Who DOES Get to Say???

I haven’t had a chance to return to Escape from Freedom which is too bad because I left it very curious about where Erich Fromm was going next with his evaluation of the psychology that leads people to choose fascism. I’m also curious to see if his theory and mine are similar or widely divergent. My theory has always been that many people get frustrated with a system that’s necessarily slow and messy, and (sometimes out of desperation) they jump on a band wagon that offers quick fixes, like making something great again. The question I think Fromm is going after might be related to that, but I think it’s deeper; it’s WHY.

As I look at my own country right now, I remember some of the black and white movies about WW II and the rise of the Nazis we were shown weekly when I was in high school. One sought to explain the rise of Nazism and for me, it kind of did. I see the ultra right pushing some of the same things — notably inflation, from which we’re all suffering to some extent. It was interesting that in the not-very-good restaurant where the ladies and I ate the other day there was an “inflation cost” added to our bills. Why? So they didn’t have to change the prices on their menus. In a way that turns the menus into false advertising…

Yesterday I happened to see MTG talk to a reporter on the steps of some building. The reporter asked why MTG used the term, “Christian Nationalism,” and supported it. She pushed MTG into a defense of the term which MTG did not, at first, attempt. MTG (who lives in a dream world in which TFG is still president, likes putting others on the defensive and deflecting ideas) asked, “Who gets to say what words mean?” The reporter — who was (besides being Black) intelligent, informed and articulate, armed with excellent questions — had brought up the term in the context of its origins in Nazism. MTG argued in circles and never seemed to see she undermined herself with her own words and revealed her abysmal ignorance of history. Not surprising. But I was disturbed by “Who gets to say what words mean?”

History “gets” to say some of that, history, the context of language and human institutions. That took me back to Georges Santayana’s much quoted statement, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” – George Santayana, The Life of Reason, 1905. But, for me, more resonant are the words carved over the library entrance (old library entrance) at the University of Colorado, Boulder, “Who knows only his own generation remains always a child.” It wasn’t meant in a good way…

Beginning an Interesting Book…

A while ago I mentioned a book I’d read about in another book (ah, the great chain of reading) by Erich Fromm, Escape from Freedom. Yesterday I remembered I had it (ha ha) and began reading. It’s captivating. His perspective is that of a psychologist. While I’ve benefited from other’s study of psychology, I have never studied it beyond what I had to in college. The book begins (and I’m in the beginning) with a discussion of psychological explanations for human behavior and the role of the individual in society as defined by different psychological systems. From this discussion, I’ve learned that Fromm has great respect — love? — for the individual and regards individuals as dynamic forces in human culture and history.

There’s so much here. It’s truly the richest writing I’ve read in a long, long time. It was originally published in 1941 and Fromm sets freedom against Fascism which he defines as the systems that had gained ascendancy in Germany and Italy. He writes that when he wants to discuss events in Germany only, he’ll call it Nazism.

For Fromm, freedom is the property of individuals; freedom is individual, and the threat to freedom is that people don’t want it. It seems — so far — that the tension is between individual freedom and an equal desire on the part of many for submission. That’s so whack. He writes, “Can freedom become a burden, too heavy for man to bear, something he tries to escape from? Why then is it that freedom is for many a cherished goal and for others a threat?” As I read, I thought about the Supremes overturning Roe v. Wade, eliminating an important individual freedom from the law of the land. How do I feel about abortion? Nobody likes it. I don’t like it. I’m sorry for any woman who finds herself contemplating it. Should women have dominion over their individual bodies? Yes. Can I live with that? Yes. Apparently others can’t.

Fromm quotes John Dewey (go west young man) “The serious threat to our democracy is not the existence of foreign totalitarian states. It is the existence within our own personal attitudes and within our own institutions of conditions which have given a victory to external authority, discipline, uniformity and dependence upon The Leader in foreign countries. The battlefield is also accordingly here — within ourselves our institutions.”

