If You Don’t Wear A Mask, You Are Neither “Christian” Nor “Patriotic.”

How’s that tea taste? Are you feeling a little triggered? Do you have a deep sense of “How DARE you?!?” Do you want to speak with a manager? Well, good…

Before I get into it, let me give you some information about how the United States is doing with its response to the coronavirus pandemic:

  • In four months, over 120,000 Americans have died from the coronavirus and COVID-19… That’s more people than the total number of Americans who died in World War I.
  • The U.S. has MORE THAN DOUBLE the number of cases than the next closest country. That’s 2,280,000 cases… Over 1.25 MILLION MORE than the next closest country.
  • Florida hospitals are running out of ICU beds. Many other states are experiencing the highest ICU occupancy right now of any time since the pandemic began.
  • The United States is averaging about 900 COVID-19 deaths per day.
  • Only 21 states are seeing a downward trend in the number of new coronavirus cases. Eight are holding relatively steady. And 21 states are seeing upward trends week to week… Mostly states that rushed to reopen. States like New York, New Jersey, and Michigan that put strict policies in place are seeing better results.
  • Churches are accounting for many outbreaks. West Virginia has seen FIVE different outbreaks because of church services… THIS CHURCH SERVICE in Oregon infected 236 people… 40% of the attendees of this Arkansas church tested positive.
  • The European Union has 115 million more people than us & has done nearly as many tests, but this is how their average new cases graph looks compared to ours:

We basically shut down the entire country when there were about 3000 cases in the entire country that we knew of… Right now, there are more active coronavirus cases than at any point since the pandemic began (1,219,722 active cases), and people can’t be bothered to put a mask on while they are grocery shopping. Because they “don’t like the way it feels.” Both the president and the vice president refuse to wear a mask, because they think it will make them look weak (when in reality, the thing that makes them look weak is their lack of intelligence, their dishonesty, and their cowardice). And now today, trump will travel to Tulsa for an indoor political rally, when Oklahoma’s new reported cases average is higher than ever and trending up… Right after Mike Pence outright lied about the number of cases flattening out there. 

And here’s the hell of it: The folks who are refusing to wear masks are the ones who are the most likely to identify as “christian” & call themselves “patriotic.” You know the type… The ones with pictures of crosses and flags on their SUVs and their profile pics. The folks with stars & stripes clothes and “Look at me, I’m am a Christian!” t-shirts are WAY more likely to make a case for why masks are “tyranny.” 

There is nothing more fundamentally Christian or essentially patriotic than doing things for others out of a place of care and concern for the community of people around you. By not wearing a mask when you go out, you are not “exercising your freedom” or “standing up for liberty.” You are simply identifying yourself as an ignorant, self-centered asshole who cares so little for the women & men around you, that you are unwilling to mildly inconvenience yourself for their health & safety. You don’t look tough or brave… You look inconsiderate and selfish. You’re not a freedom fighter… You’re just an ass.

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Speaking of asses, this was Kid Rock’s bar here in Nashville this weekend. Don’t worry, y’all… The guy in the middle right wearing a green shirt coughed into his elbow. Everyone should be fine…

The Bible is very clear when it comes to loving our neighbor. If you can’t muster enough love for your neighbor to wear a freaking mask while walking though Kroger, then how dare you call yourself a follower of Jesus. Masks primarily keep other people safe from YOU. You might have the virus, and not know it. Just because you believe your Jesus powers are going to keep you safe from this virus, doesn’t mean you can’t pass it on to someone else. And “Patriotic?” These people tear up when Lee Greenwood starts playing… They cover their hearts for the pledge… They like to think they would volunteer or make sacrifices for their country. But while they’re walking though Lowes, they can’t even make the sacrifice of wearing a mask that might end up saving someone’s life. Or someone’s grandma’s life. Or someone’s friend’s life who has diabetes or asthma or something else that could make this virus even more deadly.

And the people who complain the most about wanting things to “get back to normal” seem to be the ones who are the most unwilling to do this one simple thing that has been proven to lower the transmission of this virus. People who won’t wear masks in public shouldn’t be permitted to complain about places being closed or their routine being changed. If it turns out all the experts are wrong about masks and your friend from high school is right, at the very worst you will have endured a mild nuisance in order to try to keep your neighbors safe. If gathering that basic level of compassion for the people in your community is too much for you, you have no business calling yourself a “Christian” or claiming any sort of “patriotism.” You don’t love Jesus or your country nearly as much as you love “owning the libs.”

WEAR A MASK.

 

Thank you for reading. I look forward to the angry comments from patriotic christians… I have a new Patron! Her name is Laurie, and she rocks. My job still hasn’t started back up yet, so when people decide to do this, it’s a really big deal for me. If you’d like to help support this blog, you too can BECOME A PATRON. Or you can LEAVE A TIP ON PAYPAL, or Venmo me at “chris-boeskool.” Please also like my FACEBOOK PAGE and FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER for more fun. And for the love of all things good, WEAR A MASK!

 

Posted in 1) Jesus, 2) Politics, 3) Bathroom Humor, 4) All Of The Above | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

For Those Concerned About Rioting and Looting…

Have you ever been so angry that you punched something? Not someONE… SomeTHING. Like a wall, or a door? I have. Have you ever been so furious that you broke something that belonged to you? Something valuable? I have done that too. People talk about how dumb it is for rioters to destroy where they live… But angry people destroy their own stuff all the time.

Now imagine “where you live” can feel more like a prison you can’t escape from than a home. Imagine looking around everyday and seeing reminders of a system that is designed to keep you poor and powerless.

The video below is six minutes and forty-six seconds long. If you are a person who claims to care about Black lives, but you are spending your time and energy being critical of the protests the murder of George Floyd has ignited, I would like you to ask yourself if you have a little over six minutes worth of time you are willing to give to understanding what is BEHIND the protests when they turn into “riots,” or when things are destroyed, or when people break windows and take things that aren’t theirs. Find six minutes and forty-six seconds, and let this amazing woman EDUCATE you. Let her passion and her knowledge and her right anger break your heart. Please, watch every second of this…

That’s it. That’s really all I wanted to say: Just watch this video. Nothing I might write could ever be as powerful or as poignant as this woman’s righteous rage. Her name is Kimberly Jones, she is an author and activist, and if you are wise, you will look at her words as a GIFT. If you are a white person like me, we cannot allow ourselves, as Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote about in his Letter From A Birmingham Jail, to be…

the white moderate who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says ‘I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I can’t agree with your methods of direct action;’ who paternalistically feels he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by the myth of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait until a ‘more convenient season.'”

He wrote those words in an Alabama jail cell. And 57 years later, this nation is still burdened with the same shameful problem. And we’re still asking Black folks to wait… to be patient. If you are focusing on the “what” of rioting instead of the “why,” you are part of the problem. You are doing more harm than any broken window at Target. We have got to be better, and we’ve got to DO better.

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We have broken the social contract.

Now, if you’re anything like me, you’re probably going to watch that video again. Let it change you… Let it break your heart.

 

If you were inspired by Kim Jones’ words, and you like to contribute to her work, you can do that RIGHT HERE. Also, if you value this blog as a place that challenges, informs, and inspires you, and you’d like to help support my writing, please consider BECOMING A PATRON. If you’d like to leave a tip, you can do that ON PAYPAL, or you can Venmo me at “chris-boeskool”. You can also follow me on Twitter and on Facebook.

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5 Ways White People Can Help Right Now

Over the last few days, I have had quite a few of my white friends reach out to me and ask the question, “What can I do?” People’s hearts are broken. People want to HELP. All these videos… All this abuse… We don’t know what to do. It just feels like wave after wave of injustice and ignorance and hatred. And if this much racial injustice and abuse is being recorded, just try to imagine how much is NOT being recorded. It’s overwhelming. But please hear me: Things are NOT hopeless, and we are NOT helpless. Here are five things we can do right now, as white people, to help our Black brothers & sisters in their fight for justice, equality, and human rights:

1. LISTEN — In my opinion, this is the most important thing we can do. Stop talking… Stop getting defensive… And just listen. Believe the Black voices around you who have been saying for YEARS that things are not okay. Black voices have been pleading with their white brothers & sisters to LISTEN. If we had been listening, believing, and responding to those voices, we would not be in the situation we are in today. As Martin Luther King, Jr. has said, “Riot is the language of the unheard.” Part of that listening is revisiting the prophetic black voices of the past. Look up videos of Angela Davis (HERE IS ONE from 50 years ago during her prison hunger strike), James Baldwin (HERE’S ONE about riots), Malcom X (SPEAKING ABOUT police brutality), and speeches by Dr. King other than his “I Have A Dream” speech (Like his “Letter From A Birmingham Jail.” Listen to the whole thing). Listen to the still-speaking voices of Rev. Dr. William Barber II and Dr. Cornel West. Get on Twitter, and find the voices of today’s black leadership in social justice to follow…. And listen, Listen, LISTEN.

