally popped up below a story about LeBron James and Colin Kaepernick speaking out on the subject.

I use G News because it aggregates thousands of sources. Some are good, some are bad, but once you block the worst of it what’s left is a pretty decent window onto what’s happening in the world. Pair that with some basic research skills and a willingness to think critically and you can stay fairly well informed.

But … thousands of people in the streets, tear gas, a general riot against racially-inflected police brutality and it’s not a lead story, top of the feed, etc.? Really?

Maybe I need to be more aggressively cultivating some alternative news sources.

I Don’t Want to “Heal America’s Divisions”

American Exceptionalism

My friend Mario Nicolais, who writes for the excellent Colorado Sun, this morning recommended an Atlantic article to his Facebook friends: “Jonathan Haidt Is Trying to Heal America’s Divisions.” It’s a worthy read and I hope Mario will take it up in a forthcoming Sun column.

I’m trying to frame my own response to Haidt’s hopefulness and I’m having trouble. I think you reach a point where hope is harder and harder to come by. Try your best, do your best, but the forces tightening around you leave little promise for anything but conflict.

I try to hang on to hope, but I pay less attention to possibilities than I do probabilities.

I’m exhausted by people who believe our “divisions” are the problem. That’s like believing the problem is all the blood on the floor. No, the problem is the sucking chest wound the blood is coming from. Divisions are the effect, not the cause.

The problem is the assortment of pathologies defining the coalition on our political “right.” Racism. Misogyny. Willful, enthusiastic ignorance. Greed and obscene economic inequity. Jingoism. Narrow, spiteful “faith” and religious bullying. The psychosexual fetishization of guns and violence as a first-resort response to anything and everything. Homophobia. Braying dishonesty. The refusal to accept or empathize with those who are demographically other.

The problem is our neglect and abuse of those unable to fend for themselves and our general willingness to tolerate incalculable misery. The problem is hypocrisy on a scale we’ve never even imagined, let alone seen in the wild.

The Democrats are appalling in their own right, but the GOP has become the Party of the Seven Deadly Sins. They’re the malevolent repudiation of every word Jesus is believed to have spoken.

Conservatives sometimes say “Liberals” are “trying to destroy their way of life.” They’re right. The things they believe, the ideologies and ignorance they cling to, these are anti-human and anti-social. They’re the values upon which you build a primitive tribe, not a modern society. Those beliefs are an anchor around the neck of our shared future and they must be eradicated.

This is where we are. This is where I am:

I’m not going to “reach out.”

I don’t want to “come together.”

I have no interest in “finding common ground” where there is none.

I don’t want to “understand the perspectives” of those who care only for their own. I know those perspectives and understand them plenty already.

I’m sure as hell not interested in “compromise.” I don’t compromise with fascists, feudalists, or terrorists.

No. I don’t want to “heal our divisions.” I want to destroy the ignorance, ideologies, and institutions that cause and sustain those divisions.

I stand for equality of opportunity. I stand for empathy. I stand for justice and a code of law that doesn’t care about the color of your skin or the size of your daddy’s wallet. I believe in universal education and I believe in the “greatest country on Earth” no one should want for healthcare, shelter, or food.

I believe there is zero correlation between a person’s essential value and his or her material wealth.

None of this – not one syllable – is negotiable.

Racist Ad From VW: HOW DID THIS HAPPEN?

Another company has done something to offend a lot of people and, again, I don’t know how this keeps happening.

This time it’s VW.

The car giant Volkswagen has apologised for a ‘tasteless’ advert that appeared on social media following an online backlash that slammed its ‘racist’ undertones.

The ten-second advert posted on Instagram and Twitter shows a giant white hand pushing a black man away from a new, yellow Volkswagen Golf parked on the street.

The hand then flicks him to an open doorway and pushes him inside a French cafe.

A giant white hand appears on the right hand side of the screen and appears to push a black man out of the way of the car. The hand then picks the man up and moves him in front of a shop

Social media users noted that as slogan ‘Der Neue Golf’ – ‘The New Golf’ – fades into view, the jumbled letters appear to spell out the N-word in German.

