Time on our hands… Trepidation in our heads

 

The coronavirus, which has been speedily debilitating and decimating our global community, possesses one hell of a deadly superpower, namely, the ease with which its untested, asymptomatic victims can spread the disease.

While we, the non-infected(?), patiently sit this out… non-tested and in isolation… there’s nothing but time on our hands and too much time allows the imagination to run wild. There’s too damned much to think about, perhaps overthink, needlessly leading to gnawing feelings of trepidation.

To take this down to the personal level, how can I not worry that I’ll be the next victim? Not wonder if the sniffles, typically the major symptom of my springtime seasonal allergies, is not an early warning sign? How can I avoid touching my itchy nose / rubbing my watery eyes, which could also COVID-19 infect me?

Might last week’s visit to the Post Office have exposed me to that menacing microbe? Or will the USPS letter carrier, who regularly shows up on my front porch, be “the carrier” who’ll hand deliver that pathogen into / onto my mailbox?

Indeed, picking up mail is no longer a mundane task… in more ways than one. Check this out…

For the past 100+ hours, I’ve been unable to shake a creepy feeling, which a pandemic related sight had triggered. It all began this past Monday, while emptying my mail box. Upon taking a casual glance up the street, I spotted, for the very first time, an in the flesh, surgically masked deliveryman, paying his visit to my nonagenarian, next door neighbors.

True, masks have become a commonplace sight within the larger municipalities but, it was all new to this small-town Michigander. For this to have hit home and so soon, likely means there’ll be no area of our world left untouched.

So…. here humanity stands… perhaps makes its last stand. Against the backdrop of the new millennium’s, new grim reality, instead of our marveling over how far humankind has progressed, we’re mulling over the fate of our homeland and world plagued and paralyzed by a mere microbe! How the hell do we ever reconcile THAT with the bygone America where NASA had landed a dozen men on the moon?

How could we have embraced and reveled in President John F. Kennedy’s “anything’s possible” lunar vision, yet, have promptly squandered it? I’m not equating space exploration to some sort of panacea, but, had we subsequently applied such “skies the limit” spirit and know-how to all the sciences, it could’ve led to medical advances… e.g., finding cures for Cancer, AIDS, Parkinson’s Disease, etc. AND eradicating a veritable laundry list of pathogens, too. Hell, would coronavirus have ever seen the light of day under such enlightened circumstances?

In essence, first moonman Neil Armstrong’s long ago, “one small step” got misdirected / perverted into “one giant leap” off the Trumpian Tower of criminality, mediocrity, stupidity, insanity, depravity… and especially now… infirmity. And should we fail to fully comply with social distancing / isolation protocols, that might even wipe out humanity.

We can and must do better. Until we do, what the hell will be next? No more sweet dreams? Maybe to the point where, instead of REM sleep offering up sightings of springtime’s first robin, instead, it’ll be springtime’s first surgically masked deliveryman?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Is It Too Late To “Do The Other Things”?

We’re within mere days of the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11’s Neil Armstrong taking his “one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind”… thereby becoming the first (known) human to set foot on the Moon.

Not long after that astounding technological achievement, we were told that the prevailing mood throughout America had changed. In short… it had morphed into…

“Been there done that! (insert yawn) Now let’s solve problems on Earth!”

Granted, that second sentiment could be deemed a valid point. However, I’d sure as hell like to know what problems we’ve actually solved in the past half century? What about this unresolved 1 – 2 punch…

• Vying, meddling, outsider asshat leaders are hell bent on conquering the Middle East.
• Environmental damage has become so severe that, by 2050, Earth will become uninhabitable.

Of course, there is an inextricable link between those bullet-pointed, seemingly disparate issues.

That link is us. Too damned many of us are oil junkies, which leaves our leaders little choice but to risk going to war with oil-rich nations… just to secure us our “fixes”. And once we “catch that buzz” and hit the road in our gas guzzlers and heat / cool our energy inefficient homes, we’ll also be stomping our massive carbon footprints all over the Earth… trampling it to death!

Folks, that’s effing pathetic. And while what I’m about to say may sound cliche… damn it… I’ll say it anyway.

If we can put a man on the moon why the hell can’t the white dove of peace, someday, soar through Earth’s clean, clear skies… not only over the Middle East but worldwide?

Truth be told… if we had wanted it to be that way… we could’ve made it so.

The tragedy… this could’ve been “mission accomplished” decades ago. Had we applied and expanded upon that same Apollo technology and resolve, by now we could’ve been depending on a planetary network of solar energy collectors, which spew zero Carbon Dioxide.

