All that Matters in 2020

I’m ready for a change, any change. I know you probably are too.

Life is essentially stagnant at the moment. I heard one pastor on a podcast say that we (Americans) were suffering from “spiritual undernourishment.” He’s right.

In addition, I think we’re suffering from a lack of what makes each one of us, “us,” because the things we use to define and shape our lives are either shut down or modified to such an extent that they’ve lost what made them good in the first place. This pandemic is awful. We’ve put our lives on hold, and we’ve been asked to wait longer. Who do we become when we stop moving forward?

Chaos (what else can you call this?) creates opportunity, good and bad. This was a great opportunity for us as a nation, but we’ve blown it. Because this is an election year, both parties have used the virus for political points. The angst of living in America in 2020 has driven us deeper into our partisan political tents, and we have our elected leaders to thank for exploiting the moment.

How a nation responds to a respiratory virus should not be a partisan issue. This was a real crisis, deserving of real, serious, solutions. If there was ever a hope that Americans had the ability to put partisanship aside, the virus proved it a naive fantasy.

Instead, both parties are all-in on a God-awful pandemic. Nothing else matters in 2020. It makes me sick to my stomach, and I write about politics for fun.

Moving ahead to November, there’s only two scenarios that can play out. The obvious one is that the virus keeps roaring and America stays shut down. If this happens, Trump is defeated and Democrats make gains across the country. Trump can’t escape this fate, and neither can the Republican Party. It’s easy to sit inside in your A/C on the 20th consecutive 90+ degree day and write off 2020 as the year that Trump lost by 20 points.

But an autumn chill has its way of injecting energy into the souls of men. What if the angst were to “lift” sometime before November 3. What if the virus numbers decline? What if Americans begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

What if America can win?

Can it?

Or have we given up? Sometimes it feels that way.


In North Carolina, our numbers appear to have peaked, this week in fact. If they haven’t peaked, they’ve at least lost upward momentum.

The United States Curve appears to be leveling off as well:

If the virus numbers decline in any significant way before November, the loud screams to keep schools, businesses, and pretty much everything we enjoy shut-down will quiet.

The only ones advocating shutdowns will be Democratic leaders like Roy Cooper. It will be too late for them to turn back. There will be a debate about who got us to the other side of the mountain, but it won’t mean anything. We’re already in our partisan tents, remember?


Donald Trump has lost a lot of his mojo. It’s likely that even he believes that he’s going to lose.

You don’t whine and complain about the methods being used to carry out an election that you think you’re going to win. If you’ve got it in the bag, you can’t wait for election day.


To conclude, 2020 has put me in a odd predicament. In a way, my new hope is that Donald Trump doesn’t get blown out, because that will mean the Covid pandemic improved, our way of life was not permanently destroyed, and my children can have a real public education.

Opening Crawl - Star Wars: A New Hope - YouTube

I started this site because partisanship is ruining our ability to function at all levels of government. The virus has proven that well. I’m sick of it, though. I know you are too.

We’ve got to find a way out, and staying safe and warm in our partisan bubbles won’t get us anywhere.

Where do you want to go, America? You can’t stay inside forever.

Covid Shame and Politics

In terms of usefulness in American politics, fear and shame have a quick half-life. Anyone can get the public riled up over something scary, but eventually people get tired, numb, or just “over it.” The returns diminish over time.

This kind of explains the Trump presidency. “Many people,” as Trump would say, have grown tired of the drama. If they weren’t before, the year of Our Lord 2020 pushed them over the edge.

21) Smaller-than-expected crowd at Trump rally

Democrats have the best opportunity in a generation to take back power. The problem is they’ve lost their political aim, and they might squander it.

Here’s an example from North Carolina:

This was posted today. The North Carolina Democratic Party is attempting to shame Dan Forest and Republicans for having a fundraiser where people are gathered without masks.

It looks like a really nice evening. Most (sane) people would love to enjoy an evening like that. Judging from the looks of things, I bet some good BBQ was served.

But not in 2020! Today, we shame and berate our fellow citizens for wanting to enjoy life, for wanting to feel a shred of normalcy in this messed up time. It’s sad, in an “if I can’t be happy, no one else can” kind of way. It’s also stupid politics.


Today, the C.D.C. came out in favor of opening public schools. Here’s a notable quote from the press release:

“School closures have disrupted normal ways of life for children and parents, and they have had negative health consequences on our youth. CDC is prepared to work with K-12 schools to safely reopen while protecting the most vulnerable.”

https://www.wral.com/coronavirus/new-cdc-guidelines-come-down-hard-in-favor-of-opening-schools/19201905/

People want to feel normal again. They want their kids to have a real education. Democrats, ignoring what people want, are running on disruption, the abnormal.

The clock is ticking on this strategy. Remember, fear and shame have a quick political half-life. Democrats seems to be missing the evidence that Covid might as well. The recent spike of cases in the South and West is flattening. If the numbers aren’t going up around November 3, then all of this could absolutely backfire.

More importantly, Democrats need to treat voters with respect. Americans know it’s bad right now. They can’t avoid it. They don’t need daily reminders from a political party.

An elitist attitude got Democrats in trouble in 2010. It could happen again in 2020 if they don’t start offering up real solutions to get kids in schools and country folks eating BBQ without a side of shame.

Trump is Going to Lose

I realize this headline is not welcome news to roughly 45-55% of the people who read this blog. But it’s true. I call it like I see it. Feel free to keep reading, or not. It’s still the truth.