2. SPEAK UP — I know… “Which is it?” right? “Do you want me to listen, or do you want me to speak up?” Well, the answer is both. We should be listening more than we are talking, but if we see or hear someone saying something ignorantly racist and harmful, it is our RESPONSIBILITY to speak up — especially when dealing with our white friends and family. Be willing to sacrifice relationships with racist relatives. Be ready to deal with the anger that comes with white fragility. Make yourself uncomfortable. It is not the responsibility of Black people to educate white folks on our own racism, implicit biases, and how we are supporting white supremacy. Don’t put this on our Black brothers and sisters. They are exhausted. They are using their voice and their energy right now to say something that SHOULD be self-evident: I am a human being, and I don’t deserve to die because I didn’t satisfactorily submit to your authority.”

3. FOLLOW BLACK LEADERSHIP — Today, Reddit’s co-founder Alexis Ohanian stepped down from the board, asked them to replace him with a Black person, vowed to use future gains on his stocks to combat racial hatred, and he gave a million dollars to Colin Kaepernick’s “Know Your Rights Camp.” Where we can, we white folks need to seek out and follow Black leadership. In many cases, this will mean actively stepping back from our own positions of leadership. If you are in a position, use your voice and authority to DEMAND more representation from People of Color on boards and in leadership roles. Amplify the voices of Black people. And if you are joining the crowds of protestors declaring that Black Lives Matter, this will mean looking to Black leadership to see what to do next, and using every bit of your white privilege to stand between violence and the black bodies it is intended for. If you want a visual example of what that looks like, watch this video…

4. STOP SAYING THESE THINGS — Honestly, this started as the whole topic of this blog post. I was super pissed, and I just wanted to rage against all the ignorance around me… But here’s the thing: Not very long ago, this was ME saying these things. And it’s easier to let go of some of that rage when you remember you used to be the same way. People can learn. We can change. And even though there are SO many more than two things we need to stop saying, in the hopes of keeping this relatively short, here are two:

  • “Not All White People”
    White people — If I said, “White people treat 911 like it’s customer service,” how do those words make you feel? Did you have a deep sense of “NOT ME!” Did it make you feel “discriminated against?” Did it make you feel like leaving a comment about how my saying something like this was only being “divisive?” Did something inside you long to cry out “NOT ALL WHITE PEOPLE!”About a week and a half ago (though it feels more like a year), I wrote a post titled “White People Care More About A Lady Choking Her Dog Than We Do About Police Choking A Black Man.” And I got a FLURRY of “Not All White People” responses. It was more of a blizzard… A white-out, really. People read the title, and they were OUTRAGED that anyone would say something so discriminatory. “That’s not fair to say,” they let me know. “I care about BOTH,” many said. “I know PLENTY of white people who care more about George Floyd’s death than the dog getting choked.” And on and on… This phenomenon is known as “Not-All-ing,” and it’s designed to help people avoid the uncomfortable feeling of taking responsibility for the actions of a group they are a part of, under the guise of not generalizing. “Not all white people.” “Not all men.” “Not all cops.” It’s the beating heart of the anger at the “Okay Boomer” & the “Karen” memes… It’s everywhere.

    If someone says “Republicans don’t care about poor people,” or “Christians are responsible for most of the suffering in the world,” obviously they are not making the statement that there are no exceptions. If a statement like this doesn’t apply to you, simply let it go. I am a straight, white man. If I spent my time being offended every time someone came at straight, white men, I’d have no time to do anything else… Besides, straight, white men are the FREAKING WORST. The point is this: If someone says “White people are to blame for this,” and your first thought is “Not ALL white people” instead of examining the ways we white people ARE to blame for this, then your heart is in the wrong place. Your focus is on defending rather than restoring.

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    More brilliance from David Hayward, the “Naked Pastor.”

  • “All Lives Matter.”
    I can’t believe people are still saying this… It’s been covered so many different ways. But in addition to helping by not saying it, we can help by being able to explain to other white people why saying it is so very harmful and hateful. If you go to a doctor because your arm is broken, she doesn’t tell you “All bones matter.” When people post remembrances of the September 11th attacks, people don’t respond with “All buildings matter.” If someone wears a breast cancer t-shirt, what kind of a person demands the person wearing that shirt acknowledge that “ALL cancers matter”??But people keep doing this with Black Lives… And it’s super gross. All lives CAN’T matter until Black lives matter. And if you call yourself a Christian and you are saying “All lives matter,” you have missed the entire point of Jesus. When Jesus talked about the Kingdom of God, he spoke about God being like a shepherd who, when one sheep was lost, left the 99 other sheep to find it. Because THAT what the sheep who needed help. Right now, our Black brothers and sisters need HELP. And anyone who feels the need to say “All Lives Matter” as a response to “Black Lives Matter,” is not only not helping… They are actively doing harm. It needs to stop.

5. LOOK FOR REASONS TO BE HOPEFUL — People who are without hope are not motivated to help work for change. Despite the steady stream of violence and brutality and garbage coming at us, there are reasons to be hopeful. Just the fact that these protests are happening is reason to be hopeful… Can you imagine if the world saw George Floyd handcuffed and murdered with a knee on his neck, calling out for his dead mother (think of Jesus on the cross), while people pleaded with those officers to spare his life… and then no one DID ANYTHING??? No one marched? No one screamed? No one got angry? THAT would be a reason to lose hope…

In Nashville (where I live), more than 20,000 people just marched and protested the other day… This action was started and organized by FOUR TEENAGE GIRLS. There are reasons to be hopeful. Here is an amazing photo from the march taken by Alex Kent…

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100% kick ass.

And it’s not just young people who are inspired to act. This 83 year old woman stood outside of her house and held up a sign that read “Defend Black Voices” as marchers walked by. She told them, “I am so proud of you young people.” Listen to them cheer for her. There are reasons to be hopeful…

When a center for low-income housing asked for food donations in Minneapolis this week, so many people responded that it turned into a distribution center for food. They had more than they could handle, and told people to take what they needed. I wrote about it HERE. There are reasons to be hopeful…

One more… When people were fleeing police violence and teargas in D.C., a man named Rahul Dubey invited dozens of scared protestors into his home. Police waited outside, and even knocked on his door demanding he send them out to get arrested. He refused. He let about 70 people spend the night in his home. You can read the story HERE. There are reasons to be hopeful…

There are many more things that need to be done. Systemic problems need systemic change… And that doesn’t happen overnight. But the kinds of changes that our country needs to make are not going to take place unless we white folks wake up and help work to make it happen. So listen… Speak up… Follow Black leaders… Stop saying stupid things… And look for reasons to be hopeful. Don’t give up. I love you.

 

Five years ago, I wrote a post called “13 Things White People Do When You Point Out Racism.” It’s still good today, if you’d like to read it. There are many other things white folks need to stop doing. We need to stop seeking out the one black voice out of 1000 who agrees with our racist world view. *CoughCandaceOwensCough* And we need to stop looking for character assassination stories to “justify” ending a life. It’s disgusting. If you see people doing this, call them out.

Anyway, I really do love you, and I’m thankful you read this. If you’d like to support this blog, you can BECOME A PATRON. It’s easy and fun, and it makes a difference. If you’d like to leave me a tip, you can DO THAT ON PAYPAL, or you can Venmo me at “chris-boeskool”. And if you’d like to keep up with me, you can follow me on Facebook and on Twitter.

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A Minneapolis Center For Low-Income Housing Asked For Food Donations… Here’s How People Responded

This is going to be a very short post…

If you’re anything like me, the last week has been a blur of depressing news… And part of the reason for that blurriness has been the tears in my eyes. You don’t need to look very hard right now to find something that will make you feel hopeless. I started writing the other day about something I felt was important, and then I just couldn’t.

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I promise not everything is crap.

But I saw this video a few minutes ago, and I was reminded that not everything is shit, and I thought some of you might need a reminder as well. While parts of Minneapolis are on fire and riots continue, a local center for low-income housing asked the community for help with food donations. Here was the community’s response… Please watch the video below.

There is a lot of work to be done. There are a lot of reasons to be discouraged. There are a lot of reasons to cry… But not all of them are because there is so much hatred and injustice in the world. SOME of the reasons to cry are because there is still beauty and goodness and the best parts of humanity all around us.

I really needed this reminder. I thought you might be able to use it too… Now get back to work demanding justice and using whatever influence you have to put an end to systemic racism.

