Homo Sapiens: Love and hate

Ed Raymond

Linus: “I Love Mankind, It’s People I Can’t Stand”    

On August 8, two brothers, 8 and 9, were shot to death as they played with kittens in their backyard in Lebanon, Pennsylvania, and a 19-year-old boy who lived with the family, the real target in this mass shooting, was also shot to death at the same time. On August 13, a smash-and-grab group of about 50, entered a Nordstrom high-end store in the Woodland Hills, California Westfield Topanga Mall, and robbed the store of about $100,000 worth of expensive purses and clothing. The two interior security guards were incapacitated with strong bear spray. It was observed that at least one vehicle used in the mass escape of the thieves was a very expensive BMW sedan. The American rich shopprs, who have been smashing and grabbing the poor and the middle class for centuries, were finally swallowing their own addictive medicine named economic inequality.    

These two incidents more than 2,500 miles apart should tell us that our society is in deep trouble because one of our two major political parties is attacking our present government instead of working with the other to solve two epidemics currently ravaging our divided towns, cities, states, and country, the gun culture and economic inequality. And some of our problems have spread to the world.    

We have the Trumplican Party, presently out-of-power, attacking the Democratic Party because the federal workforce represents the “deep state” (whatever that means to different people!) and the “swamp” filled with disease and corruption. It claims the Justice Department, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Internal Revenue Service have abandoned all principles of justice and fairness and should be abolished.    

We have Republicans running against Donald Trump, a twice-impeached, four-times indicted, three-times divorced, 26-times charged sexual deviate, who use “sick” rhetoric to gain headlines.   

Harvard must be proud of its Summa Cum Laude graduate Florida Governor Ron DeSantis who said the secretary of defense “may have to slit some throats” and that Trumplicans would have to do the same to “deep-state people” after gaining power in 2024. This is the guy wearing a Navy officer’s uniform who laughed as Muslim detainees were being tortured at Gitmo. Because of this irresponsible talk, the Gallup Poll reports that trust in government institutions is at or near an all-time low. Larry Jacobs of the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Politics says: “These are institutions that are the backbone of a country based on the rule of law. Disagree with what the president is doing, but don’t attack those very institutions, their legitimacy.”  

In Peanuts, Charlie Brown’s Best Friend was Charles Schultz’s Philosopher King    

The most interesting Van Pelt family fathered by Charles Schultz had smart-ass Lucy who often pulled the football away when Charlie was about to kick in and had her younger brother Linus who uttered philosophies of life while sucking his thumb and carrying his  security blanket.

I remember his immortal words expressed a half century ago to Charlie: “I love mankind, it’s people I can’t stand.”

Schultz described him thus: “Linus, my serious side, is the house intellectual, bright, well-informed—which, I suppose may contribute to his feelings of insecurity.” Lee Mendelson, producer of TV specials, said Linus was his favorite character: “He made sucking your thumb and holding a security blanket OK. I think he’s one of the most original fictional characters of all time—blending childish behavior with great wisdom.” He even served as Schultz’s theologian by quoting the Gospels. Lucy, in an effort to break Linus’s habit of always carrying his security blanket, buried it in the neighborhood. But, Snoopy, the family dog, dug it up and dragged it to Linus, forever cementing their relationship.

It would have been interesting to have Linus express his philosophy about the following eight issues politicians are faced with today:  

1. Abortion should be legal.

2. The government should take steps to make incomes more equal.

3. Immigration levels should be increased.

4. The federal budget for welfare programs should be increased.

5. All LBGTQIA+should be welcomed as first-class citizens.

6.The government should regulate business to protect the environment.

7. The federal government should make it more difficult to buy a gun.

8.The federal government should make a concerted effort to improve social and economic     conditions for all minorities.  

Which political party would support these issues? Trumplican__Republican__Democratic__  

Once Upon a Time, A Roman Catholic Would Not Marry a Protestant    

There was a time 70 years ago when Corky’s foster parents did not want their Congregationalist foster daughter to marry me, one of those horrible Roman Catholics. In at least the Western world today, religion based in 28,000 denominations or “churches” of one belief or another, marrying a person of your own religion is hardly an issue.

Today, there is a much more diabolical reason: Is he a Trumplican, Republican, or Democrat? After centuries of partisanship over religion, abortion, the LBGTQIA+ gender fluidity, race, “free markets,” socialism, and tax cuts, Americans are moving to blue or red states for political reasons and peace and quiet at family dinners instead of choice of dogma.

The theological and economic inequality apocalypse was created by Christians who no longer worship Christ but the other divine figure known as ‘The Chosen One”—the “Orange Genius” psychopath who spreads gobbledegook gospels over Twitter-X.     With race the most potent issue, contemporary polarization has politicized almost every other issue.

