The Sheep Are Drinking the Kool-Aid with Cult 45

The following post was written by Guest Author, David White. The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the publisher of this blog.


If they don’t get it now, they’ll never get it. Forty-five has essentially told you that your attempts to preserve and protect your life and health are an inconvenience to his grift and graft. What are a few thousand deaths in areas where I don’t live when my ratings might suffer, and I might lose money and my presidency?

This weekend Joy Reid was asking her guests why don’t the Trumpists see that they are being manipulated and lied to. David Corn put it as succinctly as anyone I’ve heard recently. He said, in essence, you have to let them go – they’re not seeking the truth they have drunk the Kool-Aid.

Look at the Jonestown massacre. Those people had their leader. He was infallible in their minds. He sold them utopia, and they convinced themselves, despite all evidence to the contrary, that he was “The Man” to deliver them everything they wanted.

Now we have Cult 45. Their leader has sold his people on his evil, racist, selfish, egotistical reign by giving them the hope that he can show those others – the Latinos, Blacks, Jews, Asians, liberals, and anyone who doesn’t toe his line that his kind will rule. What they don’t fully appreciate is that the only kind he wants to rule are those like himself and his progeny. Everyone else is a tool.

But they buy his absurdity because he feeds them what they want – bigotry, wrapped in fake everything. Fake Christianity. Fake patriotism. Fake morality. Fake empathy. Fake compassion. And fake victimhood. He uses their resentments and frustrations to his own ends, and they let him because they identify with his racism and unconstrained id. They aren’t turned off by his ugliness – they want what he has – and, reluctantly concluding that they might not get to where he is, they gladly settle for the schadenfreude they feel for the pain and suffering he inflicts on others.

Some historical records of the Civil War reveal that the poor whites who fought for the Confederacy did so, not because they were due to gain financially, but because of the psychic pleasure derived from subjugating and lording over those whom they could consider less than themselves (the black slaves, of course). The same reason why they concocted Jim Crow laws and the KKK.

The last and perhaps most challenging obstacle for Americans, black and white, and “other” is to remove the false social construction of race. Science tells us there is no biological divergence in the human species to justify any labels. We do it for sociological convenience. We walk past people every day who we would label white on sight who, by ancestry, would be considered black – and vice versa. But it is convenient to put individuals in racial compartments and then, based on compartmentation, determine how we then deal with them.

I know this is complicated and controversial, but the science is there. We are all on a human continuum of skin color and hair texture based on genetic mutations. We look like our progenitors – Asian, European, or African. Still, those aren’t races. Those are mutations from generations and generations of the original race of all humans who came from Africa.

In another iteration, if Hutus had decided (and were able) to overrun the whole continent of Africa and subjugate the Tutsis and other tribes to slavery for generations, they would have justified it by claiming the Tutsis and others were different races and therefore not worthy of being treated the same as a Hutu.

I was outraged when I heard the latest spin by 45 and Fox that “We need to get the economy going and old folks and sick folks need to go on and die.” Anything to restore the economy and prevent the so-called upper class from losing money.

As a precaution, eighty-nine-year-old media mogul Rupert Murdoch had his network cancel his birthday party while continuing to downplay the threat of the coronavirus to their sheep. They don’t care about the elderly. They refuse to see through the charade because they have pledged full loyalty to the cult of 45.

Cult leader Jim Jones didn’t have to force or coerce the hundreds of people who died with him in Jonestown, Guyana. They willingly and dutifully drank the Kool-Aid and 45’s pigeons will too. We shall see how many are willing to drink to their end.


Driving Like Miss Daisy

Memory is a powerful force, and anything can trigger a flashback. Although it seems like a hundred years ago since I was in school, whenever I see a car displaying a “Student Driver” sign, my mind goes back to my high school days.

I am a skinny, timid, and awkward teenaged girl. As one of my electives, I choose Mr. Kay’s Driver’s Education course. My decision isn’t based solely on what I learn about him from asking other students – most say that he is one of their favorite teachers – I want to learn to drive.

Mr. Kay is short and stout, but whenever he is spotted entering the school building traditionally wearing a well-pressed suit and stylish gentlemen’s hat, Mr. Kay exemplifies cool. In the classroom, he is not only thorough but also one of the kindest and most patient teachers. The fact that I have my first disheartening driving experience while taking Mr. Kay’s course is my own fault.

