The Fear Gremlin

There are nights when I lie awake, terrified for what the future might hold. Tomorrow is a gremlin crouching in dark 

Corners, his fingers wrapped around all the possibilities. There are madmen in charge of our security: liars and mobsters and

Thieves, that some hailed as saviors. But now, those of us who’ve studied history know we’ve crossed lines that may

Never be uncrossed. Who will save us from the gremlin? Who will pry his bony digits from our lives? Only we can save ourselves.

Feckless

How awful is it that I’ve come across the word “feckless” in reading material pretty much my entire life but never bothered to look up its meaning. I relied on context to get close to the definition, but it’s being bandied about so much in our current political environment that I decided to pin it down and see what Mr. Webster says.


Can I build a poem around it? It’s worth a try.

Feckless

Feckless, rhymes with reckless, but given a choice I’d rather be the latter

At least reckless implies action, foolhardy though it may be

While feckless, ah, that milquetoast adjective, describes a dearth of

Initiative, a failure of character. In a word, Congress. 

A Paranoid Congress and Guns

  
I am a gun owner who once again weeps in horror and disbelief at our Republican legislators’ most recent unconscionable actions.
From the New York Daily News, 12/04/15:

WASHINGTON — Senate Republicans voted against barring suspected terrorists, felons and the mentally ill from getting guns on Thursday afternoon, parroting National Rifle Association arguments that doing so would strip some innocent people of their constitutional rights to gun access just a day after yet another massacre on U.S. soil.

A pair of Democratic measures – one to close background check loopholes to make it harder for felons and the mentally ill from buying guns, another to ban those on the terror watch list from buying guns – both went down in flames against near-unanimous GOP opposition.

Most of these same legislators offered up their fervent prayers for the victims of the tragic domestic terrorist attack in San Bernadino the day before they voted against measures that might help avoid similar tragedies. 

I couldn’t conceive the thinking behind their votes. After all, the GOP and its puppet masters the NRA assert again and again that,

 “Guns Don’t Kill People. People Kill People!”

Wouldn’t any sane and decent person then logically deny certain people, say those on the terrorist watch list, those with a history of mental illness, and those who have served time for felony convictions, the right to purchase and own guns?

Gosh, it seemed like a no-brainer to a little old country girl like me. So, why did our supposedly learned legislators vote in such a decidedly unlearned way?  

Carly Fiorina provided a clue in a recent televised appearance saying that a friend’s husband had been placed on the terror watch list in error and that she did not believe the list was accurate. I deemed that a small picture reaction to a big picture problem, until I looked at the Republican Party’s behavior over the past seven years.

Since the first term of President Barak Obama, the Republican Party has operated as an extreme oppositional force. On the night of President Obama’s first inauguration a group of powerful Republican Party members assembled in a not-so-secret meeting, led by Paul Ryan (who has just recently been elevated to Speaker of the House), and agreed to block the President in any way possible. Often this agreement has worked to the detriment of the nation as a whole. Common sense and the best interests of the country were tromped on in favor of making certain that the Obama presidency  failed. Treason, anyone? 

Instead of failing, President Obama was elected to a second term. Could Republicans and their NRA backers be concerned that depending on the outcome of future elections that some of them might end up on a no-fly, no-buy watch list? Has their paranoia gone to that extreme?

That could certainly help put their decidedly unlearned votes in a new light. Unless of course their favorite slogan is meaningless. Maybe it is the guns that kill people. Pick a side GOP. You can’t have it both ways.

Peace, and common sense, people.

Check out the Twitter feed of Igor Volsky @igorvolsky for information on the amount of money provided to congressmen by the NRA. Each time a congressman tweets out his or her thoughts and prayers Mr. Volsky supplies donation details. It’s a sick, slick business.

Paranoia is an unfounded or exaggerated distrust of others, sometimes reaching delusional proportions.

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fourth edition (DSM-IV), the diagnostic standard for mental health professionals in the United States, lists the following symptoms for paranoid personality disorder:

suspicious; unfounded suspicions; believes others are plotting against him/her

preoccupied with unsupported doubts about friends or associates

reluctant to confide in others due to a fear that information may be used against him/her

reads negative meanings into innocuous remarks

bears grudges

perceives attacks on his/her reputation that are not clear to others, and is quick to counterattack

Sources: 

Gale Encyclopedia of Medicine. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

National Institute of Mental Health. Mental Health Public Inquiries, 5600 Fishers Lane, Room 15C-05, Rockville, MD 20857. (888) 826-9438. http://www.nimh.nih.gov.


What in Tarnation?

Cursing, even mildly, was severely frowned on by everyone I knew in my childhood days. A “golly!” or “gosh!” uttered by me or one of my friends would result in a tongue lashing and the threat of a good old fashioned soaping of the offending mouth. Although no one, including me had ever actually seen someone have their mouths washed out with soap the thought was daunting enough to curtail, if not completely halt, the use of four letter words.

Of course once we became rebellious teenagers the taboos against cursing lured us into dangerous territory. First came “darn” then “hell” then “damnit” before we became masters of the combo curse, “Damn it all to hell!”

I might have been considered a cursing prodigy, so quickly did I incorporate proper technique into my daily language. And I was an astute cursing judge, able to discern instantly the level of experience another had with the fine art of four letter words. We had a band director at good old Floydada high school who threw out phrases like, “I don’t give a hell!” Novice! 

There are folks I know who are non-cursers. My mother-in-law, Saint Helen, falls into this category; although, on occasion I have heard her say she didn’t give a “continental dam” about something. It was shocking, to say the least.

Nowadays I hardly curse at all, apart from the occasional outburst, usually reserved for indicating someone’s total lack of common sense. Now that everyone’s doing it, it just doesn’t seem so rebellious. I feel like bringing back some good old fashioned curse words like “tarnation” and “dagnabbit” or “dadgum.”

So, what in tarnation are we gonna do about that dadgum congress, dagnabbit!?” Oh, that seems so insufficient.

Peace, people!