Above All … VOTE!

As I’ve indicated to various individuals now and again, my other-half leans Republican; however, I didn’t realize that he not only leans, he’s actually fallen over the bannister!

He did not watch last night’s debate, but at one point when Trump made an especially idiotic remark, he happened to be in the same room with me. I knew he couldn’t help but hear what Trump had said, so I turned to him and asked:

“I have a question and I want a one-word answer. I’m not looking for a discussion. I know you support Republican ideals, but you’ve also repeatedly said you can’t stand Trump. Are you still going to vote for him?”

His answer?

“Yes.”

He went on to reiterate his intense dislike for Trump — and then began to rail against the ideals and policies of the Democrats. I quickly reminded him that I did not want to get into a political discussion. Fortunately, he took me at my word and left the room.

I tend to think this is typical behavior of many Trump supporters. Over the years, for whatever reason, they have formed negative ideas about Democratic policies and actions to the point that, in many cases, there is simply no reasoning with them.

This is why, no matter what Trump has said and done … no matter how he’s harmed this country … no matter that he might one day fully assume a dictatorship role … the Republican “ideals” remain the motivating factor in their voting decisions.

To those who support him, they believe he has their back and he’s going to run this country they way it should be run. He’s going to ensure the “American Way” is front and center. And most of all, he’s going to keep “Christ in Christmas.”

For myself, I’ve never been that much into politics. It wasn’t until Obama got elected that I began to pay any attention at all to what was going on. Then when Trump came along and began dismantling this country’s ideals and standards, I became very interested. And worried.

None of us can predict the future. The best we can do is try and influence the direction it takes, not by our words, but by our actions. And at this particular moment in space and time, our concentrated action must be to VOTE. And then “think positive” that under new leadership, this country will resume its respected and admired place on the world’s stage.

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Image by amberzen from Pixabay

The Covid-19 Mask Conundrum

Sometime back I signed up to receive The Washington Post’s “Coronavirus Updates” free newsletter. (If you’re interested in getting your own copy, you can sign up here.) The information offered in the newsletter isn’t generally anything new and/or earth-shattering, but at the end of each issue they share, and provide a response to, questions related to the virus  — and some of them can be very relatable.

Such a question was included in the latest issue, which I’m sharing here. I think many of my readers will identify with “Anne in Pennsylvania.”

“I live in an area with a large Republican majority. State law requires masks inside and outside. Today, I unfortunately was in a checkout line behind an unmasked 30-something female, very busy chatting up the cashier. I said nothing, because we were inside and the problem of aerosols would just have been aggravated. What is your advice for a courteous way to mention to people that their habits put my health at risk while still minimizing the risk of confrontation?” — Anne in Pennsylvania

This is becoming an unhappily frequent conundrum. On the one hand, we have scientific evidence that it’s especially dangerous to be near people who fail to wear masks. On the other hand, confronting such people risks increasing the chance of contagion, or even violence.

Nor do these bare-faced renegades appear to be going away. A small group of anti-maskers actually marched through a Target store in Florida this month, loudly inviting customers to join them.

Let’s first dispense with two obvious options for Anne: She could have simply left the store, though applying this advice globally would effectively surrender all public spaces to anti-maskers. Or she could have reported the offending customer to a store manager, though doing so would have simply forced an employee to take on the risk of confrontation and contagion. We’ve reported that retail workers already have it hard enough during the pandemic.

Luckily, experts do have advice for how to encourage a stranger to mask up without provoking them into even more dangerous behavior, which wellness reporter Allyson Chiu shared in an article today.

The first thing to keep in mind is that it’s possible the maskless person is a narcissist — someone who lacks empathy and believes themselves exempt from rules. That may sound like a snap judgment, but Chiu reports that peer-reviewed studies in the United States, Brazil and Poland all suggest that people prone to narcissism are less likely to follow social distancing guidelines or wear masks.

This does not mean everyone without a mask in the grocery store has a personality disorder, but it may be safest for you to assume they do, because another common trait of narcissists is being prone to anger. A simple eye roll directed at a maskless narcissist “will be enough to spin them into a rage,” a clinical psychologist at California State University at Los Angeles told Chiu.

So you should avoid even semi-confrontational comments such as “You’re supposed to wear a mask in here,” behavioral experts told Chiu. One suggested speaking to the person like a “hostage negotiator:” kindly, softly and appealing to their own self-interest as much as yours.

A Harvard Medical School psychologist suggests trying the line: “You can make the difference between life and death because we’re all in this together.” Using the word “we” emphasizes interconnection and might appeal to a narcissist’s sense of grandiosity. A small bribe might work, too: some experts recommend carrying an extra factory-sealed mask with you and offering it to the person you’re trying to convince.

At all costs, avoid letting the conversation become an argument. If it’s clear that the person isn’t listening to you or is stirring to anger, you should disengage. Simply stop responding to them, and walk away if you have to. You tried your best to make the situation safer for everyone around you. You can at least make it safer for yourself by leaving.

I tend to think most of us would prefer to avoid any confrontation on this issue, but if you decide to try the suggested approach, let us know how it went!

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Image by digital designer from Pixabay

Making People Believe

As many of my regular readers know, I’m a big fan of Heather Cox Richardson’s daily newsletter. She provides considerable facts and figures that many of us probably would never know about because we don’t do the in-depth reading and research that she does.

But I also like that she writes from a factual perspective — and provides numerous source links to back up her reporting.

In her most recent newsletter (9/25/20), she pinpoints how the Trump administration (and most particularly Trump himself) is doing all it can to influence voters in the upcoming election. Of course, many of us are familiar with these maneuverings, but sometimes putting them all together in one place can be very revealing.

Consider her thoughts in this paragraph from the referenced issue:

Trump and his cronies are trying to create their own reality. They are trying to make people believe that the coronavirus is not real, that it has not killed more than 200,000 of our neighbors, that the economy is fine, that our cities are in flames, that Black Lives Matter protesters are anarchists, and that putting Democrats in office will usher in radical socialism. None of these things is true. Similarly, Trump is trying to convince people that he can deploy the power of the government to remain in power even if we want him to leave, creating uncertainly and fear. By talking about it, he is willing that situation into existence. It is a lie, and we do not have to accept it. 

I emphasized those first three words of that last sentence for those who see Trump as the Savior of America which, according to the video below, many people do.

When I first watched this video, my immediate reaction was how much Trump’s followers resemble people who belong to a cult! They are totally convinced that anything and everything their Leader says is Truth. Even when, as shown in the video, they are confronted with facts and evidence, they continue to believe their Revered Leader.

From RawStory.com

Trumpism can be understood as right-wing political extremism transformed into a cult. This is not just a metaphor. Trump’s lies, his assault on reality, his threats of violence, his cruelty, his demand of absolute loyalty, his manipulation of willing subjects who choose to escape empirical reality, and his shared state of collective narcissism with his followers all fit the definition of a cult.

What is truly scary is how difficult it is to deprogram cult members …

This Is Awesome!

Scientific American Endorses Joe Biden

“We’ve never backed a presidential candidate in our 175-year history—until now. This year we are compelled to do so. We do not do this lightly.”

I have nothing to add … except read the article.

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Thanks to Gary @Escaping Christian Fundamentalism for bringing this to my attention.