What it could indicate about his priorities and “vision”

Musket enthusiast Mitch McConnell (photo: Gage Skidmore, Wikimedia Commons)

How about this? Nationwide right to work for working Americans. Defunding Planned Parenthood and sanctuary cities on day one. A whole new era of domestic energy production. Sweeping new protections for conscience and the right to life of the unborn. Concealed carry reciprocity in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Massive hardening of security on our Southern border. We saw during the amendment votes just days ago that some common sense for Republican positions actually enjoy more support right now than some of the Democratic committee chairs priorities. And this is with them in the majority.

Mitch McConnell…


Balancing public health with demands to freely harm ourselves and others during a pandemic

Pixabay image by Ronile

Our bodies are not the only thing under assault during this pandemic. While most Americans claim to support freedom, its unequal distribution is a stain on our history. Inequities continue, including within the debate over Coronavirus/COVID-19 precautions. They’re part of a greater failure to strike a balance in meeting as many needs as possible during a particularly challenging time.

Some of us, particularly white, Christian supporters of the 2020 Presidential Election runner-up, view our personal freedom as in opposition to recent pandemic safety precaution recommendations and mandates. Advisor Scott Atlas recently Tweeted for Michiganders to “rise up” in opposition to…


Plans for expressing love and gratitude that mitigate risk

Original image: Creative Commons

Consider the last 8+ months with SARS-COV-2 as a particularly nasty punch. The recent spike in cases and hospitalizations has reportedly been fueled by small gatherings. So how are we going to respond, including during the holidays?

Ideas that promote failure:

  • Pretending we didn’t get hit, despite losing teeth (lives and livelihoods)
  • Deciding that since we got hit before, it’s futile to try to defend ourselves
  • Blaming the judges (statisticians) for scoring that reflects being pummeled

Alternatives:

  • Seeking help from competent medical (and epidemiological) professionals
  • Applying a variety of proven or promising available strategies
  • Using evasive maneuvers to avoid more direct hits
  • Donning impact-reducing protective…


Quality examples abound if we are willing to learn from them

Defenders of the POTUS are currently arguing that Clinton or Biden would have done no better at preventing COVID-19 transmission and related deaths. It’s tough to know for sure without a time machine or alternative universe. Accepting the argument means believing Clinton or Biden would have done as poorly on a variety of fronts (or would have made serious errors elsewhere). A better question might be what can we learn from our recent and continuing pandemic response failures? There ARE numerous examples of better ones. Here are 10:

Sources: 1a1b2a2b3a3b4a4b5a5b6a6b7a7b8a8b9a9b10a10b

It’s crucial to consider WHY we’ve performed so poorly in all of…


A letter to the pandemic response cynics

To those making such statements or accepting 200,000+ premature deaths:

How cynically do you view

  • Americans to believe we can’t do more than argue about hoaxes and wearing masks amidst widespread sickness and death?
  • The federal government to think we can only blame China and the WHO while abdicating international leadership to prevent uncontrolled spread?
  • The scientific community to believe that we got caught by surprise in February?
  • The health system to think that ingenuity can only be applied to treatments and vaccines rather than preventive measures as well?
  • The CDC to think they couldn’t have overseen redundant test development…


Why we must heal wounds to build a culture of productive political interaction

An adaptation of “Skrik” by Norwegian Expressionist artist Edvard Munch

American democracy is in jeopardy. It likely can’t survive continued gridlock on issues like the COVID-19 pandemic and racial and environmental injustice. Our failures stem from a lack of both policies that improve collective well-being and political discourse capable of generating them. This extends to government and the now mostly online “public square,” where we commonly debate by:

  • Being self-righteous
  • Shaming people who think or act differently
  • Building like-minded “bubbles”
  • Resorting to name-calling and other personal attacks
  • Focusing on partisan fights rather than more inclusive larger struggles

Improving on this requires understanding impediments to productive political interaction. The press has…


A case study of political dogma trumping basic decency or logic

A picture Gaetz tweeted in March to mock mask-wearing days before being diagnosed with COVID-19

On Friday Representative Matt Gaetz (R-FL) and Tucker Carlson discussed conclusions to draw from the President’s positive COVID-19 diagnosis. Their conversation illustrates how dogma (in this case right-wing) can distort rational thought and attempts to develop practical policy. The nation desperately needs all of us to do better than this:

Gaetz: “What I can tell you is if this virus can get into the Oval, into the body of the president, there is no place where it could not possibly infect one of our fellow Americans. And that’s why it’s so important to continue executing on President Trump’s strategy to…


Putting partisan struggles in a context of greater ones

Expanding partisanship in the United States is occurring in the context of larger historical struggles. The prevailing gridlock and lack of leadership (especially federal but in many cases state and local as well) hurt progress in each. This is a feature for politicians prioritizing short-term wealth or power over all else. We must elect and hold leaders accountable for re-engaging effectively or give up touting our system as an exemplar for others to follow. Below is a sliding scale depiction of four long-term struggles we’ve contributed to as a nation, followed by lists of ongoing areas of concern.

Rule of law and representation vs. minority rule by force

  • Authoritarian power…


Bringing receipts to the debate gets us closer to the truth

Following release of reports of the President calling fallen soldiers “losers” and “suckers,” a debate is raging over his thoughts and actions about service members in general. Cutting through the noise requires “bringing receipts.” This article includes a lengthy but not exhaustive list of other potentially relevant statements and policy steps by the POTUS, building on a previous GatorCountry.com discussion thread post. What they reflect about him is useful for understanding his leadership style and impacts on our diverse military personnel as well as the country as a whole and the world. We can’t get inside others’ heads, but there…


Analyzing arguments in a Fox News opinion piece on racial injustice protests

Image: Weems Works

Liz Peek’s June 15 opinion piece for Fox News cites a “silent majority” of Americans alarmed by ongoing protests about policing and racial injustice. She’s also presumably writing to members of it, including a Facebook friend who shared the piece, adding “agree 100%.” That made me curious about what percentage I might be down with. It turns out to be a lot less.

My main finding: she cuts corners in making arguments. If an actual majority of voters find such approaches acceptable, it could help explain why indefensible unjust policies persist. Arguing in good faith includes defining key terms, being…

Tyson Victor Weems

Non-profit founder, musician, coach, X-C skier/CrossFitter, artist, concerned citizen, mammal (not necessarily in that order). See https://weems.works for more.

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