Featured photo: Xavier Young, 26, proposed to Marjorie Alston, 23, right in the middle of a Black Lives Matter march, Raleigh, North Carolina.
From: Yahoo News

It is a hard time right now for most people. The pandemic has kept us locked up for months now. There is no promise it will lessen, despite the social distancing policies we’ve lived thru. With no vaccine and no herd immunity yet, perhaps we can just slow it down a bit with continued individual vigilance. But there are plenty of stupid people who won’t do that.

Protest Santa Clarita

The protests where I live.

The idiots who run LA County have moved the curfew back to 9 pm. Santa Clarita has eliminated theirs. (Three cheers for Mayor Cameron Smyth!) There is really no point to a countywide curfew. Cities within the county have authority to declare curfew if they want. There is no reason for the county to attempt to force it upon them. There are no disturbances in unincorporated areas. I am optimistic they will remove it entirely.

And then there is systemic racism we have to deal with. I hate to call it an epidemic. An epidemic/pandemic is something novel, something new under the sun that races thru the population and then fades away. I wish racism was an epidemic but it isn’t. Nothing new about it. It is a part of every modern human culture. European Caucasians have no monopoly.

Is it in our genes?

It is more like a predisposition to mistrust and to belittle that which is different. I suspect it has been with us since before the species split from the other primates. I call this otherism, aka us vs. them, aka tribalism. It is depressingly easy to focus that predisposition on an individual who is “different” or an easily identifiable group. Once focused it is distressingly different to eliminate.

However, humans have the ability to learn not to yield to their basest instincts. If we did not, we’d have gone extinct long ago. It gives me cause for optimism.

I am optimistic because of my perspective. How can I not be?

If you are young you don’t have the past to compare anything with. History is a bore and meaningless, right? Nothing matters except what is happening right now. In the past things were much uglier than they are today. Not even the distant past but the past I grew up in.

This was the civil rights movement of my youth. In many areas, blacks couldn’t vote, shop in the same stores or use the same toilets as whites. And yet 4 years ago we had a black president. Big progress.

There has been progress and things will continue to progress. It requires constant pressure to maintain it. Humans are creatures whose interest spikes and then decays. We have an incident. Everyone gets riled up and demands justice. And then, with our need to protest satiated, the folks who don’t have to worry every time they see a police officer lose interest. But even with these intermittent spurts of activism, things have gotten better.

Compare today with 1992. I remember the smell and sight of smoke over the city, worrying about friends in the riot areas, 63 dead, thousands injured and large areas burnt to the ground. This is literally a walk in the park compared to that. I think it is accomplishing far more than any riot ever did.

Have we learned something? I am optimistic that we have.

Milley’s handwritten note says it all.

It is true that we have a jack-ass in the White House now. He is a reminder that when you are fighting for truth, justice, and the American Way, you can’t just be earnest, you have to be vigilant and you have to be smart. But I am optimistic he will be gone. His approval ratings started in the low 40s and are in free fall right now. November cannot come fast enough

Sadly, there’s only one GOP Senator in the lot who had the spine to stand up to Trump, Mitt Romney. Maybe he could run again someday if he isn’t too old.

He’s been denounced by many fellow Republicans including former president G. W. Bush, and Trump’s own former SecDef, James Mattis. The current Chairman of the Joint Cheifs of Staff, Mark Milley, and a number of active duty and retired generals rebuked Trump indicating that they swore an oath to the Constitution, not to Trumpism.  (I take that as a subtle hint that should he lose the election he’ll have to leave.) There’s even a rabidly anti-Trump group of GOP party leaders and campaign strategists who identify as the Lincoln Project.

I  wonder if Michelle Obama would be available for Biden’s VP?

So I am optimistic that we will dump this particular load and get on with the task of making the world a safer, more equitable, and more humane place.