Day 48 (+77): Times and Change

This morning I stayed in bed until pasted 10AM. Sleep came slow last night and I wanted to catch-up as I had very little sleep over the week. I went very slow today.


(this was where I hope to put my picture of Neowise–so far I can only see a dim dot)

I was out to 1AM trying to find the Neowise comet. It was behind the trees but I learned where it was. Tonight I know where to look and hope to catch it before it hides behind my apple tree again.

Well, until I read the New York Times (NYT) article and then I was going much faster. The pictures and the story of the siege of Portland just put me over it. I wrote an op-ed and snail-mailed it to the NYT. This took much of my time this morning and part of the afternoon. It is time to act. I cannot protest with the virus returning in force to Oregon. I write (I did see some wooden writing in the letter later, but I just sent it anyway hoping the NYT will forgive me)

To the NYT op-ed:

There are days like today when I wish I had the writing chops of a Churchill, but I will have to muddle through.

We here in Oregon, just outside of Portland, are doing that every day. We muddle. We try to stay home, work from home, and keep sane while things we never planned continue to happen. My 401K-retirement account goes up and down, my career at a well-known multi-national company in many ways does the same thing. Layoffs, re-organizations, impossible deadlines, and never-ending Zoom calls over so many times zones are now required to know what time it is anywhere to know how to address your colleagues. Is it a good morning, good evening, or good day now? Of course, you also have to look up the pronoun to use or go with always addressing the team to avoid mistakes using words like friends or colleagues. Yes, I am muddling through the emergency of Corvid-19, running a household, and working from home.

Now, we have to work on race. I have admitted I am so sorry that the work I thought we had been doing from before I was born in 1964 was making it better for people of color. I did not believe we white folks we just muddling through again. I genuinely mean I thought, for example, that Tom Selleck, as the Police Commissioner for New York City on the television show Blue Bloods was what we bought with all those taxes I have been paying for police. From what I can see now, and this example will likely require a Google Search for some, is Archie Bunker.

Defund police? Yes.

What that means is that the old white guys like me are saying find a way to get us a Tom Selleck and dump the old good-old-boys system and cancel the Archie Bunker styled police we now realize we bought. Defund means in the terns I hear at my work, “defective return.” Get me something that will not do the horrors I get to watch now!

You can see this in your story on Portland today, “Federal Officers In Portland Face Rising Opposition On Streets and In Court” by Sergio Olmos and Mike Baker with photos by Mason Trinca of Getty Images and Nathan Howard of Reuters. Mason Trinca’s picture shows the Portland and Oregon we love. There is a front-line of protesters with shields covered with messages and looks a bit threatening until you look closer. The photo shows there is only a single line of defenders. Some of the shields are held together with duck-tape. And, there is a medieval reenactor in the front (yes, it is Portland). They are all about to get tear-gassed and hosed down with pepper spray. The other photo by Nathan Howard in the article shows the ICE and Portland Police in almost perfect uniforms attacking the people who pay for them. It is so muddled!

Us, the old white guys were not expecting this. Close to perfect military-styled policing with Archie Bunker policies and training. We want a Tom Selleck and Blue Bloods for policing! That is why we watch the show. It is why we support the police until now.

Speaking of now, now, we have President Trump sending in more paramilitary police to stop our duck-taping wielding and medieval reenactor protestors in Portland. The Federal police forces are using catch-and-release tactics that any third-class dictator uses. Just stuff the terrified captured demonstrators in a room and scare them into confessing. The arrest’s lack of legality will not matter if the victim confesses. Perfect Archie Bunker police work.

We will survive this, as we will muddle through. We in the greater Portland area have lawyers, a lot of them. The Portland area has raised lots of money to pay for bail and lawyers. We are now, I just got mine, reading the anarchist books on how to resist. The old white guys here in the greater Portland area are not becoming anarchists, but if you want to know how to stay out of federal jail, few have as much practice as they—and they write it down and give it to you at cost. Money, knowledge, and support are what I can offer.

I have health issues, and my wife is ill. I cannot risk the virus, and tear gas will not make my asthma better. All I can do is muddle through and keep working online and write.

I am so sorry that the world I thought I helped pay for with my taxes, votes, and work was not better for Black Americans. We will have to keep working and muddling some more.

My eyes fill with tears of regret.

This is the letter I sent. You do not have to agree (and if you see some typos in the letter, please ignore them and don’t tell me about them). I was just angry. I spent a good part of today just writing and being worried. I include it only because it was much of what I did today.

I went out again, like last Saturday, to The Rock pizza and brought back pizza for Susie and Corwin. I had a salad for dinner. Corwin’s business partner Evan joined me and Julie again–she has been bartender each Saturday–brought us our drinks and food. I did notice more masks and very close attention to wearing them by the customers. The news of Oregon’s increasing infection rate has rattled people I believe.

Susie watched the movie The Thomas Crown Affair (the new one) and then I decided to relax a bit and watch Riddick. Susie did not mind Mr. Diesel in one of his most energetic movies.

The reports show that more than eight-hundred people died today in the USA from the virus, a hundred more than the previous Saturday.

I decided to repeat a hymn (after 125 days I need to repeat) and go with Morning has Broken as it is a favorite, in the Methodist hymnal, and was a song as a solo for my wedding back in 1990, twenty-nine years coming soon!

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