46 Million to 1

Watching “The West Wing” on Netflix this morning and, coincidentally, it’s the episode where President Bartlet needs to pardon the Thanksgiving turkey, sparing its life.  And, for the first time in 65 years or so, it got me wondering.

According to the National Turkey Federation, (I’m not making this up.  There is a National Turkey Federation, at least according to Google).  Anyway, according to the Federation, 46 million turkeys are eaten on Thanksgiving.  Logic forces us to assume that, therefore, 46 million turkeys are killed.

Yet here we all are, watching our televisions for the annual feel good story of 1 turkey…1 turkey out of 46 million that won’t be killed and eaten.

Ironic, isn’t it, considering that, more than likely while we’re watching that heart warming story, there’s a dead turkey thawing in our refrigerators.

But we are a meat eating nation, at least the vast majority of us are.  And I admit that, for most of my life, it didn’t bother me in the least that 46 million turkeys were killed each year for Thanksgiving, (not to mention millions more for Christmas and Easter).  Indeed, I’ve probably participated in well over 100 turkey dinners in my life.

But I stopped eating turkeys (as well as anything else with a face) about 3 years ago and I guess that’s what got me thinking of that lucky pardoned turkey.  46,000,000 to 1.  Incredible odds you lucky bird.

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Proud to Be Stupid

So here’s what I understand at this point  Last week, Trump said to an interviewer that he can solve the national debt by just telling the countries that we owe money to that we can’t keep up with our payments, that we can only pay x cents on the dollar.  Apparently he does that as a business man all the time.

On the surface that might sound like a good idea until you start hearing from real economists and business reporters who understand how this works between nations.  It’s not like it may be between businesses and would cause, at the very least, to cost billions of extra dollars on the higher interest rates these lending nations would demand in return for lost of faith that the United States will pay it’s obligations.  At the worst, playing with the integrity of the US could cause a world wide depression of epic proportions.

At least that’s what the experts are saying.  Not the liberal experts or progressive experts, the experts.  The experts, the people who spent years being educated so they can know what they are talking about.

There was a time in this country when that would have been good enough.  Not any more for millions of Americans.

Many of Americans today, too many, have rejected the premise that knowledge matters, skills and experience matter. To many of today’s Americans, if you don’t like the facts you can make up your own.

So while the experts listen with dread to Trump’s dangerous plans, Trump’s followers cheer him on to a possible Armageddon.

Why is that?  What has happened to us as a people?

There has always been a certain percentage of people who found reality too challenging to deal with.  People who, summarily decide that the moon landing happened on a soundstage in Hollywood, there are alien bodies in Area 51, the Bermuda Triangle sucks planes and ships into oblivion and on and on

Before the internet they’d put out their little newsletters and hold meetings and occasionally, find themselves on the national news for 5 minutes.

Today these sad little people can reach out to other sad, confused and frightened people all other the world for the cost of an internet connection.

We are saturated with ignorance and it scares me to death.  And worse, I have no idea how to turn it around.

Why have we become so deliberately ignorant?  Is it all Fox News or do our national network news programs share some of the responsibility?

I guess the blame can be spread around to the media, the politicians who have taken advantage of the situation but, mostly, the blame is on the American citizens who have let themselves be duped into changing this country into something I just don’t recognize anymore.

Perhaps I’m being too pessimistic.  Perhaps next November we can all breath a huge sigh of relieve.

But regardless who wins in November the problem will still be with us.  Americans will still be proclaiming their pride in  being stupid.

 

And So It Starts

I started writing a journal in the mid 70’s right after I got out of the Air Force.   The only real reason was I thought it’d be cool to be able to look back from years in the future at the words I wrote in my 20’s, 30’s and on.

And now, 40 years later, I find it is kind of cool.

Over the years I tried a number of times to move the journal to my computer.  I thought that would work because I can type faster than I can write and often when I’m making an entry into my journal the words in my head outpace my ability to put them on paper.

But it never worked.  I found I had to use a pen and paper to put my thoughts down.  Something was missing by typing them on  a screen from a keyboard.

That’s part of what I discovered about journaling.  That the process is as important as the thoughts being recorded on the page.  Something was missing every time I tried to use a keyboard.

Life’s funny though.  I imagine young people today sitting down at their keyboard or their iPad or smart phone to record their thoughts will, 40 years from now write that the new thought transfer systems just don’t work for journaling.  That there’s an intimacy of fingers to keys or touch screen that the thought interface just can’t match.

Anyway, I’m still journaling but I found myself wanting to do something different.  Jeri, who started a blog a few months ago suggested I try blogging.

At first when I started to think about writing a blog, though, I assumed I needed to have a theme of some kind.  Cooking maybe, or community theater or who knows!  Then I realized having no theme could be more interesting for me than focusing on one topic or area.

So my plan for this blog is to lay out more about my thoughts on things around me.  Maybe get other people to think about these things as well.  Who knows.

Right now this is an experiment for me.  Who knows?  This may turn out to be my only entry.