By Dr. Jim Ferguson

There is no difference between communism and socialism except the means of achieving the same ultimate end: communism proposes to enslave men by force, socialism – by vote. It is merely the difference between murder and suicide.

Ayn Rand

I made myself watch it as an exercise in civic duty. Presidential “debates” are not debates, defined by Mr. Webster as a “regulated discussion of a proposition.” Presidential “debates” have become blood sport, orchestrated by the media and the major political parties. As I watched last week, I imagined myself in the Coliseum of ancient Rome watching two gladiators fight to the death. I wondered if the third debater, Chris Wallace, would assume the role of Caesar and extend a “thumbs down” if one of the combatants was vanquished. We citizens might as well have ventured into the hinterlands to attend a cock fight.

Presidential debates are not an intellectual Hegelian dialectic where a thesis and antithesis are discussed by two individuals who have mutual respect for each other. Actually, last week’s presidential debate is reflective of the devolution of our culture, general disrespect and intolerance of individuals with opposing ideas and a loss of societal comity. We have become unsightly, and our politicians reflect us. We were disturbed to watch the debate spectacle, but we should also be disturbed by what we see in the mirror. As Pogo said, “We have met the enemy and he is us.”

In 490 BC, the Persian emperor, Darius invaded Greece with a huge army. The Athenians rushed to confront the invaders on the plain of Marathon with all they could muster, but with a much smaller force. Nonetheless, the Greeks won a huge victory and Pheidippides ran twenty-six miles to exclaim “Nike” (the Greek word for victory) and died of exhaustion. We still run marathon races. And as a result of this pivotal battle, the golden era of the Athenian democracy occurred, establishing the foundations of Western Civilization. And a consequence of the victory is we speak English not Farci.

We are approaching our own Marathon November 3rd, 2020. If we do our civic duty and vote, a winner will emerge. However, to be certain your vote is counted I recommend you vote in person rather than by absentee or through a mailed ballot. If you can go to the grocery or Walmart you can vote in person adhering to social distancing, wearing a mask and using hand sanitizers. Of course, there are exceptions for military or illness, and absentee balloting is an established and secure alternative. Mail-in ballots are not and will set the stage for ballot harvesting, delayed results and divisive, protracted court battles.

There is so much media disinformation and so many skirmishes in the run up to the November 3rd Waterloo that it’s hard to keep track. I feel it is my duty to stay informed. I read widely then I use my experience, education and common sense to make up my own mind. I never served in the military, so my “tour of duty” is now.

I’ll avoid discussing the battle over the SCOTUS replacement for RBG because I believe Focus readers are already paying attention to local and national issues. Despite the manipulated polls which show ole Joe leading, there appears to be hysteria in the media which has necessitated an attack on the president’s White House press secretary, Kayleigh McEnany. Apparently, Trump’s repeated denouncements of the KKK, David Dukes, and white supremacy in 2016, 2017, 2019 and 2020 were not enough, so Kayleigh had to endure mansplaining by political operatives who masquerade as journalists.

By contrast, the media haven’t challenged Biden on his friendship with members of the KKK, Biden’s refusal to denounce BLM or his statement that Antifa is “just an idea.” Well, ideas don’t riot, burn buildings or assault citizens, Mr. Biden. Even Biden’s running mate, Kamala Harris, denounced him as a racist. Regarding the magic words “white supremacy,” perhaps the media are looking for a Trump sound bite. They certainly aren’t interested in Biden’s refusal to say “law enforcement.”

Kudos to Senator Marsha Blackburn who has been refreshingly outspoken for a Tennessee senator. She recently observed that James Comey in the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing couldn’t remember much of anything about the FBI Russian collusion investigation he ran. One news source counted twenty instances where Comey couldn’t remember or just shrugged his shoulders in puzzlement to questions. However, Comey just published a book about his time as FBI director and has another ready for publication in January 2021. I know a liar when I see one.

I never realized I was a racist until I read about Ibram X. Kendi who is now a professor at Boston University. Apparently, this “professor” and CBS news contributor says that if you are not actively a part of the fight against racism you are a racist. Perhaps, this may explain the virtue signaling yard signs all over Portland, Oregon, and those now appearing in Knoxville sporting hackneyed, racial slogans. Boston University (BU) should be ashamed of hiring this racist who by definition sees color in everything. This pinhead also labeled Amy Coney Barrett a “white colonizer” for adopting two black children from a Haitian orphanage. But we shouldn’t expect much from BU, an institution who graduated AOC (Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez) with a degree in economics.

And lastly, I don’t know what to think about the scientists at the CDC and their most recent data. Apparently, if you’re sixty-nine years old or less you have a greater than 99% survival rate if infected with COVID-19. And for those twenty or less the survival rate is 99.997%, and 99.98% if you are forty-nine or younger. Even 50-69-year old’s have a 99.5% survival rate. These CDC statistics are in stark contrast from a poll taken three months ago where Americans thought the death rate from Covid-19 infection was 30%. I hope the latest CDC data are correct because, as this essay goes to press, President Trump has tested positive for COVID-19. Interestingly, the death rate from bacterial pneumonia can be 15%.

We have learned more about COVID-19 and our treatments are better. And I think we’ve often been misled by the media and politicized experts. But maybe I’ve just become a skeptic about most things I hear, unless, of course, the grace-filled Ms. Becky says it!