My Vote Has Been Received

My Ballot Has Been Marked as Received by the Registrar of Voters

Last week, I filled out my mail-in ballot. In Los Angeles, all registered voters received mail-in ballots, which we had the option of:

  • Returning in the mail
  • Putting in one of 400 drop boxes scattered throughout the county
  • Handing in at a polling place

My drop box was at nearby Stoner Recreation Center. I chose it because it was locked away at night so that Red-Hatted Trumpist Yahoos could not destroy my ballot in the dead of night.

I was actually reassured by the steps that California is taking to make sure that everyone’s vote counts. That does not appear to be the case in the Confederate States of America.

The Disunited States of America

The Fracture Lines Are Becoming More Evident

At some point in the last few decades, it appeared that the people of the United States of America could not agree on much of anything. Does water flow uphill? Is a fetus worth more than an actual human being? Did the Confederacy actually win the Civil War? Did the moon landing really take place? Can we fight the coronavirus by injecting bleach into our veins? Does the Hollywood QAnon child sex ring exist? Is the Earth flat?

All these questions which to me represent the pinnacle of stupidity seem to have large numbers of adherents—people who are angry with Liberals who have ignored them as inhabitants of “Flyover Country,” made fun of their strange religious practices, and insisted that they conform to scientific principles that are somehow unfriendly to them. These people are seriously pissed off, to the extent that they will stridently and repeatedly deny home truths believed by their adversaries.

Will the USA eventually fragment itself into agglomerations of states such as the map shown below?

One of Many Possible Variations

I was discussing the matter with my friend Bill Korn this evening. We both agreed that we were mistaken in thinking that a real existential crisis would bring us together. Well, coronavirus is nothing if not an existential crisis, and we are finding millions of people who are saying, “F—k it! Let’s go back to normal and ride it out!” Them’s brave words, but I would not trade my life for a chance to go to a bar or patiently listen to an unmasked person ranting in my general direction.

Perhaps I am timorous because I am:

  • Diabetic
  • Overweight
  • Asthmatic
  • Blood Type A

That makes me a four-time loser if I get the ’Rona. Thanks, but I’ll watch all you fine folks self-destruct from the sidelines.

 

Rights vs “Rats”

End Quarantine Protest in Huntington Beach

They are both the same word, but “rats” (R1) is the Southern Confederate drawl version of “rights” (R2). They do not, however, refer to the same thing. R1 people are likely to insist that this is a free country, meaning they are free to do anything they want, even if it causes harm, like shouting “Fire!” precipitating a riot in a crowded theater. They are free to think that whatever they believe is true, such as that Covid-19 is a lie.

Myself, I consider myself to be an R2 person. I have certain inalienable rights, but these stop short when they cause harm. If I fire an AR-15 automatic rifle into a crowd, the possibility of killing multiple people puts a limit on my “rats.” Likewise, going to a crowded bar, getting coronavirus, and passing the disease on to my friends and relatives, possibly killing several of them, is to my mind a criminal act.

Confederate Prisoners Fighting for Their “Rats”

I first stumbled onto the difference in a scene from the 1993 Ted Turner film Gettysburg, when C. Thomas Howell, playing the part of Lieutenant Thomas Chamberlain, comes across a group of Confederate prisoners and asks them what they were fighting for. He doesn’t quite understand their answer, that it wasn’t for slavery that they were fighting, but for their “rats,” making him wonder why they were talking about vermin. It’s interesting to me that one person’s rights could be seen as another person’s crimes.

I see Trump in a difficult position. The disease is a serious one, and at the same time the economy is in dire straits. On one hand, his return-to-work policy could result in tens of thousands of deaths, especially of those misguided people who believe in him. On the other, it could lose him his presidency if his followers get so an inkling of what is really happening.

 

Deep, Deep in the Heart of Dixie

The Stars and Bars Still Flies in a Corner of ... Brazil?

The Stars and Bars Still Flies in a Corner of … Brazil?

The Civil War ended a century and a half ago, but it is still being celebrated—strictly on the Rebel side, however—by descendants of the Southerners who emigrated to Brazil rather than submit to the indignation of Yankee Carpetbaggers. I was amused by a story on the NBC News website entitled “Confederate Roots Extend Far South … of the Equator.”

In an area near a place called Americana in the State of São Paulo, there is an annual Festa Confederada by descendants of the 10,000 Secessionists who were lured further south by Emperor Dom Pedro II to establish a successful cotton growing economy. Apparently, it worked.

Apparently Brazil was the last country in the Western World to abolish slavery, as late as 1888. So the first Confederados in Brazil were able to hold on to their slaves for some twenty years. As one can see from pictures taken at the Festa in Santa Barbara D’Oeste, the same symbols that would raise controversy in North America are celebrated openly in Brazil.

Although I am an enemy of all manifestations of the Confederacy in the United States, where the wounds of the Civil War are still bleeding, I find the South American recrudescence to be innocuous, as it appears to be unconnected with the type of race hatred which still rages in our country.