Donald Trump is the Real Virus

In the 1930s, many, many people allowed themselves to be convinced that killing off the “weaker“ people in their society would help their nation be the strongest it could be. Some actively participated, while others looked the other way as the people in power killed off the disabled and infirm and the elderly (along with around 6 million people who were Jewish). They did this for “the Fatherland.” It is the evil that rises up every so often in humanity when nationalism and the desire for power outweighs our love for people. And before you accuse me of proving Godwin’s law, please understand — This is the direction we are heading right now in this country.

When Trump and other republicans say things like, “We can’t have the cure be worse than the problem,” here is what they are saying: They’re saying they don’t believe that saving a few million people’s lives is WORTH the “cure” of a couple of months of drastically lowered economic output. We are horrifyingly close to having the elected leaders in this country come right out and say “It is worth letting 3 to 5 million Americans die to keep our economy strong.” They are actually comparing that imminent danger to the “danger” that people will start committing “suicides by the thousands” if people do not go back to work soon. And as they say this, many of us will look on in horror as a significant number of people nod along in agreement.

As numbers of cases of COVID-19 continue to rise exponentially across the country, Trump is now calling for us to “get back to work” by Easter… Which about two and a half weeks away. This may or may not have anything to do with the fact that he is surrounded by Prosperity Gospel charlatans, whose real reverence for the holiday celebrating Jesus’ resurrection is due to the fact that it is one of the biggest paydays of the year: EA$TER. I doubt Trump could manage to tell you what Easter really meant if Jesus himself was handing him lines. Scientist, doctors, and economists alike warn that restarting normal life too early would be disastrous for both the health of the general public AS WELL as the health of the economy.

Here’s the thing: It’s a weird position to be in — If we take the necessary precautions and not very many people die, the people who are thinking that this is “all a big overreaction” are going to think that they were proven right. And as frustrating as that is, it would still be ideal… But if this administration continues to prioritize LOOKING like it’s taking things seriously over ACTUALLY taking things seriously, and millions and millions of people die as a result, I was thinking that maybe one silver lining might be that at least the Trump supporters will see that science got it right… And that maybe scientists know what they’re talking about with other pressing issues (Like the human effects on global warming and climate change, and the necessity to start doing something about it RIGHT NOW, for example). And since it continues to look like a catastrophic number of people are going to end up dying from this, that there might at least be *something* good that comes from this?

But the more I think about it, the more I honestly don’t think they will learn anything. The people who are in charge will act like all the numbers are fake… They will act like news reports of all of those deaths are just attacks by the “liberal media.” These are the same sort of people who believe that the Sandy Hook massacre was faked… that they use “crisis actors.” I mean, three weeks ago he was acting like this was no big deal, a “democratic hoax,” and said that within a couple weeks we would probably have zero cases… And this week he is up there acting like he was on the front lines of taking this seriously and was the first person to use the word “pandemic.” Even though there is VIDEO of him doing the opposite. And his supporters believe him! This is why Trump can look at the situation and say, “You know what? Let’s just go ahead and open everything up anyway. If a whole bunch of people die, we will just lie about it, and the idiots who somehow continue to believe my lies will keep on supporting me.”

And I think he’d be right. There are a portion of people in this country that are so far gone that they will never ever change their mind about him. Around 38% of the voting public has been infected with the virus that is Donald Trump. You can’t show them a cited article from a reputable source, because they will just dismiss that article as “biased” propaganda from the “lame stream media.” You can’t show them independent fact checking sites, because they will dismiss those as some sort of George Soros-funded conspiracy. And you can’t show them a graph made by scientists showing how deadly this virus is if we don’t take it seriously, because they will just dismiss that as an “elitist” attack on their Dear Leader as well… And they’ll point to demonstrably false statements and outright lies that the president makes as “proof” that the scientists are wrong.

A significant portion of this country has decided that our worst citizens — a man who oozes stupidity and dishonesty and immorality and corruption from every filthy pore — is someone they trust more than doctors… More than economists… More than historians… More than journalists… More than math… More than the evidence right in front of their eyes. Everyone has google on their phone, and everyone is an expert now. We are not going to change these peoples minds with reason or rational arguments. There is no “flattening of the curve” of the people infected with the virus that is Trump. There are really only two things we can do: We can wait for them to die, or we can outvote them. I suggest we do the latter.

If you let it, it can make you start to feel hopeless. But that doesn’t solve anything. I’d rather we get angry…

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You are all of us, Dr, Fauci. If I was standing where you were standing, I would have risked touching my face in this pandemic to complete this facepalm as well…

When you see Donald Trump stand up at a podium and tell a bunch of lies while people who know better stand silently behind him, don’t get hopeless… Get angry. When you see him blame the brave nurses and doctors and healthcare workers for not having enough masks and equipment (when it’s his incompetence and lack of leadership that is to blame), don’t get hopeless… Get angry. When you see him struggle to read through a simple sentence, don’t get hopeless… Get angry. When you see voices of reason and expertise disappear from those press briefings, and you know it is because they are not acquiescing to his stupidity and ego, don’t get hopeless… Get angry.

I don’t know that there is a way to pay attention to what is happening in Washington D.C. right now and NOT let it make you angry… But we can’t let that anger turn to hopelessness. We have to turn that anger into energy. The same energy that brought millions of people to the streets in the Women’s March. The same energy that flipped the House in 2018. The same energy that is going to vote this scoundrel out this November. Let that anger energize you to vote. Let it energize you to talk to other rational, caring people in your life about how it is SO important that each of us votes and takes action to remove this awful, awful man from his position of power and limit his ability to do even more harm.

And speaking of hopefulness, yesterday I saw the beautiful words above, and I wanted to share them with you. Don’t let the hatred and ignorance and dishonesty of a few blind you to the fact that there is love all around us. I write this to remind myself of this every bit as much as I write it to remind you…

 

Thank you again for reading. I hope you are staying at home, and I hope you are staying sane. If you love what I’m doing on this blog, and you like to help support it, you can become a Patron on Patreon. Shayla is my newest Patron, and if I wasn’t sheltering in place, I would find her and hug her sweet face. If you loved this post and you’d like to leave a tip to this furloughed server, you can do that ON PAYPAL or Venmo me at “Chris-boeskool.” Otherwise, you can join me on Facebook or on Twitter for more quarantine fun. And speaking of quarantine fun, here is a song I dedicated to all the moms out there who are following the CDC’s guidelines…

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Please. I’m Begging You. You Beautiful Idiots… TAKE. THIS. SERIOUSLY.

“If you had to choose, would you rather be smart & sad, or dumb & happy?” That was the question the makers of Cards Against Humanity asked people in 2017 after they asked people to send them $15, and in return they would get 6 days of surprises. They called it “Cards Against Humanity Saves America.” For day 5’s surprise, they took a portion of the money they had collected to pay for a survey (one they had started three months earlier). They asked some AMAZINGLY INTERESTING QUESTIONS, and all of their answers were shown in a way that you could see how democrats, independents, & republicans answered differently. You should definitely check out the entire survey… But one of the most divisive questions on the survey was the one above: The one about choosing between being smart & sad, or dumb & happy.

I have been thinking a lot about that question as I watch people’s responses to this global pandemic we are living through. About two weeks ago, a friend asked me what I thought about everyone freaking out about COVID-19. He thought it was “no big deal.” He thought the media was whipping everyone into a frenzy. “Just like the flu,” he said. I told him that two months from now this was going to make 9/11 look small in comparison.