 

If you love my blog, and you’d like to help financially support it, you can BECOME A PATRON… You can LEAVE A TIP ON PAYPAL (like Jennifer did, which was a mother thing that made me tear up)… Or you can Venmo your generosity to “chris-boeskool.” You can also follow me ON TWITTER and ON FACEBOOK for more glimmers of hope, moments of outrage, and general tomfoolery usually having to do with Jesus, Politics, & Bathroom Humor. I love you all.

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White People Care More About A Lady Choking Her Dog Than We Do About Police Choking A Black Man

In the past 24 hours, social media has been filled up with a video of a woman named Amy Cooper who was filmed in New York’s Central Park making a distressed call to 911 falsely reporting that her life was being threatened by a black man who told her she needed to follow the rules and put her dog on a leash. Christian Cooper — a birdwatcher who was walking through the park — noticed the woman’s dog off its leash (which is dangerous and illegal), and he told the woman she needed to leash her dog. The woman became irate when the man called out to her dog, and he started filming her with his phone, and SHE approached HIM… Even though he asked her multiple times, “Please don’t come close to me.” She then threatened to call the police, and the man responded, “PLEASE call the cops.” Please watch the video below

And that is where the video goes from disturbing to downright dangerous. She says, “I’m going to tell them there’s an African American man threatening my life.” And she does. As anyone who has paid attention to the news over the past ten year/100 years/235 years KNOWS, this is an attack that could potentially end this man’s life. When a white person called the police about 12 year old Tamir Rice being in a park with a toy gun, police drove up and shot him dead literally before their car stopped rolling. When a white person called the police about John Crawford III walking around a Walmart with a gun (which happened to be a toy gun they sold in that Walmart), police showed up and shot him dead before giving him any sort of chance to explain or even drop the gun.

This sort of thing has a very long tradition in this country. It was a white woman’s tears that got 14 year old Emmett Till lynched in 1955 for whistling at/near a white woman… An accusation she later confessed to fabricating.

Despite this white woman weaponizing her tears and fears against yet another black man, the thing that MANY white folks on Twitter seemed particularly disturbed and outraged by was her rough treatment of the dog. Black folks on Twitter saw her actions and were like, “Holy shit, that lady is trying to get him KILLED.” But many, MANY white folks watched that video and came away from it with a sense of “That poor dog.” Within hours, people had found the woman’s name, searched her socials, found where she got the dog, and made hundreds of calls to the rescued pet adoption agency called “Abandoned Angels.” She surrendered the dog to the rescue/adoption agency within the same day. And listen, I’m not saying her treatment of the animal wasn’t disturbing… But if you watch a video like this and feel more concern for the dog than you do for the man being reported to the police for “threatening her life,” you’ve got some serious issues.

This morning I awoke to the news that a police officer murdered yet another black man… All while people filmed it and begged for the officer to take his knee off the man’s neck. I hesitate to post the video, because it is so grotesquely and gratuitously evil. The internet is flush with pictures and videos of dead black bodies, sacrificed at the alter of white supremacy. I don’t want to do more harm, and I certainly don’t want to normalize the brutality that continues day after day… I don’t know what the right thing to do is, but so many people don’t believe any of this is real unless they SEE it. So see it… And if you have a heart, let this video break it.

The man’s name is George Floyd. Police responded to a report of a forgery, after a grocery store called and reported him as trying to write a bad check. They arrested him, they had him on the ground, and STILL the man pressed his knee into George Floyd’s neck, putting his weight on him as he repeated told him, “I cannot breathe.” He died shortly after… Like Eric Garner died — begging for his life, with his last words declaring his inability to breathe. Eric Garner was killed/murdered/lynched for the “capital” crime of selling loose cigarettes… George Floyd was killed/murdered/lynched for the “capital” crime of reportedly writing a bad check. Even if this was 100% true, imagine sentencing a man to DEATH for writing a bad check. My God… How utterly broken is this country?

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Brilliance from Tom Garrahan. Search “righthandeleftyartist” on Twitter and Intstagram more of his great work…

Amy Cooper denies being racist… As “evidenced” by her use of the term “African American” instead of her deciding to use another term. In an interview with NBC, Amy said, “When I think about the police, I’m such a blessed person. I’ve come to realize, especially today, that I think of [the police] as a protection agency, and unfortunately, this has caused me to realize that there are so many people in this country that don’t have that luxury.” Oh, word? White privilege exists?!? You don’t say… After a dangerous act of racism and some dog abuse, all it took for her to realize this was losing her dog and her job. Consider that for a moment: Most white people think of the police as an agency responsible for personally protecting them… Many black folks look at the police as an agency that could very likely end up killing them if they’re called.

Many times nothing happens unless people get upset enough to pick up their phones. Don’t forget that police and prosecutors had video of Ahmaud Arbery getting murdered for TWO MONTHS without bringing charges against the father and son (and later, against their friend who followed them & filmed it) who followed, attacked, and murdered an unarmed black man in southern Georgia. As folks have said before, they didn’t arrest the men who killed him because they saw the tape… They arrested those men because WE saw the tape.

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Which of these videos do you think inspired more white folks to pick up their phones?

In the past 24 hours, two living beings were choked on camera. One was a dog choked by a white woman while she tried to get a black man killed by the police… The other was an actual human being who WAS killed by the police after someone made a similar call about him. When the woman treated her dog roughly, thousands of people did detective work, they found out where the woman adopted her dog, and they made hundreds of calls… resulting in the dog being taken from her custody and put somewhere safe from harm. George Floyd was treated worse than a dog, and he was murdered while he lie in the street. Ask yourself this: Are you as angry about a man pressing his knee into a black man’s neck as he pleads for his life — over a reported bad check being written — as you are about a dog being choked as it is grabbed by its collar? Because something tells me a lot of you would be more outraged if this cop was filmed choking the life out of a cocker spaniel…

I’ll leave you with the words of W. Kamau Bell:

“Always remember that police bought Dylann Roof some Burger King after he had murdered 9 Black people.

George Floyd was accused of forgery.”

 

Folks, I love you. I’m serious. I know it seems like wave after wave of depressing news and sadness and despair and lonely isolation. But please look closely for people around you who care. Look for ways to listen and be there for your friends… ESPECIALLY people of color as they mourn the racism and indifference and death all around them. If you are feeling depressed and alone, I hope this post makes you feel less so. But more than feeling better, I hope you are MOVED TO ACTION. These killings cannot continue, and we HAVE to get angry enough to ACT.

Thank you for reading… And thank you to my newest Patron, Stacy W. If you value this blog and you’d like to help support my writing, you can BECOME A PATRON, you can LEAVE A TIP ON PAYPAL, or you can Venmo me at “chris-boeskool.” Also, feel free to follow me on Twitter and on Facebook.

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This Was A Pool In Lake Of The Ozarks This Weekend… We Are So Screwed.

I’m not usually one to believe conspiracy theories, but I’m starting to think white people are trying to make me lose all hope. This was the scene this Memorial Day weekend at a place in Missouri called “Backwater Jack’s.”

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I learned yesterday that a group of Karens found in the wild is called Complaint, but I believe one this size is called a “White Claw.”

Initially, I saw this video posted on Twitter, and I didn’t want to believe this was real…

I’m not familiar with any of the places in Lake of the Ozarks, so I did a little research, and it led me to the website of Backwater Jacks. I cross referenced the videos with Instagram pictures from the last 24 hours, and then saw a bunch of other videos and photos taken from today. Backwater Jack’s has a blog post advertising their Memorial Day Party, and on that blog (dated May 19th) is the only place on the website that mentions anything about social distancing… But it’s seems like it’s mentioned more as a teaser than anything  else. Here is the quote from their blog post: “Due to current social distancing guidelines, capacity will be limited to first-come, first-served. (That means, get here early for a great spot!) Added precautions have been taken to ensure everyone’s health and safety.”

Granted, most of the responses to the blizzard of ignorance and drunken carelessness has negative. Some people are making fun, some people are angry, and some are just plain exhausted by the daily barrage of stupidity. Responses like this one…

But there were also plenty of responses like this:

And this:

If I was a doctor in Missouri and I saw videos like this, I’d consider washing my hands and just going home. For good. People talk about how they’re “not going to live in fear.” Nobody is ASKING you to live in fear… We’re asking you to live with just a basic amount of consideration of others. People were writing things like “I don’t see any old people in that pool… They’re going to be just fine.” As if no younger people have died from this virus and the disease it causes. As if no healthcare workers have died or gotten horribly sick from this. As if these morons aren’t going to take this virus and pass it on to their parent of grandparent and end up killing someone. And I just can’t anymore…

There ARE a couple rules they have over at Backwater Jacks, though. 1) No kids in the Bar Pool, and 2) No glass bottles. Apparently, having kids in water with drunk people is frowned upon… But I think this is just people “living in fear.” And do you know WHY they don’t allow glass bottles around the pool? Because someone might get hurt. Someone might cut their foot. And bleed a little bit (I almost broke my laptop I just typed those words so hard). I just want to call them every name. I want to wake up the neighbors with the sounds of my cursing.

