2020 in Review

This is a year that has changed everything. COVID-19 has kept everyone mostly in the house since April and we’ve had an unhinged President who garnered a cult following of about half of Americans.

History books will be able to tell us the magnitude of the changes but for now we rely on news articles who document individual changes as they happen: restaurants are shutting down, people are moving and people are dying. All the while the Trump administration has brought the USA to perhaps one of the lowest points in its history yet he still retains a lot of support.

Imagine if Obama had done the same, not only completely failing at any type of coherent response but actively encouraging the spread (and death) by his words and actions such as not wearing a mask. The Republicans would have gone ballistic and call not only for impeachment but probably treason, execution, you name it. I write this as a warning to my descendants who will read this. The times and minds of people can change drastically, for both better and worse. I’m living in time where minds have changed for the worse in support of Trump. We humans as a species are still very young and primitive and make lots of errors. Just look at all the wars, killing and now support of a highly damaging con-man, liar, narcissist for President. We remain highly tribal and although separated less by distance thanks to aviation, the cultural, linguistic and political barriers are as strong as ever. The world order and relative peace is a house of cards held together by a love of money and extreme wealth.

I had previously thought that peace was maintained by intelligent people desiring a common good. That is the myth we were told here in the USA anyway. Under current leadership and at 43 I can now definitively say that there is no adult at the steering wheel of the world. Decisions are made in order to increase money and power, not for the good of all.

Here in the USA we sing the Star Spangled Banner before every sporting match and many children are required to say The Pledge of Allegiance at the start of the school day. During the 4th of July Americans everywhere will celebrate being American and drink plenty of booze. These activities give us the feeling that we are all one group, all Americans and on the same team. It is all an illusion which COVID-19 has stripped away.

COVID-19 kills Americans and is soon to kill more Americans than the total killed in WW2. All Americans have to do to help beat the virus is wear a mask. But you know what? Half of Americans cannot do that as they are cultish followers of Trump who in his desire to remain in power said the virus would magically disappear and ACTIVELY ENCOURAGED NOT WEARING MASKS! Yes, my descendants, this is insanity and something I will never fully comprehend. As I said above humans are still primitive and it is quite obvious Trump supporters are not only primitive but downright stupid.

In reading the news one general idea that might help explain is that the majority of his supporters are uneducated white men whose status in society has been slipping away for decades. Ironically their unskilled jobs were shipped overseas mostly with the support of Republicans yet it is the Republicans they support today. They see the money, power, beautiful women on Fox and like sports teams, feel if they align themselves with the brash, unapologetic Republican party they gain some semblance of status. It really isn’t more complex than a sports team winning a game and a supporter also feeling triumphant. The supporter isn’t part of the team but feels he is so because he buys the team’s merchandise, goes to their games and cheers them on. Unfortunately politics have become very similar and are now part of an identity than ever before. The Republican party takes from programs designed to benefit everyone and convinces those who could use those programs most that anything “social” is un-American. Their status continues to sink and they look for scapegoats such as immigrants. History repeats itself but with different characteristics. I have no doubt that the divisions will get worse, the uneducated whites will get angrier and the relatively calm political times of the past are gone for the next couple of decades.

I didn’t want to get stuck on politics for this post but politics were the main subject along with COVID-19.

With COVID-19 we’ve learned to live our lives mostly in our houses. I’m very interested to read those future history books and just how much COVID changed the American family. Previously the social contract was that you really didn’t have to spend more than 6 or so hours a day with your family. The kids get dropped off at school and the adults go to work all with the intent to make even more money. The amount of money was never enough. Suddenly people everywhere were forced to spend just about all of their time with their families. This became a huge test to determine if a family really liked each other or not. I believe that we’re still in the middle of this test. So many jobs have been lost that many people may need to stay together based on economic need. I don’t think we’ll now the full results until things return to somewhat normal. Will divorce rates skyrocket or will they be somewhat tame given the circumstances. COVID-19 is one big stress test on the American family and the outcome is so far uncertain.

As for us, we’ve adapted to staying indoors and it was not such a huge change. The biggest change was the kids distance learning everyday. With the internet this isn’t much of a problem. On the overall does it really make much of a difference if the teacher gives instruction in person or over Zoom? The current classroom structure hasn’t changed much for hundreds of years but technology certainly has. I’d say the biggest difference is the social aspect. My kids still play games with their friends through the computer/iPads etc and so still have interaction just not so much in person.

Now if this pandemic had happened when I was a kid and without internet that would be a completely different story. When I was a kid the main entertainment was still going outside and playing with friends. Yes we had video games but it wasn’t the main entertainment. A pandemic with lock-down in the 80s would have been torture.

As for personal relationships I lost one old friend who became brainwashed by Trump and had another move far away. I only saw both of these people once a year but meeting either of them again looks unlikely. We also continue to bleed Japanese friends from The Bay.

