It started out okay, I think. January 1, 2020 seems like a lifetime ago, doesn't it?
We had a death in our family in January so things focused on that the early part of the year for us.
Then, out of the blue, there was a global pandemic. True, we'd heard bits about it going on in other countries, like it having started in China -- and there was a fuss when President Trump was closing borders from Asian countries during the impeachment, but the media didn't talk about that. Next thing you know, the media was blaming Mr Trump! Go figure.
Guess what, folks? It's a virus that spreads rapidly, a new virus, in the same family as the common cold. Go figure. There is no 'cure.' By the way, we STILL don't have a cure for the common cold, so get a grip.
To be sure, if you get a bad case of COVID-19, it can be life-threatening. BUT, there are thousands more who don't suffer from a severe case of it and go on with their lives.
Have you checked the numbers of deaths from the flu/influenza every year, it can be pretty deadly too if you get complications. Sure, they have a vaccine for the flu, but I've never taken the flu shot, and never will per the advice of a medical doctor regarding my many allergic reactions in the past. In fact, I avoid vaccines like the plague, because in my case, the side effects could be deadly. Better for me to risk battling the disease than risk death trying to prevent it.
But, I digress.
I live in a state, a commonwealth to be exact, that has a governor who's edicts regarding the pandemic vary day to day and week to week. The edicts conflict with one another and the ability to keep our livelihoods in business and our families afloat. We have a secretary of health whose degree is not in medicine and infectious diseases, but rather in mental health. This secretary and governor seem to think their words are akin to those of God Himself. (For the record, they aren't.) I worry about my fellow residents in this beautiful state, but I am only one to try and change things. I do my best to support our congressmen and women, our senators and let them know I support their efforts to keep our great state treading water. Are you in touch with your representatives? You should be!
I live in the greatest country on earth. (It must be great or so many wouldn't still try to sneak into it illegally.) And yet, there are those crowds who want to change our country to be something less than it is, to someplace wherein competition dies, the ability to dream and excel is stifled, the ability to protect one's home and family is denied. I worry about my country and her citizens (the legal citizens, not the illegal squatters who sneak in). Now before you say I'm heartless or not a Christian, let me assure you, I can love all of God's children. I can donate to agencies to help the homeless. I can care for those who've suffered from oppression and violence who seek a better way of life. BUT, I will not support those who arrive here illegally looking for another handout from our government.
That's not the way this works, folks. There are those who are even legal citizens who want the free handouts and look for every opportunity to suck them up. Shucks, I've even been told by some that I should look into disability because of my Fibromyalgia diagnosis. I will not do so until the time comes when I can no longer function. Sure, sometimes I have a bad day or series of days, but I'll still get to work and get the job done at some point. I like my job, my colleagues, and to be active. I like knowing I was productive, that I have created something of value and earned an honest wage for it. I am blessed with an employer who is a Christian and is extremely understanding of my health and my personal commitments to help others. (I remain involved with area veterans, local agricultural organizations, and a few other things.)
I'll be darned if I'm going to contribute to the drain of the USA's bank account. Not if I can help it! Just because you may be entitled to something doesn't mean you need to take advantage of it.
I watched the most recent presidential election with interest. I watched people bicker and call names. I watched candidates in many political races berate their opponents, yet never providing their own concrete solutions. Where's the resume of the candidates? I don't need someone telling me what's wrong with someone else. I can see those flaws on my own, thank you. Tell me what you can do for my state, my country, my local government, my people! Too many candidates fail on that score alone.
Our election system should function well, but truly, when you have more votes counted than registered voters, or votes by dead people, that should sound the alarm. I am very concerned by whom the Associated Press has declared the president and vice-president elects. The AP is not part of the electoral system; they really have no say whatsoever. It comes down to the legitimate counting of legally cast ballots, certified, and the electoral college. For four (4) years I've watch the Democratic Party berate and cry over the 2016 presidential results, looking for someone to 'blame.' Now this year, I'm watching the Republican Party berate and cry over the supposed results announced by the press, not the electoral college. Full circle.
I will continue to stay in touch with my representatives at federal, state, and local levels and discuss my concerns and ideas for our great land. I'm not going to stop communicating because I do (or do not) like the outcome of any political races. I am going to call for careful checks and balances when I believe there are flaws in the system.