If one of those morons shit in the pool, they would shut it down. They would close down the pool, and clean it out. For a piece of poop. It’s not going to kill you… It not going to possibly kill someone you come in contact with… But you can SEE it. You can SEE poop. You can’t SEE this virus. And these idiots would RUN from the poop in the pool. Even though it’s not going to hurt anyone. There would be no talk about how they’re “not going to live in fear” when they saw the poop. I mean, if someone died in the pool yesterday, they would shut down the pool. For the rest of the day. Someone DIED, right? HAVE SOME RESPECT! But if five or ten people die three weeks from now, WHO CARES!?!

And yeah, some of you are probably thinking, “Why did he have to make it about white people earlier?” And the reason is simple… Because it IS about white people. This virus and the disease it causes is disproportionately killing black people and the elderly. If there were a highly contagious virus going around that was disproportionately killing young white folks, you would NOT see a packed pool full of drunken, gyrating white people in Missouri. You would see these folks talking about “taking this seriously.” And “thinking of others.” Meanwhile, the president (who doesn’t know what “per capita” means) is encouraging churches to reopen, even if their governor says not to… And again, I say… WE ARE SO SCREWED. I hope y’all liked this economic crash and a couple months of quarantine, because we’re going to have to do it all over again in the fall.

There are enough idiots in the world to ruin things for the rest of us. There are enough businesses that care nothing about public health, and only care about making that money. It’s clear that “Backwater Jack’s” is one of those businesses. If one of those indestructible white youth in that water warmed by the Missouri sun (and 5% to 10% urine) cut their foot on a glass bottle that Backwater Jack’s provided, some young Karen would file a negligence lawsuit before the Kid Rock song was finished. I truly hope — when someone loses a family member and traces it back to someone who caught the virus at that pool — that they sue them for everything they have.

Ugh. I’m so angry. The world is watching us. Remember when “christians” started acting so awful that you stopped wanting to associate yourself with that word anymore? That’s how I’m feeling more and more about the word “American.” When I feel like this, it makes me feel better to DO something about it. So other than just writing this at 3AM, I’m going to be making some calls tomorrow. If you’re like me, and this makes you angry as well, I have a couple phone numbers for you…

The number for Backwater Jack’s is 573-348-6639 (though something tells me I doubt they’ll care). You can also blow up their Facebook and their Twitter (though their Twitter account is currently suspended).

You can also call the office of the Osage Beach Mayor, John Olivarri. The number for the Mayor’s office is 573-302-2000. Let them know you were thinking about a vacation to Lake of the Ozarks, but after you’ve seen how irresponsibly the businesses are acting in the time of a worldwide pandemic, you’ll be taking you vacation money somewhere else. Like Kentucky (try to say that part without laughing).

While you’re at it, give the Governor’s office a ring as well. The governor’s office number is 573-751-3222. Let him know you will NOT be heading to Missouri anytime soon, and that the money your were planning on spending in his state, you are instead going to donate to his democratic opponent in the next election. You can also call Missouri senators Roy Blunt (202-224-5721, and his Twitter is HERE), and Josh Hawley (202-224-6154, and his Twitter HERE). While you’re at it, call Osage Beach’s State Rep Rocky Miller at 573-751-3604. You’re never going to believe this, but every one of these people is a republican who is also a white man…

There is so much crazy going around right now — Those of us who recognize it have to start making way more noise. I’ve got to go to bed now. I’ve got to get up early and apologize to my neighbors for screaming that word…

 

Thank you for reading. Kelley left me a tip on Venmo. I’m so thankful for people who love this blog and want to help out by supporting me. If that’s you, you can Venmo me at chris-boeskool, or leave a TIP ON PAYPAL. You can also BECOME A PATRON, which is really cool and helpful. Also, please check me out on Facebook and on Twitter.

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Anti-Maskers: It’s Not Freedom You’re Fighting For… It’s Selfishness

This week marks the 40th anniversary of the Mt. St. Helens eruption. I watched a documentary about it today with my kids. The similarities between what happened back then to what is happening today with “reopen” protesters and “anti-maskers” was really interesting… Before the mountain exploded, scientists and experts in the fields of geology and volcanology warned residents of the impending eruption. Many of the people around Mt. St. Helens were very angry at being told they had to evacuate their homes & businesses. The mountain was calm for a couple days, so (feeling pressure from people demanding to go to their cabins) the Governor — the day before the eruption — allowed a caravan of people into the restricted area to check on their things. They were planning another trip into the danger zone on the day of the eruption… Luckily the mountain exploded early in the morning, saving hundreds of lives. Still, 57 people lost their lives on that day 40 years ago.

I imagined if — in 1980 — everyone had a cell phone in their pocket… Reading and sharing articles about the ONE geologist out of 100 who says that there is nothing to worry about… Accusing the other 99% of geologists of being funded by some liberal billionaire… The SAME billionaire who supposedly controls all the media and pays all the journalists to lie about what is happening. I could almost see them standing there with their “Don’t Tread On Me” flags at the “Reopen Mt. St. Helens” rally as the pyroclastic flow storms down the side of the mountain…

Today, we are living in a time where scientists and experts warned us IN JANUARY of the impending explosion that this virus would cause. Yet an incompetent administration in charge of leading this country ignored the warnings of the experts for two crucial months, they politicized the science behind the warnings, and they fanned the flames of anti-science conspiracy theories. Yesterday alone, 1403 people in this country died from this virus… And that’s considered a pretty good day. A country with 4% of the world’s population has 29% of the world’s COVID19 deaths, and still we’re forced to endure a blustering idiot bragging daily about what a great job he’s doing. Not ONCE has he even attempted to fake a moment of compassion or sorrow for the tens of thousands of Americans who have died or lost loved ones to this disease.

After Mt. St. Helens exploded, the nation MOURNED those 57 people who died. After four planes crashed and two towers fell on September 11th, the nation MOURNED the loss of those 2977 lives. Right now in America, OVER 95,000 PEOPLE have died from this virus — the equivalent of the deaths caused by Mt. St. Helens erupting every day for four and a half years… Or roughly one 9/11 tragedy every two days for two months. And still there is a significant portion of the country who are like, “Yeah, but most of those people were old.” There is this callous, “Yeah, people die — Get over it” attitude about these deaths that is grossing me right out… As if having an underlying condition makes a person more expendable. These are mothers and fathers. These are brothers and sisters. These lives are families that have been shattered. And folks are like, “Yeah, but people die every day in car accidents too… You don’t see us getting rid of cars.” 

There used to be a lot more people dying in car crashes than what we have today… Do you know what we DID when we saw how many people were dying in car accidents? We did things to try to prevent those deaths… Things like enforcing speed limits and seatbelt laws, and making airbags and safety tests mandatory for car makers. People didn’t diminish automobile deaths because “People also die from trees falling on them… We don’t make everyone walking outside wear a hardhat” (or if people DID say something like that, they were properly identified as sociopaths). And if a hundred people died in a factory fire, we’d do things like enforcing regulations for fire escapes & sprinkler systems, and limiting on the number of people who can be in a space at once. Compassionate, accountable, rational leadership tries to make things safer, and good government works to protect its citizens… And it BASES those decisions on research, and science, and the idea that the needs of the many outweigh the desires of the few. And so the desire of a business owner to cut costs on building his factory is outweighed by the needs of the workers to not be working in a deathtrap.

Government, at its best, is a safeguard for the rights of the many over the desires of the wealthy and powerful. People are like, “IT’S A FREE COUNTRY!” but not everything is as simple as just invoking the word “freedom.” A corporation’s “freedom” to save money by dumping toxic chemicals on their own property is outweighed by the right of people in the area to not drink water that gives them cancer.

Right now, the best ways that we can keep this virus from spreading and killing more people is to distance ourselves from others, and to wear masks when we need to go out. If you are sick and you don’t know it yet, wearing a mask helps prevent the spread of the virus to other people — People who might get sick and die because you transmitted this virus to them. A new study has found that wearing a surgical mask reduces the risk of infection by up to 75%. The world is in the middle of a pandemic, with a highly contagious virus killing hundreds of thousands of people. There are folks who have high-risk jobs where they are exposed to lots & lots of people… Wearing a mask is just a simple act of kindness we can do right now to help keep those workers from getting sick. For those who are confused as to how masks can help, here is an effective visual aid:

By June, there will be over 100,000 dead Americans — PREVENTABLE deaths — because of a spirit of anti-intellectualism, fueled by ignorant masses who feel like the “experts” now because they each have a Magic Answer Camera in their pocket. Listen — The science that makes it possible for you to watch some discredited doctor on YouTube while driving in a freaking car is the SAME science that testifies of your total delusion. It’s like Flat Earthers reading articles “proving” their suspicions are right… Articles that are literally being beamed to their phones from outer space by satellites ORBITING THE GLOBE… Idiots using GPS to give them directions to the Flat Earth Rally.