In 1997 I attended an Alice Cooper concert in Zürich. It was held in the Tonhalle. Earlier that day I’d seen photos of the very auditorium taken during the Nazi era. One of the photos was a meeting of sympathetic Swiss in the Tonhalle. I don’t know how to describe my feelings that night, with that photo still living in my mind. When Alice started singing “School’s Out,” most of the audience stood, raised their fists in the air, and sang along. I remember asking myself, “Who are we?” Same hall. The same image as in the photo. Same people a generation or two later. Same idea of uniting with others of like mind or music taste, anyway. “What makes us do this?” I saw the whole thing — Nazi rally, Alice Cooper concert — as bonding rites.

Fromm writes about this, too, about the different kinds of isolation. I think that’s a subject for a whole ‘nother blog post, but the bottom line is that people cannot live without others. Fromm explains all the kinds of possible connections and as I read, I thought of this blog. Some time back, I happened to look at my stats and saw that 2020 had the most connections. I understood that; in our enforced isolation our WordPress “neighborhood” became more important, maybe necessary.

I am not sure where Fromm is going next, but it seems at this point it might be the eternal tension between self and belonging. Not sure… I could be putting the cart before the horse. Anyway, so far I like this very much. I like his attitude toward Freud (You gave us a lot, but, dude, your ideas are flawed), I like his focus on the individual. We’ll see what happens as I continue reading — one thing for sure, this is vastly different from the contest books I read every winter.

OH, in my continued pursuit to figure out WHAT is attractive to anyone about TFG I learned yesterday about a book that’s passed out at his rallies. President Donald J. Trump, The Son of Man – The Christ. It’s very scary to me that there are people who actually believe this. From the opening:

I had long appreciated that his followers constitute a cult, but I had no idea…

The Separation of Church and State

The little bitch who “represents” my district in Colorado in the US House of Representatives came out saying that there’s nothing in the Constitution about the separation of Church and State. In fact, it is the very first Amendment to the US Constitution in very clear English. It says, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

This should matter to all Americans maybe even more than the absurd and egregious overthrowing of Roe v. Wade. Why? Because this nation (the colonies that formed this nation) were largely formed for that purpose; so people could worship God in any way they chose. For me, personally, this comes down to ONE group of people in my family, my Swiss Anabaptist ancestors who, after 200+ years of active persecution in Switzerland came to the Colonies. They were such a valuable group of immigrants to the Crown that England didn’t even require they swear an oath to the King but only that they affirm they had no allegiance to any foreign power. Why? Because their religion forbade the swearing of oaths, something that had led to their persecution in Switzerland.

I love those people. They are part of who I am. I’ve seen the old world from which they came, and that alone makes me appreciate their determination and courage — and faith. I’m not sure I’d have left such a beautiful and well-developed place to come to this wild and woolly frontier world. I’m not sure my faith would have meant more to me than that.

Today, as I drove to the Refuge, I gave my lane to a group of Amish girls on bicycles who’d just been to town buying groceries. They all rode barefoot and wore leggings under their long dresses. The road on which they rode has a 65 mph speed limit, hay trucks, cattle trucks and the whole army of rural traffic. I drove around them in the other lane. To my mind they had ALL the rights of the road. The Amish are an offshoot of the Anabaptists/Mennonites. I don’t want to give their history here, but yeah; religious freedom.

Boebert and her pals (Trump, Greene, others) are all part of the 7 Mountains Mandate, a very scary faux-Christian organization that is determined to change our system into a theocracy. If you want to learn about it, here is an excellent article. “…the movement remains a 21st century version of hardcore Christian Dominionism — that is the belief that God has called conservative Christians to exercise authority over all of us by taking control of cultural and political institutions.”

These 7 Mountain Mandate people also believe that we are in the End Times. They are determined to bring those days about and to make sure they are among the chosen. Their way of determining that is not new. It hearkens back to many earlier beliefs and movements, including the Calvinist belief in the Doctrine of the Elect which I wrote about a couple days ago, “This doctrine asserts that God determines who is saved and who is not, a determination made at the beginning of the universe, and that people will KNOW who the chosen people are by the outward evidence of success in their lives. God is not going to let his chosen people suffer. It’s an equation that boils down to if wealthy then good, virtuous, wise and…saved.”  The Prosperity Gospel is pretty well explained here in Wikipedia. They base their beliefs on some guy’s “revelation” and randomly selected bits of scripture.