Other eagle-eyed users spotted that the cafe’s name is Petit Colon, which in French literally translates as the ‘Little Colonist.’

VW-racist-ad

I can see how some enterprising bigot would conceive of this and maybe even how it gets produced, assuming the creative team is small and tight.

But how does it get approved? Do you have any idea how many people have to sign off on something like this before it’s live? The copy gets written and revised a million times. Storyboards are produced. Video and development crews execute it. Execs have to say yes at every level. And if something objectionable is happening, any person who touches the project in any way can pull the chain to halt the assembly line.

In my experience, I can’t imagine pulling something like this off even if you had an active conspiracy involving every C-level in the company. Somebody somewhere would blow the whistle.

If you want to argue that it isn’t offensive, that people are overreacting, that everybody’s a bunch of delicate librul snowflakes, go for it. Even if that were true the perception of the ad by the public is not only very real, it’s terrible for the brand. This causes people to buy cars from other companies.

I know there are racist assholes in the world. Plenty of them. I just can’t fathom how fucking nobody notices. I’d be grateful if you can ‘splain it to me.

For COVID-19, America is Home

As any number of Facebook posts and memes have pointed out in recent weeks, we don’t wear masks to protect ourselves, we wear them to protect others. Our homemade cloth masks don’t do a great job of keeping the virus out, but they’re fairly effective at keeping it in.

In other words, minimizing the spread of Coronavirus depends on concern for others.

But America was founded on the idea that somehow individualism adds up to utopia for everyone. The best society happens when I get mine. The root of this ideology is economic, but it has, over several centuries, become generalized to all spheres of life. We have recently seen the results in pictures from malls, restaurants, and, remarkably, state capitols.

Being forced to wear a mask violates my freedom. Rules requiring me to distance from other citizens violate my freedom. Closing restaurants and bars violates my freedom.

We have apparently reached the point in our social evolution where I have the freedom to kill you. If the government does anything to prevent me from killing you, that’s communism.

Individualism is no longer an ideology of freedom (if it ever really was). It’s an existential pathology.

my car my choice drunk driving is a rightI’ve written before about the French statesman Alexis de Toqueville, whose tour of the US in the early 19th century gave us Democracy in America, still regarded by many as the most insightful look at our national character ever written. For me, the center of his thesis rested on the phrase “self-interest rightly understood.”

Their socially and civically viable vision of self-interest was working well in 1835, when Alexis d’Toqueville wrote “How the Americans Combat Individualism by the Principle of Interest Rightly Understood.” The idea and word “individualism” were newly minted and Tocqueville marveled that “an enlightened regard for themselves constantly prompts [Americans] to assist each other, and…willingly to sacrifice…[for] the welfare of the state.”

This variety of self-interest knows it needs a thriving community and doesn’t seek to gain at the expense of it. Weakening what you depend on, slowly weakens your more enlightened self-interest (it’s a win-now-lose-later strategy). Similar logic animates Pericles’ funeral oration: “It does not matter whether a man prospers as an individual: If his country is destroyed, he is lost along with it.” Even Ayn Rand, the high priestess of selfishness, distinguished between what she called rational and irrational forms.

What would de Tocqueville have made of the display in Lansing a couple of weeks ago?

Granted, much has changed. The America of 1831 (when he arrived) was comparatively homogenous – which is another way of saying the slaves hadn’t been freed and, as such, the particular forms of racism that have driven both social evolution and public policy since Gettysburg (and especially since the Civil Rights Act) didn’t yet exist. People are more likely to take care of theirs, and it’s always a mistake to romanticize their concern for yours.

In short, America c.2020 is perhaps the ideal host for Coronavirus. Its ability to spread is dramatically hindered where the population actively works to protect others. A society that has fetishized and institutionalized feral-dog-Darwinism, on the other hand, is the best incubator imaginable.

COVID-19 wasn’t born in America, but rest assured, America is its home.

Despair and the Road to the Bamboo Gate

Sogi-and-Ikkyu

Master Ikkyū sits by the well plinking at his lute. Sōgi waits patiently for a tune to emerge but none does. Finally he clears his throat.