I don’t blame him for discounting the seriousness of this virus and dismissing the media’s account of what was coming — We have a president who regularly calls the Press “the enemy of the people.” Trump — along with all of the conservative media outlets — dismissed the criticism of his inept & borderline criminally negligent response as a “new hoax.” When experts were already telling him that — because of his inaction (and his desire to keep the reported number of cases low and keep the markets high) — containment was no longer an option, he was still telling the country that the number of cases would likely soon go from 15 case to “close to zero,” and that it would disappear “like a miracle.” He played down the seriousness of this outbreak OVER AND OVER (here’s a complete list), and then, when he was finally forced to take this seriously, he actually had the audacity to claim, “I felt it was a pandemic long before it was called a pandemic.” So it makes complete sense why so many people would downplay the seriousness of this virus: We have a moron in charge who was actively encouraging people to downplay its seriousness.

This will probably sound arrogant, but I am too well-informed to not take this seriously. So now we are in a position where EVERYONE must limit all social interactions in order to prevent the continued spread of this disease (COVID-19) and the virus which causes it (SARS-CoV-2)… Just like HIV and AIDS are not the same thing, but HIV is the VIRUS that causes AIDS. SARS-CoV-2 (which stands for “severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2”) is a “novel” virus, which means that it is brand new, and that no one on the planet has immunity to it yet. It’s still unclear, but with proper care, the Case Fatality Rate (CFR) has been estimated at anywhere between 1% and a little more than 3%. So basically, for every 50 people who get infected, around one person is going to die. Those chances get way higher the more risk factors you have. Some people seem to be “comforted” by those numbers, but we need to remember that NO ONE has immunity. There are 7.5 billion people in the world… If left to itself, that CFR would kill roughly 150 million people. Even with the steps we are taking, COVID-19 could easily end up killing 10 times more Americans THIS YEAR than died from cancer or heart disease.

That means that if drastic action is not taken, it will kill millions and millions of people. And for SOME GODFORSAKEN REASON, I still am seeing moms on Facebook who are like, “What are your thoughts on playdates for the kids right now?” ARE YOU #$%&ING KIDDING ME?!? Even though this virus has crashed the markets and brought the world economy to its knees, there are somehow still people out there who feel this this is all an “overreaction.” And it’s driving me insane… PEOPLE. THIS IS THE PARKING GARAGE AT VANDERBILT UNIVERSITY MEDICAL CENTER:

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We can’t even smoke in a GARAGE anymore??? Thanks, Obama…

Do you know WHY they are putting hospital beds in their parking lots? Because this virus is not a matter of opinion… It’s a matter of MATH. They KNOW that they are going to run out of space. When China saw how serious this was, they started building hospitals. Trump was told in JANUARY how serious this was, and instead of ordering hospitals to be built or ventilators to be made, he started telling people it was “under control” and no big deal.

One of the messages that has gotten out is, “If I just wash my hands and don’t touch my face, I’ll be fine.” THAT IS NOT THE CASE. This virus is aerosolized, which means that it is spread through the air. You don’t have to touch the virus in droplets and then rub your nose or eyes to get it… It’s in the air. Someone doesn’t have to sneeze onto your face for you to get sick… They can merely be talking a few feet away from you. Was that person you just walked by at Kroger BREATHING? Because if they were, and if they were infected, you might have just walked through and breathed in some fresh SARS-CoV-2 spores that will end up with you needing a ventilator two weeks from now. THIS. IS. SERIOUS. And Trump keeps outright lying about the steps they are taking…

Because of this republican administration’s refusal of the testing kits the World Health Organization provided (because they wanted to make money developing their own tests using American businesses — tests which ended up failing, which you can read about here), we are dangerously and negligently low on tests. Right now, you basically have to have severe symptoms in order to get tested. And this virus can be contagious for TWO WEEKS before showing any symptoms… This basically means that the numbers we are seeing are DRASTICALLY lower than the actual numbers of infected & contagious people out there. How much lower, you ask? Unfortunately no one knows. Because we don’t have enough tests to test people other than the ones who obviously already have it. Basically it is like testing for AIDS and paying no attention whatsoever to how many people have HIV. And let me make this perfectly clear just in case you don’t already know: That is NOT how you slow, contain, or stop an epidemic.

Italy went through some political turmoil when they were testing for the virus. The Lombardy region started testing everyone, and politicians were angry because they thought it was inflating their numbers and making their country look unsafe (and that would affect tourism/$$$). Other places limited their testing to people who had some symptoms (fever and cough). Even though Lombardy fared way better, Italy is now a giant mess… There are simply not enough ventilators for the thousands of people who need them, and people who need a ventilator and don’t get one DIE. Italy has now surpassed China’s death toll. They are having to decide which people get to live and which ones are going to die. 627 infected people died YESTERDAY ALONE in Italy… and if that doesn’t make you take this seriously, know this — Our number of cases have mirrored Italy’s timeline of cases, but there is a significant difference: Italy has tested WAY more people than the United States. By this point, because of the incompetence of this nation’s leadership, there could very easily already be MILLIONS infected and not showing symptoms. We don’t know where the “hot spots” are. We are flying blind.

And because of this, EVERYONE NEEDS TO STAY HOME. That means YOU. This is not a situation where you get to choose to be “dumb & happy.” I don’t care if you are living in a state with a dip shit for a governor (like I am) who hasn’t ordered people to stay in their homes… STAY HOME! Don’t go out unless it is absolutely necessary. For a while at least (and longer if we don’t have universal access to testing), we need to be acting like every single person is infected. If you are a parent who is considering whether to allow your kids to hang out at a friend’s house, STOP IT! Put on a movie… Let them talk on FaceTime… But DO NOT let your kids go on freaking “play dates” right now. If you think people are overreacting by not going out to eat, YOU. ARE. WRONG. This is not a matter of opinion. This is a matter of science. This is a matter of math. And this is a matter of life and death. START ACTING LIKE IT.

 

Thank you for reading! Please share this with the people in your life and help them understand how serious this is. You might know that I already lost my job because of this virus. I am a server by profession. How I make (made) money is I bring people tasty meals and take care of them, and, in turn, they leave me a tip. It took me WAY longer to write and research this post than it does to bring you some food… If you feel like this post was a tasty meal, and you feel like I’m doing a good job taking care of you, please consider leaving a tip. You can do that ON PAYPAL or by Venmo-ing me at “chris-boeskool.” You can also BECOME A PATRON (like Clara did… THANK YOU!), which is like leaving a tip every month. If you are not in a position where you are able to do that right now (like many of us are), I totally understand. I will keep writing… and you can follow me on Twitter and on Facebook for more fun. Love your neighbor and STAY HOME!!!

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My Quarantine Theme Song

What a very strange time we are living in.

My sleep schedule is off… My dreams are all trippy and stressy… On a daily basis, I’m acutely aware of trying to breath my way through my own anxiety… I can’t be the only one out there who — in this time of isolation and limited human contact — is feeling a deep longing for things that will make me smile or laugh or feel comforted.

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I miss being close to people.

So that is what I have for you. I have actually found TWO songs for this moment in time. They are gifts for you, wherever you are — hopefully in your freaking house — as you weather the storms of fear and uncertainty and loneliness. The first is a touching, heart-felt song about not leaving your house…

Okay, so that one made me laugh last night/this morning while I couldn’t sleep. And as good as that song is, I’ve decided that this NEXT song is my Quarantine Theme Song… Or QTS, as the kids don’t say. This next one is less about laughing, and more about a reminder of how we’re all connected. I found this sometime this morning during that frustrating time when you can’t sleep, when you see light start coming in your windows. This sort of music may not be for everyone, and the traditional Mennonite dress might seem foreign to you, but I would love for you to listen to the heart of this beautiful song. Look for any sign of insincerity in the faces of those signers (you will find none) as they testify their beliefs & comfort those around them. Let them comfort you as well…

I’ve probably listened to that song 15 times so far today. We are NOT alone. Listen for the voice of God comforting you in the magic of music. Look for the face of God smiling at you in the people around you… Even the ones who are far away. We are not alone. We are NEVER alone. We are not alone. God is with us.