The science that warns us in advance of tornadoes is the same science that tells us that Global Warming is real. And when scientists tell us that the things we are doing are CAUSING this warming, and they warn us of the impending doom that ignoring the problem will cause, it’s because they are experts who know what they are talking about… Not because Bill Gates is paying them off. And if leaders take that that data from those experts, and they decide to pass regulations enforcing lower emissions on cars, PLEASE PAY ATTENTION HERE: It is NOT tyranny.

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White folks comparing having to wear a mask at Kroger to SLAVERY is some next-level Karen-ness…

This same science warns us that we’re trying to reopen before the country is ready, and tells us that masks work in stopping the spread of coronavirus. And yet, there are still folks who think that being asked to wear masks to help save lives is some kind of attack on their freedom. There are people out there who classify every rule or regulation they don’t particularly like as “tyranny.” The far right has successfully turned “regulations” into a dirty word for many of their followers. A regulation by definition is a limit to personal freedom. Still we have to deal with dip sticks talking about, “I woke up in a free country!”

“No Shirt, No Shoes, No Service” is not tyranny. You not being able to smoke inside restaurants anymore is not oppression. They just figured out that your cigarette smoke was actually hurting the people around you too. Your freedom to do something destructive ends where the public’s right to not be hurt by you begins. Now. Take a moment and think about the parallels between THAT situation, and a highly contagious virus which has killed 100,000 Americans in three months…

There are a lot of similarities between the public’s reaction to this virus and our reaction to mass shootings. If you’re old enough to remember, think of the way we collectively mourned as a nation in 1999 over the loss of 12 high school students and one teacher in the Columbine shooting. When nothing was done after a deranged young man murdered 20 first graders and 6 teachers at Sandy Hook in 2012, we had basically decided as a nation that an individual’s “right” to have a high-powered, highly efficient military-style weapon designed to kill a lot of people in a very short time was more important than our kids’ right to go to school without being afraid of being murdered. By the time a madman killed 58 people and wounded 413 others at a concert in Las Vegas in 2017, something like that barely catches our attention. Weary, hopeless people are like, “Yeah, that’s about right…” And for people who can’t handle the world being the sort of place where chaos like this happens and no one does anything about it, they’ve been given an out: They can believe it was all faked. This had already started with Sandy Hook, but by 2017 there were a SIGNIFICANT number of people willing to believe that the Las Vegas shooting never took place… That it was staged and faked to “try to take our guns.” Now those seeds of conspiracy theory that were planted are bearing their poisonous fruit.

Meanwhile, people who are okay with our babies crying through active shooter drills at their elementary schools (because they value their right to have military-style weapons over our children’s right to feel safe at school) are talking about “tyranny” because they have to wear a mask to Costco.

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“I would do ANYTHING for the country that I love… OTHER than slightly inconvenience myself to keep my fellow citizens safe, that is.”

When I see these people carrying their signs and guns and confederate flags at state capitals talking about “tyranny,” I see people demanding to be allowed access to a mountain that 99 out of 100 geologists are saying is getting ready to explode. EXCEPT IT’S WORSE THAN THAT, because in the volcano analogy, the only ones dying are the ones dumb enough to ignore the warnings of the experts — Like people “fighting for the freedom” to not wear helmets on their motorcycles. This is more like calling seatbelt laws “tyranny,” and fighting for the “right” to not have to put your kids in carseats. Just because you think “freedom” means that you should be able to drive down a highway in the wrong direction, that doesn’t make it so. We also have the right not to have some asshole cause a head-on collision and kill a bunch of people on the highway because he was going the wrong way in the name of “freedom.” Believing that mask regulations are “tyranny” is like thinking that drunk driving laws are some sort of attack on our “freedom to drive drunk.” If it was only your dumb ass that was getting hurt, we’d be fine with it… But there are people in the other cars.

No one was screaming about “taking away our freedom” because they started making people take their shoes off before they get on a plane. You might find it annoying, and you might think it’s a little overkill, but it’s accepted as something designed to help keep us safe. And your right to bear arms doesn’t mean you have some “god-given right” to take box cutters onto your flight. This isn’t tyranny. You’re not fighting for “freedom.” You’re fighting for the right to put your desires over the needs of the group. It’s not freedom you’re fighting for… It’s selfishness. It’s the “freedom” to allow your ignorance to hurt other people. But I’ve got some news for you: Other people have the right to not get hurt just because you are dangerously ignorant or indifferent to their health. Either way, wear a mask.

 

Thank you for reading. I have something to admit: I wore a mask the other day to my mechanic, but there was just one other guy in there working, and he wasn’t wearing a mask… So when I went back there to pick up my car, I didn’t put my mask on… I think because I didn’t want him to feel weird? Now I feel stupid about it. We need to normalize it. It’s easier if I look at it as an act of kindness, rather than feeling any sort of “I’m following the rules, and you’re not” vibe. I don’t know… I don’t want to get sick, but I REALLY don’t want my carelessness to get other people sick. This time is hard…

Thank you so much to those of you who support me on Patreon. If you love this blog, and you’d like to help support it, you can BECOME A PATRON. Jennifer is a new Patron, and if it wasn’t breaking quarantine, if she lived in my town, and if it didn’t creep her out, I would give her such a hug. If you really like this post, you can leave a tip ON PAYPAL or Venmo your generosity to “chris-boeskool.” You can also follow me ON TWITTER and ON FACEBOOK for more fun.

 

 

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Third Party Voting, and Other Wastes of Time…

“To put them in perspective, I think of being on an airplane. The flight attendant comes down the aisle with her food cart and, eventually, parks it beside my seat. ‘Can I interest you in the chicken?’ she asks. ‘Or would you prefer the platter of shit with bits of broken glass in it?’

To be undecided in this election is to pause for a moment and then ask how the chicken is cooked.”

~ David Sedaris

This quote from David Sedaris is from a New Yorker article from 2008, when Obama won the presidency, and the “platter of shit with bits of broken glass in it” was Senator John McCain. It all just seems so quaint now, right? Think back twelve years ago when the republican candidate was telling voters his opponent was “a decent person” who people didn’t need to be scared of, and correcting a voter when she called Barack Obama “an Arab” and then took the microphone away from her. Watch this…

You can see the crowd starting to turn on his attempt to hold onto a thread of decency… Some of them starting to long for someone to whip their fears into a frenzy of hatred and anger. It makes me realize that Trump is less a disease than he is a SYMPTOM of a disease. Knowing what we know now, imagine describing that meal choice in those terms. John McCain looks like a damn Angus filet compared to the actual pile of shit and bits of broken glass we have to endure right now.

And yet here we are once again, six months away from an election that will 100% result in ONE of TWO white men in their 70s being president, and will most likely be decided by how many people decide to either stay home, or vote for a third party candidate, or write in their neighbor’s name, or Cap’n Crunch or Newman from Seinfeld or Smurfette — All of whom have the exact same chance of winning the election: ZERO. So I’ve been thinking about David Sedaris’ airplane analogy, and — as awesome as it is — where it falls short is that the only person who has to eat the shit & glass is the person who ordered it. And that’s not the way it is. Anyway, I’d like to tell you a short story, inspired by his analogy, to explain why people who decide to vote third party are the absolute worst…


A hundred people boarded the plane — 52 women and 48 men on an American Airlines flight around the world. They were in for a long trip. After the plane took off, the flight attendant got on the intercom… “Ladies and gentlemen, we will be serving a meal on today’s flight. We took an online survey to determine what the two options will be, and it turns out the choice will be between Chicken and… [checks notes]… A Platter of Shit with Bits of Broken Glass in it. Wow… Well, I guess that’s what we get for opening things up to online voting. Apparently, many of the voters wanted to point out they made their choice… [checks notes again]… ‘to own the libs.’ Either way, those are the choices we are stuck with.”

She went on. “Unfortunately, due to the design of the plane, we really only have enough space to prepare ONE of these two options. So we will be taking a vote to decide whether our meal choice will be Chicken… OR Poop with Broken Glass.”

This was not the first flight of this type. There had been 58 trips like this one happening once every four years since before there were planes. Many times there were two decent choices for meals. Many times the choices couldn’t have been more starkly different.

