By Dr. Jim Ferguson
The Right Reverend Martin Luther King’s famous words, “Free at last, free at last…” popped into my mind last week as I severed my connection with Facebook.
For years I enjoyed pictures of my friends and their families, memories and conversations, as well as the occasional interest piece. But unfortunately, Facebook has become a platform of advertising, disinformation and prejudiced deselection of thought. The final straw was the selection of leftist professor Pamela Karlan to Zuckerberg’s new “oversight board of hate speech and harassment,” where 75% of board members are non-American. I will no longer participate in the monetization of Zuckerberg’s biased, multinational corporation.
Recently, a friend paid me a very high compliment saying, “Jim, you are the local equivalent of historian and writer Victor Davis Hanson.” After years of deflecting compliments with self-deprecation, I’ve finally learned to just accept gifts when they come. So, I said, “Wow, and thank you for such high praise.” As my readers know I collect quotations. So, to support my response to a sincere and wonderful compliment, I quote Ebenezer Scrooge who advised, “When happiness shows up, always give him a good seat.”
If you don’t know Dr. Hanson and his work, you should. He is an American classicist, military historian, columnist and California farmer. He has, so to speak, walked the walk and has earned the right to talk the talk. The professor’s prose is beautiful and his logic sound. I love how Hanson sprinkles his essays with insightful vignettes from ancient history, yet his examples are never tedious.
Currently he’s a scholar at Stanford University’s Hoover Institute and often pens essays in the American Spectator. I challenge the open minded to “google” Dr. Hanson and consider his thoughts on current events and politics.
In this instance I use the term “google” as a verb instead of the name of a giant multinational corporation and its most commonly used search engine. Instead, I now use the search engine DuckDuckGo because it does not track my Internet searches and then sell the data. My iPhone offers several search engines to aid researching issues. Go to settings, then web browser Safari, then choose among four search engines. I’m sure androids and Microsoft desktops have similar options.
These days it is necessary to do your own research. I believe we’ve all become too trusting of “experts,” technology and certainly the leadership class. The CDC, Dr. Fauci and Dr. Birx should not have trusted the Chinese communists and their lackeys at the World Health Organization, whose assertion that the Wuhan virus couldn’t be transmitted from person to person. My distrust of big tech and Mark Zuckerberg was intensified after reading tech wizard Roger MaNamee’s scathing critique of FaceBook in his book Zucked. The prose in this book is unlike professor Hanson’s, but McNamee’s inside the business warnings of big tech are relevant—though crass. Only a fool would trust the leadership class Washington DC.
I am fortunate to have The Knoxville Focus and this column where I can ventilate. Dr. Hanson has the national stage. I’m happy to remain an average fish in a small pond.
Recently, I was discussing ventilation with a friend who has a depressed family member. I have previously written about depression, but it is such a common malady some facets bear repeating. Many are reluctant to discuss their sadness with others, often leading to further isolation. With a heart attack you can say “My heart is sick.” Similarly, if your stomach is upset or you have a backache, it often seems different than admitting your mind is suffering from depression. It’s harder to accept that the essence of your being is ill.
I have treated hundreds of people with depression. Often, primary care doctors are the first practitioners a patient sees. There are no diagnostic tests for depression, but many diagnostic clues. I still use the mnemonic SIGECAPS, though there are many other screening modalities. S stands for a sense of Sadness and I for a loss of interest. Either of these must be present daily for at least two weeks before considering clinical depression. Then you must have at least four other symptoms such as feeling Guilty (down on yourself), loss of Energy, problems Concentrating, loss of Appetite, Psychomotor depression (looking sad) and lastly Sleep problems or Suicide thoughts. My point is not to make doctors of my readers, but to make you more sensitive to others around you.
Somewhere I learned that organizing thoughts and then voicing or writing them in a journal helps clarify and lighten sadness. The exercise of writing or discussing feelings with a doctor, friend or minister act as a catharsis for the psyche, and you miraculously feel better. This is why psychotherapy is an important component of depression treatment often supplemented by antidepressant medications which help restore balance to brain chemistry.
I enjoy the creative process of writing which helps me clarify my thoughts and feelings. This avenue of ventilation is better than screaming when progressive Democrats continue to change the rules for opening up America. We put the country on life support to prevent overwhelming the healthcare system. Now, as we enter the third month of lockdown, the mission has changed to safety and cure, but it is becoming increasingly clear that filthy politics to destroy Trump are in play. First it was Russians and the Mueller probe. Then it was the Ukrainian telephone call preceded by the Kavanagh fiasco, Stormy Daniels and Avanati. Now Covid-19 is being used as a Trojan Horse.
Irrationality, insanity and fear have become the new norms. The media, the experts and the models have been repeatedly wrong, but wildly successful at manipulating the American people and destroying the economy and dreams. I’ve been in schoolyard fights and knocked to the ground. It’s hard to get up when the bully stands over you with his foot on your chest. But we must get up or we are already dead.
The classic options in a street fight are fight, flight or surrender your principles. I will not surrender and there’s nowhere to run. Therefore, I will continue the fight. Join me. It’s time to show the courage of brave Americans who stood up to adversity and gave us the freedom to say “No!” to political bullies and tyrants.