Thursday, April 22, 2021

A Country Gone Nuts

People who refuse masks and vaccination, who still claim the election was stolen, who see nothing wrong with voter-limitation laws, who consider climate change a hoax, who stormed the Capitol, who believe the stormers were anti-Trump, who’re high-fivin’ white-guy Tucker Carlson’s “replacement” ravings, who fear transsexuals in bathrooms, who insist Trump never lied, who accuse Hillary Clinton of child-trafficking and cannibalism, who think if we stay long enough in Afghanistan we’ll “win,”

Who “do their own research” about science, who say ignoring pandemic social behavior is about “freedom,” who think black people killed by police asked for it – even an unarmed child with his hands up, who are convinced undocumented immigrants are allowed to vote, who insist there’s never been or no longer is racism in America, who say the only racists are non-whites, who don’t mind the Republican Party becoming overtly white-supremacist

Who elect people to Congress who harass and lie and block but produce little of value, who drive into crowds of demonstrators (now legal in Florida), who consider Black Lives Matter a terrorist organization, who imagine Christianity is under siege and that it’s only white people who face discrimination, who fear “Sharia law” while legislating based on their personal Bible interpretations, who say the ACLU is a Communist front and that Democrats want communism, who demand we consider America a Christian nation, who call Kyle Rittenhouse a hero, who believe Democrats want to take away their religion and guns and free speech and create open borders, 

Who think it’s easy to distinguish between good guys and bad guys with guns and background checks are fascist, who are convinced vaccines are mind-control, who’ve concluded Dr. Fauci is an evil liar, who reckon the “wrong kinds” of people are voting, who impeached Bill Clinton for lying about sex but deem the impeachments of Trump political hit-jobs, who believe there’s a “deep state” in cahoots with an international Jewish cabal, who reject proof that Russians interfered with Trump’s election and colluded with his campaign,

Are the same ones insisting if assault-style weapons are banned “the government” will track them down and haul them to reeducation camps or gas chambers, and that the Second Amendment was created, expressly, to provide citizens with the muskets to stop it from happening. And that the recent spate of mass murders, added to the mounting all-time total, is reasonable, unpreventable, maybe a bit unfortunate but not-worth-doing-anything price we should be happy to pay for keeping ourselves armed against, well, that thing that will never happen.

Except it did when Trump brutally cleared peaceful protestors so he could wave a Bible at us and later sent troops to Portland and Seattle against mostly peaceful demonstrators but it’s fine because it was people seeking justice which is communism and it showed them who’s boss and wasn’t the thing they’d been arming themselves for because government gassing non-violent citizens is okay because Trump is on our side and they deserved it and also inciting deadly insurrection against the Constitution.

Half of our country is nuts. We may disagree about which half, but, surely, we do agree this ever-widening, bridgeless divide is incompatible with democracy, and that we’re nearing the impossibility of finding our way back. If half the country doesn’t check every one of the foregoing boxes, they check plenty more than a few.

If there is a way back, it won’t come from Cruz, Hawley, Jordan, Nunes, Gozar, Gaetz, McCarthy, Graham, Greene, Boebert, Cotton, Barasso, Thune, Paul, Kennedy, Hyde-Smith, Cornyn, Gohmert, King, Scott, Ernst, Blackburn, or any of the rest who prefer dissimilation and cries of “socialism” instead of producing useful ideas.

But it could, in fact, come from Pelosi, Murray, Ocasio-Cortez, Porter, Sanders, Warren, Whitehouse, or the others whom Trumpists love to hate and dismiss with prejudice, but who are offering serious, fact-based proposals, like them or not. In Congresses past, their ideas would initiate constructive, good-faith debate; leading, if you can imagine, to workable compromise. If Republicans were to stop fearing their Fox-, Newsmax-, OAN-indoctrinated supporters and rise above taking orders from their corporate sponsors, perhaps they’d remember their job is to legislate for the good of everyone. Ticking, is the clock.

Meanwhile, on Mars, NASA flew a self-driving helicopter carrying a tiny piece of the Wright brothers’ first airplane. If that doesn’t cause you to admire science, what will? How many members of the design and build team are immigrants or first-generation or non-white? Lots. Its name, “Ingenuity,” came from an Alabama high-schooler named Vaneeza Rupani. Makes a person think.