I know the Bible well enough to realize you can make it say whatever you want it to. I, personally, want it to say “Love thy neighbor as thyself” and “Wherefore I perceive that there is nothing better, than that a man should rejoice in his own works; for that is his portion: for who shall bring him to see what shall be after him? Ecclesiastes 3:22” and “The greatest of these is charity (αγάπη, caritas)” “Judge not lest thee be judged also” and some other stuff like the mote vs. beam passage. I like the part where God is pleased with man and I like the Christmas story of the shepherds which is why that is always my Christmas card. What religious/social movement would come out of those little shards of gospel? I do know that that poor book can be argued across translations, across gospels, across all kinds of little roads and freeways but it would not be the 7 Mountains Mandate. No no no no no…

I am personally dismayed that Adam Frisch, the guy running against Boebert, has let her set the tone and the argument for his campaign. There is so much he could be bringing up, but isn’t, including this which is vitally important to me, yeah, but not only to me. I think it is important to most people in the district.

I do not want to live in a country that abridges anyone’s freedom of faith. It’s bad enough that we people judge each other. Denying the importance of freedom of religion — and its existence as one of our first laws — sets the stage for the possibility of pogroms against Moslems, Jews, Catholics and people like me whose religion is very real but not easily defined. I know the Bible well — and like it — and I see clearly that there is very little of Jesus in what these people do, think, believe or want.

I was out at “church” today in a very heavy wind thinking about this. It matters a lot.

The featured photo is of a monument very recently built by the Zürich government memorializing the first Protestant Christian martyr, Felix Manz, who was drowned by Ulrich Zwingli. It’s a long and interesting story that is the subject of my novel, The Brothers Path the sequel to that The Price continues the story of this family, bringing the Swiss Mennonite family to America. Here is a post that explains pretty well what happened in Zürich in the early days of the Swiss Reformation.

A Ramble and a Good Film

Having been appalled yesterday by the not-surprising decision by TFG’s minion, Florida “Federal” Judge Cannon, to appoint a Special Master to evaluate the documents in TFG’s orifice, I mean office, I was lucky to be able to take my outrage out with my two best pals for a short walk. They have gotten very good at alerting me to weather that’s in harmony with our needs and possibilities. The wind came up, the clouds came over, about 20 giant rain drops, and we were OUT there. My pals were SO happy. It’s been a very hot week here in the back-of-beyond and we needed a break.

Summer is holding on with a lobster-claw grip. The tired cottonwoods have made no more effort toward their fall colors, and the aspen groves in the mountains are still green. Teddy took a serious inventory of all the new smells, I was startled by a snake — garter snake — on the trail in front of me and screamed a little scream. I don’t think I will ever stop that. It’s useless, and embarrassing, but it seemed to have had an effect on the behavior of rattlesnakes long ago and this little guy wriggled away pretty fast, intensely interesting to the dogs. The only birds in the first pond were a couple of grebes, swimming with their periscope necks above the water.

To the east was a clear blue sky punctuated by the occasional building thunderhead. To the west, the clouds over the San Juans were dark and portentous, sometimes a small clap of thunder disturbed our complacency, but so far away we kept going.

Building mammatus cloud over the San Juans. It fell apart. The featured photo is a thunderhead over the Sangres to the southeast.

