Monthly Archives: May 2020
Let all your things be done with charity. (KJV) ( 1 Corinthians 16:14 )
When people think of the way you express your love, what would they think of? Possibly by faithfully recognizing birthdays, or caring for extended family and taking them under your wing, or ensuring visitors leave with food and providing for their needs. How do you want to be remembered by those you love? Are you creating those moments of love you desire to express to others?
I think we’ve all seen pictures and videos in the news of events over the past weekend like the beginning of the summer party at Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri, dubbed the”Zero Ducks Given Pool Party” or crowds at beaches all over the South showing willful disregard for social distancing. Here in Vermont people are mostly following guidelines for social distancing and wearing masks when they can’t social distance.
In Vermont, we’ve had some hot weather the past few days with high temperatures in the 90s, so naturally people want to get out and about. We’ve been warned though not to get into the waters of Lake Champlain or the many quarries, lakes, and rivers around Vermont, not just to continue our social distancing, but because the water temperature has not risen above 50 degrees. The National Weather Service issued a special weather statement reminding everyone that the waters were still too cold to enjoy, and that with temperatures below 50 degrees, hyperthermia sets in within a few minutes.
So as much as I too would like to visit one of the gay beaches in Vermont or go canoeing or better yet tubing down one of Vermont’s lazy rivers, I will stay at home. Truthfully, when the weather warms up, I prefer to take a few days and head up to the Gay Village in Montreal, but that too is out of the question because the border remains closed.
I doubt I will ever understand the people who refuse to wear masks and say stupid things like: “If I get sick, I get sick,” “If it’s my time to die, it’s my time to die,” or “God will protect me.” How does the Ancient Greek proverb go? “God helps those who helps themselves.” There’s a fine line between trust and irresponsibility that I admit is sometimes hard to see, but the truth is these people are being selfish. Wearing masks is more about protecting others than it is about protecting yourself. Remember to always follow the Golden Rule: Do to others what you want them to do to you. This is the meaning of the law of Moses and the teaching of the prophet. — Matthew 7:12
Sometimes, life is boring, but that’s ok. There is an English expression “May you live in interesting times,” which purports to be a translation of a traditional Chinese curse. Despite being so common in English as the “Chinese curse,“ the saying is apocryphal, and no actual Chinese source has ever been produced. The most likely connection to Chinese culture may be deduced from analysis of the late-19th-century speeches of the British statesman Joseph Chamberlain, probably erroneously transmitted and revised through his son Austen Chamberlain.
It seems to me that a quarantine during a world-wide pandemic is a bit of both. Being at home more than usual, is in fact often boring. There is only so much Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and Star Trek reruns a person can watch. Yet, this pandemic can be considered interesting times. It is most certainly an event of historical proportions, and I suspect, among other things, this pandemic will cause Donald Trump to go down in history as the most self-centered, imbecilic, and ineffectual president in the history of the United States.
Sadly, James Buchanan, who was probably America’s first gay president, will continue to be the worst for his ineptitude in preventing the Civil War, but Donald Trump still has at least eight more months in office to beat Buchanan out of his spot. Trump will never make it to the list of best presidents, not even close, but he likes to be the “most” in everything, so he may just decide he wants to go down as the worst president. Fat chance he’d ever consider himself anything but the best, but he sure does seem to be working hard to be the worst.
I also don’t think any revisionist historian will look back and try to reassess Trump as being better than he was portrayed by contemporary historians, who mostly show their dismay when assessing Trump’s presidency. He will not be like Herbert Hoover, who was reviled and utterly defeated in his quest for re-election, yet in the years since Hoover was president, historians have reassessed his tenure in office. What made Hoover so ineffectual during the Great Depression was that he lost the confidence of the people and could not gain it back. With a few exceptions, Hoover did not want the federal government involved in relief efforts; however, many of his policies were also tried by FDR. Roosevelt was never able to bring the United States out of the Depression without involving the country in World War II. It was the industrial-military complex created during the war effort and the fact that most of the unemployed men were drafted into the military that brought the end of the Great Depression. The war eliminated unemployment and rebuilt the economy on a war footing. FDR was seen as a hero, while Hoover was seen as a failure until recently.
In my opinion, Trump has done nothing redeeming in his presidency, and I don’t believe he can turn it around before the election. Numerous investigations, an impeachment (that he was saved from conviction because the Republicans in the Senate refused to have a real impeachment trial), an adversarial relationship with the press, narcissism, thousands of lies, total disregard for the rule of law, etc. will go down in history. Yes, there will be some historians on the right who might try to defend him, but history is supposed to be unbiased. And, I believe history will judge him very harshly and with few if any redeeming qualities. He quite possibly is not only doing damage to his reputation but is also damaging the Republican Party as a whole. Republicans will have to reassess their moral standing and take a long hard look at the depths the party has dragged down the Grand Old Party. Hopefully after the November election, it won’t be so grand anymore.
So yes, sitting at home can be boring, but no one can deny that we are living in historic and interesting times. By the way, the nearest related Chinese expression to the “curse” quoted abovetranslates as “Better to be a dog in times of tranquility than a human in times of chaos.” For some of us, our homes are tranquil places, but humanity is definitely in chaos.