Finally, for now, one word on the Chauvin verdict: just.


  1. My fierce little Grandma, immigrant from the Netherlands, would shake her wooden spoon or fist at me for what I'm about to say. She'd also call me a little devil, in Dutch. I despair at my country's current division and unrest. She would shake her fist because to despair is to turn your back on God. Welp, Grandma, that happened a long time ago, so there you have it. I know many here in Dr. Schwab's forum have faith in their God, in whatever form they envision him/ her. I don't, and please don't lecture or encourage me in the other direction. Nine years of Catholic school, daily church-going, and guilt-inducing admonishments have done their work and I'm done with all of it. I used to have faith in people too, but that is what I despair of.

    I'm losing my faith in people, well a certain group of people, anyway. Didn't we all hope that when Fat Boy went down in defeat the 25% of the country who voted for him would come to their senses? I did, I know. It hasn't happened and unless we get a combination of Republicans becoming truth-tellers and the demise of Fox/ OAN/ Newsmax/ Breitbart, it won't happen. It is astonishing that so many are so easily led. I'm attempting to follow some advice about reaching these folks one at a time. I'm trying not to let my shock and outrage appear on my face when they speak, but to calmly and reasonably poke holes in their assertions. Over and over and over. I was exhausted by their willful ignorance before and it is now at the point of an adrenalin depletion (kidding). I had tried to just tell them "you're being lied to, you've been lied to for 5 years", but no one wants to hear that, so I try shooting holes in their diatribes and falsehoods.

    I'll keep trying, but man, it is hard. So I despair of the lost.

    1. Well said, MEH, and it captures my thoughts exactly. It's hard not to despair. So hard, in fact, that I despair.

      Millions of delusional and deluded people, absolutely refractory to contradictory input. How did it happen? Is it the constant barrage from rightwing media? Do those media deceive simply because it's a money-maker?

      Don't they care about the effect on our democracy? Assuming they believe the crap they spew, why did their media hire them? To what end?

      Whatever the answers, it's clear they've created, or are furthering, a wide swath of society that has no idea how to discern truth. Nor interest in making the effort.

    2. I had a brief exchange with one of my brothers about my concerns about a video link that he had suggested I watch. I pointed out that the author of the video, a physician, was pushing information that is inconsistent with the FDA and CDC, that it had a political bias and that she had participated in the January 6 insurrection.

      His reply to me included this excerpt:

      "[Trump's] performance as president won me over. I do live in "fly-over" country so consider the source. I told you the truth then as I am now and always have. I subscribe to the Epoch Times. I watch Fox News and love Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity, Mark Levin, Laura Ingraham, and Rush Limbaugh (God rest his soul) plus many others who love this country, our constitution, and our brilliant/brave founders who stood up to tyranny and laid the groundwork for a nation where everyone has a chance at a better life and ..."

      There's nothing that I can say to to him at this point. He's in all the way.

      I hope that the Smartmatic and Dominion suits win big enough to bring down Fox News.

    3. Perhaps we will become more civilized in the next cycle of history. Does that make me an optimist or a pessimist?

    4. Dr. Strangelove, that comment could have come from one of my own relatives. He is quick to repeat Tucker's latest "ideas", but ignores the inevitable refutations. He still believes the Antifa nonsense about the insurrection/ coup attempt. He loves my outrage at the lies told by the Republicans and he deliberately baits me. Now, bear in mind, this is a man who graduated in the top 10 of his high school class, joined the ROTC when his draft number came up as ONE in 1971, even though he wouldn't have been drafted as the only son. He double-majored in International Business and Engineering at UW, served for 6 years in the Marines, and then went to Law School. Practiced law for 10 years, then got his certification for systems at Microsoft. This man is no dummy, yet it serves his White Privilege to believe the Far Right propaganda. He is one reason for my despair, and there are others in the near-flung branches of my large Irish Catholic family.

      What to do? We will talk until we are blue in the face. Is bringing back the Fairness Doctrine part of the solution? In a land with the First Amendment, can we legislate what is on the fringe of hate speech? Do we further regulate the internet and Social Media sites? I long for the days when we all operated from the premise of "one truth".

    5. History is littered with evidence that humans are capable of believing pretty much anything that can be imagined, and will defend those beliefs at all costs.

