politics

I got my COVID shot! It’s almost time to go back to Life

I got mine on April 10 at a hospital vaccine clinic, where they gave out J&J–yes, right before it got yanked.  This was the kind of thing I feared would happen right before my appointment, so I’m just glad I got mine in time.  Still, I’ve had zero problems with the vaccine so far, and hope that it will quickly be available again, so it can help vaccinate all the people in places and countries that can’t do two shots or a deep freeze.

I saw some Net rumors about the J&J affecting menstrual cycles–Nope, none of that, either.

The hubby’s fully vaccinated now.  My son is about to get his first shot.  (He’s under 18, Pfizer-only, so this was the earliest I could get him a shot.)  For this household at least, the COVID threat is finally going away.

When I got the shot, I had 24 hours of mild flu-like symptoms, then they all just went away.  It took about 11 hours before I even started to feel feverish; before then it was just a bad headache and a sore arm.  My fever spiked to 100.7 overnight but soon dropped back down to normal, with the slightest bit of nausea that disappeared about 24+ hours after the shot.  Then I had a sore shoulder for several days.  But imagine: If I ever got COVID, it would probably be much worse than that.

My “robust” immunity (72% against severe illness) is supposed to kick in within 15 days–which means just in time for Easter!  I plan to attend Palm Sunday services next week, and then all the Holy Week services I can manage.  How fitting for my re-entry into the World again!  A couple more weeks, and my immunity should be up around 85%, then 90-95% a month later.  I’m not sure yet when I’ll start sharing the Communion spoon again.  Immunity against hospitalization and death is at 100% on May 8.  It’s also doing great against variants.  And with only one shot, it seems like the best vaccine all-around.  So forget the naysayers about the J&J vaccine: They don’t have all their data.

One of those naysayers was one of my oldest friends–friends with my other friends, friends with my husband, plays D&D with him–taking potshots on Facebook.  First she took the usual snotty Tr**per tone, not concern or questioning like another of my friends, but more of a “Sure take a vaxx of only 66% effectiveness against an illness with only a slight chance of killing you” tone (not an exact quote BTW).

I come back on Facebook and find this, along with her arguing with TWO of my other (not mutual) friends.  So I delete the entire fight.  Come back later, ALL MY OTHER FRIENDS are liking and hearting and hugging the post, while she uses a laugh emoji instead.  *SIGH*

I can’t delete reaction emojis, so I blocked her from that post and all those thereafter–my way of putting people into Facebook Timeout without actually unfriending or blocking them.  (She’s been in Timeout before, BTW.)  I checked the Facebooks of a couple of mutual friends who are also liberal and also got their shots, and there was absolutely nothing snotty there from this person.  Sure they could’ve deleted snotty comments, but you can’t delete the reaction emojis, and there were no laughs on their posts.  So I get to be the lucky one.  Story of my life.

The Tr**p Era has turned a lot of people I once liked into Tr**per bullies.  And before Tr**p was the Walker Era, which also drove friends and family members apart in Wisconsin, but the Tr**p Era seems to have made it even worse.  Then the pandemic came along and it got to a breaking point.  I’ve unfriended people in the last year and probably got unfriended as well, since some people stopped responding to my posts.  I don’t dare go through my friends list, so I’m often pleasantly surprised to see who still shows up in comment sections and birthday notifications.

And the ones who are still there–I swear, it seems like just when I finally unfriend somebody for being what my mom would call a Pill, somebody else jumps in to take their place.  I have such a low tolerance for right-wing bullshit these days.  I shut down conversations and sometimes boot people when it starts up.  Losing friends and getting annoyed with people was manageable before when everything was online, but going back to Writing Club could be dicey.  At least I didn’t see any trouble with people from church.