As for Facebook the awfulness of Trump and his supporters has turned me off of that service almost completely. I have often spoke of using it less but the nastiness of Trump and his supporters has done it for me. One part of me wants to unfriend them all and retain my intelligent friends. However I realize that I may regret doing that in the future. And so, my decision is to simply not use it very much anymore. It is time to let those old acquaintances alone and concentrate on those I have things in common with in present times. Facebook should be like a yearbook, something only opened up once in a great while.

I’d like to write more but will pause for now.


12.18.20

It is 5:56 AM on December 18th. I wanted to continue with my year in review post instead of creating a new post.

Today is Friday and was the first day I had nothing on the calendar for work. That changed due to a last minute unused funds inquiry from an account but that won’t take more than 15 minutes. I always wake up early but especially on the mornings after working out the day before. I got my meditation done and did so in VR in the “Silver Alps,” one of my favorite locations. I’m on top of a snow covered mountain looking down into a valley with two enormous, snow covered mountains behind. I miss snow for Christmas and so turn to digital environments to help with the scenery.

After meditation I used the Wander app which uses Google Street View I can look around almost any spot in the world! Today I tried for the North Pole to see if perhaps Google had placed a VR Santa abode, but no, the North Pole remains ice and water. So I settled on the North Pole, Alaska. I am familiar with this town because this is where we send our letters to Santa every year taking advantage of a service provided by the United States Post Office. You write Santa and the adult writes a personalized response. Stick both in an envelope addressed to yourself inside a larger envelope addressed to the North Pole. The USPS will return the letter inside with a real postmark from the North Pole (AK)!

Through the magic of VR and my Wander app I actually saw this post office as though I was standing in the street in front of it. I also “wandered” around the town. Unfortunately it doesn’t seem very much like the magical North Pole of our Santa Books and even the Santa Claus House looked a little drab being devoid of snow when the images were taken. But isn’t it magical in itself that I could use something called virtual reality and be virtually present in that town? Thanks to the internet I also discovered this Santa Claus house and can visit their website and see what they do! In fact, I then teleported myself into the wilderness of Alaska and stood in awe of its rugged majestic landscape, all while in my pajamas in my comfortable recliner. People in 2020 have forgotten how incredible the internet really is but I have not.

But back to the town of the North Pole, AK, it has its drab areas but also beautiful areas. Along the main road you find your usual McDonalds, various unimpressive places of business and a less than beautiful landscape as it is the arctic tundra. However, looking at a few of the neighborhoods, those were beautiful! I wandered through a section that was mostly forest with a neighborhood created it it. There were tall pines and Birchwood trees with breathtaking orange and yellow leaves. Those neighborhoods were truly magical but I imagine you’d have to watch out for bears. It would be a great place for a child’s (and adults!) imagination to run free but yes, watch out for bears.

Back to 2020. As mentioned above politics and COVID have dominated the year and thus infected my mind. One more thing about politics and I’ll stop. The fact I have to say one more thing is proof about how deeply national politics has affected all of us. Republicans show patriotism by attaching flags to their pickup trucks. Their political representatives must have a minimum of 30 flags behind them when they speak on TV. They have said many idiotic things but see! Do you see all of those flags! Whatever idiotic thing they’ve said is patriotic. Because they’ve put a lot of flags behind them! They can take away healthcare, put kids in cages, call other Americans rats, morons and even dead American soldiers losers!! But because they have a lot of flags behind them this is all very patriotic! See!

The Liberals on the other hand want to provide healthcare to all Americans but they don’t use very many flags. So you know what taking care of your fellow Americans means? It means “socialism!” Socialism is a word most Trump supporters cannot understand but are absolutely sure it is very bad because Fox news told them so. Criticizing certain aspects of America like terrible wars created by American lies or wanting to recognize the terrible racism America has never been able to shake is also anathema to Republicans. For the true Trump supporter (neo Fascist?) you can never criticize America no matter what. It has become a cult much like religious cults are. It is their “team” and no matter what bad things the “team” does you just over look it because criticism is something “true Americans” would never do.

Here is a test to show that Trump supporters are brainwashed. Ask them what they disagree with from Fox News before the election. Fox did call a state for Biden which was true but Trump supporters got rid of truth a long time ago. What do they disagree with Trump on? You know what will happen? The majority won’t be able to name more than one or two things. They’ve been brainwashed into supporting whatever nonsense, outrage, idiotic thing he does and are no longer in control of their own mind. They watch Fox News and other right wing media then copy and paste it onto social media. Out of everyone I know there is only one Trump supporter who could have an interesting, intelligent discussion without the old copy and paste factually incorrect information reflex.

