Independence Day & Humanity’s Flaws

tattered american flag

As I sit here and work to type up a meaningful post on a conglomerate of issues in a chaotic country and world, with my shoulder pain, many thoughts go through my mind.

So many life-altering and difficult events have transpired so far this year. Most especially  the spread of the coronavirus, an economy teetering toward a depression, and the injustices that have existed in our country since its inception in one way or another, bubbling forth after the murder of George Floyd.

To top that off, I’ve forgotten several times that this is also an election year. My friend has reminded me at least three times in the past few weeks.

But what I see amid all of these tragic and chaotic events is a lack of nuance and looking at all the factors involved.

Instead, I see extreme views from every spectrum on the Covid issue, the destruction of statues issue, and the views of politicians.

I don’t want this post to turn into a novella, so I will attempt to make this as succinct as I can.

Regarding the coronavirus arguments. It’s frustrating to see so many people pick a side as if they’re rooting on a football team, digging their heels in and slamming on those who don’t agree with them, using extreme language like “communists” from one group and “selfish bastards” in the other.

Is there no middle or gray to this? In my experience, in just about everything in this world apart from God, as I’m a believer, is mostly in the gray.

Some comments on this coronavirus argument:

There is still conflicting reports on the health of masks. Not whether it keeps your spittle from spraying on people close to you, but rather if it is healthy to wear the same one all day, whether at a job or in a classroom/school–closed spaces. And if we’re wearing them properly. Scientists and doctors are still conflicted on this. Some say it’s healthy and good, others don’t. Therefore, it becomes a matter of which health experts you trust and/or believe.

The information that the sun’s UV rays kills the virus on surfaces in less than two minutes outside. With this information, I see no reason to wear a mask while walking outdoors or sitting outdoors from a distance.

I follow the requirements of wearing masks inside buildings, which makes sense. The reason this makes sense is because I’ve listened to many interviews with different doctors on the problems with ventilation within buildings. I’ve had this concern with nursing homes since this pandemic hit.

Can there be something done to fix buildings’ ventilating systems so that they’re cleaner? Why hasn’t somebody already come up with this decades ago? Certainly, there has got to be a way to make those systems cleaner and healthier for people working within those buildings and breathing in the recirculated air.

I know this isn’t an acceptable or tolerated view, but all views should be tolerated and given a listen with regards to doctors’ reports on medications that have shown good results in the healing of Covid patients. There are multiple reports from a top French doctor, doctors in Greece and other countries, as well as our own American doctors, that show hydroxychloroquine with zinc and azithromycin actually DOES help people suffering with Covid. You can check the many studies out there.

The discrepancy is in clinical trials versus actual use of it by doctors for their patients in real time. This is why some articles dismiss the potency of this treatment. But the actual evidence via doctors’ patients’ wellness after taking the medications early into their illness of the virus show non-disputable good results. Then again, with all the mixed reports, one is left again to select which health experts you want to trust.

One of the problems was during the lockdown, people couldn’t go to the doctor until they had symptoms, and by the time they got in to see the doctor, they were already at a more serious and latter stage of the illness. For the medications to work (and the dosages need to be way lower than the ridiculous 2400 mg/day, which of course, would end up killing anybody .. the acceptable dose is more like 400-600 mg./day), one needs to be seen earlier so that the medications can work properly. Obviously, they aren’t going to work on someone on the cusp of death on a ventilator.

Therefore, we should be using all medications that have been shown to help and heal people.

I think part of the problem is money and political bent, as well as maybe a bit of fear. A cheap drug that’s been around at least 60 years doesn’t do much for the big pharmaceutical industries. And nobody wants Trump to be right about HCQ (hydroxycholoroquine). If only people had the capacity to look outside their disdain for another human being and recognize when the information he shared from doctors is actually fleshing out to be correct. That it’s okay to say, “He may be right”.

That requires the nuance, moderate, objective viewpoint that is sorely lacking in this country.

One thing about ventilators. Unfortunately because nobody knew how to handle this virus since it was novel, new, they didn’t realize until a month or two later that ventilators were doing more damage than good.  Thankfully, I believe because WHO put out a notice of not recommending ventilators for treatment as the first resort, that I think regular oxygen was utilized, which may have been part of the factor for the plummeting in amount of deaths (around 90% less deaths) in the last month. Maybe that was coupled with the HCQ cocktail.

Everyone initially thought the pandemic would bring people together. That more outpouring of concern and love would blossom.

Perhaps that happened for the first month, but it fractured and has grown volatile since then.

We all are in this together, wanting treatments and medications that will help against Covid. Let’s keep an open mind, please.

Comments on the economy and injustices:

I believe these two subjects intersect. First off, people who are or were scraping to get by, to feed their families and wanted to re-open their small businesses should never have been ridiculed. If your children are hungry, near starving, would you say you’re selfish? How dare you? The one thing keeping you afloat in this money-centered society is about to go under, and you’re scared you’ll lose your life.

Suicides went up, as well as mental health issues. This can’t be ignored. It has to be taken into consideration, along with everything else.

woman on window sill sad

None of these problems are an EITHER/OR situation. Every aspect needs to be addressed and heard and dealt with.