I’ve learned to see this season as a kind of lull in the activity of everything, even my beans. I have 9 seeds for next year. Every year every being — plants and animals — work so hard to get their jobs done, and then by September, the work is done. I can see why, in more agriculturally centered times, school used to start in fall. It’s not like there isn’t more work to do, it’s just less urgent, as long as the weather holds — two years ago we had a blizzard on September 9! As for TFG? It looks like he’s gotten off again. I was happy (“happy” is used loosely here) to learn that historian Heather Cox Richardson read the situation like I did but in more detail:

Legal analysts appear to be appalled by the poor quality of the opinion… Duke University law professor Samuel Buell [said]: “To any lawyer with serious federal criminal court experience…, this ruling is laughably bad…. Trump is getting something no one else ever gets in federal court, he’s getting it for no good reason, and it will not in the slightest reduce the ongoing howls that he’s being persecuted, when he is being privileged.” 

The judge justified her decision because she was “mindful of the need to ensure at least the appearance of fairness and integrity under the extraordinary circumstances presented.” 

Energy and politics reporter David Roberts of Volts pointed out that this is a common pattern for MAGA Republicans. First, they spread lies and conspiracy theories, then they act based on the “appearance” that something is shady. “So this… judge says Trump deserves extraordinary, unprecedented latitude because of the ‘extraordinary circumstances’ and the ‘swirling questions about bias.’ But her fellow reactionaries were the only ones raising questions of bias! It’s a perfectly sealed feedback loop,” and one the right wing has perfected over “voter fraud.” 

Heather Cox Richardson

Later on, I was searching for something distracting to watch, and I found a very very charming Italian film, Ciitizens of the World. It’s in Italian with English subtitles. I watched on Amazon Prime (free for now) but it’s also on Youtube. Our surprise walk and this film were were the perfect antidotes and restorers of perspective. ❤️🐾 Best of all, I learned a new word in Italian — Jellyfish = Medusa. 💙

Sorry, Not a Fun, Uplifting or Entertaining Post

I’m very bewildered by recent “political” events. I don’t even know for sure if they’re “political” — in my view more like criminal, and yet? No one’s been arrested. The hope I felt when Biden won the election has pretty much vanished because things seem weirder and worse than before — like a tumor that, though removed, had seeded itself. TFG is not the FG at all. He never slipped away into a grotesque (but silent) retirement at Mar-a-Lardo; he’s alive and well, in the public eye, and his minions are everywhere. And there, in plain sight, in view of the whole world, in his hideously decorated office, are papers he shouldn’t have. Right there.

My dad had the highest level of security clearance, so I know a little bit about what this means. It doesn’t mean you take that stuff home with you to work on at night or show the kids or entertain your friends or use socially to demonstrate your coolness.

One of the themes of my life this summer has been “respect,” and as I looked at those photos I thought about how they might have gotten there, why TFG would have them at all, and it hit me that it is probably just that; a total lack of respect for what they are, the rules surrounding them, the reasons for the rules. I believe it’s very likely that he just didn’t care and thought they would be really cool to have to show guests (and reassure himself?) how awesome he is, part of his narcissistic world view in which he is the center, part-and-parcel of having “45” embroidered on the cuffs of his shirts.

If his motives were more insidious it doesn’t matter all that much, but it’s entirely possible he was/is/has been selling secrets to the enemy. Godnose he needs money.

I’ve been trying to understand the Trump phenomenon all this time (just as I tried to understand the Reagan phenomenon) and yesterday I got an answer. Money. In our culture (if you want to call it that) people conflate wealth with goodness and wisdom. I think that’s part of the Calvinist Doctrine of the Elect which has infused “our” ideas from the earliest days of European settlement. This doctrine asserts that God determines who is saved and who is not, a determination made at the beginning of the universe, and that people will KNOW who the chosen people are by the outward evidence of success in their lives. God is not going to let his chosen people suffer. It’s an equation that boils down to if wealthy then good, virtuous, wise and…saved. It’s was invented in contrast to the Roman Catholic idea which is that a person earned salvation through good works, an idea that led to the selling of indulgences, etc. Our world did NOT start yesterday.

