- Adrift: As a nation, we are sadly adrift morally, ethically, and politically. We have a good third of voters who basically feel that there is no set of standards by which to hold elected officials. None. These folks will continue to blindly follow a leader no matter what he tweets. Many also view needless cruelty as now being somehow a virtue (along with serial marriage, vanity, and business bankruptcy), to be emulated. If we don't hold a president to a basic set of standards of conduct (i.e., no rage tweeting, no name-calling, no bearing false witness against others, no pushing conspiracy theories as facts), then how can we hold anyone else accountable? We're currently in a race to the bottom, and there will be no winner.
- Conduct: I don't want police officers killing people needlessly and with no accountability. I don't want protesters to burn down businesses within their own communities. The solution to the former is actually pretty simple in my book...the police must never be in a position whereby they have sole authority to investigate themselves. There needs to be a non-partisan, non-political, non-labor focused vehicle for civilian police oversight. Going back to my first sentence, the good cops deserve this, and if we do the former well, it's likely that it will help the latter.
- Re-Fund the Police: I don't want the police de-funded. Instead, I want their funding moved away from military purposes and towards helping people. I think that's actually what the vast majority of police officers actually want to do as well, by the way...namely to actually help others. As an example, many police forces have military-style "SWAT" teams; maybe we need less of that and more people & training designed to help those in a mental health crisis.
- Racism: There is systemic racism in this country, and I am not sure that will ever change. You can see this in the many Confederate tropes are still glorified in the United States (ref. HERE). This noted, the solution to it is to not deny its existence, as the Attorney General recently did during Congressional testimony (ref. HERE). I view racism as being a blanket problem that can probably only be solved one person at a time.
- Economy: Nowhere is the out-of-touch nature of our federal government more on display than when it comes to current economic conditions. The current debate about how some folks may be making more money by not working (between unemployment compensation & a temporary federal subsidy) than actually having a job is a great example. If you take that idea at face value, does it not beg the following question - Doesn't this mean that we don't economically value work enough? Maybe the solution here isn't to reduce the helping hand provided during the time of a crisis but instead focus on actually increasing the economic value of work in our economy. Put another way, it's not that the subsidies are too high...it's that the pay is too low.
We are all in the world, by the way, so none us escape the kinds of things that are noted above. In fact, they are a kind of background for our main gig, namely our lives. Here's where my "main gig" stands.
- Writing...is surprisingly hard for me these days, much more so than at any other point in my life.
- Reading...ditto on reading, at least as it applies to books. I think it's a case of over-compensation in my own head, whereby I feel the need to be constantly "productive", and I don't always value reading for pleasure through that lens.
- Job...I'm still in job search mode, and saying that this is a "difficult time to be looking for a job" is like saying "Johnny Thunders(3) may have had a substance abuse issue".
- Health...physically I'm doing okay, although spending 2 hours a day during 90-degree weather working outside probably isn't always the best of ideas. My personal goal is to fight the very idea of getting physically older for as long as possible. Mentally? Not working creates a mental conflict for me in the sense that I feel a need to always be productive. As it stands, I'm still too young to retire, and I've personally invested so much in my professional life to date (for example, the time, effort and money required to earn a Masters degree) that it doesn't make sense to just say "to heck with it, I'm going to work in a QuickieMart"...not that there is anything inherently wrong with working in a QuickieMart. My choice...my only choice...is to just persevere on, knowing that something will happen career-wise.
On that note, it's time to wrap this posting up. Here's to the balance of the summer of 2020 being a bit less dramatic for all of us.
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(1) As kids, we all experienced this: Summer started when schools let out, and by the time late August came around, it was more or less time to start thinking about the school year starting again. Hence, mid/late July = Half Summer.
(2) Not so far fetched, as I've been writing this blog since October, 2008.
(3) Former lead guitarist for the punk bank The New York Dolls.