October 31, 2021-
Tonight was one of the mildest, and nicest Hallowe’en nights in quite some time. I set out a table with candy in a bowl, and a lit Jack-o’-lantern, in front of Home Base, and ten people took from the bowl. I was also helping out at the American Legion post’s treat distribution, which saw about 60 people and 3 service dogs come through. This is the kind of community we have, where a neighbour watching through a window can monitor treats set outside, while the host is able to offer greater services, in a different location.
There is also the matter of sixty people, lined up on either side of the entrance to our major hospital, engaging in protests against any vaccine mandate. They drew the Far Right “Let’s go, Brandon” crowd, which is distracting from the basic message of letting people decide for themselves, as to their health regimen. I have mixed feelings about the vaccine mandate. I was allowed to decide for myself, and made the informed decision to take Moderna’s vaccine, because I was working around children, in fairly close quarters. I do believe others should have the same latitude, while acknowledging that not everyone takes the time to learn for themselves about this very complex matter. The conservatives are not the only antagonists here. Shaming people, rather than educating them, may be an understandable reaction of frustrated officials-but it is not working and not helping. The only effective tool, at the disposal of those trying to bring the pandemic to heel, is education. That takes time, especially when so much misinformation and distraction is being thrown out by those whose sole intent is to divide and rule.
Then, there is the poison bait of “Let’s blame parents”, also originally tossed out to the frustrated officials, by those same controlling forces-who then turn around and present themselves as advocates for the parents. Parents are partners, not adversaries, of educators. They are not terrorists, even when they lose their tempers. Parenting is the greatest influence on a child’s life. Education is the second greatest.
There is the red herring of “Critical Race Theory”, which is not even a real thing, anymore. I was present when it was being bandied about, in the universities of the 1970s. I have heard threads of it being discussed, in incoherent and disconnected ways, as part of the general effort to tell history in all its messy completeness. That overall mission is laudable-and long overdue. “Old times there are not forgotten”, nor should they be-but they need to be understood in their true light: An economically expedient and morally putrid system, that bankrupted the souls of the ruling class in the South, their economic partners in the North, and all their immediate underlings, as well as terrorizing and debilitating the enslaved. Listen, however, to the demagogues, and you would think that CRT is ubiquitous in middle schools and high schools. I work in some of those schools, talk to others who work in others of those schools and IT IS NOT.
It so happens that, when people at the ground level talk with one another and listen with both ears, they figure out that the demagogues are duping them. They figure out that Demagogue A is more interested in getting rid of Demagogue B, and vice versa, than in really solving problems-which in many cases is akin to making sausage. Thus, the obfuscation, the name-calling, the blamecasting that has come to characterize politics, worldwide. Thus, does it fall to us to start making informed decisions, for (and with) our children, for our communities, for our country and for our planet. We, on the ground, whether “liberal”, “conservative” or “progressive” have more in common than we have different. We need to remind those engaged in the art of distract and rule of that basic fact.
I am no fan of J.P. Morgan, but his tactic of locking discordant people in a room, until they found a common purpose, merits investigation. I’d like to see that done with the demagogues.