In the 2020 races, I think it was a great folly to have mail-in ballots for just anyone. In previous years, for the military and citizens abroad, for those who travel for a living, for those with medically incapacitating issues, I believe the absentee ballot was a great idea. For the entire populous, I view it as a disaster, and I don't care who won. The entire process was not well-thought out by whoever implemented it. I, personally, know several people who received mail-in ballots when never requested, threw them out because it seemed bogus, then had to cast provisional ballots as a result. I know some who received multiple ballots; How do you get more than one? I even checked the online systems to make sure my dead family members weren't listed as having cast votes. (Thankfully, none of my deceased relatives were listed! Score one for that!)
I hear people wishing for 2021 because 'it has to be better than 2020.' Don't hold your breath, folks. I wished a year away once after watching several people I loved die. The next year was worse! Yes, worse. Don't wish your life away. Live today. Let's march through this weird year together, supporting our weird neighbors, enlightening our adversaries to the best of our abilities, taking care of ourselves (why do we need to start washing our hands this year, who really wasn't doing that before the pandemic, seriously?), looking out for fellow humans, guiding people to do things legally with respect for our laws and constitution, giving of ourselves to charities that help homeless, veterans, disabled, and so many more groups. That should be our job as individual humans, not the job of the government! We should help our neighbors so that they never feel they have to ask the government for a single dime! When did common kindness go out of style?
When did excelling in a job, a foot race, a spelling bee, a political debate (an actual debate, look up the definition), a volunteer organization go out of style? If you excel, and are taught to strive for your individual fullest potential, then you are better equipped to help others. When we are taught to be mediocre, then there is no incentive to help others because there is no point to helping.
Our great country needs friendly competition, healthy goals to achieve more than we did the day before, the spirit of doing good for ourselves and others in due course. If we don't do well for ourselves, then how can we be expected to do anything for anyone else?
As I sit here on Eastern Standard Time looking out my window at pitch black at almost 5:30pm, I realize the utter beauty of the current winter storm is hated, ignored, and discounted by many. The truth of it is though, it's been an absolutely gorgeous day, perfect for postcards and calendars. Many complain about the treacherous roads and plows that don't arrive to suit our individual schedules. Guess what, folks? It's a climate that has snowstorms every winter! We get snow. The government agencies declare Daylight Savings and Daylight Standard Time. The time change has served its time, but gosh, they can't mandate when it snows! Indeed, I drove in today's weather, on some very bad roads, slid a little sideways once, but I know it's part of life if you live in this climate. I could choose to move somewhere it doesn't snow, but that is my choice. If I choose to live here, than I accept that snow comes with the territory.
So, too, does my choice to live in the USA. I know we have a great tricameral form of government in our republic. (We are a republic, not a democracy in case you slept through that in your history class.) We have to option to move somewhere else. Our executive branches must respect the laws made by the legislative branches and both must respect the governing of our laws by the judiciary branch, whether at the federal, state, or local levels. More and more frequently, those in the judicial system seem to forget that they are not lawmakers and our legislators forget that they are not judges. And, our executives also seem to miss the memo that they do not legislate, but are there to execute the laws of the land. (I blame all political parties for this, not just the two largest parties.)
Our country has great potential: to grow even greater or to create our own demise. The choice is ours.
As 2020 winds down and many of us celebrate various religious holidays, let us not wish away this year, let us strive to be better humans, to pay attention to the details so that we can hold all branches of government accountable, to support our leaders, and even to pray for them. Pray for our country, her citizens, the residents of planet earth, and our planet since it is, in the end, just a speck in the universe, a dot and a minuscule dot at that. God knows every single one of us, but we don't and that's ok. The choice is ours to be tenders of our government, tenders of our fellow humans and animals, tenders of our planet, tenders of ourselves.
The choice is ours. Every. Single. Day. Choose wisely. 2021 is on the horizon, don't rush it. Get your act together, today, tomorrow, and every day to come. Excel. Do your best. Be the best you can be, not the best your neighbor is, but the best you can be. Then help your neighbor if you can.
The choice is yours. The choice is ours.
Thirty (30) days left to make a change, make a difference, excel, set your goals, build up yourself, and build up your neighbor. 30 days. A lot can happen in 30 days. Someone may die. It could be me. It could be you. If it is you, will someone say you lived to your potential? If I die, will someone say I was too stubborn for my own good? Will we swallow our pride and do better? Are you with me? Are you getting it?
We choose to live in this great country. We can minister to the needs of our fractured government, support our leaders, and work our derrieres off to make our system good again, while making our own lives better in the process. We choose to live here. We choose every day not to leave.
Since we've made that choice already, let's do better. The choice is ours.