“Yes, Sōgi?”

“Good morning, Master. I have a request.”

The Master continues at the lute, to no end Sōgi can discern. “Go on.”

Sōgi sits on the packed earth before Ikkyū.

“They say you are the wisest here.”

“They?”

Sōgi gestures vaguely toward the shrine.

“Ah. They are generous. Anyway?”

“Yes. It is said your wisdom arises from the path you walked before arriving at the Bamboo Gate.”

Ikkyū sighs and sets his lute in its case, then returns his attention to Sōgi. “You want to hear the sordid tale of my failed life, do you?”

“I’m sorry if I gave offense, Master. No one has suggested it was sordid.”

Ikkyū arches an eyebrow. He rises and draws a cup of water from the bucket by the well. He takes a sip, replaces the cup, and returns to his seat.

“The road to self-immolation is slick with the paving stones of secrecy. What would you hear?”

Sōgi furrows his brow. “They say you were worldly, with credentials and status. But you fell. Were you undone by desire, Master?”

Ikkyū chuckles with, to Sōgi’s ear, an echo of irony. Hmmm. Irony is the yang of Enlightenment? Ooh, that’s good, he thinks, making a mental note to write it down before he forgets it.

“In a way,” begins Ikkyū. “As a young man I pursued a career in the markets, a career for which I was unsuited.”

“Did you lack sufficient training, Master?” asks Sōgi?

“I had training. I was unsuited to…” He pauses for a moment. “I was unsuited to the world. I enjoyed the comforts and entertainments money afforded, but I detested the pursuit of wealth. I was clever enough but success required more effort than I was able to invest.”

“They say you had a wife,” says Sōgi.

“Three, actually.”

“Oh.”

“All of them hated me. One chased me around our home with a knife one night.”

“Mmmm.” The younger monk nods. “When seeking a life partner you chose poorly.”

“That’s one theory,” says the Master. “There are others.”

“Like what?”

“It has been suggested that I chose well, but in the end I was…vexatious.”

Sōgi bites his lower lip in an attempt to stifle a laugh.

The Master watches silently. “You have some blood trickling down your chin, Sōgi.”

“Ummm.” [sngrk] “I’m startled by the idea of you as ‘vexatious.’ Just the other night at vespers we were all saying no, of all the Masters here, you were easily the least vexa-”

“If you’ll compose yourself I’ll continue.”

Sōgi wills his laughter into submission. He wipes the tears from his cheek. “I apologize, Master. You were saying?”

I lost three wives. I lost my job. I fell into grave debt. I developed a strange affliction of the nerves the doctors could not heal. I drank. My life was a failure by all the standards of society. It felt as though there were a rulebook for success and everyone had a copy save me. My struggle for self-awareness, which is rare among humans, was hindered by self-pity, which comes naturally to all.”

Ikkyū scribbles in the dirt between them. “I despaired.”

kanji-life-death

“Your story is a sad one, Master.”

Ikkyū shrugs. “I found the road to the Bamboo Gate.”

_____

The next day Sōgi again finds Ikkyū at the well tormenting his lute.

He bows. “Greetings, Master.”

“Greetings, Sōgi. Is your lip healing?”

Sōgi laughs. “Yes, Master. It’s much better now.”

Ikkyū plinks.

“Master Ikkyū, I have been meditating on our conversation yesterday.”

“Really?”

“Yes.”

“Hm. Didn’t see that coming. But good. What have your meditations revealed?”

Sōgi sits. “You explained how you, as Master Steve might put it, hit rock bottom.”

“Master Steve’s tongue is like the nightingale in Spring.”

“Yes. So, your marriages failed, you had no money, you were sick.”

Ikkyū interrupts. “I didn’t have ‘no money.’ I had a mountain of debt. ‘No money’ would have been a welcome improvement in my fortunes.”

“I see. So, when you attained this state, what did you do?”

