Thursday, March 4, 2021

I Don't Know Whether Anyone Has Noticed ...

 ... but a lot of the news of the world is nothing but disaster and carnage.

And there is a reason for that: most of what is happening in the world is disaster and carnage.

The only news I watch is PBS.

I once, a long time ago, thought I should at least know what Fox had on offer, but, after three or four minutes I felt a heart attack coming on and I clicked back to KCTS, channel 9.

And I haven't ever viewed Fox Feces since.

Except on Colbert.

And on Meyers.

And on Kimmel.

And on Noah.

And, when I can find a You Tube of him, on Maher.

So I have been flirting with a heart attack pretty much most of the last several years.

As antidotes I read The Week and The Economist.

They tend to bring my heartrate below 234 per minute.

But, back to the central theme of this post: carnage.

There is a lot of it.

But, oddly, at least if you watch PBS - and/or listen to NPR - the carnage is interleaved with some hope and redemption. 

Some topics on this night's PBS Newshour:




John Thune

Bernie Sanders

Briefly in order of appearance, let's discuss each.

Lebanon has oscillated in and out of civil war and political malaise for decades. It currently has an "elected" government, but no government services and the Lebanese pound is worth .00066 of a dollar.

When you do the math you see a country whose people have no way to buy anything: like food; or like medicine; or like anything - such as escape to somewhere else; you see a people who are totally screwed.

And their capital, Beirut, when I was in college, was called the Paris of the Middle East.

.00066 of a dollar won't buy much in Paris.

Syria is apparently in the winding down stage of either a civil war or an organized program of obliterating 5000 years of history and monuments and the destruction of every medical facility in the geography silhouette that on a map has been called Syria.

The "people" of Syria are either elsewhere than Syria, in the millions, or they are in the northwest of what is left of the civil war hunkering down and living like the Lebanese.

Except the Syrian government wants to kill most of the remaining fools who persist in wanting a free country.

In Georgia today massive demonstrations in support of a proposed bill in the House of Representatives happened. 

The bill eliciting that massive support is a bill that, if made law, would let people who are not fascists have access to the ballot box.

That's pretty good news - to some of us.

If you want to suggest a true American hero you should nominate Stacy Abrahms.

Judy Woodruff interviewed John Thune of South Dakota - he is the poster boy for the error of the Connecticut Compromise - about his views on the Joe Biden Stimulation Bill wending through the national legislature.

Ol' John - he was a pristine, trim republican in his well tailored republican suit - had lots to say. 

But the most meaningful, for me, was, he said that the part of the bill passing massive aid to the governments of the states was unconscionable: he didn't want the people of South Dakota paying relief money from their taxes  to people in California.

I have heard for years that the nightmare that is now America is due to the ability of the republicans to "frame" issues.

"Frame" apparently is another word for "lie" (not an unusual word to be paired with the word "republican").

The "tax money" in question I assume is the federal taxes all of us pay each 15 April to the IRS.

South Dakota has a population of slightly less than 900,000.

California has a population of 40.3 million.

Any math I can come up with makes Ol' John's financial frame of the issue absurd.

But Ol' John looked really good in his suit; and that's all it takes, apparently, in South Dakota.

Judy interviewed Bernie Sanders next and Bernie did a much better job than I did, above, of eviscerating Ol' John Thune.

He just said all the usual stuff, all unbelievably clearly stated, all understandable, and all undeniable, and all Full Monty  Bernie.

But, as heterogenous as what I have written here so far may seem, there is, in my mind at least a theme here: and this is my first blog post revelation of something that has been bothering me for years and years.

I pay attention to weird snippets and tidbits of what it is that seems to be going on in our country.

And I have done that for years.

And years, and years and years.

I started when I used to listen to the radio before television.

It's a maddeningly annoying habit.

But it does induce some sort of thought.

And here is the thought: for all those years, all the tidbits and snippets, including the ones I just enumerated from The PBS News Hour tonight keep adding up to this gut wrenching concern: we - America - fell into civil war once; given the tone and tenor of the times it seems extremely possible that we might do it again; and if we do, watch everything you can find on You Tube from Lebanon and Syria to see your - and your children's and your grandchildren's future.

We teetered on the edge only weeks ago; the same people are there to do it again; we may not make it, again; there may not be another Lincoln in the wings; god's providence may be capricious.

But, if it comes, as I am afraid is likely, for the first time in history a prosperous people with a pretty good government will have torn themselves apart like hyenas.

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