Politics – At What Cost

This image has nothing to do with my post today, I just thought it would be nice to start off seeing something pretty. This flower just bloomed on a plant at the side of my driveway that I suspected was not a weed when I was clearing along the fence. I’m glad I left it and was gifted with this lovely flower. I’m pretty sure it’s a Hollyhock, even though it is a single flower, not on a stalk like so many varieties of the flower.

One of the reasons I’m glad I don’t get Cable TV is that I’m not bombarded with the distressing news for hours at a time, and I imagine the levels of stress are much higher in folks that do watch network news for great swaths of time.

Still I’m not uninformed. I listen to NPR news for a short time every morning. Their UpFirst podcast has a quick update on a few top stories of the day.

I also listen to The Daily Podcast from The New York Times. Thursday’s show centered on the protests in Portland Oregon covering the progression from when they started almost two months ago after the murder of George Floyd on May 25 until today.

According to Mike Baker, a Times reporter based in the Northwest, the the size and violent nature of the protest was diminishing until the arrival of federal troops. Prior to that deployment of federal troops there had been a limit on the strength and amount of tear gas that could be used by local authorities. That came about from an injunction from a federal court that sided with an organization Don’t Shoot Portland that filed a class action lawsuit on June 5 against the city of Portland, alleging that police have been using tear gas indiscriminately against demonstrators during recent protests. They sought a temporary restraining order, which led to the judge granting it.

Once federal authorities stepped in, the use of tear gas increased, as did the push-back from protesters. Late on Wednesday, even Ted Wheeler, the Mayor of Portland was tear-gassed.

This timeline of the protests from early May until now reported in KGW8 TV in Portland shows how what started as peaceful marches and vigils escalated, primarily as backlash at the violent confrontation by law-enforcement.

An article on the Portland protests in The New York Times by Sergio Olmos, Mike Baker, and Zolan Kanno-Youngs offered more details of the current situation, including an assertion that 45 was using the situation for political gain.

Governor Brown said in an interview that she asked the acting homeland security secretary, Chad F. Wolf, to remove federal officials from the streets and that he refused. She said the Trump administration appeared to instead be using the situation for photo-ops to rally his supporters.

“They are provoking confrontation for political purposes,” Ms. Brown said.

Lest you wonder if that is true, consider the political ad that was released by 45’s campaign just yesterday that showed images of rioting and ended with the message that “This is what Joe Biden’s America looks like.”

Or consider this horrible ad that stirs incredible fear and is absolutely false. Joe Biden does not want to de-fund the police. If you’d like to know what Joe Biden plans to do regarding criminal justice when elected, check out his goals and vision on his official campaign website.

Specifically related to police departments, this is Biden’s plan:

Expand and use the power of the U.S. Justice Department to address systemic misconduct in police departments and prosecutors’ offices. Using authority in legislation spearheaded by Biden as senator, the Obama-Biden Justice Department used pattern-or-practice investigations and consent decrees to address circumstances of “systemic police misconduct” and to “restore trust between police and communities” in cities such as Ferguson. Yet, the Trump Administration’s Justice Department has limited the use of this tool.

Not one word about de-funding the police.

Meanwhile, while cases of the corona virus surge across our country, 45 is using that issue for political gain, too. Is it no surprise that as the election date draws near, he is now the “face” of the fight against this pandemic?

No longer do we see Dr. Fauci, who has been a stalwart soldier in the fight to stem the pandemic and find a vaccine. No longer do we see Dr. Birx. We only see 45 as he contradicts everything he’s said up to this point and positions himself as the savior of the people.

If this was just the typical political posturing and mud-slinging, I’d let it go, but this is putting people’s lives at risk. Both the response to protests and the response to the pandemic.

I’m beyond angry. I’m beyond frustrated. I’m so incredibly sad for our country and for all those people who believe 45, who believe in him, and who willingly drink his Kool-Aid.

I  think I need something to lift my spirits, so here’s a joke from the Laugh Factory.

Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson went on a camping trip. After a good meal and a bottle of wine, they laid down for the night, and went to sleep. Some hours later, Holmes awoke and nudged his faithful friend. “Watson, look up at the sky and tell me what you see.”

Watson replied, “I see millions and millions of stars.”

“What does that tell you?”

Watson pondered for a minute. “Astronomically, it tells me that there are millions of galaxies, and potentially billions of planets. Astrologically, I observe that Saturn is in Leo. Horologically, I deduce that the time is approximately a quarter past three. Theologically, I can see that God is all powerful and that we are small and insignificant. Meteorologically, I suspect that we will have a beautiful day tomorrow. What does it tell you?”

Holmes was silent for a minute, then spoke. “It tells me that someone has stolen our tent.”

That’s all from me for today, folks. I hope you have a safe and happy weekend. As always comments are welcome as long as they are civil and respectful of others.

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