The Master studies the dirt between them. “I took account of my ‘assets and liabilities.’ I read books by wealthy people. I finally realized I was – let me employ another Master Steve-ism – a ‘hot mess.’ There was literally no road back. I would never be able to repay the debt. As my knife-wielding ex-wife explained, I was aging and thrice-broke – body, soul, and wallet. In her view, I was not a ‘catch.’

“I was at an end. I had failed utterly. And accepting this…” Ikkyū leans back and looks beyond the sky. “If there is no hope of victory, there is no obligation to strive. I was free.”

The silence sits uneasily between them. Sōgi gets up and fetches a cup of water from the well. He sits back and clears his throat.

“It is as I suspected,” begins Sōgi.

Ikkyū cocks his head. “How so?”

“The Buddha teaches that desire is the root of suffering, yes?”

“Well, that’s the 50-characters-or-less version, but sure, let’s go with it.”

Sōgi draws a deep breath and looks Ikkyū in the eye. “I believe the Buddha was wrong.”

Sōgi waits while the Master composes himself.

“Very well. How is the Buddha wrong, young Sōgi?”

“Desire is certainly an impediment to Zen. But your light flickered on and you set out for the Bamboo Gate when you abandoned hope. It is attachment to hope that is the root of suffering, Master Ikkyū.

“Despair is the cradle of Enlightenment.”

Having endured enough youthful insight for one afternoon, Ikkyū sends Sōgi to the gardener to seek wisdom in the art of pulling weeds.

That night he dreams of the Buddha and Nietzsche seated beneath a cherry tree….

_____

Kanji symbols: Life, crossroads, death

Listen to the New Sound of Eleven

I’ve been a big fan of Kate Hinote and Tony Hamera’s work in The Blueflowers for several years. And I’m positively loving their new project, Sound of Eleven. Darker, more ambient in tone… From Discogs:

Formed in late 2015, Sound of Eleven sought to re-define and expand the genre of apocalyptic folk. Influenced by folk legends of the past like Leonard Cohen and Sibylle Baier, as well as the more contemporary Death In June and Current 93, S11 goes beyond the traditional sounds of neo-folk, adding elements of darkwave, industrial, and eerie, ambient soundscapes.

Marvelous stuff. Give it a listen.

Kent State and 75 Minutes That Changed My Life

Kent-State-Massacre

I was nine when Kent State happened. I was a very current events-minded kid and read about it in the paper and saw the news. But I didn’t really understand it all.

So I absorbed the narrative around me: buncha damned hippie punks got what they deserved.

The event was never a big deal in my life. I grew up “knowing” what I’d heard.

Then, in college, I had a Sociology prof who, we learned, had gone to Kent. In fact, he’d been on the organizing committee for the rally and had graduated the year before. He had first-hand knowledge of basically everything. We talked him into taking a day and doing a presentation for us.

This was a Tuesday/Thursday class, an hour and 15 minutes. Most students preferred the shorter (50-minute) MWFs, but this one could have held our attention for days. None of us wanted to leave. Everybody wanted to know more.

That 75 minutes changed my life. My time in school had already made clear the world wasn’t always what I’d thought it was. But … armed National Guardsmen opening fire into a crowd of unarmed undergrads. Kids who were a lot like us. Kids heartbroken and outraged that other kids a lot like us were coming home in body bags.

A lot of the Kent State story hadn’t made it through Davidson County, NC’s hillbilly filters. The protesters were nowhere near the Guardsmen and posed no danger. The soldiers weren’t under attack. And if they were, why did they shoot in the opposite direction from where they said they thought they heard gunfire?

Two of the four dead weren’t even part of the protest.

The other two, Sandra Scheuer and William Knox Schroeder, had been walking from one class to the next at the time of their deaths. Schroeder was also a member of the campus ROTC battalion. Of those wounded, none was closer than 71 feet (22 m) to the guardsmen. Of those killed, the nearest (Miller) was 265 feet (81 m) away, and their average distance from the guardsmen was 345 feet (105 m).

Scheuer’s normal path to class took her directly through the area of the protest but that day she’d gone out of her way to avoid it.