 

Thank you for reading. I hope you share that song with someone who needs it (wither song, I suppose). A few new things going on: 1) I started a new blog. It is called ShortStoriesForQuarantine.com. So far there is only one short story — a story I wrote called “Faith, Hope, & Cinnabons” — but I hope there will be more soon. I will try to use my time to add to the stories, but I’m hoping you can as well. If you’d like to submit a story, you can send it to me at theboeskool@yahoo.com. Make sure it is 1) something you wrote, 2) since the virus outbreak, 3) that has some measure of Hope to it.

Second: My job has been one of the casualties of this pandemic. I’m not completely sure how I’m going to make money in the coming months (other than the little bit that comes in through this blog). I’m trying to figure that out… I kind of knew this was coming, but it’s still a little scary. I just wanted to say a giant THANK YOU to those of you who already support this blog and my writing. If you are a person who values this blog, and you are thinking about supporting it, I have some good news for: You you can BECOME A PATRON. Or if you’d like to leave a tip on PayPal, you can DO THAT HERE. Otherwise you can Venmo your generosity and support to “Chris-Boeskool.” I’m also on Facebook and Twitter.

Lastly, I said that the first person to Venmo support would get a poem. That person’s name is Mary, she is one of my favorite people on the planet, and it is my pleasure to write this poem for her:

Mary, Mother
Strong matriarch, for you, a poem…
A loving heart, a healthy home,
A listening ear, the freshest bread,
Nine chairs around the table fed.

With travels wide, yet deep the roots,
A tree and life known by its fruits.
The wind, the water, and the tree
Reveal the strength of family.

 

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Loving Your Neighbor In A Pandemic

This coronavirus has got people SCARED. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen people this scared in my lifetime. Not even after 9/11. I think people are much more comfortable when we can put a FACE to our fears — When we can be afraid of the Muslims… Or immigrants… Or brown people… Something we can identify as “THOSE are the people I need to fear.” But with this pandemic, it’s just everybody. It’s everywhere. Everyone and everything can make you sick. And that has got people feeling off balance. And scared.

I’m not entirely sure why I haven’t written more about this yet. It’s just everywhere you turn. It’s on everyone’s lips… “Coronavirus.” Part of the reason I’ve avoided it is because I haven’t been able to wrap my mind around all the issues this coronavirus (and our response to it) touches on. And I won’t be able to do that here either… At least not without making this post so long no one will read it. My thoughts have been trickling out in the form of Facebook statuses and tweets on Twitter. But I’ve got some things I’d like to say, and some thoughts I’d like to share with you about this very strange time we are living through…

First — THIS IS SERIOUS. By this point, I hope that much is clear. This is not “just the flu.” And that message was slow getting out, because we have a person in charge of the country who is way more concerned about money than he is concerned about the lives of the people in this country. His focus is on the stock market, his money, & the wealth of the super rich people who helped put him in power. He is a narcissist who is concerned about how this crisis will make him look… He’s worried that people will be able to tell he doesn’t know what he’s doing. So he tries to handle things by “controlling the message.” But this virus doesn’t care about poll numbers or trying to blame Obama for things (even though it was Trump who fired the CDC’s Pandemic Response Team and then installed a hiring freeze to keep them from being replaced). The only thing it responds to is competent leadership and actions taken based on science… And we have neither of those things represented in this GOP administration.

So this is important: As part of recognizing how serious this is, PLEASE don’t dismiss the danger COVID-19 carries as “only dangerous to old people.” Do any of you even KNOW any old people? Do you have older folks in your lives who you love, and you don’t want them to get seriously ill and possibly die? Do you have parents?!? I mean… WTF. I have heard so many people say things like, “The only ones who are *really* in danger are the elderly and the immunocompromised.” Y’ALL KNOW THAT THEY CAN HEAR YOU, RIGHT??? I mean, imagine a virus going around that is has been killing around 1 out of every 50 people who get it, and then hearing healthy adults disregarding the severity of it by saying, “People are freaking out over nothing… It really only affects kids and people with asthma.” Someone around you has a kid with asthma! What kind on an asshole says something like this? Just because YOUR chances of dying aren’t as great as someone else’s doesn’t mean you can’t still spread it, get someone else sick, and devastate a family.

Second — FOR PEOPLE WHO THINK THIS IS BEING POLITICIZED. This is not a liberal plot to take down the president. Thousands of people have died. MANY more are going to die. This virus shut down THE ENTIRE COUNTRY OF ITALY… This is not about attacking Trump. That being said, when the people in charge are showing startling ineptitude and making decisions that are going to cost people their lives, they should expect some tough questions from the press corp. For example, WHY DID THE UNITED STATES TURN DOWN THE TESTS THE WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION GAVE US? Where are the tests? You CANNOT fight a global pandemic without testing for the virus. Every other country is testing their people…

The way to tackle a pandemic is with openness, science, and competent leadership. Instead, they are CLASSIFYING meetings about plans for pandemic response. This administration is neither open nor trustworthy. They deny scientific evidence whenever it butts heads with their own goals (namely keeping the stock market growing and keeping rich people happy). They have handled this virus with denial and incompetence, and many-if-not-most of their “true believers” still think it’s some sort of a “hoax” designed to take down Trump. It’s not “politicization” to be critical of the colossal failure that our country’s response has been. The whole world is critical. Other countries are bewildered at the floundering, inadequate response the U.S. has put forth. But I suppose that’s what you’re going to get when you elect as president a reality show host who is famous for bankrupting companies. The virus is not his fault. However, the incompetent response to the appearance of the virus is ENTIRELY worthy of criticism.

Third — ABOUT THE ECONOMY. The world’s economy is obviously going to be affected by the coronavirus. The markets are all over the place. There is so much uncertainty and instability, and that does not translate well to the stock market. And I realize that affects people’s 401k’s and whatnot, but most people in the world do not have a lot of money invested in the stock market. The wealthiest top 1% accounts for more than 50% of the market’s value. The bottom 50% of Americans own only HALF A PERCENT (0.5%) of stocks, bonds, and mutual funds. So when the stock market loses 2000 points in a day, the bottom half of the country does not really feel it (that is, of course, until they lose their jobs and houses and such when the wealthy cut workers to maximize profits).

The government can’t find money to relieve the $1.6 trillion of student debt that is owed by our college students. They can’t find money to get poor people the healthcare they need. They can’t find money to pay folks a living wage… But you better believe that they found $1.5 trillion OVERNIGHT to pump into the banks and corporations when the stock markets started going down this week. This is just obscene. It is socialism for the rich, and rugged individualism for the poor. It is privatizing profits while socializing losses. 

Meanwhile, there are SO MANY people who rely on the meals schools provide… So when this pandemic hits and schools let out for a month, they don’t know how they are going to feed their kids. And underfunded nonprofits scramble to feed poor families — Families who can’t afford to go to the hospital. But that $1.5 Trillion would be enough to give every single person in the country $1000 a month for 4 to 5 months. And we call ourselves a “Christian nation.” Jesus cared about poor people, and he had some pretty harsh words for the rich. The country is the exact opposite.