In 2018, I wrote a post comparing Trump to a “red giant” star.

Indian Astrophysicists: Lithium in Interstellar space & Red Giants ...

A “red giant” is a dying star in its last stages of evolution.  It burns up all the fuel at its core and the nuclear reactions move outward.  As the star cools, it expands, swallowing up planets and any other matter that gets in its way.

Donald Trump is the red giant of the 2018 election.  Republicans cannot escape his influence, good or bad.  He won’t let them.  He interjects himself (often intentionally) into every issue and every down-ballot race.  It’s always about him, and thus it will be in November.

https://crosscreekdivide.com/2018/08/14/blue-wave-or-a-red-giant/

Well, that was then. Something happened in 2020.

Coronavirus FAQ: What you need to know about the virus - The ...

It’s still happening. It’s microscopic in size, but this little red ball has absorbed everything in its path. It’s changing our lives, for the worse.

I’m not attempting to blame Trump for America’s Covid woes. A great deal of it is out of his hands, but Europe is going back to work and school, and we’re still struggling across the pond.

Why?

The Buck Stops Here - Tunnel Hill Baptist Church

It doesn’t matter why. All that matters is the problem won’t go away and Trump is still in charge. People will give you the benefit of the doubt for a while, but eventually you need to show them you have a plan to get out of the quagmire. Thus far, Trumps only plan has been to act like the quagmire is a “conspiracy” to stop his re-election.

After I wrote that last sentence, I checked the President’s twitter feed. He posted this one minute ago:

Trump’s inevitable hang-up is that he is facing a problem that cannot be contained in his world of self-centered soundbites.

Americans are not stupid.

They have come to understand that America is bigger than one man.

They want a President who understands that too.

Inside Agitation

I am who I am. I’m a straight, white guy that grew up with many advantages. I won’t apologize for that, as I had nothing to do with it. We don’t get to pick such things. But I’m getting some grey up top, and I have more than a little experience on planet Earth, so I’ll share this. Take it or leave it.

I made the best argument of my legal career in a courtroom in New Albany, Mississippi, while standing a few feet in front of the Mississippi Attorney General, a few years after he had wrongfully convicted an innocent black man of murdering a white man, a few hours after the same A.G. had threatened to put my father in jail for standing up to him. I literally poured out my heart into that courtroom. Strangers hugged me on the courthouse steps afterwards.

We had to wait months for the decision.

We lost.

The Judge didn’t think my argument was worth a damn. I’ve thought about that day a lot, and I know that I couldn’t have done it any better. The law was on our side. The facts were on our side. But we lost. More importantly, our client lost. Such is the case for marginalized people on a daily basis in America.

It’s hard to hope after that.

What is it in us that seeks the truth? Is it our minds or is it our hearts?

I set out to prove a black man could receive a fair trial in the south, that we are all equal in the eyes of the law. That’s not the truth, because the eyes of the law are human eyes — yours and mine — and until we can see each other as equals, justice is never going to be evenhanded. It will remain nothing more than a reflection of our own prejudices, so until that day we have a duty under God to seek the truth, not with our eyes and not with our minds where fear and hate turn commonality into prejudice, but with our hearts — where we don’t know better.

A Time to Kill – Grisham

America is a government of the people and by the people and all of us people are flawed. We’re endowed by our creator with inalienable rights and deceived by evil forces, mainly fear, into thinking that others aren’t. If you’re a minority, you get the short end of this equation more often than not. And so change isn’t going to come from the top. Indeed, it’s less likely to. Those in charge rose to the top by mastering the current system.

So it is not surprising that the protesters want to burn down the system. Just break it, burn it down, and start over. This takes the form of a gas can on the Market House balcony or calls to de-fund police departments across the country. It’s not going to work unless you burn it all down.

If you love America as I do, even with its flaws, you might be more receptive to this closing argument:

Change will come, if at all, by changing the hearts of Americans, and the majority of Americans are decent and good people.

Remember that you are created in the image of God. Seek the truth, not with your eyes or your mind, but with your heart…

…where you don’t know better.

Pray for Georgia (Seriously)

I’ve been disheartened by the amount of animosity thrown at Georgia over the past few days. Their Governor will re-open portions of the state’s economy on Friday and his decision is controversial, to say the least.

It seems that there’s only two options:

  1. Support him.
  2. Hate him. Say he’s killing people for money.

The virus is now a political wedge. It’s Red vs. Blue. Everything is.

Executive leaders carry the power to open and close portions of our society, so the partisan wedge is amplified at all levels of executive government right now. It’s Trump vs. Democrats and Cooper vs. Republicans.

We even see it in Fayetteville, with the only Republican on the City Council, Johnny Dawkins, coming out in favor of re-opening and against Democratic Mayor Mitch Colvin’s curfew order.

I think the common thread in all of this is our tribal desire to be “right.” This comes at a cost. Our need to “win” diminishes our ability to reason. We lose empathy and compassion, and we become less human when we see our fellow man as the opposition. I do it too, sometimes.

But back to Georgia…

Things are a lot worse there. More people are sick. More people are dying.

And so, North Carolinians, I ask that you pray for Georgia. Pray the suffering doesn’t increase, because no true American should ever desire the suffering of his fellow citizens.

Here’s a more practical reason: if Georgia’s “gamble” pays off, it means that the virus is not as bad as we fear.

It means our leadership in N.C. will follow suit.

It means we can put this nightmare behind us.

Even if we were wrong.

C. S. Lewis Quote: “If you could see humanity spread out in time ...