So even thought there is substantial evidence to show that TFG is NOT a good person, the fact that he’s wealthy, etc. counters all of that in the minds of many, many people who see his grandiose words backed up by his wealth and apparent success. If that makes sense. Total nonsense, but…

Unfortunately or fortunately (my personal jury is out on that right now), the nation doesn’t run the way I would run this situation. There are laws about how to deal with him, apparently, in spite of the flagrant flaunting of law and the interest of the Republic. The people involved respect those laws. He is relying on that to, at the very least, buy time and rally his insidious forces. The longer this drags on, the more power TFG will have over the outcome. If I had been the law of the land, those heavy-duty twist-ties would’ve been around his fat wrists a long time ago, but I am not the law of the land.

P.S. “Democrats have to stop falling for the line that calling out the dangers that some voters present to the country is somehow a divisive, offensive, unfair attack on the innocent. No person who voted for Trump or supports him now is above being named and shamed. Biden doesn’t owe Republicans an apology; they owe the country an apology.” Source

“Freedom!!!!!”

In the book I’ve been reading, The Spell of New Mexico, I read a line which mentions Erich Fromm, “As Dr. Fromm long since reminded us, most people try to escape freedom.” It’s in a long essay by a writer named Winfield Townley Scott — an American poet I had never heard of. His essay goes month-by-month of his first year in Santa Fe, NM. I liked it. He writes about how many people in the early 20th century (now?) were essentially ex-pats in New Mexico. Pretty much every essay in this book makes that point one way or another. We all know that there was a big art colony kind of thing going on in New Mexico during that time (still) so that isn’t new. But reading the perspectives of all these different writers has been interesting, particularly since New Mexico has played a big part in my life since I was a baby.

But…what struck me is that reference to Erich Fromm, that statement that most of us run from freedom. It made me think about freedom, particularly in these days when the word is thrown around so loudly and so shrilly by people who seem, to me, to represent the opposite of freedom. Maybe proving Fromm’s point? And now I know there’s a whole book entitled, Escape from Freedom? Again, one of those “O Brave new world,” moments and I want to read this.

Escape from Freedom is a book by the Frankfurt-born psychoanalyst Erich Fromm, first published in the United States… in 1941 with the title Escape from Freedom and a year later as The Fear of Freedom in UK. It was translated into German and first published in 1952 under the title ‘Die Angst vor der Freiheit’ (The Fear of Freedom). In the book, Fromm explores humanity’s shifting relationship with freedom, with particular regard to the personal consequences of its absence. His special emphasis is the psychosocial conditions that facilitated the rise of Nazism.

Wikipedia “Escape from Freedom”

I don’t know what freedom is. The little I’ve read about Fromm’s book mentions his idea that there are two kinds of freedom; negative and positive. Freedom from (negative) and freedom to (positive). I’ll take that on faith for now until I have the chance to see for myself, but it makes sense to me.

Living here in the San Luis Valley after a lifetime in a very different world and environment, I have been puzzled by freedom. I have freedom TO paint, to write, to think, but I do not have freedom to “be” in a more social sense. People around me are suspicious of “intellectuals,” and I am one. That’s not ALL I am, but I am that. It never occurred to me that this would be the case until my neighbor looked down her nose at me and called me “privileged” because of my education. This happened at the beginning of this summer. After that I saw how often it had happened in my small gestures in a more social world. I scare people.

During my training to become an intellectual (ha ha) I didn’t do all that well. I was not a star student and the coterie of brains in my graduate program seemed bloodless and vague. I have hardly ever found a kindred spirit which is all fine. An aspect of freedom is liberty from encumbrances, expectations and ties, I guess. I have learned here that people expect that I am judging them and looking down at them, and, before I understood that, I wasn’t. Now, probably, I am. Prejudice of any kind is unappealing and destructive. I don’t like it when it’s turned toward me, but who does?

I don’t expect people all to be the same. I also know where my life has taken me and that not everyone has gone there. I believe we’ve all had choices to make in our labyrinthine lives, difficulties, terrors, mistakes, opportunities — both missed and not missed — bad relationships, illness, bizarre elements of fate. Godnose what any single person has had to deal with, and as such I believe all are worthy of respect. “What a poor good thing is man after all.” Goethe

Freedom is a weird word. Personally, I think may be too obscure and absolute to be discussed in a meaningful way. I think what people want is not the obscurity of “freedom,” but liberty which is the legal protection of their rights. BUT the Far Right in this country harps on freedom all the time when what it seems to offer is authoritarianism. That makes Fromm’s book even more interesting to me.