The economy for the working class and middle class has been a true dilemma and struggle for many decades … at least 30-40 years now.

There is no denying the fact that the wealth in our nation has moved to the top and left most of the middle to bottom earners poorer. It has been shown the changes started in the mid to late 1970s. People’s wages stagnated and didn’t keep up with the increased prices of food, housing, etc.

Changes in our criminal justice and prison systems have caused more suffering. Our government never should have allowed private for-profit prisons. It’s been a horrible disaster and has ruined many lives since its inception. This, too, changed around the same time as the wages.

The militarizing of our local police around the country has also caused major problems. We need to go back to police as part of our communities, where they know the people in the neighborhoods and understand that Joe has Autism or Betty has bipolar. They need to be trained better in issues of mental health so that they treat those with mental health problems with compassion and humane treatment. And some police officers do. It’s not an all or nobody case. But the structure within the system isn’t strong on this.

This post is turning into what I didn’t want it to turn into.

But I must finish my thoughts on the movements to stop racism by some in the police and the overall embedded sickness of racism in our society.

As everyone knows by now, the horrible murder of George Floyd was the final straw for most African Americans and even for some whites. We’ve witnessed these inhumane acts against black people since cell phones could record them. But we all know these were happening before that throughout our history.

Therefore, all the protests and marches are justified.

protestors for Floyd

Then there was the looting and destruction of local stores, etc. Obviously, this isn’t right, and it was disturbing to watch. But what also went through my head was how desperate some of these people must have felt to do those actions. People who are starving sometimes steal food, for example. People are hurting and suffering and have been for decades–going back to economic woes and hardships. Couple that with racist actions, and I’m not sure what people expected would happen.

We also need to remember that the wealthiest people in the world, like Jeff Bezos, don’t pay federal income taxes while the rest of us in the middle class and working class do. And during this pandemic, I’ve watched reports showing how he and others in the top echelon have made out like bandits through a tough and heartbreaking time for most Americans, via the virus and shutdown. Therefore, although the loopholes and sneaky ways these billionaires work the system is considered legal, I do believe it is a type of looting of the masses below them.

Finally, the matter of the destruction of statues, etc. due to the reverence of the founding fathers and other well-known people in our history who had done things that were offensive or racist.

jefferson statue toppled

Sure. We can, and with some, should, take down the statues. We could put them in museums.

What we can’t do is erase our past historical mistakes or grievous errors. They will always be there and should be a reminder not to repeat these mistakes and to move forward toward a more just, healthy, and human-respecting society and culture.

A quick note. I don’t agree with Trump’s executive order in throwing people who topple statues into prison for a minimum of ten years. Again, the prison problem in this country is glaring. 

Onto this subject of statue removal.

Every person in this country, on this planet throughout our human existence, has flaws and is broken. Those who do good things are celebrated. Those who do bad are basically condemned. But everyone does good and bad things, if we’re being honest.

I also think we have to realize that yes, our forefathers weren’t perfect. They had slaves, some had mistresses, and probably did all kinds of other sinful behavior. Why? Because they ARE human like the rest of us. And what we know at the time is all we know.

So, although I don’t like some of the things our founding fathers and those after them have done in history, I realize they are recognized for the good that they did. I also acknowledge this is part of our heritage and our American traditions, like them or not. And there are some things that I definitely don’t like about our culture’s imperialistic, prejudicial, and arrogant nature woven throughout the existence of the United States.

But if we’re honest, just like we may be members of a dysfunctional family, it’s the same for us as fellow Americans.

Many of America’s actions have been sinful and hurtful throughout our history, and we need those museums to remind us of where we came from if we are from this country, and look at its messy record, as well as the good in it and accept that it existed and still does.

We make changes through reforming our prison system, criminal justice system, foreign policy (which shows generally our racism from a global perspective that mirrors our domestic position), and many other institutions in our country. I’m not saying that’s an easy feat. It’s just obvious we need to do these things.

What is really lacking is a love for others. All the hatred and in-fighting and divisions have truly hurt my heart. We are not that different from each other. Political parties don’t matter. They are all the same. They shouldn’t be dividing us. We are all human beings, and nuance, gray, moderation, and taking time to ponder things should supersede partisan, extreme viewpoints from whatever side on whatever issue.

flashy love sign

All that’s happening in our country and around the world should be bigger than politics. It should be about softening our hearts toward each other and helping one another.

I’m not perfect and have many flaws of my own. Actually, I’m a pretty broken, messed up person.  I’m just sharing my thoughts on what I’ve been seeing, hearing, and feeling since this all started in early 2020.

On this Independence Day, I’m hoping to work together with my fellow humans through empathy and care to help change, for the better, our government’s broken systems and people’s broken hearts, one encounter at a time.

 

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Marketing Your Novel

marketing your book

For the past three weeks, I’ve been working to the point of exhaustion on marketing my debut novel, Passage of Promise.