Had that happened, today’s news headlines would not be all about little boy Trumpian aggression escalating Iranian / American hostilities and small thinking Trumpian “clean coal” nonsense and negligence precipitating environmental ruin and the destruction / death of our entire planet. But we chose to do nothing this past half century.

So, is it too late to undo the damage? Well to do so would require a visionary leader. On May 25, 1961 President John F. Kennedy said…

“We choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard; because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one we intend to win, and the others, too.”

That brilliant, insightful man could even foresee applying human know-how and resolve beyond our lunar ambitions. He actually said, “do the other things”!

“DO THE OTHER THINGS!!!”

A visionary President could reread Kennedy’s words… slightly revise and positively react to set a new goal:

“We choose to pursue Clean Energy Independence in the next decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard; because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one we intend to win, and the others, too.”

So who might that new, visionary leader be? Considering DC’s political climate change ever since January 20, 2017… no names come to mind.

 

 

 

 

 

Nightmares And Dreams

Fifty years ago, on this very evening, the same Zenith console TV set, which, five years earlier, had been my window to the spinning out of control world of Dallas, Texas… the site of President Kennedy’s assassination… was “now” providing me a similar view of Memphis, Tennessee.

My recollections are now strong… almost as if I’ve time traveled back to this tragedy. I’m once again an adolescent, age 13, home alone since my folks have gone out for the evening to watch my sister’s performance in her High School Junior Class play. I’d have eagerly tagged along with them had it not been for my body being under siege by a particularly nasty rhinovirus.

Once again, Walter Cronkite has become the bearer of bad news. Once again, his reportage focuses heavily on the death of someone so young and so vital… someone who had said so much of importance… and still needed to say so much more.

Dr. Martin Luther King had been slaughtered, silenced… cut down in his prime… by an assassin’s bullet.

I’m stunned and saddened… those identical, sinking, heavy heart, Dallas magnitude feelings now resurfacing. I had so hoped that in the five years since November 22, 1963, that America had changed… well… at least a little? But knowing that it hadn’t was sickening me far, Far, FAR more than any of my cold’s worst symptoms.

Dr. King must have already seen the sickening writing on the wall… his final speech best described as prophetic…

Senator Bobby Kennedy, a 1968 presidential candidate, delivered his from the heart speech (note how he doesn’t rely on his notes)… deemed to be his finest, ever, oratory. He also gets credited with preventing riots in Indianapolis. Many other cities… nationwide… could not make such a claim.

So, why do I, a Caucasian, feel so strongly about Dr. King? Mainly because I’m a caring, compassionate, colorblind human being.

Beyond that, I do know that poverty, too, is colorblind. I could readily identify with King’s fight to help hardworking, struggling, impoverished Americans achieve The Dream he had spoken of. After all, if there was one thing my eye witnessing my own, low income, schoolteacher parents had taught me, it was that our family of four was unduly burdened by our barely scraping by lifestyle.

To this very day, I can still vividly recall handing over seven, one dollar bills to my Dad… several years worth of my hoarded allowance money, which he had given to me… just so we could put some food on our dinner table that evening. Oh, how my hand-me-down clothing’s patches always had patches. Oh, how I remember our slumlord’s coal fired furnace that could’ve easily carbon monoxide gassed us all to death.

I could never forget (and still can never forget) all the bullies at school, who had verbally and physically assaulted me… even spitting in my face. I now ask… in some small sense… had I not had my own bitter taste as to what it was like to be singled out… profiled… discriminated against… by oppressors?

And while Dr. King’s fight was focused upon helping African-Americans, I believed his spiritual and practical messages to be universal. If ever taken to heart by the elected powers-that-be, that would’ve certainly made my own family’s life… indeed, every impoverished family’s life… better too.

Fast forwarding to more contemporary times… while it’s true it took far, Far, FAR too many decades… no, strike that… centuries in arriving, America did wind up electing and reelecting Barack Obama as our 44th president. In my mind, this was a gleaming ray of hope that We The People were finally turning our backs on our nation’s racist past. And I’ve never been more proud to say that I had had a small part in making that a reality… by my voting for that intelligent, insightful, righteous man both in 2008 and 2012.

But now? Regrettably, America is being gutted by #45, who sucks up to both the KKK and Nazis… who takes sides with racist cops who profile and mow down innocent blacks… who lambastes pro football quarterback Colin Kaepernick who has frequently, justifiably and peaceably protested such police brutality and racial inequality by harmlessly taking a knee during the pregame playing of America’s National Anthem. Which raises the question…

Will this now ongoing, Trumpian nightmare obliterate Dr. Martin Luther King’s dream?

That’ll depend upon whether or not Democrats can regain Congressional majorities this coming November.