The flight attendant was a student of history. She knew that — historically — only about 55 of the people on the flight even bothered to vote. It had been over 50 YEARS since that number topped sixty voting passengers. She had seen this before. Four years ago she was on a flight like this one — one with similar choices for meals. On that flight, 26 people voted for Chicken, and 25 people voted for a big ball of blood & semen & toenail clippings… But somehow — because of a very old rule designed to give white people more weight with their vote — the big ball of blood & semen & toenail clippings actually won (it should be pointed out that the chicken was a HEN, and many people didn’t like the idea of having THAT as a meal… Many thought hens were for making eggs — NOT meals on flights).

Before the voting took place, people had some passionate discussions. Some folks thought that eating a Platter of Shit with Bits of Broken Glass would lower the cost of flights. There were a few poor souls who actually seemed to enjoy having Shit & Glass for a meal… They thought that meal would make this flight GREAT. Some people pointed out that people eating a Platter of Shit with Bits of Broken Glass was responsible for over 62,000 deaths over the last month & a half. Many people were like, “HOW IS THIS EVEN A DISCUSSION?!? One of these options is literally A PLATTER OF SHIT WITH BITS OF BROKEN GLASS IN IT!”

Other folks started speaking up… One man said, “I don’t really like EITHER of those choices. I’m just going to sit this one out.” One lady asked if the poop was from a meat-eater, and seemed annoyed that there wasn’t a vegetarian option. A passenger in first class said, “ACTUALLY, this decision doesn’t really affect me, because I have a Yeti cooler with about $90 worth of sushi in it that I’m going to be eating either way.” One bro angrily shouted, “I WANTED STEAK! AND BY GOD, WHEN IT COMES TIME TO VOTE, I’M VOTING FOR STEAK!”

The flight attendant spoke up and said, “Yeah, I’d probably rather have steak as a meal too, but — and please hear me — STEAK IS NOT AN OPTION. And not only that, but you should know that the Board of Equine Rations & Nourishment In Eating (B.E.R.N.I.E. for short) has endorsed Chicken as the best meal for this flight.”

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Perfection by Rick McKee. You might order a unicorn burger, but I’ve got some bad news for you: Right now, either way, that patty is going to consist of elephant or donkey meat.

Still, many were committed to voting for a third option — One that had absolutely no chance of winning. Other passengers started speaking up. A younger girl stood up. You could see the outline of her ribs through her T-shirt. She said, “Listen, some of us in here are actually hungry. I haven’t eaten anything in a day, and if people vote for fish or steak or any friggin’ meal other than chicken, it could have very real effects on hungry people like me.” An old man stood up and yelled, “WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE?!! THERE ARE VULNERABLE PEOPLE WHO WILL LITERALLY DIE FROM A PLATTER OF SHIT WITH BITS OF BROKEN GLASS! THIS IS NOT THE TIME TO VOTE FOR A TUNA SALAD SANDWICH JUST BECAUSE CHICKEN ISN’T YOUR FAVORITE MEAL!” The bro who demanded steak had already put his headphones back on…

Before the vote, they did some polling. Even though Chicken was slightly in the lead, it was close enough that one or two people voting for a meal that had no chance of winning might end up causing the whole plane to stink like shit. Some were frustrated that — with so many meal options out there — they couldn’t have found a more appetizing meal than Chicken. Some marveled at the fact that things had gotten so bad that we found ourselves in a position where people might actually vote for a Platter of Shit with Bits of Broken Glass over a relatively decent, flawed, sort of creepy, yet somewhat bland, meal. And for some, the fact that it was even close made them want to just give up…


If people want to work on changing the system so that there aren’t only two legitimate options, feel free to work on making that happen… But voting for a Reuben sandwich that ISN’T ON THE MENU isn’t going to bring any of us any closer to that goal. It’s only going to force a lot of folks who are desperate for a good meal to go hungry and get hurt. There are a whole lot of other people on the flight. Please. Don’t be the person whose apathy… or whose lack of logic… or whose political purity tests… or whose unwillingness to lower your standards a bit ends up forcing the rest of us the eat shit.

And bits of broken glass.

 

I am so very thankful to you for reading this post… I hope it helps you clarify your thoughts, and I hope you share it with someone who is talking about casting a vote for anyone other than the only person who can keep us from having SECONDS on a platter of shit with bits of broken glass as a meal. Thank you also to Carol, who left a tip after my previous post. So very kind… This virus has got me out of work for a while, so if you love this blog, and you’d like to help support my writing, you can BECOME A PATRON… Or you can LEAVE A TIP ON PAYPAL or Venmo a tip to “chris-boeskool.” Otherwise, please follow me on Twitter and on Facebook.

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Coronavirus And Conspiracy Theories: A Match Made In Heaven

Not heaven. Hell. I meant to write “A Match Made In HELL.”

Welp, I got “unfriended” on Facebook again this week. I’m sure you are SHOCKED to discover that this is not all that uncommon for me. I’ve actually calmed down quite a bit compared to what I used to be like. I used to come at people, guns blazing, way more often… But I still get worked up every now and then. And the thing that is raising my blood pressure these days is when people — during this crazy time in world history — are passing along conspiracy theories about this virus. It’s ESPECIALLY infuriating when those things are passed along by people I respect. For example, there is an article going around that I keep running into. It’s titled “Epidemiologist: Coronavirus could be ‘exterminated’ if lockdowns were lifted,” and it was posted on a far-right website called “collegefix.com” that masquerades as “news.” If you’re not interested in clicking on the article, believe me: I understand. It basically says that what we need to do is just go about our daily lives and let people contract this virus to develop herd immunity, and the person saying this has a “PhD” behind his name, so that gives it an air of credibility.

At least four people I know in real life shared that article. They were ALL people I like. On one post, I explained that there is about 99% consensus from the the scientific & medical communities that employing a strategy like this would end up killing more people than the holocaust. I told her, “I know this is not your heart for people.” Next thing you know, I’m blocked. No discussion… Just blocked.

It is fascinating to me that there are so many people in the world who are willing to completely ignore the expert opinions of 99% of the world’s virologists and epidemiologists and scientists — as if scientific consensus is not real or important — and THEN have the nerve to cling to the debunked theories of a discredited outlier who happens to have a PhD. People act like the letters behind his name MEAN something to them, or like they respect the concepts of expertise or the scientific method… Like THAT’S the reason they’re listening, and NOT because they are so desperately searching for someone, ANYONE, to quench their thirsty confirmation bias.

With the article I mentioned above, people are choosing to stay willfully & stubbornly ignorant of the opinions of 10s of thousands of PhDs, just to cling to the interview of one man (who is willing to let millions and MILLIONS die to let this virus take its “natural course”), and they act like they respect his doctorate. If this is you, I’ve got news for you:

YOU DON’T.

You don’t respect a doctorate, or the rigorous process people go through to achieve those letters. If you did, you would respect the opinion of the 99% of scientists who are actually interested in LESSENING the harm this virus is inflicting on millions, while it grows exponentially every day. And the most disrespectful part is the conspiracy-soaked idea that the 99% — The ones forming scientific CONSENSUS — are either dumber than you about their LIFE’S WORK, or they are somehow “all in on it,” and they are trying to lie to us all, rather than working to keep us safe. They are “hiding the truth.” Just like they did with vaccines… Right? “YES!” yells a generation who has never seen the ravaging effects of polio, or watched kids die of measles & smallpox. There is a TON of crossover between coronavirus conspiracy theorists and anti-vaxxers. I think the anti-vaxxers believe this is all a conspiracy to force them into getting a vaccine… But then these folks somehow have the gall to even utter the words “herd immunity,” while rejecting that idea when doctors explain why the world needs vaccines.

These “let it work its way through the population” theories reek of eugenics. There were many German doctors in the 30s who would probably have agreed with this PhD… The one who spoke with the vigorously vetted and world-respected medical journal “TheCollegeFixDotCom.” This dangerous, HARMFUL, willful ignorance & distain for expertise would be so much easier to stomach if people would just be honest and admit that they have NO respect for people who spent 12 full years of their lives or more focused on learning about science & medicine, and in reality they think they know more than them because they have Google on their phone. And we end up with millions of people like the dad from “So I Married An Axe Murderer.”

One of these conspiracies that has gotten some footing is the idea that 5G cell phone towers are what is causing this. And though most of you read that sentence and thought “WHAT THE ACTUAL HELL?” there are some who were like, “Wait, you know, there might actually be something TO that.” Just to clear things up, 5G towers are NOT causing COVID-19. The signal that 5G uses is the signal that brought TVs their picture for 40 years.  Remember when TVs all had to go digital? They were making room on that old signal for cell phones & data and whatnot. It’s radio. It has been tested & tested, and it is completely safe. HERE IS AN ARTICLE showing why this theory is nonsense, but in addition to the info in the article, it should be noted that 5G is only a few places, but this virus is everywhere. Places like Iran, India, & Japan have NO 5G towers, but they have been ravaged by COVID-19.