Writers, especially introverted ones like me, who have not yet published their works, look upon the upcoming marketing and promoting of their books with some dread. It looms out there, always prodding in the back of your brain, telling you, “You’ll have to work your butt off after you hit the “Distribute” button on your publication date”.

You thought the first draft was a whole lot of sweat and mentally draining. The hundreds of revisions and several edits were drudgery. The last minute tweaks and perfecting before publishing were nerve-wracking.

Well, of course, it is true all of that is hard work, but then you’ve reached the point of promoting and marketing your book. You’ve never marketed yourself so hard since the instances where you’ve interviewed for a job.

It feels awkward at first. Your confidence isn’t quite up to the task. But as people purchase your book, you begin to truly believe your story is worth even more than you originally thought.

Then, as your confidence grows, your promoting, reaching out via social media, local bookstores, online bookstores, libraries, etc. becomes easier.

And it boosts your confidence more so when your book is accepted by a local bookstore and the library includes you in one of their Author Showcases for the year.

No doubt, I’ve had to ramp up massage appointments and drink extra calming tea through this period. But it’s all part of being an author. It comes with the job.

These are the actions I’ve taken to promote my book:

Posting on social media about my book and where my book can be purchased

Contacted local bookstore to carry my book and do a future author event

Contacted local library to participate in their 2020 Authors Showcase event

Contacted online bookstores, as well as a large bookstore in Denver

Contacted my former and current churches

Contacted a good friend who does radio interviews

Made fliers for my book to set in local and church bookstores

Will post a picture when my book is on the shelf of the local bookstore

With all of this in place, I’m taking a little breather for the next several days.

I hope these ideas are helpful to new and first-time published authors.

Happy writing!

 

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Pick up your copy of Passage of Promise  via Amazon or Barnes & Noble!

Me with PofP final print copy April 27 2020

 

The Traveling Child

teddy bear in suitcase

If you grew up the child of a military member, you’ll understand how life was for me.

My life revolved around moves on base and off, from as early as two years old to seventeen.

Since my birth in the state of Maine, my family moved from there to Taiwan, Massachusetts, Virginia, Alabama, Germany, Illinois, Virginia, and Colorado.

While in Germany, my mom took my sister and I with her to Greece each summer so that we could spent it with our yiayia (grandmother), aunt (thía), and our two cousins. We spent three summers in Greece, and the memories are fantastic.

Most of the time, we spent our days at the beach, playing mini golf, eating ice cream and watermelon, and tramping around the suburbs of Athens.

One time, my mom took my sister and I to a disco. It was fun dancing to the BeeGees on colored tiled floors produced by strobe lights and a disco ball dangling from the noisy room’s ceiling.

And the outdoor theaters were awesome–four walls without a roof, surrounded by beautiful flowers with the huge screen on the wall across from us.

My dad retired in Colorado, and I finished up my last year of high school in Castle Rock, Colorado.

Although attending my senior year at a completely unfamiliar and friendless high school was both challenging and incredibly abysmal, the fact that I fell in love with the light, arid, sunny climate and gorgeous mountainous scenery of Colorado helped lessen that year’s lows, and it only got better after I graduated, seeing how I hated high school.

When I was growing up, I was painfully shy, and it took me several months to get to know other kids. Nevertheless, I did each place we moved, and in some cases, I wrote to those I became friends with for many years, until most of them stopped writing.

Writing letters was a normal way of communicating in my day, youngsters out there reading this. 🙂 And writing letters and receiving them in the mail was akin to getting a surprise gift every time my mom would bring in the mail.

One friend, who became my best friend, I met while my family was stationed at Rhein Main Air Base, is still in contact with me today. We’ve literally kept in contact, visited with each other a few times, for the last approximately forty years.

Relationships like that are so special and cherished. In fact, I’ve talked to her recently, and she is planning to come visit me in a few weeks, depending on the COVID rules here in Colorado.

Childhood memories of getting in and out of airplanes, unpacking our things, starting at new schools, are embedded in my mind. Riding my bike with my friends, playing Barbies, going to the roller skating rink to glide around the circular floor and do the hokey-pokey with the lights off and colorful spotlights dancing around the huge space bring a smile to my face.

So many children were in the neighborhoods in which I grew up. You’d encounter them on your street or in their front yards, and soon, you were talking, playing–friends.

There was such freedom in the days of my childhood. You hear that often from older folks like me. But it is so true. Life was full of imagination, wonder, and riding your bike or skating around your neighborhood and beyond with no fear and little limits/boundaries, especially if you lived on base.

I wish it were still like that today. My sons didn’t grow up with the same freedoms I did.

All those moves exposed me to different cultures and different people, and I feel blessed to have had those experiences.

I bring all this up because not only am I reminiscing, but also because ideas of writing about the military brat’s life, using some of my own experiences to create a work of fiction has been swirling around in my head the past few days.

Perhaps this new idea will land on my mind’s runway, and a story will be written. I’m hoping so.

Were you a military brat? What childhood memories do you hold dear?

 

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Pick up your copy of Passage of Promise  via Amazon or Barnes & Noble!

Me with PofP final print copy April 27 2020