I spend more time on Twitter and blogs these days, hanging out with my buddies like Sam (who is NOT a catfish: Meri Brown is lying) and Giacomo (of Orthodoxy in Dialogue) and Hairball and Kate and Wondering Eagle and Headless Unicorn Guy and others, and keeping an eye on my favorite timelines, like Christopher Titus and Angry Staffer and now John Kovalic (Dork Tower guy–He’s from Madison!).  Over there, you can find sane conservatives like Charlie Sykes and Bill Kristol and Joe Walsh.  They’re still conservatives and can potentially drive me crazy politically, but they see right through Tr**p and GOP lies.  They also provide articles I can post for my conservative friends on Facebook, my “mission field.”  😉

Meanwhile, I take a quick swing over to Chris’ Facebook page….Still a bunch of fake crap.  Complete lack of knowledge about how science or vaccines work.  Spreading bullshit that’s going to get lots of people killed or disabled.  Usual arrogance of the ignorant.  Nothing new here.  And the former narc blogger, now QAnon blogger, is getting more and more insane.  She seemed sane once upon a time; what the heck happened to her??!!

But hey, after a year of hermitting, I have not only gotten a much-needed break from the World–which had been tiring out this introvert before the pandemic–but my whole household has successfully evaded the Plague.  We have a chance to see another 50 years of life (and without COVID-related disabilities).  My husband and I are fully vaccinated, and my son is about to start his rounds tomorrow.  It did hit my mom and brother, but they survived.  My mom, however, said, “You don’t want COVID!”  It made believers out of my mom and brothers, so they’re all vaccinated now.  I believe my in-laws have also been vaccinated.  So no, not all Republicans are Covidiots.

Now, back to reading Les Misérables.  It’s getting late and I’ve barely started the day’s reading yet.  But this book is awesome.  I saw the movie with Liam Neesom 20 years ago; now I’m finally reading this massive chunk of a book.  Yet it’s still nowhere near as long as Clarissa.  (My copy of Clary is so huge that it finally fell apart under its own weight, so I have it on my Kindle now.)  Speaking of long things that not everybody gets, I just saw Tenet.  Amazing special effects, and hey, Kenneth Branagh!  Awesome movie if you don’t get too hung up on it all making sense the first time.  Turn the captions on, use the back button, take your time.  And read this when you’re done.

So Rush Limbaugh is Dead

Rush Limbaugh has destroyed any bipartisanship or sense of decency that used to exist in American politics.

These are my experiences with Limbaugh:

High school: I learned of his existence through the 700 Club, which brought him on now and then.  I was still in the brain fog then, but didn’t listen to him.  I was in high school, and couldn’t listen to talk radio even if I wanted to (which I didn’t).

1993: Intro to Mass Media teacher brought in a tape of Limbaugh, and showed us how Rush would quickly talk down any dissenting opinions from his callers and get them off the air, while anyone who agreed with him could talk longer.  Rush was good at making sure his point of view got through and nobody else’s.  I didn’t like this, though I admired his abilities.  I wasn’t sure what to think of what Rush Limbaugh said, but I didn’t like how he said it.  One guy in the class, would take any chance he could to talk (in his fascinating Eastern accent) about Rush Limbaugh.  It was Limbaugh this, Limbaugh that: He adored Limbaugh.  It did get annoying after a while.  This was after Pat Robertson had falsely predicted Bush’s re-election, the second crack in the facade.

Eventually, Rush Limbaugh came on the campus pub TV.  We sat there ripping on him, and Muskie Pat, who was working behind the bar, said, “If he says anything about femi-nazis, I’m gonna throw something at the screen.”

1994: I dated a guy for a short time, but the spark wasn’t there.  We also had different political opinions: We were both Republicans, but his opinions were much farther to the right.  One evening, he turned on Rush Limbaugh’s TV show, to my dismay.  I kept my mouth shut to avoid trouble.  He was always complaining about liberals this and liberals that.  And he could get vocal with people who disagreed with him on politics.  He embarrassed me when, to an innocent comment made by a sweet, elderly Southern teacher, he blew up and yelled at her.  He said he was so sick of people saying such-and-such.  I don’t remember what she had said or if she meant it politically, but he made it so.

1995: I started dating my husband; over time, my new brother-in-law proved to be a duplicate of the guy I dated in 1994.  BIL was a proud Dittohead.  Said liberals have a mental disease.  We couldn’t even get through a typical family gathering without BIL yelling and screaming at my husband for saying something even vaguely moderate–until FIL and MIL finally said NO POLITICS.

He, Rush Limbaugh, and other Dittoheads were a big factor in turning me off Republicanism for good.