I’m not here to belabor you with all the details of the tragedy. If you’d like to know more start here. I just want to mark the occasion – it was 50 years ago today – by remarking on how very wrong we sometimes get the current events and history of the world we live in. And on how very many people there are out there willing to mislead us.

A curious mind. A willingness to think critically. A good-faith acceptance of your own fallibility. The world will fail you, but these three friends never will.

 

#ArtSunday: What’s the Greatest Book You Ever Read?

My buddy Jim Booth put together a quarantine reading list for our little S&R community this week and it got me thinking. So let’s pose a challenge.

What is the greatest work of literature you’ve ever read?

The Rules

It can be a novel, a collection of short fiction, a book of poetry, a play (yes, Shakespeare is eligible), or a work of creative nonfiction.

You may discuss your criteria and thought processes and you may mention your nominees. No dissertations necessary. Keep it as short as you like.

But you must pick ONE book. No ties, no waffling.

I’ll go first.

I sort of instantly leap to Flannery O’Connor’s collected short stories, although that feels like cheating since it’s kind of a greatest hits thing. Still, goddamn, her insight into the South, the way she manages to develop such distinct characters in such a short period of time, and the enthusiastic meanness of her humor surpasses anything I’ve read.

I may have some sort of bias toward short fiction, too, because as great as The Scarlet Letter and Catcher in the Rye are I’ve always found more essential connection to the short stories of Hawthorne and Salinger.

Even though it’s genre, Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Mists of Avalon hit me squarely where I lived at that moment in time, as I wandered away from Christianity and toward Paganism. So that’s more about personal relevance.

Yeats. Duh. But again, there’s the greatest hits issue.

Othello. Iago is perhaps my favorite character in the history of writing. There’s a library in there about evil and manipulation and how the powerful destroy the pure and good, and so that one seems especially relevant right now.

Grapes-of-Wrath

But if I have to pick one – and I do, because it’s MY rule – I’m going with The Grapes of Wrath. There’s no overstatting the importance of the Dust Bowl/Route 66 to California story in American history, especially now as the descendants of those dirt-poor migrants have transformed the state into its own emerging nation.

I’m not a reviewer. All I can do is think about Steinbeck delivering one body blow on top of another and the unfathomable perseverance of the Joad clan. For me there’s a psychological wonder in it because I’ve always figured there’s a depth below which I cannot sink, and if I get there I end it. But these people kept going because there wasn’t a choice.

I’m unworthy to even talk about these authors, and fortunately history has done better for them than I can. But that’s my humble take.

Your turn.

Dear America: It’s Time to Decide

french-revolution-guillotine

How many times a day do we hear “reopen the economy”? And who’s saying it?

The speaker is usually either a “business-friendly” politician or one of the billionaires they all report to. The message is, in and of itself, the sort of thing that ought to make every thinking American stop, sit up and ponder how exactly we got here.

It’s okay if some old people die.

If you don’t get back to work we’re going to fire you and cancel your health insurance.

If the business is open and you don’t show up that makes you ineligible for unemployment.

Once upon a time I’d have gone on and on about what sociopaths these people are. Not today. You know it as well as I do. If you don’t, you’re the problem. You and that venereal shitwagonload of clown jerky you people worship.

The thing is, I do care about reopening the economy. I’m worried about young people, the working poor, waiters and bartenders and retail workers, the frontline, public contact types who are out of work right now. I care about my friends. I care about our families.

I worry about people whose choices are being reduced to which way would you rather die?

I’m keenly aware we live in a pathological let-them-eat-cake-ocracy where our leaders, who have more money than a moral human could spend in 100 lifetimes, think $1,200 will tide us over until whenever. And I’ve read history, which provides us with zero examples of such people surrendering their power, wealth, and privilege without coercion.

Those who come out the other side alive have a decision to make about how we should respond to the class war being waged against us.

One path involves working toward incremental reform within a rigged system. The other involves marching, civil unrest, potentially heroic sacrifice, and perhaps the occasional torch, pitchfork, and head being paraded around on a pike.

If the truth weren’t self-evident before, it is now.

Decide.

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