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Seriously… Someone please explain to me why people are hoarding toilet paper. Do they plan on pooping more than normal? I don’t get it…

And finally — LOVING OUR NEIGHBOR IN A PANDEMIC. The moment I knew I was going to have to write about this was when I went to Costco last week, and saw multiple people literally buying 160 rolls of toilet paper at a time. There were people with 20 giant bags of dog food. There were barren aisles where hand sanitizer used to be…

Please hear me: If you are looking for something that is a “sin,” you don’t need to look any further than hoarding resources in a crisis. Don’t even talk to me about swearing or getting drunk or same-sex marriage… Taking more than you need is a SIN. I live in Nashville, and a sizable chunk of our city was just destroyed by a tornado… I’m sure the people working on clean up would like to have some masks to protect their lungs from asbestos and dust and debris. But there aren’t any construction masks, because people hoarded all the medical masks until there were none… and then they heard there were still some masks at Home Depot and Lowes, and they wiped those clean as well.

And the weird part is that the people who have the most comfortable safety net seem to be the ones who are most filled with fear. The ability to hoard is connected to privilege and wealth. Poor people can’t afford to buy 160 rolls of toilet paper… They don’t have the money OR the room for it. Poor people don’t have a three stall garage where they can store 20 giant bags of dog food.

There is this cult of “Jesus wants me to get MINE” out there. It preaches from the gospel of the morality of selfishness, and the “invisible hand of the market.” It’s a group that rejects evolution, but believes in a Social Darwinism that tells them that they have more because they are BETTER. They think their privilege is EARNED… Just like other people’s poverty is earned as well. It is the same group that is drawn to a slogan like “America First!” It is the root system of white supremacy… And it is the opposite of Christianity. It feeds on fear. It is the antithesis of Jesus.

But Beloved… Hear me: You have not been given a spirit of fear. Even if you don’t believe any of it anymore, just say it out loud…
You have not been given a spirit of fear.
I have not been given a spirit of fear.
WE have not been given a spirit of fear… but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

A crisis can bring out the worst in us, but it can also bring out the best. I know that people are scared… And I know that we humans are at our worst when we are scared. But your neighbor is scared too. And you can love your neighbor by not taking more than you need. You can love your neighbor by doing what you can to Flatten The Curve of this pandemic (washing hands, social distancing, staying home, etc…). You can love your neighbor by voting for people who are actually concerned with helping the poor and vulnerable, and who don’t hurry to give bailouts to billionaires while ignoring people in poverty. Following Jesus is necessarily political… You can love your neighbor by electing leaders who are competent and trustworthy in times of crisis. Whether we like it or not, we are in this together. It shouldn’t take a pandemic for us to realize we are all connected. What happens to “them” happens to US. Imagine if all the people who claimed to be Christians actually voted like it… Take care of each other.

 

If you are feeling scared and disoriented, please know you are not alone. Reach out to each other, and don’t let this isolation let you feel isolated. Look for people who need help, and offer it. Perfect love casts out fear. ALSO, if you go out to eat during this time, leave your server a fat tip. We don’t get paid time off, and this crisis is hard on us financially… Especially when people are scared to leave their houses.

Anyway, if you love this blog and you’d like to help support me and my writing, you can BECOME A PATRON. Or, if you love this post and you’d like to leave a tip, you can do that with PayPal… or you can also on Venmo a tip to “Chris-Boeskool” (that’s me). That didn’t happen last time, so the offer for a Poem In Your Honor is still up for grabs for the first Venmo’d tip. I work for tips.

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The Top 4 Plans Mike Pence Has For Stopping The Coronavirus

Yes, Donald Trump has named Mike Pence as “Coronavirus Czar.” It’s his responsibility to keep our country safe from the virus that has spread over Asia and parts of Europe. Now, this might strike some as an odd choice… Seeing how MIKE PENCE DOESN’T BELIEVE IN SCIENCE. And as with every dim-witted thing Trump does or has done, there is a tweet for LITERALLY EVERYTHING….

That’s right… The job of keeping our country as safe as possible from a global pandemic has gone to a man who doesn’t believe in evolution, and wants creationism taught in schools. When he was governor of Indiana, his doubting of scientific evidence helped spark the biggest AIDS outbreak in the history of that state when he stopped Indiana’s needle exchange program. In the past, he stated that “Global warming is a myth.” In 2000, he wrote that “Despite the hysteria from the political class and the media, smoking doesn’t kill” (though, that might have had something to do with his family’s ownership stake in a chain of stores called “Tobacco Road”). He wanted to use federal funds for conversion therapy for LGBTQIA people. He said that he doesn’t think condoms work (along with the fact that he thinks they are “too modern” and “too liberal”).

With an intellect that has been called “Barely Sentient,” and “Smarter Than A Rock” (Did you say Iraq? No. *A* rock), no one has ever accused Mike Pence of being “the smartest guy in the room”… even when he was in a room that contained only himself, a male golden retriever, and some potted plants. Though, in his defense, it should be noted that Golden Retrievers are a very intelligent breed. And NOW, he’s the one in charge of heading up our response to a global pandemic. An unnamed source* has informed me that the following are Mike Pence’s four best ideas for containing the coronavirus outbreak:

*The unnamed source is my imagination. This next part is clearly satire, people.

  1. Prayer, Prayer, & More Prayer. Everyone knows that faith like a mustard seed can move mountains… So Mike Pence has sent out a “Calling All Prayer Warriors” email that will be forwarded to every evangelical church’s listserv within approximately 48 hours. They will then pray a “hedge of protection” around this nation, which ANY virus will find VERY DIFFICULT to get through. They will also pray for “traveling mercies” for Americans traveling abroad into the countries that God doesn’t care about (shithole countries, if you will). On a side note, isn’t it interesting that evangelicals never use the old “prayer” defense when dealing with the problem of keeping immigrants out of our country? Or protecting themselves from all those rapists & murderers? THEN it always seems to call for walls and guns. Speaking of…
  2. Build! That! WALL! Since the news of the coronavirus outbreak, many republicans have been gloating about Trump’s attempt to build a giant wall at our southern border. They have been very, “See? We told you we needed a wall.” Of course, this is based on the very xenophobic notion that illegal immigrants bring diseases — For some reason, they believe viruses and diseases attach themselves to immigrants… Especially non-english speakers and BROWN immigrants (the same group which Trump and Pence will tell you are more prone to be rapists & murderers). So Pence plans to quickly finish building the wall… despite the evidence that the OVERWHELMING MAJORITY of undocumented immigrants fly here and overstay their visas. You might be thinking, “Why aren’t we building a wall at our NORTHERN border?” Are you kidding? No Canadians are coming here during an outbreak. They have publicly funded healthcare! Coming to America and getting sick is a real quick way to end up bankrupt… Anyway, vacationing rich people are way more likely to be responsible for spreading a virus from Asia than any poor Mexican looking for better paying job.
  3. Apply The “Mike Pence Rule” To Coronavirus. Mike Pence famously said that he never allows himself to eat with a woman other than his wife, whose name is Karen (of course it is)… And that he won’t even attend an event where alcohol is served unless Karen (of course) is at his side. And so far, this has worked to keep him as innocent and clean as his politician’s hairstyle of pure, white manliness. So Pence was thinking the if we — as a nation of men — apply this same fear-based, archaic, misogynistic way of viewing every other woman on the planet as a possible harlot who is ready to unleash our uncontrollable man-lust on them, then maybe — Just maybe — we can all stay far enough away from each other that no one catches another case of coronavirus. It’s basically like quarantining our genitals, only with our face parts. This, accompanied by a healthy Christian fear of any male contact as being “gay,” will keep the virus from spreading. At least it will keep it from spreading to the faithful… And those are the ones who really count. Them, and the very, very rich.
  4. Blame Everything On God. Really, what difference does it make? The time we are alive is like the blink of an eye compared to spending forever in heaven or eternity in the fires of hell… What’s a few less years for a few million folks? Besides, the Bible says the world is going to end soon anyway. Listen, if all else fails, it becomes a colossal failure, and 2% of all Americans die from exposure to both this new illness (& this inept administration), he can just throw his hands up and call it “God’s Will.” He could even pull a Pat Robertson and call this “God’s Judgment” for letting the gays get married. That right there is the failsafe for every bit of harm that comes from anti-intellectual incompetence based on Christian fundamentalism… And there has been PLENTY of it.
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The man whose face has a permanent expression of “So you mean to tell me a SHRIMP fried this rice?” is leading the response to a global pandemic. We are screwed…

