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.






Peeling Away the Layers of Ignorance and Embedded Racism From My Heart and Mind

peeling away the ignorance and racism

When I decided to go back to school in 2014, it was triggered by homeschooling my sons for two years while living in Massachusetts while my husband was going to graduate school at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology. I had initially thought I’d like to major in psychology, but while registering for online college at Southern New Hampshire University, I found there was a BA in English Creative Writing…something I’ve had an interest in from my pre-teens, teens, and through my mid twenties. This passion for writing faded to the back of my mind when I got married and had children. My focus, rightly so, was on my marriage and children, but I’d not lost the desire to write again over those nearly two decades, so when I saw this degree and the classes required, I quickly told my advisor I wanted to switch my major to English Creative Writing in October 2014. Currently, I am still a student and will finish up my degree in late 2018 or early 2019, depending on whether I take off a term next summer for a family vacation or not (mostly likely, I will).

woman writing in notebook

I started writing again in September 2014. I’d started writing a story loosely based on my early life (my early twenties), and in doing so, because of writing third person and working in the mind of the main character in her struggles with heartache, naiveté, selfishness, and extreme passions to the point of obsessive behavior for a few years, I learned much about myself and could see outside myself objectively and realized I was just as much to blame for the problems in my romantic relationships as the man/men. This first epiphany actually brought me peace of mind, strength, closure, and a sense of catharsis.

finding peace

My first class for general education required courses was History 1865 to the present out of the three selected classes available. This class opened my mind and heart, and I learned a lot that I didn’t through primary and secondary school either because I was bored and ignored what was being taught or these details were not elucidated in my history classes. I had studied the Civil War in my late teens out of great interest in the mini-series, North and South, reading the book of the same name by John Jakes, and eventually reading true historical volumes on the Civil War. I knew about the evils of slavery, but also good people from both the North and the South, because rarely is anything involving people, events, relationships, and history entirely black and white. I knew about lynchings and the KKK. I knew generally about Martin Luther King, Jr., but he wasn’t somebody discussed in great detail or admiration in my home growing up, just in passing. I knew even less about Malcolm X. But I did learn a lot about these two men and what true evils were going on, especially between the decades of the 1930s through the 1960s and early 1970s in the American South in regards to the oppression and deadly actions towards people of color through this class, and it made me sick and still does. While taking this course, I watched a few documentaries on my own out of pure interest and wanting to learn more on certain cases or events that weren’t detailed enough for me in the history e-textbook. The best two documentaries I watched were Eyes on the Prize:  America’s Civil Rights Years 1954-1965 and White Like Me.

eyes on the prize pic
Eyes on the Prize trailer:

white like me pic

White Like Me trailer:

Both were colossal eye openers for me. The attitudes of the white college kids questioned in the documentary White Like Me turned out to be what I had been thinking subconsciously the past couple of decades. I realized this by searching my heart and mind and through introspection. It is true. We white people do not have a clue what or how other people live or encounter on a regular basis. Of course, nobody really knows totally how other people live because they have grown up differently in different backgrounds, ethnicity, class, etc., but all I knew was that I could relate to these white college students that had no idea about how they’ve had it easy in some aspects of their lives and how we think about people of color compared with our own race. I was guilty of that and still have to monitor myself because it’s like Tim Wise points out in the documentary, it’s so embedded in our culture that even people of color think whites are superior to them, generally speaking. This is really sad and horrible how conditioned we are within our society and that it is instilled in our subconscious.

Parting the Waters

These documentaries prompted me to read the book Parting the Waters – first of a series of three books on the history of the Civil Rights Movement in Martin Luther King’s years. I finished this over 900-page book last month. It was excellent and very thorough and a fair and objective compilation of history at that time. I plan to get the next book in the next couple of weeks. I want to continue learning this and the plight of the Native Americans through colonization and genocide in this country that was either whitewashed when I was in school or I was told biased views from the side of the colonizers without regard to those native people we were lied to, oppressed, and many killed off. It is because for years and years, I’ve had an interest in history that I want to read more and learn more on this.

It was around 2010-2012 that I started to realize people I became friends with on the internet are not cardboard cutouts with opposing political views. First, he/she is a person.  Seeing the person as a fellow human being is most vital as that is how a Christian, an Orthodox Christian in my case, should treat others. Whatever the person’s likes or dislikes, political views, etc. should be lower on the totem poll of what connects me to my fellow human beings who are all made in His Image. Mutual kindness, empathy, and truthfulness, like in any relationship no matter the type, is what is most important to me.

hands clasping

Lastly, through my classes in anthropology, psychology, history, world literature, and literary theory, I’ve discovered, acknowledge, and recognize the realities of the treatment of women in Western and Eastern cultures of the world. I was never a feminist and because I was indifferent to women’s struggles and fights for equality, other than I agreed in equal pay for women, I was complicit out of ignorance and apathy, to the objectification of women and the silencing of their voices (not speaking for the extreme views) that were legitimate and accurate historically.

women's rights for equal pay sign

Since I switched from a worldly political viewpoint to a spiritual Christian one back in 2009/2010, I see all of these things I’ve mentioned. I started to wonder why white people seem to almost exclusively be the race who has had the power for the majority of the existence of humanity. My son once told me about two months ago that he hated being white because of all the bad acts committed by them, but I told him he shouldn’t hate being white. Not all white people in our history have been cruel and drunk on power and oppressed other people. I continued by telling him that God created us and we should be grateful and thankful. We just need to show the Light of Christ to all by showing kindness, empathy, and love to all.  He agreed.

james baldwin not your negro

I had watched a documentary recently with James Baldwin called I am Not Your Negro, and he had said it was up to the white people to change the tide through eliminating fear and thus hate and racism. From what I’ve watched and read, many white people are afraid of losing power and of colored people “taking over” our country. At this point, not only good education is needed, but also with the tensions going on between whites and blacks, a real need for true sit down, honest discussions are crucial to have some type of starting point to connect and heal. Until this is done in a real sense, the ignorance, hate, and violence will continue.

It’s true that knowledge is power.  Discovering and unveiling my prejudices, ignorance, and embedded racism helped me to work on changing my mind and heart.  I hope whoever reads my blog searches their hearts and minds and if they find something very negative like I did, they work toward eradicating these thoughts.  There’s much more for me to learn, and I’m in it for the long haul. May God have mercy on us all and grant us strength and peace.

love your neighbor as yourself