      There is also evidence that things CAN get better, sooner or later...

    6. For example...Someone from TX. or southwestern border states.

      I'll ask "What do you think about the wall?" They are always "pro-wall".

      I respond with...

      I know it gets in the way of progress. But anytime the Federal govt. is seizing land from regular 'mercans it's not a good day. Next stop Cliven Bundy is what you gonna get."

      Oh boy! Does that ever twist their tails...lmao.

      Let 'em try to argue their way out of endless knots.
      That's what I do...

      Find something and with a straight face...Do that kinda stuff.

      I mean, nuthin warms their cockles more than calling the wall "Progress" Necessary infrastructure. Job creation. All of it built on stolen land! Ruby Ridge! Waco! You are next!

      lmao...I mean it's not sooper dificult to do it either some fun :O)

    7. You ever seen "Close Encounters of the Fifth Kind?"

      I highly recommend you watch it. It will change your perspective. May the force be with you!

  2. There is no victory in despair. The "truth" is out there for certain. Seek and you shall find. We were not created by a fool.

    1. Maybe not. Tho, as a surgeon I saw enough to make me question whether, if there was a creator/creators, he/she/it/they were paying attention after the fact.

    2. Well... Perhaps the truth is right in front of our faces. I think Sid and MEH purdy much nailed it. That's why I come here, for unadulterated truth. It seems there's plenty of despair to go around. I'm riding that train, my choice. Despite the fact our democracy has a toe tag on it, I look at that little helicopter flying on Mars, and wonder if it tops the collective insanity of our repeated social and cultural failures- lack of empathy and disregard for our fellow humans is a global pandemic. Greed is most certainly another. It doesn't take a close around to realize we humans have a penchant for, and don't mind shitting in our own beds. I chose not to be a happy idiot. At least not today, I'll let despair be a close friend. Gotta go shovel a little biochar into my garden. Thanks for the company today. It's affirming.

    3. Seems Cory, Sid and I are in good company. David Brooks in the NYT op-ed, "The GOP Is Getting Worse" and Peter Wehner in The Atlantic, "The GOP Is A Grave Threat To Democracy".

      There are others, of course, all of them and us asking "What can we do to stop this?".

    4. MEH,
      We are confronting an insoluble dilemma without the wisdom to quickly deal with. The Drumpf cult solution to out "weaponizing" their opposition is self-defeating. The democrats rely on a patient return of government employing democracy rather than autocracy.

      I will not accept despair as an answer or solution. I try to remain informed and realistic. Reading your comments and those of the other opinions found in Dr. Schwab's blog help me in my search for truth.

  3. "high-fivin’ white-guy Tucker Carlson"

    1. I expected zero to one person would get it. You're the one.

    2. FYI I watched "Almost Live" long after I had given up on Saturday Night Live

    3. I also loved the locally produced "Almost Live" satirical late night show. The cast was very talented and the humor was cutting edge. Joel McHale, and Bill Nye "the science guy" have become national celebrities.

  4. As always, love the comments from those other than me.
    Here's the greater team for the Mars project:
    Be sure to scroll down and select the button that reads "Show All". It is a big team, so it will take quite a bit of work to answer your question. I think "lots" is good though. There is also a really cool photo of them, found here:
    In the downloaded picture it shows a huge discrepancy in one group of Americans. Easy to spot, as are other things, but then you be the judge of that, not me. As one governor recently said, there's still more to be done. (a lot more!)
    I love these little gadgets, they're fun!

    1. There's not a soul with half a wit that would download anything like that regardless.

    2. You didn't download it?

  5. So let's get this straight...

    It's the law and order alt right making it legal to run down people in the road, especially protestors protesting something you don't agree with or are unhappy with the method of protest.

    Also ok to carry guns right?

    Also have "Stand Your Ground" laws correct?

    That gives me an idea!

    1. Hmmmm, my 2002 Camry is quite heavy and a very good car in the snow. I've never met a snowflake in her that I can't vanquish.

    2. Ouch...That's the idea isn't it?

      True story...

      I had an old 1970 Fury 3 GT with the 440 Supercommando , 727b tranny...It was an old state troopers car.

      Anyway...I was always out on the curb working on the thing.

      One day I hear the faintest siren. Then more...The choir seems to be getting closer. I was on 54thNW in Ballard. A side street. Cars parked tightly so only one car can pass. Typical Ballard parking.

