When I was a young man growing up in rural Oregon, there was a term for people like me: “gun nut.”
Feb. 19 marked the day the United States of America officially rejoined the Paris Climate Agreement and is back in the global fight against climate chaos, which is inevitable if we follow business as usual, now termed RCP (representative concentration pathway) 8.5.
Back in February 2020, we were hearing some rumblings of a disease that had started in China, was coming across Europe and had entered into the United States. We were told that it was highly contagious, but the case numbers were still low. Things changed swiftly when it appeared Seattle was one of the major places where people were being exposed.
Why would any company spend $5.5 million for a 30-second Super Bowl ad which leaves viewers perplexed as some glitzy and abstract commercials did? After production costs are tacked on, you’d think advertisers would want their messages clearly understood especially in difficult times.
Much has been made recently of the concept of the “Big Lie,” or repeating a falsehood so many times that it becomes plausible to many. Cognitive psychologists refer to this phenomenon as the “illusory truth effect,” and President Joe Biden weighed in on the phenomenon himself when condemning senators who supported Donald Trump’s assertion that he (Trump) won the 2020 election by a landslide. Biden declared, “You keep repeating the lie … the degree to which it becomes corrosive is in direct proportion to the number of people who say it.”
President Joe Biden frequently calls for “healing the soul of our country.” Lincoln wrote of “binding up the nation’s wounds.” Has the current exposure of our nation’s brokenness revealed an opportunity to give these words new meaning? Can we stop the bloodshed, diagnose symptoms, treat root causes?
Sedition. Whatever you want to call the violent assault in Washington on Jan. 6, 2021 — a mob action, a siege, a coup attempt, a riot, domestic terrorism, an insurrection — the fault clearly lies with the president of the United States. Donald Trump called for it, and when it happened — “an act of violent sedition aided and abetted by a lawless, immoral and terrifying president” (New York Times columnist Bret Stephens, Jan. 6) — he praised it. Joe Biden was correct to use the same language, saying the assault “borders on sedition.”
Donald Trump’s telephone conversation with Georgia’s secretary of state will go down in history as a classic case of election interference, totally in keeping with Trump’s disdain for democratic processes and perfect willingness to use any means, legal or otherwise, to get his way.
We are in the middle of a global pandemic, with over 231,000 COVID-19 cases in Washington state alone. Even with the days getting shorter and darker as we enter the cold winter months, there is light at the end of the tunnel, as Pfizer’s and Moderna’s vaccines are distributed.
Everything that comes out of the White House today — the lies, the false claims of election fraud, the absurd lawsuits — makes me retreat and recoil. But I feel a particular sense of dread whenever I am watching the TV news and press secretary Kayleigh McEnany steps up to the podium in the White House briefing room.