State of Shock (Update)

by baldilocks

I find it almost impossible to write anymore because in the last few months, like nearly everyone in the country – in the world, probably – I live in a state of open-mouthed shock.

The list of reason is long, and I think it would be boring to display them here. Chief among them, however, is this: how many times that conservatives and Christians defend living in a state of fear and discovering how many of them would choose peace and safety over liberty.

And don’t tell them about signs of hope! This will cause them to ridicule you, your intellect, and even your lineage – assuming that the one doing the ridiculing isn’t part of your lineage. Because only the ignorant have hope; only fools are looking for the end of the pestilence.

And only the stupid are willing to hang onto their freedom, by their fingernails if necessary.

Turns out that the embrace of the US Constitution was just talk in many cases. Just a nice theory.

But now that some risk is involved, not only are they not willing to risk peace and safety for theoretical liberty, but these so-called conservatives would shame those who are willing to put it on all on this line for phantom called freedom.

They might even be the ones on the phone to the cops when the real conservatives are outside exercising their liberties by doing things like … taking their children to a babysitter so that they can go to their “essential” job.

So it is that I agree with Dennis Prager.

All my life, I have dismissed paranoids on the right (“America is headed to communism”) and the left (“It can happen here” — referring to fascism). It’s not that I’ve ever believed liberty was guaranteed. Being familiar with history and a pessimist regarding the human condition, I never believed that.

But the ease with which police state tactics have been employed and the equal ease with which most Americans have accepted them have been breathtaking.

People will argue that a temporary police state has been justified because of the allegedly unique threat to life posed by the new coronavirus. I do not believe the data will bear that out. Regardless, let us at least agree that we are closer to a police state than ever in American history.

(SNIP)

[W]e are presently living with all four of the key hallmarks of a police state:

No. 1: Draconian laws depriving citizens of elementary civil rights.

No. 2: A mass media supportive of the state’s messaging and deprivation of rights.

No. 3: Use of police.

No. 4: Snitches.

Prager expounds on each item.

I think there is still hope, but our state and local governments will not relinquish their new powers easily, as Michigan Governor Whitmer has demonstrated through her actions in the face of active resistance.

Strangely enough however, I don’t think that it will be violence that will break the stranglehold, at least not mass violence.

I think that there are enough Americans out there – regardless of party – who will tire of government incarceration and will simply ignore their jailers and take the risk of pestilence, ridicule and arrest. Heck, it’s already happening, even here in California.

And I guarantee that a goodly portion of them will go outside while invoking protection under the wing of the Most High. Without fear, naturally.

Because that’s how you hold onto your freedom. Fortune favors the bold.

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Juliette Akinyi Ochieng has been blogging since 2003 as baldilocks. Her older blog is here.  She published her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game in 2012.

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Will COVID-19 change your care level in local elections?

From https://penobscotbaypress.com/news/2018/oct/31/voting-information-for-election-day-november-6/

Everyone wants to talk about President Trump. Even when the President isn’t focusing the media attention on himself (which is pretty rare), people want to discuss what he’s doing or not doing. If you wander onto social media, the overwhelming number of political posts are about President Trump, followed by Nancy Pelosi and Joe Biden.

Given all that focus, you would think that the President has an outsized influence in our daily lives. But unless you work in the federal government, that’s not really true. In fact, your local judges and politicians have a far greater impact on your daily life, and yet most people can’t name but a handful of them.

Let’s look at your average day. After you get up, you drive into work. The roads are managed at the state level, with some states spending significantly more in administrative costs than others. Your gas tax varies widely from state to state. Whether your hair stylist or braider needs a license is mainly state controlled. Whether you can buy alcohol on Sunday, or at night, or from a private store, is controlled by your state.

The COVID-19 responses in your state are mostly controlled by the governor. While Michigan and New York have capitalized on media coverage, the reality is that most governors seem to have done OK. I’m not a fan of our governor, but his response to COVID-19 and the restrictions he put in place made sense. I can still shop and get take-out from restaurants, without getting pulled over by the police and having my trunk checked for essential items.

The rules in place get funded and reinforced by the state legislature, and yet I struggle to find people who know anything, even the name, of their state representative. These people have a huge influence on your daily life, and people actually get to choose them every few years, and yet most have no idea who they are.

Schools are even worse. School board elections are so mundane, and yet most people figured out that despite the administrative costs paid by your property taxes, most schools couldn’t build a distance education plan to save their lives. I’m having to teach my kids math and science because the math and science teachers aren’t allowed to lecture more than an hour a week because of the school administration. After having that stupid rule explained to me, I’ve taken a larger interest in school board elections.

The COVID-19 pandemic was a chance for many people to reevaluate portions of their life. Could you spend long periods of time at home? Could you stay connected with others when you couldn’t travel? But perhaps most importantly, it exposed most of us to how well or not well our local elected officials run our government. That experience should drive your vote this year.

This post represents the views of the author and not those of the Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, or any other government agency.