About mid-way into the semester, after Mr. Kay is satisfied that our class has learned automobile basics, traffic signs, and the rules of the road, he begins taking us, students, out to experience driving on the streets. On the day of my initiation drive, I am one of three students in the car. He tells each student what route to take, lets that person drive a short distance, and then instructs the pupil to pull over. And then, a different student gets to drive.

After a boy who is impressing us other students with his driving skill descends a ramp on North Capitol Street, Mr. Kay instructs him to pull over on the shoulder, turn off the engine, and then exchange places with me. I am sitting in the back seat beside another female. When the confident, smooth operator opens the rear door and waits for me to get out so that he can climb in, I sit there. Although I have been contemplating my first drive, suddenly, my heart is racing, and I am in a near state of panic. Mr. Kay looks at me from the front passenger seat, and motions with his head for me to get behind the wheel. “Come on.” He says. “You’re next.”

Fighting to ignore the butterflies in my stomach, I slide one of my quivering legs over the seat and then the other, and although I am having difficulty steadying my feet beneath me, I climb out of the back seat and into the front.

Mr. Kay senses my nervousness and says, “You’ll do fine.” His encouragement gives me a tiny boost of self-assurance. “Just relax, but be attentive.” He says.

Once settled in the driver’s seat, I execute all of the steps I learned in class. Check the rearview and side mirrors and make modifications if necessary. Adjust the driver’s seat. Turn on the car. (There were no seat belts back then. They were not required until after 1966.) Feeling satisfied that I have performed all of the essential steps, I turn on the ignition, switch on the left turn signal, and glance at Mr. Kay for reassurance. He nods indicating that I should proceed.

I position both hands on the steering wheel in the 10 and 2 o’clock positions as we were taught and check the mirrors once more before putting the car in gear and pulling off. Seeing no traffic behind us that would require me to merge, I exhale a sigh of relief.

And then – instead of gradually pulling off the shoulder and proceeding at a moderate speed into the nearest lane, I step on the gas pedal. Suddenly, the small car races like a speeding bullet diagonally across the roadway and enters into the farthest lane from the shoulder. Simultaneously, Mr. Kay jerks his head around to look out of the window behind me and then glares wide-eyed back at me. As I slow the car down and straighten it in the left lane, I steal a quick glance at Mr. Kay before focusing again on the road ahead of us. I ask myself, Is it my imagination that his coffee dark complexion suddenly looks chalky white?

I’m mentally patting myself on the back for getting off to a commendable start. But the “Good job” that I expect to hear from Mr. Kay does not happen. Instead, his normal baritone voice shrieks in high soprano, “OH MY GOD! What are you doing?”

Is this a Jesus, take the wheel moment?

“You can’t just pull off the shoulder like that and fly across to the far lane. You ease into the nearest lane and then if the road is clear, you make your way cautiously over to the left lane. If another vehicle had been coming, you would have gotten us all killed.”

Embarrassed is not sufficient to describe my feeling. I purse my lips together and curl them inward, but resist the impulse to lower my eyes; instead, I keep my attention on the road ahead, raise my foot gently off the pedal and let the car drop below the speed limit.

As he continues to admonish me, it is evident that my action has plucked Mr. Kay’s last nerve, and he is struggling to maintain his calm.

“I’m sorry,” I whisper. “But…but I looked in the mirror.”

During his follow-up barrage of do and don’t instructions, I think I hear him say something about remembering to check blind spots. But I am too busy wondering whether my blunder will eliminate my time behind the wheel for the remainder of the semester or worse yet earn me a failing grade. What student fails Driver’s Education? That’s like failing physical ed.

So when Mr. Kay says, “Pull over to the side of the road. We’re changing drivers,” protesting does not enter my mind. Had Shakespeare written a closing dialog for this scene, it would likely be, “The lady does not protest, methinks. And we know why.”

I survive the rest of the semester without incident and pass the course.

When I look back now on that first driving experience, I take comfort in knowing that I probably wasn’t the only student who gave Mr. Kay a near heart attack during his career as Dunbar’s driver’s ed teacher. And I will always remember him as one of my favorite teachers.

I’ve had my license for years now, and I’ve learned many lessons about driving. Next time I will tell you why if you see an old-school looking lady on the road driving like Miss Daisy, it’s likely to be me.



