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Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

First, a reminder that, to help you through isolation, two of my novels are available free of charge, in Kindle ebook format. Free thru this Sunday. Tell a friend.

Now, to the subject at hand.

It’s been a tough week, here. I’ve been fighting depression and towering rage in equal proportions. We’re all still healthy, here, so no worries on that front. No, what’s been troubling me is a trend that has been gathering steam in recent weeks.

As the pandemic crisis has grown in America, most states have issued “stay at home” orders. Here in Seattle, we were among the first to implement such measures, and they have proven effective in slowing the spread. We have cut the transmission rate in half, our hospitals have not been overwhelmed, people have not died because they couldn’t get proper treatment, and we’ve actually been able to send ventilators from Washington to some of the harder hit areas on the East Coast. That’s all good stuff, right there, but it has come at a cost.

Our local economy has taken a beating. Even with our state’s rather liberal definition of what constitutes an “essential business,” a lot of people have been laid off, furloughed, had hours drastically cut, or have found that their employers have simply closed up shop. Restaurants, always a razor-thin profit margin enterprise, have shuttered by the dozen. Family-owned businesses have closed doors that have stood open for decades. Artists and artisans have no place to display their wares, as Pike Place Market and other venues echo in emptiness. People are hurting, unable to pay bills, unable to pay for basic necessities.

It is this—the economic shutdown—that has given rise to a line of discourse that, to be frank, keeps me up at night and fills part of every day with hair-tearing, are-you-kidding-me incredulity. The argument I’ve been battling boils down to this:

The economy is more important than people.

I’ve heard it from the president, from senators, from right-wing pundits, and from folks I know online. “Open the economy.” “Time to get back to work.” All in total contradiction to what science and medicine are telling us is the safest way forward.

I am more than flabbergasted that this line of reasoning even exists. I am more than shocked that it should be promoted by such a large proportion of our society. I am more than offended, more than disgusted, more than outraged, more than appalled.

This rhetoric positively frightens me.

Make no mistake: this rhetoric puts a price tag on human lives. Those who espouse it are saying that it’s better to let people die than to lose money, and that’s some weapons-grade reasoning, right there.

It is unconscionable that this is even an acceptable stance. It is grotesque. And the fact that it primarily comes from the ideological bloc that also aligns itself with “pro-life” causes makes it doubly so.

Those who promote this view usually wrap it up in the guise of “more people will die from a failed economy than from C19,” but never do they support this assertion with any data. In fact, the data that do exist on the topic say the opposite. During the Great Depression, mortality rates dropped and longevity increased. It wasn’t a picnic, as any of our elders will attest, but society did not crumble. And why? Why didn’t society devolve into armed gangs and anarchy? Because we pulled together. We pulled together during the Great Depression, during WWII, and we are pulling together now. All of these stay-at-home orders? They are us, pulling together, to save our fellows, our neighbors, our selves.

Society does not exist to serve the economy. The economy exists to serve society. And it’s not like somehow, during this temporary shutdown, be it for two months or six or even more, the economy will disappear, crumbling into dust and ruin for lack of souls to feed upon.

It’s just an economy, stupid.

We built this economy, and we can build another if we have to. But we won’t have to, because after this hiatus our economy will be revivified. Hopefully, it will be different, requiring better care for all and better wages and conditions for those who we realize truly are essential workers, but it will be there, it is there, ready to get fired up, ready to go. Ready, for when we need it again.

But before that time, we must work to save lives, for without us, without our toil, there is no economy.

In the interim, go, read a book, watch a movie, make love, get a bit squiffy on whatever makes you squiffy. We will be OK, when we all emerge from our burrows and see once more the light of day. And I truly believe, we will be better for this, as long as we hold true to our ideals.

It’s people who make a society, and if we don’t band together against a common threat, what the hell is the point?

Stay safe.

k

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When learning that some Seattle schools have closed down in response to COVID-19, and some companies (like mine) have asked that all employees who can work from home do so, an online contact wondered if this was overreaction caused by “blind panic.”

It isn’t.

Seattle is in the crosshairs. (more…)

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We’re deep into the current election cycle now, and I urge every one of us to get out and vote.

I also encourage us all to think a bit about what we’re voting for and why. We all hear talk—from candidates, from pundits, from friends and family—of what America “is.” We hear that this election (like so may previous elections) is a “battle for the soul of our nation.” But what does that mean?

What is America?

For my right-wing relations, their answer to that question is very dissimilar to mine, and we quite unhappily go ’round and ’round about the nature of religion, government, and civil rights in our nation. But who’s right? Are any of us right? What did the framers really mean when they drafted our founding documents?

In short, what were they thinking?

(more…)

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During times like these, when the world is screaming along at Mach 2 with its hair on fire (which, I think it fair to say, it is currently doing), we must not be afraid to practice some self-care.

Take a breath.

Step to the side.

Look up, look around.

Take note of something that pleases you. Music. Art. Nature. Your kids. Your partner. A piece of work well done.

Relax for a bit. Just a few moments of indulgence. Something just for you. A respite from the chaos, the frenzy, the tragedies large and small.

I’ve needed a lot of self-care lately—an escape from the cruelty I see each day—and have found it in a very unlikely place.

Rugby.

(more…)

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Full disclosure: I am a white, male, middle-class, soon-to-be senior citizen with liberal tendencies.

That said, I’ll tell you that I simply do not understand racism.

Oh, I understand that we humans like to draw distinctions, define the “Other” in the face of conflict. Such dichotomies make it easier to argue, to fight, to hate, to kill. I get that. Not a fan, but I get it.

But why skin color?

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Yesterday, I received my Voter’s Pamphlet for Washington’s August primary election. At the federal level, we’re voting for a senator. There are a total of thirty candidates vying for the seat, so it’s a packed primary.

Packed with what, I cannot say in polite company.

(more…)

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if you

say it’s “too soon” to talk about guns
say laws and bans wouldn’t stop it
blame it all on mental illness
are against common sense gun control laws
vote for people who refuse to act
pay dues to the NRA
value your right to own an AR-15 over the lives of children
accept slaughter as the “price of freedom”

then you are complicit

bullet-cartridge-ammunition-crime-53224.jpeg

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