So there you have it. That’s how we’re all going to get this stupid virus. Don’t worry — The mortality rate is only at about 2% right now. Though for the elderly, it is closer to 15%, so if you have anything you’d like to say to the old folks in your life… I’m kidding, of course. Sort of. Many people are definitely going to die from this, and it pisses me off that we have elected people who don’t believe in science to lead this country. During this outbreak, Trump cut CDC funding by 9%. And now he wants to pay for the coronavirus response by taking heat away from poor people. And he gives us a certified moron to lead the response. People, I will say it again: IT MATTERS WHO GOVERNS! Register to vote.

 

Y’all. I have taken a step into the early part of the 21st century, and I downloaded Venmo onto my phone. So if the stuff I write brings you joy, gives you hope, makes you laugh, or makes you think… And if you feel like leaving a tip, you can now Venmo me at “Chris-Boeskool.” I think that’s how you do it? I honestly don’t know… I downloaded it today. It might be by email (which is theboeskool@yahoo.com). I’m new to this… Either way, the first person to leave a tip on Venmo will get a poem written in their honor on the next blog post. You can also leave a TIP ON PAYPAL if you’re into that sort of thing. ALSO, you should totally BECOME A PATRON. A couple bucks a month makes a big difference, and it supports my writing and helps me support my family. Otherwise, please follow & keep up with me on TWITTER and on FACEBOOK.

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The Pure, Unfiltered Hellscape That Is The School Drop-Off Line

Each morning I visit hell. Not Hell, Michigan, and not some fiery, figurative Gehenna-ish hell that Jesus talked about in the Bible… but the ACTUAL HELL, right here on earth. I load my kids into the car, and I drive straight into the hot, red circle of Satan’s anus that is known as the School Drop-Off Line.

There are few places on the planet that you can so clearly see the brokenness of humanity as in the School Drop-Off Line. And never are people so selfishly broken as when it gets closer to the time when your kids are late, and you have to park your car, go inside, and sign them in. God help me, I hate it so much. People abandon every lesson and moral of their youth. The School Drop-Off Line is why movies like Mad Max are a very distinct possibility of where we are headed. It actually already feels quite a bit like this…

Seriously, what kind of person looks at a line of cars, and thinks, “I’m just going to cut in line, because my kids are more important than everyone else’s kids.” WHO ARE YOU PEOPLE?!? Behind those darkly tinted windows, I imagine your faces painted with the blood of your enemies… one hand on a crossbow, the other giving the middle finger to all rules and expectations of appropriate human behavior… your toddlers bouncing in the backseat, not strapped in to any sort of carseat… feral creatures, eating a cheese stick for breakfast, and pissing wherever they please…

Did you not learn these rules at the water fountain in kindergarten? Here’s what happens when you cut in line: EVERYONE ELSE BEHIND YOU HAS TO WAIT EVEN LONGER. You insensitive, selfish, arrogant asshole. <– I seriously want to get signs printed up that say these words, and hand them out to the parents in the drop-off line who have a shred of decency. Never are my thoughts more murderous than when I watch people intentionally cut in line during this monotonous morning routine. If there is an actual hell, there is a special place there reserved for people who look at the tedious slowness of idiots in a School Drop-Off Line, and decide to make it even worse. RAGE!

Okay… Just breathe, Chris… Remember that the vast majority of people are NOT the sort of people who have so little regard for others that they actively attempt to make a bad situation even worse. Remember that most people share your disgust. Breathe…

I have been dealing with this nightmare for many years now, and I have a few pieces of advice for parents who brave the daily test of patience that is the School Drop-Off Line:

  • Your kids are no more important than anyone else’s kids. Just like your time is no more important than anyone else’s time. If you cut in front of people in the School Drop-Off Line, you are objectively as asshole. I shouldn’t have to say this… But here we are.
  • If it’s raining, your kids are going to be alright if they get a little wet. No one is going to melt. When you insist on letting your precious little A-hole out at EXACTLY the closest spot to the door, it slows down the whole process for all of us, and the line moves one car at a time. PULL. ALL. THE. WAY. FORWARD. KAREN.
  • Those cones are there for a reason. And that reason is to keep people like you from cutting in line and pissing everyone else off to the point that they want to Towanda your ass all the way back to Fried Green Tomatoes county… DON’T TOUCH THE CONES.
  • Don’t try to start a fight. I admit that I have rolled my window down to inform strangers of the rules they have broken… But stay in the car. The sort of people who flip the bird to social conventions are exactly the same sort of people who keep a gun in their glovebox. It’s not worth getting shot over. And even if you are angry enough that you decide it is, it’s definitely not worth getting some little kid shot over.
  • And most importantly — Your kids learn lessons from the example you set. So you aren’t just making MY mornings more miserable… You are spreading your hatred and indifference to future generations. The world doesn’t need more “Me first” than it already has. 
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Towanda: Righter of Wrongs, Queen Beyond Compare!

 

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Praying For The End Of The World, “Not Wanting To Get Political,” and Other Christian Nonsense

Have you ever hear someone say, “Jesus, come quickly”? It’s usually something Christians say when things feel particularly crazy or disordered or hopeless. The thought is that things are so messed up, and our only hope of getting them sorted out is the return of Jesus. It is a very common eschatology (the part of theology that’s concerned with what happens at the end of things). A lot of people believe that the moral timeline of history is just things getting shittier and shittier until everything falls apart… A which point, Jesus will show up with a sword on a horse, he’ll burn it all down, he’ll build a new heaven and a new earth, and that’ll be it. Some people believe this narrative so unquestionably that they are even committed to hurrying along this inevitable demise. And so they pray for the world to end…

In the Bible, it was written that when Jesus was asked about the end times, he said that there would be wars and earthquakes and famines. He said there would be tribulation, and that his followers would be persecuted. He said there would be false messiahs and false prophets who would try to deceive people, and that these things happening would be a sign that the end is near. And so, for centuries people have looked for signs. They’d see something awful happen, and they were convinced that the awfulness was just a prequel to things finally being made right.

When he was asked about how things will end, Jesus said that “at that time people will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds, with power and glory.” Of course, at THAT time (the time Jesus said this) they didn’t think about (know about) the fact that the earth is round, and that people on the other side of the planet wouldn’t see this dramatic return in the clouds (or people 100 miles away, for that matter). And as to the WHEN of all this happening, Jesus says that no one knows… not even the Son. Only the Father. But for some reason — even though he also says he doesn’t know when it’s going down — he tells the people who are listening to him talk, “Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.” He talks about his kingdom — The Kingdom of God — a lot.