That article is harsher than it needs to be. There is a temptation to call people names when they believe things that clearly (to you) don’t make any sense. I’m convinced this does absolutely NOTHING to help them understand (even though it might help you feel better). Part of a conspiracy theorist’s mindset is anti-intellectualism and an antipathy toward expertise… So if you know more than them about something, they are already not really liking the way you are making them feel. Mocking them plays right into the conspiratorial mindset. And calling them an “idiot” or a “moron” is just going to make them plug their ears even harder. So I’ve been trying to ask more questions — A good question is way more powerful than a good answer — and I’ve been trying to provide links to facts about the issue being discussed. The PROBLEM is that if people are full-on conspiracy theorist, then EVERYONE is in on it… Including all the “experts” writing all those “facts” on all those “reputable sites.”

So yeah, 5G is not behind this. These sorts of viruses happen every so often in world history, regardless of technological advances. The TRUTH is that this is what viruses do… They mutate. And they ESPECIALLY mutate when they are passed between humans and animals and back and forth. That is what we have here: A novel version of the SARS virus that was contained in the early 2000s. Whenever tragedies & hardships appear, it’s human nature to think “There must be some REASON for this.” For many in the past (as well as an older, more conservative generation), the “reason” for a plague must have been “God is angry” or “We are being punished for something we have done wrong.” Kind of like Pat Robertson blaming every earthquake and tornado on “the gays.” Right now, many people (especially younger folks, who are not as easily swayed into religious explanations for things) are desperate for a reason for this new, strange, scary thing… And many have been seduced by conspiracy theories that involve an IRRATIONAL amount of the world’s specialists to be in on the hoax, and actively lying to people. But listen: If you believe in something that would require more people to be “in on it” than those who aren’t, you are believing something foolish. You are being DECEIVED.

A lot of people are staying in because they are scared, but they are also desperate for something to explain this. Folks who used to swear by the healing powers of essential oils are suddenly buying a lot of Lysol. But being scared & ignorant/misinformed at the same time is a dangerous combination. A lot of folks just don’t know what to believe. Is this all a government plot? Ironically, many of those who think that some “Deep State” is controlling everything are ALSO the same people who believe that government is too inept to get anything done. Y’all, there are 12 MILLION PEOPLE in the United States who believe that Lizard People control politics. But again, don’t call people idiots… Don’t call people idiots… DON’T call people idiots… 

Sings

I don’t think you’re and idiot, but I do think you are wrong. Here are some fact-based reasons why…

 

It’s very sad for me to watch once reasonable friends slowly inch their way toward full-on embracing of a conspiracy theory mindset… mostly because the majority of people don’t come back from it. They start by posting articles from sites that aren’t even CLOSE to being reputable sources. They express frustration at being called out on their false & misleading stories, and they start feeling resentful toward expertise & people who “think they’re better than me” because they post links to fact-checking sites. They insist they are just posting another point of view, and encourage people to “do their own research.” Before long, they are sharing stories detailing how the major news outlets are all “in on it.” Next thing you know, they are putting the words “reputable sources” in quotation marks, and by then, it’s all over… Snopes is run by George Soros, vaccines cause autism, 9/11 was an inside job, Sandy Hook was faked, Coronavirus came from cell phone towers, and this whole “pandemic” and all these “deaths” and “mass graves” are all an elaborate liberal hoax designed to get people believing in nationalized healthcare & addicted to suckling at the government’s teat. Before you know it, PizzaGate is real… Obama was born in Kenya… Global Warming is a hoax… The moon landing was faked… The Earth is actually flat… THERE IS NO TRUTH!

Like millions of Americans, I lost my job because of this virus, and with it, my feeling of safety and self-reliance. If this goes on too long, I have no idea how I’ll be able to pay my bills or provide for my family. And that makes me feel afraid… So, like most people, I would very much like for things to “get back to normal.” I ALSO happen to love people who are at high risk for having this virus end their lives. And I care absolutely NOTHING about a job or an economy (or the hurt feelings of friends on Facebook) compared to the love I feel for those vulnerable folks, and my desire to keep them safe from this very REAL threat. The fear and anxiety I feel while staying home or making the occasional trip to the store does not even come close to comparing with the deep love I have for the these people in my life. I have people I love who are doctors & nurses, and they are AFFECTED by the spreading of these lies. These lies cause harm. They are not “in on the conspiracy.” They are scared too, and they want you to take this seriously & stay home so they can be with their loved ones again.

Honestly, it makes me sick to my stomach when I see people trying to talk others into distrusting the very people who are working to try to keep us safe and healthy. Believe me, I know it is NOT fun getting into it with conspiracy theorists… Many of them are too far gone to have any hope of changing their minds. But other people are listening in. And they need to be reminded of rational arguments. It’s important for everyone that we challenge the folks who are working to make it seem like you can’t believe anything, and everything is “fake news,” and everyone is “in on it.” That belief is dangerous. As we have seen in this administration’s incompetent, deadly response to this crisis, a suspicious, paranoid, conspiracy theorist’s mindset can end up costing people their lives.

 

Here’s something that’s not a conspiracy theory: I’m happy  you read this. If this blog is special to you, and you’d like to help support me & my writing, please consider BECOMING A PATRON. A person named Thom just did, and I can’t tell you how encouraging that is. If signing up to give a couple bucks a month is not your thing, and you’d rather leave a tip on PayPal, you can do that RIGHT HERE. Or you can Venmo your generosity to “chris-boeskool.” Also, make sure to follow me ON TWITTER, and like MY FACEBOOK PAGE. Now, go forth and show the world how to identify a reputable source!

Posted in 2) Politics, 5) Not Quite Sure | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

I Believe Joe Biden’s Accuser… I’m Still Voting For Him. Here’s Why:

With the news that Bernie is officially out of the running for president, it seems that our choice for president has gone from one of Three Very Old White Men, to now having to choose between Two Very Old White Men Who Have Both Been Credibly Accused Of Sexual Assault. If you are unaware, Joe Biden has been accused by a woman named Tara Reade of sexually assaulting her while she worked as a staffer for the then Senator in 1993 (you can read about it HERE, or listen to her interview HERE). The Biden campaign has said the allegations are false, and journalists have pointed out that as recently as 2019, Ms. Reade wrote articles (in both English and Russian) praising and declaring her love for Russia, writing, “I love Russia with all my heart … President Putin scares the power elite in America because he is a compassionate, caring, visionary leader,” apparently implying that she is a Russian plant. She has since deleted the pro-Russian Medium articles she wrote, but you can still see archived screen captures HERE. In March of 2019, she downplayed Russia’s involvement in our elections, said we Americans should move on from the Mueller Report, and wrote, “If you want to get my vote? Leave Russia alone.” One month later, she came forward with allegations against Joe Biden, but her recent interview brought these allegations again into the national spotlight.

And now that Bernie Sanders is out of the race, his disappointed supporters are pushing this narrative of “Having to choose between two rapists” very, very hard. But it’s not just angry “Bernie Bros” who are suddenly upset by these allegations… Many women and survivors of sexual assault are rightly angry at being put in this gross position, as is perfectly articulated here:

I am ALSO angry at being put in the position of having to choose between two men who have been credibly accused of sexual assault. Despite Tara Reade’s affection for Russia & the implications that carries, I believe her. One of the things that makes her story more believable is that she told a friend and her brother right after it happened. Her brother advised her to “let it go, move on, guys are idiots.” Do I believe it’s possible for a 51 year old U.S. Senator to grope a young staffer who he thought “liked” him? Of course I do. Joe Biden is 77 years old. He had been a senator for 21 YEARS at that point. He grew up in the “Mad Men” era. He is a relic of a shittier, way more sexist time. He was a senator for 36 years and a Vice President for 8… Over that time, he has done many things worthy of criticism. In the 70s, Joe Biden was one of the biggest opponents of bussing designed to desegregate schools. During the Clarence Thomas hearings, he mishandled Anita Hill’s testimony, and refused to other witnesses to testify on her behalf. He was involved with crime bills that were SO harmful to black communities.

He also did a lot of good. He is almost universally liked… You’d be hard pressed to find colleagues who have bad things to say about him. He did not buy his way into his position, and he wasn’t corrupt… For 30 years he was ranked as one of the least wealthy members of the Senate. He helped get the Assault Weapons Ban passed, and he also was responsible for the Violence Against Women Act, which helped protect women from domestic violence. He listens to people, he is able to change his mind, and he is widely regarded as a good, decent person.

It’s very hard to reconcile that Joe Biden with the one who allegedly kissed and groped a staffer 37 years ago. There have been other women who have reported uncomfortable and inappropriate touching… Though nothing like what is described by Tara Reade. More of a “touchy/feely” guy who didn’t understand that times and social mores had changed, and his “hands on” habits were now coming across as just plain creepy.