Freedom — as a concept? As a reality? Would seem to respect the individual, and I’ve seen in recent months that the Far Right doesn’t respect individual rights/freedom, not even to decide what a woman can do with her own body or a young person can do if he/she realizes that his/her mind and spirit were born in the wrong body. Minuscule things, these two things, affecting a small, small, small percentage of the population, but they reflect respect for the most personal and individual freedoms — freedom to be ones self, freedom of physical integrity. Why should these things interest anyone but the individuals faced with a couple of pretty excruciating problems? Being prohibited from choosing what’s right for her in the case of a woman with a complicated pregnancy, or prohibited from pursuing medical intervention to make life work for young person diminishes freedom to and puts the burden on freedom from. “You don’t have to make this decision, sweet cheeks. The government will make it for you.”

And more. It seems to support a rather whimsical (friendly way to say subjective and unjust) application of the law which diminishes liberty except for the selected group and creates fear.

So, yeah, I’d say people do fear freedom. We’ll see what I think after I get the book and, I hope, read it.

Politics of CO District 3

Looking forward to the upcoming election, and looking at the two candidates, I have to shudder. I have to vote for the Democrat candidate — Adam Frisch — and while I think he’s a good guy, has said stuff I agree with, and I will vote for him, I’m not sure he gets who the voters in this immense district really are. He has shown me exactly why Democrats don’t win in rural areas like mine. I’ve tried to tell him — and others have, as well. I have written to him, and I’ve posted on FB just trying to get the ball rolling on the kind of campaign he needs to run in towns like mine — and most of his immense district is towns like mine.

Frisch is a former currency trader (yeah, people down here do a lot of that) from Aspen, a very wealthy ski resort town (as the whole world knows). He might have grown up on a farm in Montana, but that’s not who he is.

His entire platform (with a few serious things vaguely thrown in) is “Beat Boebert.” He shows what idiocy Boebert does — like speaking over her time limit in Congress. OK, that’s obnoxious, but he has totally ignored her insisting that there’s nothing in the Constitution about the separation of church and state which, IMO, is really important.

Beating Boebert is A point, but not the point. People don’t mind Boebert. She gives off a vibe of understanding “us.” What Boebert or her handlers get is that people in communities like mine (everywhere?) are looking for someone to represent THEM and they are frustrated by government which they see as working in the interests of everyone but them. Of course, that’s not true of the government, but… If Frisch could demonstrate HOW he could represent them BETTER than Boebert does (not too difficult) they’d vote democrat. He doesn’t even seem to try.

How to win in a far-flung district like mine, filled with small farming towns? A candidate has to show up, walk the streets of the towns meeting and talking to people. I know. Radically old school, but it works. He should have been here for our county fair. He should have made it a point to attend every single small town celebration in the district. Other people from small towns have told him the same thing.

People down here — and in other similar towns — are like that; they are human oriented, and oriented toward individuals because there’s no one here, and we are all individuals. It’s one reason my perspective on where I live is shifting back to what it was before Covid and Jan 6. I live among amazing, kind people who vote for Lauren Boebert and Donald Trump. I’m starting to understand why. 45 and Boebert –miserable human beings both of them — or their campaigns have done marketing analysis to understand rural Americans and they act on it. I’m not fooled by DJT in a trucker hat, but others have been — if not fooled at least felt “seen.” It seems to me that Frisch is so busy railing against what she does wrong (yeah, there’s a lot), he doesn’t see how she reaches people. She’s evil, but whoever runs her is smart.

I’ve read several articles on how rural America feels that Democrats are elitist and not interested in rural America. I’m beginning to see that. I really think this guy — who has always (according to him) voted unaffiliated — seems to be coming across that way, too. He does to me. I will vote for him, but I have no idea what he will do if he is elected. All I’ve heard is vague stuff like “work across the aisle” and not be totally and completely obnoxious. That’s a LOT, but??? Where is he?