So, to review, Jesus tells the people at that time that his return will happen before some of them die. Even Paul, the author of most of orthodox Christian theology, got it wrong. He fully expected to see Jesus return in his lifetime. He referred to the people who had died before Jesus’ return as “those who have fallen asleep in him,” and wrote that “we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.” And generation after generation has thought the same thing: That Jesus is coming “soon.” Be alert! Soon and VERY soon! LIKE A THIEF IN THE NIGHT!!!

So now, when things feel crazy and unstable, people start thinking, “Is this it? Is this the BIG one??” And beyond that, when things feel like they are falling apart, people start praying for this to be the end. “Please, Jesus… Come quickly.” They’ve been praying that for 2000 years. Or “We’ve” been praying that (I’m not so sure which one it is anymore). And it’s not just conservatives who think this way… Many progressive Christians have this same mindset. They see this mess with the Congress and the impeachment and Trump and all these misled white evangelicals, and they think back to all the “false prophets” talk in the Bible, and they think, “Jesus, come quick.”

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“It’s the big one! I’m coming to join you Elizabeth!”

I believe this way of thinking is built on a foundation of a debilitating christian pessimism… This idea that “It’s all going to shit anyway, so what’s the point?” It’s the idea that we are incapable of anything good… that we are so totally depraved — such total garbage — that we could never hope to get anything right… And that our only hope is Jesus coming back and setting things right. And I don’t think that’s the story. But really, even if that WAS the story, does it really change how we act until end actually comes?


Imagine a bunch of people were in a water-tight room with a leaky pipe. Let’s say a plumber shows up and talks about fixing the leak… but he ends up leaving out the one door there was to the room, he locks the door behind him, and he says he’s coming back. He’s gone for a while… Longer than people expected. Meanwhile, drip, drip, drip… The water starts to pool up on the ground. Days turn into weeks… Weeks turn into months… Still no sign of The Plumber. The water is rising. Some folks start to wonder if he’s really coming back… Or if they heard him correctly. Others are like, “HE SAID HE’S COMING BACK SOON, AND I BELIEVE HIM!” People start talking about trying to fix the leak. Others are like, “We can’t fix that leak — We’re not plumbers!”  People start talking about learning to swim. People start putting folks in charge of different responsibilities. People start choosing leaders. Others say, “What’s the point? The Plumber is coming back soon to open the door (though, for some reason, they believe that he’s only going to let a couple people out… But that’s another blog post).

Here’s the point: Whether The Plumber is coming back or not, wouldn’t you still try to fix the leak? Wouldn’t you still teach the kids to swim? Wouldn’t you still put responsible, good people in change of making sure things get done? And I mean, you CERTAINLY wouldn’t choose people who are so blindedly certain that The Plumber is coming back soon that they are trying to expand the leak to “hasten” his return! Whether he comes back or not, our responsibility is to take care of each other and limit the harm that is done. And if The Plumber DOES show up someday, I’d imagine he’d have some harsh words for the people who didn’t do what they could to fix the leak…



I think this idea that Jesus is coming to save us does more harm than good…
It absolves people of their responsibility to fix this mess we’ve created. Just like the harmful idea that “the 2nd coming is happening soon & Jesus is going to burn it all down & give us a new earth” ends up with people using that belief to excuse & defend policies which hurt the environment and endanger future generations. You probably don’t see a whole lot of people in doomsday cults giving their kids vaccines. Who cares about “global warming” when your eschatology tells you that very soon the world’s going to end in fire, right? ESPECIALLY when it includes the narrative that that fire is what is finally going to make everything right. This is why we see “christians” promoting Middle East “peace” policies which they quietly believe are ushering in the apocalypse.

So here’s what I believe: I believe that no one knows whether or not anyone is coming to save us. I believe WE have a responsibility to try to fix the leak. We should be taking care of each other — Especially the ones who are vulnerable and oppressed. Justice is not coming on the clouds… WE are responsible for promoting and ensuring justice. If a march is needed, we are the feet of Jesus. If tables in the temple need to be flipped over, we are Jesus’s hands. We are here NOW. The kingdom of God is not simply “somewhere we are going to go when we die” — It is something we are responsible for building while we are alive. We are not simply waiting for The Kingdom to arrive… We are here to actively BUILD The Kingdom of God. Now.

This includes getting political. This includes VOTING. This includes electing leaders who are honorable and honest and moral. It matters who governs… One need look no further than the thousands of children in cages at our southern border to know that this is true. Magical thinking or praying “Jesus come quickly” has no effect on the policies that separate children from their families when they show up at our nation’s border looking for help. Hoping for a magical hand from heaven to fix this mess we’ve made is like offering a hungry person “thoughts & prayers” when what they really need is a meal.

A lot of christians say they “don’t want to get too political.” And a lot of leaders within Christianity are committed to “not taking sides” on political issues. Churches who preach a message of “God makes us rich” attract rich folks who fund things and build new wings on buildings… Churches who talk about social justice and preach the political message that God is on the side of the poor tend to struggle financially. But please hear me, here: People who are telling Christians that they shouldn’t be “political” are people who don’t like what the Bible and Jesus have to say about our responsibility to economic and social justice. People in positions of power don’t like the sound of “bringing the mountains low and raising up the valleys.” Saying things like “the first shall be last and the last shall be first” is great news for the poor, but it’s terrible news for the 1%… Who also happen to be the same ones funding political campaigns and paying for advertising time on TV.

Listen, I’m not saying that everyone has to have the same eschatologies. No one knows how things are going to end… Or even IF they’re going to end. It’s possible that Jesus might return someday. I’m not holding my breath… But whether you believe that someone is coming to save us or not, you need to vote like it’s up to us to fix things. Because it is. And that means GETTING POLITICAL. The message of Jesus is inherently political. The impact of Jesus’ message on the political powers of his day is what got him killed… Just like the politics of Martin Luther King Jr. is what got him killed. Being on the side of the poor and the oppressed makes you a target for the rich and the oppressors. It gets people killed. And maybe that’s what Jesus was talking about when he said, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” Get political. VOTE. Jesus was on the side of the poor and vulnerable and oppressed… Christians need to follow him.

 

Thank you for reading. Undoubtedly, there are some who would classify me a a “false prophet” because of the things I write on this blog. But if YOU value this blog… If the stuff I write brings you joy or gives you hope… And if you want to help support it, you can BECOME A PATRON. A couple bucks a month makes a big difference, and it supports my writing and helps me support my family. If you feel like leaving a false prophet a tip, you can DO THAT ON PAYPAL. Otherwise, please follow & keep up with me on TWITTER and on FACEBOOK.

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For The Christians Upset About The Super Bowl Halftime Show…

I know, I know… There was a lot of skin during the halftime show. A lot of belly dancing. A lot of booty shaking. A lot of hips not lying. A lot of gyrating and pole dancing. And yes, we get it: Your kids were watching, and “WON’T SOMEONE THINK OF THE CHILDREN!?!”  and all that. We are all going to have to wash our eyes out with holy water…

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It should be noted that there were no untruths told by any of the hips on that stage tonight.

I am not the sort of person who hears that the halftime entertainment is going to be Shakira and Jennifer Lopez and thinks, “Oh good!” I’m not a real big fan of either of them, to be honest. When I heard those were the acts, I said, “I’m expecting it’s going to be about 30% music, and 70% outfits.” And I realize some folks are into that, but it’s just not me. So I wasn’t very excited coming into it. Plus, I’m still a little bit pissed about Shakira stealing my idea for her song “My Hips Don’t Lie,” because I had that same basic idea for a song while I was in college…

A lot of people thought it was just epic. I didn’t. It was alright. I thought it was just kind of “Meh.” But the REASON I wasn’t that impressed had nothing to do with the skimpiness of the outfits or the thrustiness of the dance moves. It just wasn’t my thing…

But I’ve got to tell you, seeing all the hand wringing and tsk tsking coming from Christians on social media has got me a bit riled up. I get that everyone knows it’s coming — It’s so boringly predictable that the Purity Culture crowd is going to get up in arms at the sight of some skin on the Super Bowl. There were people lamenting how stuff like this leads to the objectification of women… which leads to porn… which leads to human trafficking… which I guess leads to the worst result: DANCING! There were people piously patting themselves on the back for turning the channel in anticipation of the debauchery. It was all very exhausting.

