Day 291: Roundup

It’s Day 291 of 15 Days to Flatten the Curve and Day 51 of Ohio’s 21-day WuFlu Curfew.

Deb and I are well.

Over the last couple of weeks I’ve been hearing a radio PSA put out by Ohio’s Ministry of Health (which means that my tax dollars are paying for it). It features a number of female voices, presumably hospital workers, imploring listeners to “take this virus seriously.”

Translation: “Be afraid. Be very afraid.”

It’s purely and shamelessly emotional, aimed at incurious people who’d rather feel than think. This line, delivered with a sob, is typical:

“They didn’t believe the virus was real, and now they need a ventilator.”

That’s wretched. It’s pathetic. It’s disgusting. And knowing how soft-headed most of my fellow citizens are, it’ll probably have the desired effect — control.

I’m not that easily fooled. I’ll continue to rely on facts and data, and use the brain I was born with.

Consumers of mainstream media might believe that reaction to Wednesday’s events in Washington is near-unanimous condemnation. A fresh YouGov poll disputes that, however, especially among those identifying as Republicans.

According to the poll, 45% of Republicans support the actions of those at the Capitol (43% oppose it). For self-identified Democrats and independents surveyed, support is 2% and 21% respectively.

(Among those who believe that fraud changed the outcome of November’s presidential election, for what it’s worth, 56% approve of the storming of the Capitol.)

Most Democrats (96%) and independents (66%) blame Trump for what happened Wednesday, while Republicans (28%) are far less inclined to do so.

Make of those numbers what you will. Sentiment will certainly move back and forth over the coming weeks as more facts emerge and the State Spin Machine engages.

What strikes me about the YouGov snapshot takes me back to grade school, specifically the days we were taught about nutrition. Our teacher always said, “You are what you eat.”

Stay with me.

I contend that nothing is unanimous, or even near-unanimous. If polling methodology is sound (and this appears to be), numbers like 96% and 98% reflect a mob mentality — aka groupthink — not Reason.

Anything in the range of a 50-50 split is credible to me. So is a two-thirds majority; on occasion, even 75% is plausible.

But 98%? Seriously?

Looks like someone’s diet could use a bit more variety.

If you follow Rush Limbaugh, you know he was back on the air yesterday for the first time since before Christmas. Reportedly he had a rough go the last two weeks, but he sounded remarkably good. He also delivered the Quote of the Day:

“There’s a lot of conservatives on social media who say that any violence or aggression at all is unacceptable, regardless of the circumstances. I’m glad Sam Adams, Thomas Paine — the actual Tea Party guys, the men at Lexington and Concord — didn’t feel that way.”

That’s what I’m talkin’ about. Exactly right.

There’s another feeling the Founders didn’t harbor — that there’s somehow strength in inaction. In the aftermath of the presidential election, and again since the Georgia Senate runoffs, I’ve seen dozens of people proclaim that they’re “done.”

This goes beyond the old “my one vote doesn’t make a difference” canard — it’s more categorical, as in, “voting doesn’t matter.” A number of conservatives in my personal sphere, otherwise smart and patriotic folks, have become so intoxicated on their own cynicism that they’re choosing to withdraw completely from participating in the electoral process.

I understand anger. I understand disappointment. I even understand cynicism, although through experience I’ve learned that cynicism is the bastard child of skepticism, which is healthy and necessary. Two things, however, I don’t understand — ignorance and inaction.

Both are willful. And both are the weakest of weak sauce.

“Cynicism is the bastard child of skepticism.”

There’s power in knowledge and strength in action. We choose to be informed — as in truly informed — about that which affects our lives. We give more weight to facts than to truisms. We seek to know before we react. Our actions then are guided by Reason, not by emotions like anger and disappointment.

To abdicate from participating is to be dependent. It silences our voice. It transforms citizens into subjects.

I will not sit down. I will be silent. I will not squander a right of birth or dismiss a rite of citizenship. Raising my voice by casting a ballot, despite flaws in that process and the necessarily imperfect nature of my choices, is an opportunity that I will never, ever take for granted.

After two full days with the heat on, Ernie became quite a comfortable space in which to work, and yesterday we took leisurely (if not full) advantage of that. We did more measuring and more scheming, nothing terribly ambitious.

Coaches like this are pretty much pre-decorated, and densely, leaving virtually no place to hang pictures and such, but we spent a little time auditioning small wall hangings in the few spots available. We measured for throw rugs. The 120V outlet in the rear bath was missing its cover plate, so I installed a new one. Stuff like that.

The rear bedroom is where we’ll make the most changes to hard décor, I think, and that’s Deb’s specialty. It’s safe to say that a woodsy chic bedspread, which we brought over from the Bumper Bunker, is driving everything else — window treatments (which will be handmade by a friend), wall sconces, accessories and cabinet hardware.

I swapped out the drawer and door pulls yesterday morning. Gone are the bright-and-shiny gold-tone knobs, replaced by more rustic hardware with a hammered-metal feel.

It was a bit more complicated than it sounds or should’ve been — we couldn’t re-use the screws from the original pulls, and it took three tries to acquire the right fasteners. But now that it’s done, we can stand back and see that this one simple change makes a big difference.

While replacing the hardware I encountered one other… well, I’ll call it a discovery. Removing the bottom drawers of the built-in dresser exposed an enormous stash of hickory nutshundreds and hundreds of hickory nuts, the work of productive squirrels inhabiting the woods surrounding Ernie’s previous home.

If memory serves, this is the third time since bringing the bus home that we’ve pulled a panel and found a pile of nuts. We’ve uncovered no damage, and the squirrels’ winter food stash is what I’d call “a clean mess.” We pick ’em up, bag ’em up, throw ’em out and run the vacuum.

We don’t get worked up about it — it’s almost expected. Just part of the deal.

Take care of yourselves, Patriots. Stay calm. Stay sharp. Stay free.

#WiseUp #LibertyOrDeath

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