It seems to me to win an election, a candidate needs to intentionally relate to the people whose votes he wants. Maybe he’s done that, but I think he needs to do better. He challenged Boebert to five debates; she agreed to one. I’ll watch that with interest, but… I guess I really, really, really want that nightmare to end.

If you’re interested here’s a pretty good article. Another article is here, maybe a better one.

Ruminations

I’m just wondering is anyone else tired from recent history? I’m trying to figure out where my attitude changed from a fairly happy-go-lucky (according to my lights) optimist to THIS person. I’m not happy-go-lucky any longer; still optimistic, but maybe less, optimistic combined with alienated and disillusioned? is that possible? It’s been impossible not to be here for all that happened since November 2020 (actually, before that, but…. I AM here and it all happened. Last night I learned that the DOJ is investigating his orange excrescence (OE) as part of its criminal investigation into efforts to overturn the 2020 election. That’s exciting news, but what will it mean?

I’m not really worried about the OE being charged, tried, and convicted. I’m worried about the machinery around, with, behind him. Who are these people? What are they after? What is their payoff? Would convicting the OE convey the message one hopes it would? Or would it just make the OE into a higher order of saint in that bizarre pantheon?

I wish the Republicans would just go back to being Republicans… It’s surreal to me that Mike Pence is a hero for having obeyed the law and Lynn Cheney (Cheney???) for standing up for law and order against the party line. That’s nuts. I’m grateful for their behavior, but, seriously? That’s like, “Hey mom, I went to the store and I didn’t shoplift!” 🤪

In other news, the ladies and I had an impromptu tea party yesterday afternoon that reminded me how important and wonderful having actual contact with friends is. It’s been a lonely month with Covid and so on. Too much time to think. It’s led me to wonder why I don’t want to go anywhere or do anything. I really just don’t. Well, for now my options are VERY limited, that’s part of it. What a summer. I remember other times like this when life seemed ready to “get” me every time I walked out of my door. I joked about getting a flak jacket. Those times passed and this one will, too, meanwhile, good morning from the bunker. ❤️

Here is Heather Cox Richardson’s synthesis of current news

Quotidian update 4,021.a.iiv.$

I don’t know if I outfoxed the fox, but I’m happy to say, I got my old WP plan back. I think they probably reasoned that $48 is better than nothing. Of course, when I thanked them, I got a response advising me to add an automatic payment to my new/old plan. Sometimes I find our brave new world entirely too helpful. So much coaching, so much advice. A gracious, “You’re welcome” or “our pleasure. Thanks for your 10 years of loyal whatever!” but no, “Here’s how to give us your money.” 🤣 Meanwhile, I now have a lot of room for photos.

I reasoned similarly yesterday when I ordered more notecards. The company had a deal on, I set up my order, priced it with shipping against what I can reasonably expect to charge for the notecards. It’s a 30% profit so I went for it. I’m such a minuscule retail producer (is that a thing?) that 30% is $20.

That said, life is small windfalls like that in an economy like we have today. Yesterday I got 40 cents off a gallon of gas, and gas has gone down in price a little bit so it was a boon. I’m clipping store coupons (electronically) and driving less. It’s fine. I’ve been here before. Times like these sent the Good X and me to California back in 1984.

I watched the most recent January 6 hearing. I think things are just going to keep getting weirder (ha ha THAT’S an easy prognostication). In a way, I felt that the two witnesses were saying what they knew they should say, but maybe? I don’t know. Life in these untied states in the past — well, almost a decade now — has made me very skeptical about what people say. Having heard so many lies I mean, seriously? But (as with WordPress and my puny $48) it’s not to their advantage to lie, so why would they? The dumb guy from Ohio’s story was sad, but? As a result of his involvement in the insurrection, he lost everything. As it should be, but still sad. The other guy. Wow. I haven’t even been able to totally wrap my head around his story (I kept thinking of Squeaky Fromme for some reason) — as I listened,I thought, “Why do all the weirdos go to Montana?” thinking, of course, of the Unabomber. I remember how my best friend in CA was worried every time I went “home” for Christmas because (in her provincial mind) only weirdos like the Unabomber lived in Montana. I was constantly trying to explain that it wasn’t true. A wide variety of weirdos lived in Montana and they weren’t all like the Unabomber, but she never got it.