But I just kept thinking about how so many of the people who were outraged about not enough fabric were also the same people who support the sexual assaulter in chief who is sitting in the White House congratulating the state of Kansas on Kansas City’s big win. This is the same guy who paid to have sex with a porn star..cheating on his third wife (who was also a soft core porn model) while she took care of his newborn child (Trump himself was also in a soft core porn video). The same guy who was recorded bragging about being so famous that he can kiss anyone he wants to… even saying he can “grab ’em by the pussy.” This is the same guy who boasted to Howard Stern about intentionally barging in on naked teenage girls while they were getting dressed for one of his beauty pageants. The same guy who discounted some of the dozens of sexual assault allegations against him by suggesting the the women were too ugly to sexually assault. Yes… Many of the people who voted for the rapist in the White House — and will probably vote for him again — are worried about the example Shakira’s and J Lo’s outfits and dance moves are setting for our kids.

But they have gotten so used to their own hypocrisy that they can’t even see it anymore. If some famous “liberal elite” had said “Goddamn” during the show, they’d be talking about the downfall of America and blaming prayer in schools… But they don’t care at all that Trump regularly says that same word at his rallies. They get upset and invoke the word “bullying” at Don Lemon laughing and poking fun of what a moron Trump is (and, by proxy, the intelligence of the people supporting him)… But they are fine with the regular attacks and name-calling he makes at anyone who he feels threatened by. They are upset about two Latina women’s midriffs… But the cheerleader’s skimpy outfits are just “good, clean American fun.” It is pure, distilled hypocrisy, and it needs to be called out as such.

So if you want to be upset about seeing too much of J Lo’s amazing 50 year old body during the halftime show, I guess feel free… But you don’t get to do it while defending a man who cheated on all three of his wives — one of whom was among the dozens of women who have credibly accused him of sexual assault. This is a man who talked about dating his own daughter. This is a man who implied his accusers were too ugly to rape. You’re supporting a pussy-grabbing rapist who brags about barging in on naked teenagers… If you’re worried about the downfall of society, supporting a person like Trump should probably be more concerning to you than Shakira’s honest hips or J Lo’s pole dancing.

Now excuse me while I scream into my pillow…

 

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Trump Lied About There Being “No Casualties.” Then He Dismissed Traumatic Brain Injuries As “Headaches”

After Donald Trump ordered the assassination of Iran’s Qasem Soleimani with a drone strike, Iran responded by firing 22 missiles as U.S. military bases in Iraq. Usually, a country firing missiles at our military bases would be pretty giant news… Especially if the attack on our military came as a response to a surprise (largely) unprovoked killing of a foreign military general. The Trump administration said that Soleimani’s killing was ordered to stop an “imminent attack,” but then walked back that claim in the following days when they were pressed for a more specific explanation to the question “Why now?” Iran has been our enemy for decades… Why would the U.S. government suddenly make a drastic escalation like this and put U.S. lives at risk?

Obama — along with many other world powers — tried a diplomatic solution to Iran’s nuclear ambitions… A plan that top officials in Trump’s White House said was WORKING. Regardless (and because he has made it one of his administration’s priorities to undo as many of Obama’s accomplishments as possible), Trump decided to pull out of the the JCPOA (the Iran nuclear deal), and then he decided to order an assassination which would escalate tensions with an unstable enemy.

The Wall Street Journal reported that “Mr. Trump, after the strike, told associates he was under pressure to deal with Gen. Soleimani from GOP senators he views as important supporters in his coming impeachment trial in the Senate, associates said.” So, to be clear, the president decided to assassinate an Iranian General to shore up support with some republican senators before his impeachment trial, then dishonestly claim the killing was to prevent an “imminent attack”… All with the understanding that their actions would certainly put the lives of American soldiers at even more risk. So it came as a relief to many when the president told the country there were “NO CASUALTIES” as a result of the missile attacks on U.S. military bases.

It turns out this was a total lie.

When it was reported that there were “no casualties,” it led to speculation that Iran’s attack was more symbolic than anything else, and that they had intentionally avoided injuring U.S. soldiers to avoid a military response from the United States… Kind of like a kid betting punched in the face by a much stronger bully, and then that kid trying to save face by having SOME response, but intentionally having his reaction be harmless to avoid another throttling. The dishonest “no casualties” report was also politically advantageous to the Trump administration because many people were being very critical of the recklessness of this attack, so when they said no one got hurt, Trump was able to play the part of both arsonist AND firefighter.

But after multiple reports came out saying that soldiers were injured in the attacks (blown out of towers, endured concussions, etc…), Pentagon officials finally admitted that ELEVEN soldiers were flown to Germany and Kuwait to get treatment for TBIs (Traumatic Brain Injuries). Just a few hours later, the Pentagon reported the number of casualties was actually 34 people. THIRTY FOUR U.S. soldiers received Traumatic Brain Injuries in the the Iranian missile attacks.

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If only we could be rid of this headache…

You know what? It’s possible that Trump wasn’t technically “lying” when he said there were “no casualties.” Perhaps he mistakenly thought that “casualty” meant “someone was killed.” He is, after all, a moron… And he missed out on military service because of a “debilitating” case of bone spurs. And it’s possible that he was working with bad information when he repeatedly said that “no Americans were injured” in the attacks (though, it should be noted, it makes it harder to trust them when they tell us that no one was hurt in the rocket attacks on the U.S. embassy in Iraq yesterday). So I *suppose* a case can be made that it’s mildly understandable/forgivable that he misspoke or “mischaracterized” what happened. What is NOT understandable or forgivable is what came next…

While he was at Davos, Trump was asked the following question: “Initially you said repeatedly to Americans that after Iran retaliated for the Soleimani strike, ‘No Americans were injured.’ We now know that at least 11 U.S. Servicemen were airlifted from Iraq… Can you explain the discrepancy?” Below is the video of the exchange.

Here’s how Trump answered: “No, uh, I heard that they had headaches. And a couple of other things, but I would say, and I can report, that it is not very serious.” The journalist followed up by asking, “So you don’t think that a potential Traumatic Brain Injury is serious?” And he said, “No I don’t consider them very serious injuries relative to other injuries that I’ve seen,” and then he talked about how he has seen people with no legs or no arms and how he considers those serious (notice how his emphasis is not on the soldier’s injuries, but instead on the fact that he has SEEN those injuries… Classic narcissism). He finished up by saying, “No, I do not consider that to be bad injuries, no.”