Not Embracing the Fear Factor

During times of despair, no matter how dire a situation looks, I choose to focus on the positive. I tell myself to travel in the light, not in the dark, to find humor in the most troubling situations even during a pandemic.

Darn the coronavirus. It’s no lie that it has changed life as we previously knew it and I am sick and tired of hearing about it. I may have to give up my claim to being a news and political junkie and leave the TV turned off for a while because there’s no escape. Breaking news reports about the pandemic has become more common than commercials about bladder leak and auto insurance. The mute button on my remote control is getting stuck from being depressed so often.

Aside from making people sick, this thing has everyone paranoid. Medical professionals are advising people to avoid physical contact and reiterating it so often that some people are acting like they are afraid to look at another person. Listen, people. Making eye contact with someone across the room will not infect you with coronavirus. Let me amend that statement by saying, not yet anyhow. Who knows? At any minute, a breaking news report could repudiate that claim. As of now, it is okay to look, just don’t touch.

Last week on the Today show, NBC medical correspondent, Dr. John Torres, said that we are safer if we maintain a distance of at least six feet away from people. Since then, I’ve heard numerous other medical professionals mimicking his statement.

Among other things associated with the current pandemic, I’m particularly angry over the no-touch factor. Touch is the first of the five senses, and it is a basic human need. Research suggests that touch is fundamental to social bonding and health. Studies have shown that human touch can improve the immune system, reduce the heart rate, and lower blood pressure. They also reveal that compassionate touching is a good thing. That is until recently. Coronavirus arrived on the scene like a spurned lover straight out of fatal attraction, and it is releasing fury and creating private hells for people worldwide.

I’m a toucher and a hugger. I don’t need a study to tell me that. It’s who I am. Now, I have to retrain myself not to reach out and touch people, and to avoid touching my own face. Believe me when I say that it is a struggle for me to resist the urge to high-five or shake hands with an acquaintance or embrace a friend.

We are temporarily (let’s hope that’s the case) living in an altered reality. It’s another so-called new norm among many new norms that have surfaced in recent decades. And it sucks.

Stores are bankrupt of essential cleaning and sanitizing supplies. Overburdened medical staff are setting up triage tents for testing. Businesses are temporarily shutting down. And some people are losing their minds.

This morning as I was out walking, I saw a couple approaching from about half-a-block away. The woman was wearing a hijab and an abaya. No problem. However, the person walking beside her (I couldn’t determine if it was a woman or man) was wearing a blanket over clothing. Yes, I kid you not. A full-length, gray, grabbed off of a bed-covering blanket. It was wrapped around his or her entire body probably secured with safety pins or some other device behind the head. The blanket extended from beneath the person’s eyes to below the knees of the trousers.

I struggled with the temptation to avoid pulling my camera out of my pocket to snap a photo of them before they got too close to me. But then I realized that I had reached my turn off point and veered in the direction of my home. As I said, some folks are losing their mind.

I am determined not to buy into the fear-factor, but I won’t take foolish chances either.

Moments ago, I was sitting at my computer typing this post, and enjoying the breeze coming through an opened window, when I heard a male voice outside sneezing several times, so loudly that I thought he would blow out his lungs. The sneezes were followed by a brief coughing spell. Just as I jumped up to run over and close the window, I noticed that I didn’t hear him hacking anymore. Perhaps he got into a car or went further down the street.

No sooner do I sit back down and begin keyboarding when I cough, twice. Dang it! For real? Where did that come from? I tell myself that it is merely a psychological response. I’m good. But then I hear a faint voice deep in my brain asking how long before symptoms appear after exposure, 7 to 14 days? Oh, hell no! Get out of my head. I’m not going there. I refuse to surrender to paranoia.

I just hope that before this mess is over, I don’t run out of hand soap, cans of disinfectant spray, Lysol wipes, bleach and hand sanitizer.  Oh, and that precious commodity for the porcelain throne – toilet paper.




Aging Like Fine Wine

I see it. There, on the horizon. Another birthday approaching in a couple of days.

God rest your soul, B.B.King, but this septuagenarian won’t need to play your upbeat Happy Birthday Blues song to lift my spirits. I’m good. My plan for B-Day is to express my gratitude to God for the blessing of seeing another birthday and then I’ll take a moment to reflect on my birthday’s past.