A small laugh for you from my Facebook. I ordered a few copies of Shit, Fear and Beauty for the museum who decided that the word “shit” meant they shouldn’t, no, seriously, I mean? The money was going to the museum, but whatever so I had all these copies. I put them up on Facebook for friends if they would pay shipping. Because of Covid the whole thing was delayed. I mailed them this past Monday and posted this. I love my friend’s response. I laugh whenever I think of it. Now you can, too

Not Braveheart

The conflation of two ideas that might not even be related has become — or was it always? — very common. My favorite (note heavy irony) is the conflation of guns with freedom. I don’t have a problem with guns or gun ownership in a normal sense. I’m a good shot with a 22 and slightly less accurate with a heavier caliber rifle, but good enough to feed my family, I think Bear and Teddy might be better hunters (possibly not). Evenso, I don’t think owning a gun would protect my freedom.

I’ve thought a lot about what that word — freedom — means and I honestly have no clue. I think it’s both personal and relative. To every individual freedom means something different (throughout the day?) and, in most cases, it’s largely intangible, so we’re going to own a gun to protect our intangible freedom (and, ostensibly, our property). And, once more, freedom’s opposite is communism, another abstract idea. OH well… Liberty, on the other hand, that’s something to sink one’s teeth into. It means something…

Our incumbent “representative” is running on that abstract word and guns. Her campaign website has been renamed, “LaurenforFreedom.com.” Meaningless, meaningless, but it will garner votes because none of the other candidates are running “for freedom.” Who doesn’t want freedom?

The other evening I watched a candidates’ forum with the five people who are on the primary ballot here in my part of Colorado. One of them, the current “congress” person, who uses the word “freedom” as if it were a meaningful word, had an engraving of a long rifle of some type on the wall behind her.

Lauren Boebert (R) (with gun), Don Coram (R) (who thinks abortion is birth control), Adam Frisch (D), Sol Sandoval (D) (who was told to take down her campaign sign and did), Alex Walker (D) (who thinks old people have ruined this country…sigh. Your turn is coming, sonny boy)

Many people watching objected, calling it “campaign material,” but the League of Women Voters said it was their policy not to object to the decor of a candidate’s home. The objections rose saying, “Yeah, but she campaigns on gun rights.” The League ignored all the complaints and there it was. The “representative” didn’t say much, though she talked a lot, and some of what she said was inaccurate.

I’ve studied her appearance whenever her egregious image passes my computer screen, and I see there another example of conflation. As our news has drifted further from information and closer to entertainment, the attire of female anchors has changed, too, especially on Fox. I don’t have anything against attractive, sexy women, but when it comes to the news the important stuff is the validity of their research and what they say. But viewers now expect to see a hot babe behind the mike and conflate that with the information they seek; with credibility — just like back in the day a news anchor had to be a man to be believed. So here’s my “representative” using her “sexiness” (ew) to push her agenda. People are conditioned to recognize in her tight jeans, high heels, long hair, make up and short, skin-tight, shoulder-less dresses someone they recognize as an authority — because that’s what they see on TV?

The crossed out one is from the movie Bombshell.

Just so you know, I loved high heels, pencil skirts, etc. back in the day. It’s not the clothes themselves; it’s the image. The OTHER female running for office is a different kind of young woman, but lately she’s “upped” her appearance game going in the sexiness direction. She’s an awesome young woman with a brain, viable policies and a humane philosophy.

I don’t think we humans can avoid conflating things. We are pattern-seeking beings who would like to simplify our environment, still it can be dangerous and creepy.