I often feel like that side of the family has been brainwashed by Limbaugh, even though only BIL is rabid about it.  I often hear them say things that are racist or sexist or anti-poor.  Even while still a Republican myself, I heard it, I saw it.  For example, the day they said Goodwill wanted to build in their town.  It was one of those swanky upper-middle-class suburbs of Milwaukee, and the in-laws were all upset about Goodwill moving in.  BIL said, “Can you imagine the clientele that’ll bring in?”  Then there was the time I’d bought some clothes from a thrift store and the in-laws got a look on their face like I’d been digging through trash bins–even though I’d grown up wearing the occasional item from a garage sale.  My family did it, my friends did it, but now it felt like buying clothes secondhand was Verboten.

Sometimes I think I was always liberal, but had been brainwashed myself for many years–not by Limbaugh, but by religion, family and Pat Robertson.  Fortunately I had integrated schools and media to show me that racism and misogyny are wrong, even if the teachings were very different at home.  After I found the first crack in Robertson’s delusion in 1991, I was out of his influence by 1994.  I still had other influences saying that Christians have to vote GOP because Democrats are atheistic baby-killers.  But that fog continued to lift until I was finally out of it in the early 2000s, and realized that abortion was the only issue on which I still disagreed with the Dem Party–and I was starting to wonder if I’d been lied to about that, too.

2010s: I was now Democrat; BIL unfriended me on Facebook whenever I posted anything in favor of liberals.  For a time, I had two accounts; I kept him on one which was barely used, and never brought him or the in-laws over to the main one.  I eventually deactivated the account.

Various controversies continued over Limbaugh’s racist and misogynist antics, including mocking the college student who needed the Pill for a medical condition, but he said it was because she was having “so much sex.”  Hubby started listening to Limbaugh, though he wasn’t a Dittohead.  We used to watch the Daily Show together, but nowadays I wonder if he’s been lost to the right-wingers because of Limbaugh and others.  He isn’t a Trumper, but I can’t talk to him about politics anymore.

I pray for Limbaugh’s soul as I do for everyone, because I feel I must, and am kind of OCD about it.  But I cannot say I’m sorry he’s gone.

The Xenophobia is strong in this town

Not sure I should post the name or screenshots or links because it may bring a City Council candidate too much online attention that she may not want….But I will say that a new friend is running for City Council in Fond du Lac.  I’ve written here before about how newcomers often find the town unfriendly.  If you’re a shy introvert, it’s even worse.  It’s not my imagination: I’ve heard this from a number of people; I’ve found online forum threads dedicated to the subject; and articles have been published in the local newspaper about it.

At best, they may simply not realize that you–unlike them–don’t have a ready-made social system from having grown up here.  You don’t have a mom to drop off your kids with.  You don’t have a BFF from high school to go out for coffee with.  You don’t have a cousin on the other side of town, or Grandma a couple of blocks away.  It’s just you and whatever family members you brought with you.  So they don’t think of you.  You see on Facebook that they have a weekly meetup of the girls (sisters, cousins, friends since Kindergarten) to watch some TV show, but nobody thinks to ask you to come.  They invite a friend to coffee right in front of you, but don’t think to include you.

In the past 25 years I have found groups to hang out with, but something always seems to happen: You change churches to escape Calvinism, and suddenly find yourself with no social contacts.  You change jobs and people forget about you.  They drift away but you have no clue why.  Or your spouse starts arguing and breaks off contact with them, and even though YOU didn’t drop them, you don’t feel right going to their parties.  Or a pandemic starts up and you don’t see anybody for a year, making you wonder who’ll be left when you go back, especially since two of them were Trumpers harassing you on social media and another got mad at you for posting to wear masks.

But a nasty smear campaign against my friend, who moved here several years ago, is showing a strong deliberately xenophobic attitude: Not only is she being smeared for being an “outsider,” but she’s being smeared for being a liberal.  And apparently that is Not Welcome here–even though I know plenty of liberals in Fond du Lac.

She’s been giving her side of the story, and posting screenshots of the smears which are being shared around social media.  Sounds like a bunch of lies and half-truths.  The high school mean-girl attitude is astounding.