      The choir is even closer now so I pop my head out from under the massive hood. And hear them coming even closer now and the next thing...A car, a Black Continental with suicide doors. Mid 60's era. Is now on 54th about 6 blocks away and heading straight towards me.

      Then almost simultaneously 5 cops pour in behind him from different streets. It looked like the scene from The Blue's

      So I grabbed my lantern style flashlight....and waited...

      He's still coming and is doing a good 40-50 MPH, the cops in chase. I wind up and chuck my lantern at the spot where I think his head would be. (Yes, I am mean).

      It impacts the window and the plastic exploded. His foot came off the throttle instantly as he whooshed by. Coasting almost perfectly straight between the last cars...Then he's slowing and rolls across the 4 lanes of 15th NW. And into a brick building doing maybe 10 MPH. Cops are whizzing by and I am just standing there, watching by my car. I hadn't moved the whole entire time.

      A cop eventually starts to walk back towards me from the scene. I told him what I did and he says "Well, ya got him." and walked off. Never asked my name, nuthin'.

      The battery went straight through the window, shedding the plastic on the way in. Hit him square between the eyes.

      So I figure that if someone wanted to run down protestors that we'd be able to could counter that easily.

    3. How are the alt right gonna spin this? Talk about Hunter Biden more?

  6. This makes me sick...

  7. Here's one for you Mary!

  8. I found your blog because someone from your blog read my blog. Thanks for the readership! One comment: the White Right in this country doesn't say things because they believe what they are saying. They say things to produce an effect. Talking to these people is therefore useless.

    The United States is disintegrating precisely because one group of people has become so damaged by their own enjoyment of five centuries of unjust supremacy that they are coming to pieces over the potential loss of that supremacy. The desperately evil attempts to continue that supremacy are actually contributing to its decline. For instance, had Trump actually responded sensibly to the COVID-19 pandemic, the United States would be in a much stronger position economically than it is today. Trump (and his right-wing fellow travelers) feared the rise of a confident, independent China - yet their missteps have produced exactly what they feared.

    Trump's supporters display all the characteristics of people who have joined a cult. So the question is: shall we throw these people away? As an African-American I am inclined to say Yes! But as a Christian, I think maybe we need to consider how to rescue people from this cult - if such a thing is possible.

    1. Thanks for coming by, and for a thoughtful comment.

      As the cultish behavior -- the credulity, the resistance to facts, the curated hate and fear -- gets worse and worse, it gets less and less hopeful that anyone or anything will break through.

      And rightwing media and Congressional leaders are doing everything they can to make sure it doesn't happen.

    2. Welcome! May I ask where you are from? I'm here in WA. Sooper pleased to meet you!

      You are so right about the audio-visual of politics.

      "Sen. Tim Scott, the Senate's only Black Republican, has been tapped to give his party's response to Biden's speech this evening."

      This is all I needed to see...

      Whitewashing with the token. Damit! If only they had a black woman! Then they'd have the country united, right? Well that's their mentality. Forget about policies that help folks, especial anyone not white. No, what we need to do first is find us an overweight black woman, preferable with white supremacist leanings and never gets pregnant or needs special medical care like breast cancer treatment, or prevention. That will cost the job creators more in taxes and we can't win w/o the job creators! Why? Because they fund the alt right cult, that's why.

      The alt right is uniting 'mericans! The Antifa mobs are tearing us apart. I mean DUH! Now let's send unmarked vans full of Nazi SS to pluck people off the street! Let's go across the street so I can hold a Bible for my photo op.

      Nevermind that we "Coastal Elites" are the ones footing the bill for shithole red states in serious need of help. They think they pay their own way. Their red state is most likely on welfare and has been for decades.

      And isn't it odd that the Gulf "coast" is not "Elite"??? Maybe it's something wrong with the people??? Lord knows they coulda changed things for the better like Dubai. Take something that's free, like oil, or say, slaves. Then build 'merica!. Nope, the south couldn't even keep the free labor party from ending. No wonder N. Korea is Drumpf's favorite country. Russia makes Lumpy salivate.

  9. I was talking to a dear friend who is a retired high school science teacher. I lamented that the world is just like high school writ large. He said no, it's more like middle school...


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