Without juice


On Monday I won an award for the work I did earlier this year. It was announced, and at an all of department team meeting and apparently met with a round of applause. I didn’t know about it until after the event as I was on another call and missed the meeting. I found out when I got back online when I asked – cheekily – if it came with a pay rise. No, it doesn’t, but I got a voucher and a nice certificate.

I’m glad I wasn’t in the meeting when they called out my name. I’m one of those people who get bashful when praised. In general, I’m happy to let those things wash over me. I’m glad of the recognition and grateful for the gesture, but it’s not something I need. I’m a little surprised too, as I didn’t think people – stuck in lockdown – had any real idea of what I did or what it involved, but as one person said when I demurred, “well, you worked bloody hard!”

I don’t need this, but I’d have been unhappy if no-one realised the scale of what we achieved. It’s not the praise I desire, it’s the acknowledgement. I think that’s all anyone wants and what they deserve.

The reality is that the challenge appealed to me. I felt like an old mountain climber called out of retirement to lead the climb on one last, momentous, peak. I couldn’t resist it, and for the usual reasons – because it was there. I’ve been kept busy since and have hopes of leveraging it into something more, but the hopes are mostly practical. Much of my focus is on earning more because I need it leading into retirement – but my ego needs it a tad too, just to prove I’m still the man and don’t forget it.

What I’ve realised is that I’m more interested in the work than I am the result. The journey, rather than the destination. The reason for that, I figure, is that at the end of the day most of the things are pretty lame. I’ll put them on my CV and people may nod appreciatively but shoot, it aint a cure for cancer. And so, it’s the challenge of doing, of overcoming and pushing through, of finding answers and solving conundrums, and rising to all that, that counts. At this stage of my career, I’m more interested in doing a job well than the job itself.

This experience has reminded me that in terms of raw capability, I’m still top-notch, but in other regards, I’ve fallen away from the standards and patterns of my previous careers. I’m a maverick in a lot of ways, and always have been, and reckon it’s given me an edge – but I’m also process-driven and believe in doing things properly. I believe it, I preach it, but when it comes down to it, I’m totally disinterested in the minutiae and discipline that makes up so much of that. I know I should be doing this or that, but I can’t be bothered because I have no patience for it now. The result is I either put-off or take shortcuts or phone it in. I can get away with it because I’m good on my feet and because my work is good, and in the end, it’s the results that matter.

It’s no secret why this is the case. I’ve spoken before about how I feel I haven’t got the juice in me I had before. That’s not to say I’m diminished – I can still fire up pretty good and can be imposing when I turn it on. (And plenty still find me intimidating without me doing a thing – I think because they know I couldn’t care less what they think). It’s just that now I don’t have the juice – ambition if you like – to care about a lot of things that now seem hollow to me. It’s the juice that drives you forward, like fuel, that makes you push through such thoughts because there’s something at the end of it – reward, recognition, prestige, whatever. I don’t have that juice anymore, and I’m not interested in those things – and it makes me a more reserved character than I used to be. I suspect many find me an enigma.

I accept it, and I understand it. I don’t think it’s lost altogether, just biding something worthwhile to believe in and strive for. That’s what I need – a worthy goal.

Heeding the call


For the first time in months, I went out for dinner last Saturday night, this time to the Cheeses. Notwithstanding it was months since we’d done this, it was pretty typical. We had dinner – home-made pizzas (their kitchen – house – is completing renovation), a beer, a bottle of wine, then another, some cheese and some chocolate. We talked and shared stories and laughed and finally sat down to watch a movie together.

The movie we settled on was the latest version of Call of the Wild, this one starring Harrison Ford, and a CGI Buck.

This is based on a classic story by Jack London, and one of my favourites (another of his stories, To Build A Fire, is one of the best stories ever). It’s set in Alaska during the gold rush in the 19th century and basically is about a dog that gets abducted from his safe suburban home and taken to the Klondike to become a sled dog. It’s all about his trials and tribulations, about the bond between man and dog, and ultimately about Buck giving in to the ‘call of the wild’. It’s a beautiful, occasionally harsh, tragic, but heartwarming tale that anyone who loves dogs must love.

I’ve watched several versions of the story made into movies, and the best are those who keep it simple and let it speak for itself. I’m a fan of Harrison Ford and, though he’s older than the original protagonist in the story, he’s the right type. I found it an entertaining hour or so, but much diluted from the essence of the story. (Let me warn of spoilers ahead).