The local Republican Party has even joined in, even though she’s hardly the first or only liberal candidate who’s ever run for City Council.

(Heck, I know another of the candidates, who’s liberal and knows her.  Yet he’s not being attacked.  He was born here.  Hmmm….)

The Republican Party posted this on their Facebook page:

…One of the candidates running for City Council posted on Facebook concerned that the party would get involved in the City Council race to promote conservative values. We’re happy to explain why.

As a Party, we find it essential to support conservative candidates against those who will do everything in their power to advance a far-left socialist agenda. This same candidate is also touting their endorsement by a far-left political action group ‘Citizen Action of Wisconsin.’

Candidate ******* signed off on a platform to bring “Medicare for All in Wisconsin (including illegal immigrants)” and ‘free college for all,’ along with a slew of other far-left issues. It’s simple, a candidate with these extremist views has no business being on an elected body in Fond du Lac County.

If Fond du Lac County is going to succeed we cannot elect far-left candidates to local office who claim they will ‘refuse to sit down with conservatives.’

This is why the Republican Party of Fond du Lac County highly encourages you to vote for up to three of the following candidates by February 16th.

Great professionalism there, guys.  You DO realize that there are liberals and progressives in this town who want and need representation, that we’re not all a bunch of QAnoners and Grothmans?

Sounds like they’ve been learning at the feet of the only god they worship nowadays, Trump.  Also sounds like they’re being influenced by one of our current Council members, who’s been arguing with this candidate for a couple of years now.  He has extremely thin skin, and constantly acts like he’s being “persecuted” because he’s a Christian.  He plays petty games of whataboutism.  He should never have been elected to begin with, but apparently there are people here who think that behavior is just fine.

None of the attacks in the Rep Party post is true.  For example, the candidate’s own spouse is a Republican.  She says she’s never signed off on any such platform.  I googled Citizen Action, and it’s a progressive group of which a THIRD of the members are Republican–not a group of Commies.  I find their views very attractive.  Nope, there’s nothing there about outlawing religion or the state owning all the businesses or Big Brother watching you.

And the City Council has nothing to do with federal issues such as Medicare for All or “socialism” etc.  They’re about frickin’ TRASH PICKUP.  Deciding how to plow and fix the frickin’ roads.  Deciding–or not–to transform Lakeside Park, a current source of angst and fighting.

It’s the usual partisan buzz words like “far-left” and “socialist” and “extremist” even though you’re nowhere near “far-left” unless you’re a Communist who reads Marx and worships Pol Pot.  (That would be Antifa.  Antifa hates the Democrats for being too conservative, by the way.  Not our people at all.)  Meanwhile, the screed comes this close to accusing the candidate of eating babies and getting checks from Soros.

Seriously, people, the Democratic Party is more properly Center Right compared to the rest of the world.  A lot of us don’t even want the socialism that people like Bernie are looking for; the last batch of presidential candidates had many moderates.  Biden is practically a Republican.  Dems are an umbrella, not a monolith.  The Republican Party has just gone so far to the right that they’re ticking off all the boxes of fascism, and censuring and threatening to boot out anyone who isn’t a full-on Trumpist.  I’ve seen right-wingers get scolded on TV by British right-wingers for being too far gone.

The constant refrain in screeds written about this City Council candidate is that she’s an outsider/not from this community, that we should elect people who are from this community, that she’s bringing in ideas that don’t belong in Fond du Lac.

Except they’re already here.  They’ve been here for a long time.  I hear them from people who were born here.  I’ve been here 25 years and I have many of these ideas.  As I commented on that post by the Republican Party, liberals are here in Fond du Lac, too–unless you want to kick them all out and make Fond du Lac a conservative enclave.  (And well, I own a house here, so you’re not kicking me out that easily.)

And now we can’t have City Council members who weren’t born and raised here?  Since when was that a requirement?

As someone “not from this community,” I get the very strong impression that these people wouldn’t like me simply because I wasn’t born and raised here.  That they would call me an “outsider” even though I’ve lived here since 1995.  I wonder if these are the same people who yell and scream on Facebook at anybody who suggests that Fond du Lac is unwelcoming.