Side note, another priest I knew from the past was put on the “naughty list” of credibly accused priests. This was mentioned on social media and you know what? Many defended him saying “they won’t believe it” even though we all know of incidents. This is the same of not wanting to hear anything bad about your team. Catholics look the other way on sex abuse and even continue to eagerly put their children in the care of such priests while Trump supporters eagerly support any awful, damaging thing Trump wishes to do? Destroy democracy? Sure why not?? Encourage further death and economic calamity by not wearing a mask? Sounds good to Trump supporters!

I read a post from a Trump supporting christian the other day and she was talking about how her church goes on trips out of state, doesn’t wear masks and hasn’t had any problems. You would think that she would know a main tenant of Christianity is to care for others. This implies one wouldn’t want to spread a potentially lethal disease that could kill some people. All they would have to do is wear a mask. But no, this is something they refuse to do.

I’m living in such a stupid time I want to scream. It is as though this is a simulation where many I know continually get stupider and stupider for the sole purpose of testing me. A challenge of the mind it is and can I hold fast without all their stupidity making me absolutely crazy.

OK DONE! Let’s get on with 2020 in review.

I’m finally over Facebook thanks to the stupidity and along with using it much less am going to unfollow the stupid people. Their idiocy is affecting my mental well being. After all, perhaps it isn’t the stupid people’s fault they are mentally weak but it is my fault for continuing to let their words into my life through the internet.

As for trips we couldn’t go back to Japan this year due to the pandemic but COVID and a massive amount of California fire did provide the opportunity to get back to Ohio twice with the whole family. That has never happened.

The first time was back in September when we were refugees from the smoke. The smoke was so bad I had to limit us to one room with the air purifier on high and entryway blocked off with a sheet. I have an air quality sensor and thus was well aware at how bad the air would affect our health. We’re talking being over 200 and even 300 on the index quite often! By staying in one room I could get the reading down to 100 or so but then we would be too high in CO2 due to all of us breathing the same air. The air would also become very stale as well as stuffy and just not fun to breath. So I’d have to open the windows to get oxygen and then the dirty air would rush back in.

Eventually we had had enough and escaped to Ohio. It was good to be back and especially with the entire family. The second time we went back was for Thanksgiving. Due to COVID governments were discouraging travel but being in the industry I know that the airplanes are safe and airports being pretty safe so long as people wear masks. It is in the airports where you’ll see a huge difference. In the Bay everyone is wearing a mask as is required. In Midway however there were tons of people eating and drinking at the bars with no masks. I had mentioned criticism before and will employ it here. People following the health and safety protocols in the Bay is an example of an America to be proud of. Those drinking beer after beer with no mask in their “Socialism Sucks” t-shirts with their bald heads and diabetes caused by being 100 pounds overweight is the America I do not like. But in addition to the “socialism sucks” writing it also had an American flag and bald eagle so this person is obviously a patriot unlike those mask wearing people in the Bay Area airports. It is that man in Midway who claims to be patriotic while simultaneously greatly increasing the chance of infecting and perhaps killing his fellow Americans. Such is the logic of the Trump supporter.

I was not concerned about traveling and fine to go against the recommendation not to travel because my family knows how to quarantine and wear masks. We know that the mask goes over both the mount AND the nose which is something 20% of Americans cannot seem to figure out. We drove to the airport in our own car, went to the gate and got on the plane. At our connection in Midway we avoided fat, bald, uneducated white men drinking beer and not wearing their masks and got on the connecting plane. Then in Columbus went straight to my Dad’s car all the while keeping masks on with ample, periodic use of hand sanitizer. If everyone could travel or generally adhere to those practices the pandemic would have been under control long ago.

But no, Trump supporters in their cultish fervor follow their leader and spread the disease that has killed over 300,000 Americans and thrown millions out of work. But you know what? They wear American flags on their clothes and just love America so much because America is only them and screw everyone else. Does this make any sense? No, it does not.

2020 has given me a headache. So much stupidity.

Another positive aspect is that we did take another trip, this time to Las Vegas and Death Valley. Yes, I understand the pandemic is to be taken seriously but mental health is also to be taken seriously. And so after adhering rigorously to quarantine we need to get out of the house. We chose Las Vegas because it is warm, they’ve got excellent pools, is relatively cheap but also is an exciting place. We accomplished our aim of making excellent use of the pool at the Paris hotel and also visited Circus Circus where Ren won one of his favorite “stuffies” all on his own at the horse race game.

We then went to Death Valley and had a wonderful time in an environment none of us had been in ever before. I’ve written about all of this in a post so no need to recap.

OK, the time is now 7:08, the house will soon wake up and my peaceful morning time has ended.

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By 魔手

Global Citizen! こんにちは!僕の名前はマットです. Es decir soy Mateo. Aussi, je m'appelle Mathieu. Likes: Languages, Cultures, Computers, History, being Alive! \(^.^)/