I’ve had some ho-hum birthdays when I did nothing to acknowledge the occasion except maybe draw a smiley face on my daily flip calendar and then turn the page. I also had some memorable birthdays like when my beau at the time treated me to a concert, dinner, or some other memorable event. (Eugene, I don’t know if you are reading this or if you are even aware that I have an online journal, but if you are, I want you to know that I still remember when you took me to a small supper club. Unbeknownst to me at the time, you slipped the waitress a note to give to the club host. The host then announced from the stage that it was my birthday and pointed to our table. The clubgoers turned toward us and sang Happy Birthday to me. It was a beautiful gesture, and I don’t know why I felt embarrassed, but I did. I just wanted to dissolve into a heap of chocolate in my chair faster than the ice melting in our drinks. But as you see, your thoughtfulness left a lasting impression because I still remember that unforgettable birthday evening.)

My earliest memorable birthday was my 16th. That was the only time I ever had a birthday party. It wasn’t a budget-busting gala like some contemporary parents provide for their 16-year-old daughters. Mine was a small event. I remember the round cake bought from Posin’s Bakery. It had “Happy Birthday Sweet 16” written on top in pink and yellow icing, encircled by 16 candles.

Along with the cake, we enjoyed Neapolitan ice cream, potato chips, and a few other party snacks.  The several friends who I invited, my siblings, and I celebrated the event in the basement of our family home, while my parents courteously remained upstairs.

We danced beneath pre-strung crepe decorations to the stack of 45 RPMs, which I had prearranged next to my dad’s record player. The lineup included many of my favorite tunes:  How Sweet It Is by Marvin Gaye; Bettye Everett & Jerry Butler ‘s Let It Be Me; My Guy by Mary Wells; Baby Love by the Supremes; and You’ve Lost that Lovin Feelin by the blue-eyed soul duo, The Righteous Brothers. That was when music was music and not just a compilation of noise, grunts, and offensive language.

I, like other Boomers, grew up in The Vietnam War era when gas cost 30 cents per gallon, a loaf of bread was 21 cents, and a US Postage Stamp, 5 cents. The Beatles were taking the world and America by storm. I owned at least two of their singles; A Hard Days Night and She Loves You (yeah, yeah, yeah).

A talented young boxer by the name of Cassius Clay (he later changed his name to Muhammed Ali) won the boxing world heavyweight championship from Sonny Liston. The Civil Rights Act was signed into law, and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr received the Nobel Peace Prize, but that didn’t stop creative artists like The Last Poets and Gil Scott Heron from rapping politically charged lyrics about revolution.

Most pertinent to this lifelong Washingtonian was when the District of Columbia residents gained the right to vote in a presidential election for the first time. I remember that my dad was so proud to cast his first ballot. I don’t think he ever missed voting during a single election after that.

So many birthdays, so much history.

Although listening to music was one of my favorite pastimes then (and it still is), when I could scrape together enough money, I enjoyed attending shows at The Howard Theater, usually with my best friend, Cookie. She and I laughed ourselves silly while witnessing the antics of rising star comedians like Flip Wilson, Moms Mabley, and Richard Pryor. Back then, theater seats were available on a first-come basis. Cookie and I would rush to get to the Howard an hour before the box office opened so that we would be the first patrons standing in line to buy tickets. After purchasing them, we would race to the front of the auditorium and grab seats on the front row. When the screening of the movie previews and a serial film was over it was showtime. We would scream and act-a-fool (as the old folks would say it) during live performances by musical entertainers like Chuck Jackson, The Temptations, The Four Tops, The Supremes, The Marvelettes and so many others.

Sometimes I spent Saturday afternoons at the Sylvan Theater. If I wasn’t with Cookie, I went along with my parents and siblings. We enjoyed films like Imitation of Life, Sounder, and A Fistful of Dollars. By the time Blaxploitation films emerged, I was a bonafide movieholic and going to other movie houses in the city. I squirmed through films like Melvin Van Peebles’s Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song and cried at the end of Cooley High. (The latter remains one of my favorite films.)

So many birthdays. So many memories.

I’ve aged like fine wine. Over the years, the mature me has expanded my interests to include social activism and politics. Before writing these memories, I couldn’t resist digging up some birthday trivial and I found this. According to the MyBirthdayNinja site, in my previous life (for those who believe in such), I was a publisher and scribbler of ancient inscriptions. (Isn’t that interesting?)