A Wall Street Journal/University of Chicago Poll found that the importance of patriotism in a society has fallen in 25 years from 70% of adults to 38%. Democrats are at 23%, independents at 29% and Republicans at 59%. That’s quite a tumble. The same drop has occurred for the importance of religion.  In 25 years it has fallen from 62% to 39%. Democrats fell to 27%, independents to 38% and Republicans to 53%. Thousands of pews  emptied in that time. This next statistic is the most telling about polarization. In 2000, before Bush, Obama, and Trump, 45% of Americans said that the presidential election really matters. By 2004 through 2008 it went up to 63%, by 2016 to 74%, and by 2020 it was 83%!  

As Hispanics and Africans Move to “Better” Countries, Americans are Moving to “Better” States    

The Week magazine had a fascinating article by Nicholas Riccardi titled “Moving for Political Reasons.” Republicans Tim and Jennifer Kohl moved from Democratic Los Angeles to Republican Boisie, Idaho where Tim, a retired policeman, felt free to fly a U.S. flag and a Thin Blue Line banner representing law enforcement. Even their neighbors liked the display Tim had been afraid to fly in LA.    

Liberal Democrat Leah Dean and her partner wanted to get out of Texas before it got worse. She was too scared to display an abortion rights banner outside her door. She found  a place in Democratic Denver, Colorado where she proudly flies the LBGTQIA+ Pride flag and displays a banner that proclaims: “Abortion access is a community responsibility.” She says: “We have finally found a place where we can be ourselves.”    

The United States has become the Divided States. Only 10 of the 50 states have a governor from a different party than the one that controls the legislature. In 28 states the legislature has such a supermajority, that body can override a governor’s veto. When the fundamentalist Christians and conservative Catholics sold their soul to the psychopathic Trump because he promised to appoint anti-abortion judges and oppose gays, the states went off the road left and right. Trumplican Idaho passed a law that abortion was illegal if a heartbeat can be detected in a fetus (before the heart is formed, by the way) as early as five or six weeks. It made it a crime to assist a minor to go out of state to get an abortion. In Colorado, another western state, a Democratic majority removed all restrictions on abortions. Red Idaho then passed a law that prevents minors from accessing LBGTQIA+ care when Trumplicans made transgenderism a national issue. Blue Colorado allows minors from other states to be treated for all gender medical issues. Red states, which at one time were described as “laboratories for democracy,” have been turned into cesspools and ghettos suffering racial discrimination and hellholes for women. Byron stickler, a political scientist at Colorado State at Pueblo states: “Democrats want to live in places with artistic culture and craft breweries, and Republicans want to move to places where they can have a big yard.” If it were only so simple. Ken Burns, the PBS director of American documentaries, has said it best: “Republicans ask ‘what do I want?’ Democrats ask ‘what do we need?’ “  

To Make 50 States into a Country Again We Need a No-Excuses Draft    

When Congress was debating whether to attack Iraq after 9/11, only one member of the 535 had a son in military service. We had not had a draft since Richard Nixon signed the law turning our military into a volunteer service. What happened? Over that half century, our “volunteer” force came from the poorest counties in the United States. The military academies were designed to manufacture officers out of smart young men and women who selected the military because they were too poor to pay the high tuition of Ivy League and other “elite” colleges and universities.    

In 2023 we have 1.3 million men and women assigned to military service. Or we had. The Pentagon has announced all the services have failed to meet their “volunteer” quotas. Even the poor from the poorest counties are not willing to fight for the Divided States. They are looking for or have better jobs. The Navy wants its recruiters to work six days a week, The Army has so many “hollow” formations the Army Secretary is thinking of shrinking the Army. The Air Force is so short they have lifted the ban on neck and hand tattoos. Even my Marines are having trouble filling its requirement.    

We desperately need a no-excuses draft. No more medical letters from paid-for doctors for “bone spurs” that kept the golf-playing The Donald from marching off to war—five times. No more “education” and marriage deferments for Dick Cheney who said: “I have better things to do”--for five deferments. We have such a lousy healthcare program 75% of Americans between the ages of 17-24 do not qualify for military service. In World War II, 66% of all U.S. forces were drafted. Of the 10.5 million in the Army in 1945, 93% were draftees—and we won the war. Of the 2.7 million serving in Vietnam, 648,500 were draftees—and17,725 names ended up on the Vietnam Wall.    

Charles Rangel, a Black Representative from New York, was a veteran of the Korean War as an Army sergeant, had potent things to say about a draft in 2003: “Those who love this country have a patriotic obligation to defend this country. For those who say the poor fight better, I say give the rich a chance.”  We need the drafted sons and daughters of Wall Street tycoons and hedge fund billionaires to counsel their fathers about going to war. e