We hang petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office.
We are connected like never before. As I sat down to begin this essay I got a call from Betty’s Beauty Bar in Lansing, Ohio. Perhaps it was election day confusion because I doubt that Betty or even a telemarketer would be trying to sell beauty products to me. When I was practicing medicine, I had to answer unusual phone numbers because I could not tell if the caller was legitimate. Years ago, life was simpler. In Knoxville we had 577- numbers or 588-, 584- and even “strange ones” like 688-. These days cell phone numbers can have any prefix. My brother-in-law just received a call from China!
But phone calls and telemarketers are not the only challenges of modernity. Recently, a friend’s iPhone began writing text messages in Mandarin. She does not speak Chinese. I am not tech savvy, but I have learned one thing about the devices we use: turn your computer or cell phone off and then back on, and this will cure a lot of issues. A different remedy was needed when another friend’s smart TV began using French instead of English. Smart TVs may be too much for some “seasoned citizens.”
Becky is the “Handy Ma’am” in our family, but even together we were stumped when our home security system went offline. Apparently, Comcast did an “upgrade” and merged the 2.4 GHz and 5.0 GHz Wi-Fi network signals. It took us almost 2 days to get the systems again separated because our home security camera would only work on 2.4 GHz and the upgrade was preferentially selecting the merged signal.
What a pain! We learned the 2.4 GHz signal is not as strong, but works over a greater distance, whereas the 5.0 GHz is a more robust signal over a shorter distance. Fortunately, we learned from our ordeal and were able to help another friend who had a similar issue after the Comcast upgrade caused a malfunction of her Ring Doorbell camera. With the help of a YouTube tutorial, techy-home-ecky-Becky was able to separate the systems and fix the problem. We seniors have to look out for each other, especially if there are no millennials around.
The 19th century poet William Wordsworth once wrote, “The world is too much with us,” decrying our pursuit of worldly things and disregarding the beauty of God’s creation. I get his point, but the most important concept is the adjective “too.” How do you know when something is too much or that you are too occupied or distracted from that which is important? Three millennia ago, the writer of Ecclesiastes asked the same questions.
It is sometimes hard to know when to say enough. I ascribe to the Duke Ellington perspective. The famous jazz musician said, “If it sounds good, it is.” What he meant was if the music sounds good to you, it is. Don’t let someone tell you what you should think about music, art, cinema, politics, anything. You should use your own observations and then make your own judgment, employing common sense. And if something seems “too much,” it probably is, and you may need to say “No” or just turn off the news for a while. It is sometimes necessary for soldiers to leave the front lines for R&R. So, when necessary, step back, recharge and then reenter the struggle.
“Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure.” That famous line from Abraham Lincoln’s 1863 Gettysburg address, in the midst of the Civil War, is true today. We are at war with each other and the nation is as divided as during the Civil War. I am weary from the conflict, but it is my duty to persevere. I press on with the tools I have for the sake of my children and grandchildren. I consider it my tour of duty and the old man’s war.
Empathy is different than sympathy. Feeling sorry for someone is not the same as projecting yourself and trying to see the world through another’s eyes. This was a central thesis in my novel Mantis. I have often wondered what it would be like to see the world from the perspective of a Democrat-progressive-socialist. I would like to ask why they believe in open borders, racial class warfare, unrestricted abortion, releasing violent criminals, or why they support a host of other failed Democrat policies like the ones which led to inflation and rising prices. My conservative opinions are well known. I suspect that if I questioned a Biden supporter, my interlocutor would judge my question as disingenuous.
A colleague recently asked me about Biden and the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Disinformation Board, aka George Orwell’s “Ministry of Truth.” He asked, “Cui bono?” a Latin phrase translated as “who benefits?” from Biden’s confusion and harmful policies. My answer was simple: Biden’s handlers benefit.
It is painfully obvious that our president is impaired and is just a figurehead. His presidential cabal directs our government, not the President. Anytime Biden strays or gets off the teleprompter, an aid like the one we saw in an Easter Rabbit suit reins him in. Was Biden parroting last week or speaking his mind when he proclaimed, “The MAGA crowd is really the most extreme political organization that has existed in American history”?
America certainly does not benefit from such divisive remarks or ideology. Labeling 74 million Americans who supported Pres. Trump as extremists is a dog whistle for leftist extremism and opens the door for DHS tyranny.
We live in desperate times and are ruled by increasingly desperate people. The Democrats realize that their policies have utterly failed and they are in for a shellacking if our country makes it to the midterm election. Will the Democrats bend to the will of We the People and surrender their power if they lose? We’ll see. But desperate people do desperate things, even releasing confidential, preliminary drafts from the Supreme Court to foment dissent. Cui bono?