No, you won’t hear me singing any birthday blues, because I see every birthday as a journey. Another landmark. I will treasure every year and enjoy every mile because on each B-Day that I am blessed to be above ground; I will be older than yesterday, but younger than tomorrow.


Remembering A Dog’s Life

Years ago, I worked with a wonderful man who had a basset hound named Cleo. Occasionally he would bring Cleo to the office. I liked that dog as much as her owner loved her. You know how you hear people say some things that stay with you forever? Whenever Cleo’s master was agitated with some of our business associates following a meeting or phone call, he would say to me privately, “That’s why I like animals better than I like humans.” At the time, I thought that was a rather odd statement, but over the years, I have come to fully understand why he felt that way, and I know other pet lovers who would agree with his statement.

Domesticated animals, particularly dogs, and cats are more compliant and much easier to deal with than people in general. The most agitation an animal will cause is when it chews up one of our favorite slippers or pillows, scratches the furniture, or has an occasional accident inside the home instead of doing its business outdoors. People, on the other hand, are not always acquiescent and tend to frequently get on our last nerve.

Animals, although territorial, tend not to be power-hungry, cantankerous, or disloyal. They give us unconditional love. In human relationships, this precious commodity is almost impossible to find. When our loyal, four-legged companion senses that we are in danger it comes to our rescue. If we are stressed-out, our pet is there snuggling beside us, wagging its tail or purring as if to say, “You’ve got a friend.”

Although I like both cats and dogs, I am partial to dogs, except for a few bad-rep breeds. Advocates of those breeds would have a hissy fit if I called them out, so I won’t, but many of you can imagine which dogs I am referencing. Face it; you rarely hear reports broadcast about a collie, poodle, or some other gentle breed mauling someone to death. (Note, I said rarely, not never.) If you don’t know which vicious breeds I am referring to, use your honest, unbiased imagination or ask Judge Judy. She will unhesitatingly tell you which breeds have the bad-repute.

When I was a youngster, our family had two dogs, during different periods in my life. Our first dog was a beautiful black lab named Tippy. I don’t recall where we got Tippy, but I remember that she was a lovely animal. Below is a photo of Tippy with my sister taken in December 1964.

After Tippy, came Muffy. I don’t have a photo of Muffy, so I’ll simply describe her as being a white mutt. She too was a sweet canine. If I remember correctly, my mom told me that a friend of my youngest brother gave that dog to him. That was around late 1967 or early ’68.

I have a memorable event relating to Muffy. She was still a puppy when I brought her outside one day. As I was sitting on the front porch of our family’s home deeply engrossed in a novel. I believe it was Valley of the Dolls. Muffy, off-leash wandered off of the porch, trotted to the end of the block and out into the street. You guessed it; a car hit her. Fortunately, it was a quiet street with very little traffic and not a busy avenue.

Some of the neighborhood kids came running to the house and told me that Muffy got hit by a car. Long story short, a handsome young man around my age had been driving the car that hit Muffy. He stopped, picked her up and was holding Muffy in his arms when I rushed to the scene. Muffy’s right paw was bleeding. He handed her to me and then drove us to a veterinarian clinic which was a few blocks away. Fortunately, Muffy had only a minor leg injury, but through that encounter, I met the greatest love of my life. And although we each eventually went on to live our separate lives, we remained the best of friends for over 30 years. I will always believe that it was divine intervention that led him to visit me one day in May 2001. For about an hour that day, we laughed and reminisced about old times. That was two days before he suddenly died. It is impossible for me to think about Muffy and not remember him, because memories of both are intertwined.

Even stranger is a dream I had recently. My former boyfriend was standing beside his car, which was parked in the middle of the street. The same street near my parent’s home, where he had run over Muffy years ago. In the dream, he is holding Muffy and smiling as I approach them. I return his smile. Muffy with her beautiful, big eyes, looks intently at me but seems quite contented to be in his arms. As I reach out to pet Muffy, they both vanish and I wake up.

I did some research about dreams about deceased dogs and came up with this. Dogs are usually a symbol of loyalty and friendship and often might represent good things in your life. I also discovered this — It could mean that you haven’t gotten over your dead dog and your subconscious mind is trying to communicate this to you. Very interesting, isn’t it? I’m going to leave that right there.