Smoke, lies, and a couple of bright spots

President* Trump,

I think Lifesaver and mint sales will spike in the Northwest this weekend as people try and mask the nasty metallic taste of the ash particulate we’re all inhaling all the time. It’s really eerie here – it’s 9:30 in the morning and lots of the street lights are still on, hardly anyone is out (which is good), the birds are quiet, and the air is a weird, flat gray – no dimension to it at all. Superficially it looks like a misty late fall early morning, but the quality of the air is dramatically different. Mist moves and has some shimmer to it – it feels alive. Up close, the air this morning has me squinting, trying to get my eyes to register things clearly. Farther away it looks like there’s a flat wash of gray paint across the landscape, muting tree outlines and deadening everything. It’s supremely awful, though obviously nowhere near as horrible as it is in the areas where the fires are actually destroying everything and killing those who can’t escape.

The beyond shitty lies that your hench-people are spreading about antifa agents purposely setting these fires is further evidence of the “there is no bottom here” reality. I’ve got people on the periphery of my life who’re totally freaked out and enraged by the “antifa arsonists” and who’re completely spun up about the Leftist anarchists taking over America’s cities. Well done, asshole. You all are masters at obfuscation, manipulation, distortion, and outright lies (I know I’m stating the obvious – live with it); you always have a handy misdirection to whip out when environmental calamity fueled by global warming strikes or when frustration, hurt, rage, and despair over ongoing racial injustice coalesce into protest. You’ve got your people wrapped – and trapped – in an endless web of well-designed lies that will almost certainly poison them, and the national conversation, for at least another generation.

You’ve no doubt seen the news that Biden and Harris have already set out a plan to deal with COVID that’s ready to go January 20th, 2021 – they’ve gotten input from actual experts on everything from supply chains to public health messaging. The article I read about this ( rather infuriatingly did the “we must present a balanced picture” and dutifully included a paragraph about how your administration has a plan to make and distribute 100 million doses of whatever vaccine you say is ready (that last part is me being snarky and realistic). Most of the piece, though, focused on identifying the Biden team and what they’re preparing for Day 1 of his tenure as POTUS. It also related that the consensus among the team and other public health experts is that the most challenging part will be rebuilding trust and getting people on board with following commonsense public health guidelines. In other words, your virulent legacy will live on long past your time in the Oval Office (again, stating the obvious).

For my own sanity’s sake, I’m going to leave you with two small bright spots from earlier this morning. Smoke or no smoke, the dogs need to go for their walks and so Laura and I took them on a short walk around a few blocks a bit North of here. Along the way we passed a Little Library booth that had been re-fitted as a free mask kiosk. There was a jaunty “Free Masks!” sign taped at the bottom of the box and a thin rope strung from one end to the other with little carrot stick plastic bags holding masks clothes-pinned to the rope. Super sweet.

Around the corner from them another neighbor had a fancy farm stand-like set-up in their front yard graced with a sign that says “Free Flowers.” There were several empty jars and one that still had a couple of dahlias in it, waiting for a home.

May we be safe from fire and brimstone.
May we be willing to be bright spots for one another.
May we hang in and be as strong as we can be for as long as we can.
May we accept, though, that we are human and can’t keep this up forever.

Tracy Simpson

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