Listen… I know that this exercise is a little played out, but I want you to imagine — for a moment — the reaction and faux outrage that would come from republicans if President Obama had said that he does not consider Traumatic Brain Injuries to be serious. Fox”News” would have spent five solid days discussing how debilitating TBIs can be to soldiers… And how democrats don’t care about the troops… And how Obama is on Iran’s side in this attack… And on and on and on. Ask any combat veteran if they think TBIs are “serious.” But instead, the GOP is falling all over itself trying to equivocate Trump’s comments, like republican Senator (and U.S. veteran) Tom Cotton shamelessly does right here:

The U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs has concluded that TBI’s suffered in military conflicts have symptoms which last longer than the symptoms civilians report. In Iraq and Afghanistan, 22% of all combat casualties are TBIs… Compared with 12% of combat casualties in Vietnam. People who have experienced even mild Traumatic Brain Injuries “are also at increased risk for psychiatric disorders compared to the general population, including depression and PTSD.”  Meanwhile, the suicide rate for veterans and military members is at an all time high. The VFW has demanded that Trump apologize for his ignorant and insensitive comments. Good luck with that…

Here’s the point: The Republican Party does not care about veterans… They care about using veterans to get votes so they can stay in power. Just like they don’t care about abortions… They care about using abortion as a carrot they can dangle in front of evangelicals to get them to the polls. Veterans are nothing more than a photo op to these people. If republicans cared at all about standing up for veterans, they would stand up to Trump’s completely unforgivable dismissal of Traumatic Brain Injuries as “headaches” that are “not serious.” Instead, they line up behind a disgraceful, dishonest draft-dodger who dishonors our nation on a daily basis.

I should admit that in reality, there are some probably some republicans who genuinely care about veterans… But here’s what they are worried about: They have tethered themselves to an unstable, immoral idiot. And if they break with Trump — even for something as clearly egregious as this — he will take his followers with him… leaving two smaller parties of the FRTP and the RRR (Far Right Trumper Purists and Relatively Reasonable Republicans) — NEITHER of which will be able to compete with democrats in a national election. So they justify and ignore his lying and his cheating and his corruption and his pussy grabbing and even his off-handed dismissal of the injuries to the soldiers he put in harm’s way — Just like they are justifying and ignoring the clear crimes he has committed in this impeachment trial. And it’s so very, very gross…

One thing is for sure: STOP. VOTING. REPUBLICAN.

Thank you for reading! Please get involved in some way in the political process. Put your representative and your senators’ numbers on your phone, and call them when you hear about stuff like this. Help register people to vote. Talk to your friends. Get involved. It matters who governs… Especially to people with less privilege than you. If you love this blog, and you’d like to help support it, you can BECOME A PATRON. If you’re feeling generous and you’d like to leave a tip, you can DO THAT ON PAYPAL. Otherwise, follow me on Twitter and on Facebook for more Jesus, Politics, & Bathroom Humor.

 

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Here’s How To Tell If Your Church Is Trash

I heard a song today. It gave me hope — Which is something that seems to be increasingly rare these days… ESPECIALLY songs that have anything to do with Jesus or the Church or Christianity. But it happened, and I’m happy to share that with the misfits who, for whatever reason, read this the stuff I write.

Donald Trump Holds Campaign Rally In Mobile, Alabama

Jesus, this picture. God help us…

 

This post is about that song. It was written by a dude named Daniel Deitrich, and it is called “Hymn For The 81%.” There are two things I’d like to happen with this post… The first is I really want you to listen to the song. Please — PLEASE spend five minutes of your day listening to it. Here it is:

Here are the lyrics.

I grew up in your churches
Sunday morning, evening service
Knelt in tears at the foot of the rugged cross
You taught me every life is sacred
feed the hungry, clothe the naked
I learned from you the highest law is Love

I believed you when you said
that I should trust the words in red
To guide my steps through a wicked world
I assumed you’d do the same
so imagine my dismay
When I watched you lead the sheep to the wolves

You said to love the lost
So I’m loving you now
You said to speak the truth
So I’m calling you out
Why don’t you live the words
That you put in my mouth
May love overcome and justice roll down

They started putting kids in cages
Ripping mothers from their babies
And I looked to you to speak on their behalf
But all I heard was silence
Or worse you justify it
Singing glory hallelujah raise the flag

Your fear had turned to hatred
But you baptized it with language
torn from the pages of the good book
You weaponized religion
And you wonder why I’m leaving
To find Jesus on the wrong side of your walls

And then near the end, he sings, “Come home. Come home. You’re better than this. You taught me better than this.” He PLEADS with the 81%, “COME HOME.”

I have written many times before (HERE, HERE, and HERE to name a few) about watching white evangelicals abandon Jesus in the pursuit of political power, and about the dismay of seeing so many who would call themselves “christians” support a man who is easily and objectively as polar opposite to the Spirit of Christ as anyone on the planet. I’m convinced that the church’s support of and silence on the immorality and abject evil that Donald Trump champions has done more to injure the reputation of Christianity than anything in my lifetime.

So I titled this post “How To Tell If Your Church Is Trash.” And even though there is obviously more than one way to figure out that your church is trash, but here’s the litmus test I am providing you today: If you attend a church that would not play this song during the service, your church is trash. That’s one sure way to know you are attending the wrong church. And on the off chance you are one of my readers who still attends church on a somewhat regular basis, this is good information to have. But even if you are one of my many readers who doesn’t go to church or even count yourself as particularly spiritual, I’m betting you still appreciate this song. Or if you are one of the many people who grew up in the Church, but who have transitioned into a time of your life where going to church feels like something that does a better job at distancing you from the divine than drawing you near, chances are you will enjoy that song as well.

I am one of the ones who left. There are many reasons why people leave. Many of us didn’t leave the churches of our youth because we don’t believe in Jesus anymore… We left because we took the words we said and the promises we made SERIOUSLY. We cared too much about Jesus to stay in a Church that worships white nationalism, political power, and a narcissistic charlatan rather than following the one who commanded us take care of the immigrant & stranger, feed the hungry, and take care of the sick. Many of us still love the one who told his followers to love our enemies, rather than taking guns to a worship service, ready to kill them. A lot of people have figured out that the American church is way more about white supremacy and patriarchy than it is about following Jesus… And so we left.

Which brings us to the second thing I’d love to see happen: I’d love to see worship leaders all over this fractured country take a principled stand against the alignment of the church with this country’s immoral, lying president, and I’d like them to play this song during the offering on a Sunday Service. I’d love to see musicians all over America symbolically overturn the tables of their temples with this song. I’d love to see men and women sing this song in front of congregations who have lost their way, and who need a prophetic voice asking them to COME HOME. I’d love to see people risk losing their jobs to “love the lost” and “speak the truth” to churches who desperately need to be called out.

There is power in music. There is a strength in Truth being SUNG that sometimes doesn’t come through as clearly as when the Truth is simply spoken. So if you know someone who leads worship in a church that has lost its way… A church that regularly confuses the cross with the flag… A church that has forgotten whether they are following Jesus, or the guy who bragged about “grabbing them by the pussy,” SEND THEM THIS POST. Have them listen to this song. Ask them to consider singing it for the congregations they serve.

And if you are one of the millions of people who attend one of these churches that actively support the corrupt, immoral man sitting in the White House… Or if you are part of a congregation who stays silent when the leadership in our country aligns themselves with white nationalists, separates kids from their parents when families flee to our country, and locks kids in cages while fighting against needing to provide them with toothpaste… If you are part of a congregation who would never even consider playing the amazing song Daniel Deitrich has created… I’ve got some difficult news for you, but you’ve probably already been suspecting it: Your church is trash. It’s time to find Jesus on the other side of those walls…

 

Thank you so much for reading. Also thank you for the amazing support I received after the last post I wrote. It really means a lot to me. Thank you to my new Patrons, Kirk and Kim! If you value this blog, and you’d like to become a Patron, you can DO THAT HERE. If  you appreciate this post, you’re feeling generous, and you’d like to leave a tip of PayPal, you can DO THAT RIGHT HERE. Otherwise, you can keep up with me on FACEBOOK as well as on TWITTER. There’s some fun stuff there… Anyway, keep working, stay hopeful, and thank you again for the support!

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