Burke: An exhaustive, exhausting list of what we can’t ignore

A lot has been thrown our way but there’s no comfort to be found in pretending we can just let it go.

By Tom Burke / Herald columnist

I recently had an “ah ha” moment on Twitter over a quote from U.S. Rep. Abigail Spanberger, D-Va., quote: “Part of the challenge (of life in the U.S. today) is that there’s just a level of exhaustion … just a level of fatigue … about all things.”

Blam! Exhaustion and fatigue!

Both have become endemic in our daily lives, and it isn’t just today’s complex world; or that there’s always been “stuff” to deal with; or that war and weather and evil people have always been around; but, rather, the seemingly endless number of big-deal, Richter-scale-11 issues, combined with the internet’s 24/7 news cycle and the Gosar, Boebert, Greene, Trump, Stefanik, MAGA politics of division, malice and stupidity that’s driving our fatigue.

So to help me better deal with my angst I listed just one day’s issues that makes life fatiguing and exhausting, the better to confront them.

In no order, consider we are coping with:

• The Big Lie;

• Jan. 6 insurrection;

• The war in the Ukraine;

• The Buffalo, N.Y., murders;

• Overturning Roe v. Wade, the Alito opinion, a potential Republican national ban on abortions, contraception, same-sex and mixed marriages;

• Israeli police beating a journalist’s funeral mourners;

• Great Replacement Theory and white Christian nationalism, white supremacy, and anti-semitism;

• The baby formula shortage, which Republicans decry, then 192 vote against a $28 million relief bill;

• Finland and Sweden joining NATO and Russia’s reaction;

• Five Republicans refusing to respond to a Congressional subpoena;

• Doug Mastriano, a nationalist and insurrectionist, running in Pensylvani to ensure a Democratic presidential candidate never wins in his state, “As long as I’m governor.”

• Musk manipulating Twitter and Tesla stock;

• The big cryptocurrency crash;

• Russian war crimes;

• Florida Republican Sen. Rick Scott’s proposal to raise taxes on everybody but the uber-wealthy;

• Texas Republican Gov. Abbot’s $4 billion bogus border inspection fiasco;

• New, militant truckers’ convoy returning to Washington, D.C.;

• Trump, asking for BLM protestors to be shot and for Mexico to be hit with missiles and lie about it; wanting to nuke hurricanes; and his Secretary of Defense calling him a “threat to democracy”;

• GOP candidates vowing actual, popular presidential results won’t be binding and would be overturnable by state legislatures;

• Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis’s wars against Disney, math books, Black voters and free speech;

• Covid resurgence and denial that it’s back;

• Student loan debt;

• Members of Congress investing in companies they legislate;

• Republicans starving IRS of funds to reduce audits;

• Charter schools;

• MAGAs on school boards;

• J.D. Vance accusing Biden of importing fentanyl to kill right wing voters and creating the baby formula shortage to kill babies;

• Republican Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul delaying $40 billion Ukraine aid;

• Big oil ripping off consumers while posting record profits (Exxon $8.8 billion, Shell $9 billion in the first quarter);

• Every Republican voting against cracking down on gas station price gouging;

• Voter suppression;

• Meatpackers’ covid-19 lies to keep plants operating while infecting 59,000 workers and killing over 300;

• Alaska Airlines pilots’ shortage and screwed-up schedules;

• Failing Texas power grid (again);

• Wildfires in New Mexico and California;

• Climate change;

• A Virginia Republican lawmaker suing to stop Barnes & Noble from selling books on LGBTQ issues;

• Anti-LGBTQ laws;

• CPAC in Hungary;

• Inflation;

• American democracy is over if Trump has one governor and a majority in the House after 2024;

• Senate Republicans defunding $10 billion covid response as cases trend upwards;

• Jared Kushner’s $2 billion Saudi deal;

• North Korea’s covid/no vaccines crisis; their nukes, missiles and submarines; and their “Dear Leader’s” love affair with Trump;

• Oklahoma banning abortions from moment of “fertilization” and allowing private citizens to sue abortion providers;

• China’s covid lockdowns; U.S. supply chain disruptions; South China sea incursions; and Taiwan;

• Ginni Thomas supporting Jan 6 insurrection;

• Jocelyn Benson, Michigan’s top election official, saying President Trump suggested she be arrested for treason and executed for refusing to overturn Joe Biden’s election;

• Rep Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., calling Democrats “pedo-grifters;”

• Melania Trump whining about Vogue snubbing her by putting Jill Biden on its cover;

• Buffalo killer’s manifesto parroting “Replacement Theory,” which Tucker Carlson has espoused;

• Memorializing Aaron Salter Jr., the retired policeman and security guard, who shot the Buffalo gunman but was murdered because the shooter wore body armor.

Then add state and local issues (the Big One and homelessness) and personal issues (rising property taxes and balding tires) and one can see how fatiguing today can be.

Of course I could simply turn off TV, cancel my newspapers, only go online to play solitaire or order from Amazon, and drive over to Les Schwab. Wouldn’t that relive my stress?

Not a bit. The stakes are simply too high to ignore reality and hope for the best.

Gentle reader, we’re facing a credible threat to our freedom. And if you doubt my word consider the shock of hearing the Christian (nationalist) preacher, antivaxxer, book-burner and Big-Lie backer Greg Locke tell his 2.2 million Facebook “parishioners,” ”You cannot be a Christian and vote Democrat in this nation!” Then threatening Democrats with, “You ain’t seen [an] insurrection yet.”

And he’s serious.

Reasoned discourse was the American way. But now Fred Wellman’s 3 Ds of GOP propaganda — Distract; Divide; Deceive —predominates:

• Distract: ‘Don’t help Ukraine! We have a baby formula crisis!’

• Divide: ‘They are giving it to illegals!

• Deceive: ‘This is another Biden failure!’

Rinse and repeat. It’s the game they play.

So don’t play their game. Get the facts. And don’t vote for Republicans.

Slava Ukraini.

Tom Burke’s email address is t.burke.column@gmail.com.

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