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I long for the day when the choice isn’t between a white man in his late 70s and another white man in his late 70s, each vying for the opportunity to run against yet another white man in his mid 70s. Can we make that happen, America?

So… A few things before I go on: First let me say I understand the deep disappointment that Bernie supporters are feeling. I would have much rather had Bernie than Biden. Four years ago, I was in the same position. I voted for Bernie in the primary. I thought he was a better candidate than Hillary, less connected to Wall Street, and more likely to change things to help the poor in this country. And despite my disappointment with him losing the primary, I rallied behind Clinton… Because she was just exponentially smarter, kinder, and more qualified than trump. And because, unlike trump, she wasn’t a lying, racist, fascist, pussy-grabbing moron with delusions of grandeur and authoritarian plans for becoming a tiny-handed despot. I believed Bernie was better than Hillary, but also that Hillary was SO MUCH BETTER than donald trump that, for me, the choice was clear. And I tried to make that case to others… That a flawed candidate who doesn’t totally represent my political beliefs is a much better choice than a dangerous, destructive, delusional candidate who daily attacks any idea of Truth, Decency, or Goodness. So I voted for someone who wasn’t my first choice in order to try to protect us from a dishonest, white supremacist monster.

Many people will find themselves in a similar position this year — choosing between someone who doesn’t inspire you or particularly embrace the positions you value (like Medicare For All, free college, or tackling income inequality)… Or choosing the LITERAL WORST PERSON IN THE WORLD. A lot of people are still disgruntled about 2016, where they felt like they had to set aside their integrity & vote for the lesser of two evils, she received 3 million more votes than him, and the worst person in the world STILL won. And now they are like, “Screw it, I’m voting third party.” Please let me explain why that plan is going to result in another four years of orange Shitler…

There are a HUGE group of people who are so utterly hopeless and disaffected by the horror show that is our electoral process, that they are not even willing to take the time to cast a ballot. They look at things at think “What difference does it make?” and they stay home. In the last election, that was 44.3% of eligible voters (about 111,000,000 people in the 2016 election). But there are ALSO a portion of people who realize that people actually DIED to give them the right to vote, and they take that right very seriously. They realize that — even though our system is flawed — the only way to change things is by taking part in our democracy.

Of those people who value the right to vote and realize that change happens slowly, there are a group of people in this country who are so far gone that they actually think donald trump is a good leader (I’m done capitalizing his name). There is no rational argument that is going to sway someone who looks at a person like donald trump and thinks, “That’s the guy for me.” They are a coalition comprised of confused evangelical one-issue voters who somehow can’t see that trump is as far away from Jesus as anyone on the planet… mixed with angry white folks who can feel their privilege slipping away and long for America to be “great” again — meaning going back to a time when their whiteness meant RESPECT, dammit! These are folks who embrace the word “deplorable,” and revel in saying things that show a lack of consideration & respect for groups who are vulnerable and oppressed.

THEN there are a portion of people who can clearly see that Donald is a danger to democracy, he is an international embarrassment, and his stupidity, narcissism, and false bravado have cost countless lives. If THIS group gets split, Donald Trump wins. Because the people who are supporting him through the “pussy-grabbing,” through the mocking of a disabled reporter, through the paying a porn star for her sex and her silence, through “I’d like you to do us a favor, though,” and especially through the incompetent response to COVID-19 which is costing tens of thousands of people their lives, as well as MILLIONS of people (like me) their jobs, while doing incredible harm to the economy… THOSE people are not going to hear something new which makes them suddenly realize they shouldn’t be supporting this moronic monster.

Listen — If you are rational enough to know that Joe Biden is a very flawed candidate… If you are rational enough to know that there were many better democratic choices… If you are rational enough to know that donald trump is an epically awful human being who is a legitimate threat to this democracy… Then you are hopefully also rational enough to understand why defeating deranged donald is infinitely more important than strict adherence to any sort of ideological purity test. Think — JUST THINK — about the ways he has brazenly lied over the past four years… Think about the ways he has attacked democratic norms… Think about the ways he disregards the rule of law and the separation of powers… HE DID ALL OF THIS WHILE HE WAS STILL FACING AN UPCOMING REELECTION! Imagine the kind of shit he will try to pull if he knows there is not another election he needs to worry about.

Now we have many Bernie supporters blaming Elizabeth Warren for this, which is totally ludicrous. Bernie Sanders lost because — once again — he couldn’t connect with black voters. He should have learned four years ago that this needed to be his focus… Instead, he put his hopes on young people showing up in numbers that they historically NEVER show up in during primary elections… He didn’t go to the Selma Anniversary… He went on freaking Joe Rogan to accept an endorsement. And now many are talking about how people should “vote their conscience” in the general election. But we already HAVE an election where people are supposed to vote their conscience and pick the person they want the most (rather than the one who is going to do the least amount of harm): IT’S CALLED THE PRIMARY. We’ve got Bernie supporters talking about voting third party, while many are angry at Warren for splitting the vote and giving us Biden as a candidate. Now those same folks are planning on splitting a vote that will result in another four years of trump… Do none of these people understand irony? Besides, maybe if Bernie had rallied his supporters around Warren, we’d be looking at HER candidacy… Though I get the idea that many of his supporters are not exactly feminists.

PLEASE HEAR ME: One of TWO candidates are going to win this election. Voting for a third party candidate is exactly as effective as not voting or writing in “Unicorn McSparkleface.” And the frustrating thing is that the folks deciding on “sitting this one out” or “voting third party” are comprised almost entirely of people who do not feel directly threatened by trump’s harmful policies and actions. We can either unite around a flawed candidate in opposition to the worst person in the world, or we can look forward to another four years of an open assault on the things that actually make America “great.”

That man is DANGEROUS. His incompetence has already cost America over 16,500 lives, and by the time this pandemic is over, the deaths his stupidity & arrogance have caused will be measured in the HUNDRED OF THOUSANDS. Think of another four years of a trump administration denying the reality of climate change, attacking the environment, and loosening regulations designed to combat that global danger. He has — MULTIPLE TIMES — “joked” and hinted at trying to change the laws to allow him to serve more than two terms. There is no guarantee that, if he loses this next election, he won’t just say it was “rigged” and declare it illegitimate.

Now is not the time for ideological purity. The political right are not constrained by any sort of ideological purity test… Good Lord, they rallied around a person who is OBJECTIVELY — and I mean by just about any rational measure — one of the most horribly broken, dishonest, morally repugnant people who has ever walked the earth. Joe Biden is the choice of the overwhelming majority of black folks in the United States, and that MEANS something to me, even if I don’t agree with or fully understand their choice. What I am NOT saying here is that I have a clear conscience about voting for a dude who just got #TimesUp’d… I’m making a rational argument based on a pragmatic case for prioritizing trump’s removal from office over the warm feeling we get from a person passing our personal political purity tests.

There are some things that need to change in this country… Things that another 4 years of trump or another conservative SCOTUS Justice is going to delay for GENERATIONS. The Electoral College is a relic of a time when slave owners and land owners wanted more of a say in government than actual democracy allowed them. And now we have candidates losing elections by 3 million votes, but still winning the election. Changing something like this is going to require electing leaders who believe their duty is to serve THE PEOPLE instead of serving corporations and billionaire donors. We need to overturn Citizens United, and get big money out of elections… That is not going to happen with trump choosing Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s replacement. There are fairer, more equitable ways to do elections (like Ranked Choice Voting, which you can learn about below).

Lastly, I just want to say that I cannot imagine being a survivor of sexual assault and feeling forced to choose a man who has been accused of sexual assault because he’s “a better choice” than the man who has been credibly accused of sexual assault by more than 20 women… Even dismissing his accusers as being too ugly for him to assault. If that is you, and after researching the accusations against Joe Biden, you decide that giving him your vote is a bridge too far, I totally understand your decision. If voting for him feels like harm for you, then take care of yourself. As much as I am able to get it, I do. Vote down ballot elections? I don’t know… But as for the Bernie supporters who now want to Bern it all down, y’all have been talking about #NotMeUs for a while now… Now’s the time to live that out. As far as MY vote is concerned, I wish things were different, but we play the hand we’re dealt. Joe Biden has my vote.

 

I know this one was longer, but there were THINGS TO SAY. Thank you for making it to the end. If the stuff you read here made sense to you, please share this post. If you appreciated this post and you’d like to leave a tip, you can do that ON PAYPAL, or you can Venmo me at “chris-boeskool.” Colleen did that, and she rocked my whole world. You can also BECOME A PATRON and give a little bit each month… Which really helps, because that is support I can count on. Otherwise, feel free to follow me on Facebook and on Twitter. Thanks again…

 

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