This is a Disneyfied version of the story, right down to Buck not even being a real dog. He’s CGI, and pretty good, but obviously so all the same. It makes him a bit cartoonish and robs the character of the spontaneity a real dog would bring. It’s now a family movie, which means some of the harsher elements have been taken down a notch or two, and even a basic part of the story changed.

There’s a vindictive and quite foolish character who is integral to the resolution of the movie. He doesn’t exist in the story, and when the main human character – here played by Harrison Ford – dies, it’s quite different. In the story there’s a clean and simple brutality to it – he’s murdered by Indians and Buck, discovering the body, wreaks his vengeance. In the movie there are no Indians – perhaps they’re the politically incorrect option – and instead, the deranged character fatally wounds Ford. Buck arrives in time to kill the murderer (indirectly – no blood, no violence) and in time to comfort his friend and master before he dies. It may as well be in soft focus.

Buck then goes out into the wilderness to fulfil his destiny.

The movie is a long way from the direct and uncompromising language of the original story. I understand what they’ve done and why they’ve done it, but as a purist who loves the story, it seems pretty lame. It’s counter to the essence of the story also – that this is a harsh and deadly environment that only the tough can endure. Even for them, it can be brutal, but that’s the simple truth. In the end, it’s an environment in which Buck finds meaning because it awakens in him his primal self, and he ‘returns’ to the wild in which once he came from.

It’s a noble message and reading the story it’s uplifting. You’ve been devasted by the parting of man and master – they had a great bond – but the payoff is that Buck returns to nature, that great and wild thing we’ve civilised out of our life.

Walking home from the Cheeses afterwards it reminded me of a quote from Seneca:

Show me that the good life doesn’t consist in its length, but in its use, and that it is possible—no, entirely too common—for a person who has had a long life to have lived too little.

Basically, it’s not how long you live, but how you live while you’ve got it. I guess we can all choose to live our life according to our desires, but for me, it’s always been a simple question. From very young, I was aware that just to be alive was a rare gift, and that one day it would end. The trick, as I figured it, was to live as well as possible in the time I had.

I was the adventurous type, and so for me that meant an enquiring life – travelling and reading and asking questions and trying things out and never backing off. From my current perspective, it feels that I’ve led an interesting life that at times has been challenging, and at times deeply rewarding. I don’t regret much, though I sometimes wonder how things might have been different. The life I have is a result of trying things, of plunging in and testing things out. It’s how I wanted to live and though there are notable gaps, I think I’ve lived a full life.

Most people are more cautious and conservative than me, and each to their own. I get impatient and restless. Others don’t. What seem to me lives that are happy but dull are perfectly adequate to the people who own them. Sometimes I find it hard to comprehend, but sometimes I’m envious too of such simplicity.

I wonder how much they have asked of themselves, or what their expectations of life were. Did they dream once, or never? Did they quest and give it up one day because it was too hard? Or not sensible? Or was it ever thus? We’re all different, but until we test ourselves, we don’t really know what’s inside us. So I reckon.

So it was with Buck. His life was set. He was happy and pampered. Then he was taken from comfort and thrust into the wilds of Alaska. There he found his strength and used it. There he found true companionship on the brutal edge of existence. And there he found the wild calling to that part of him deep inside and hidden from everyday view. In the end, he responded to the call to be himself truly, and to be amongst his type.

If that’s not a metaphor for human lif,e I don’t know what it is. For most of the time and for many of us, we’re happy and pampered and living in relative comfort, and that’s where it stops. Hopefully, the time comes when we hear that call, and respond to it. And maybe that explains something of what we’re seeing in the States at the moment. The moment has come to step out of the comfort zone and make a stand. It’s a worthy cause, and it’s good for our soul.

Where too, now?


I’m at work, and by that I mean I’m sitting in my home office in front of my work laptop. In the background, I can hear the TV on, which would normally be off. I’m only half-listening, but alert to it. It’s CNN, and the wall to wall coverage of the ongoing protests.

Since I last wrote, nothing has changed, except perhaps that it’s possibly worse now. I wrote on the weekend that the next 48 hours would tell the tale. There was a chance that the protests would die away, and perhaps with a competent and decent leader that would have happened. Instead, Donald Trump retreated to his bunker – literally – and when finally he made an appearance, it was to inflame the situation further, and to demonstrate his utter disregard for the American people.

In truth, it’s not all down to him. Some of the scenes we see, the stories we hear are astounding. America is at the crossroads, and if it’s to be guided to a safer, saner place, then there needs to be some conciliation offered. That’s occurred in heartwarming pockets – police here and there taking the knee or being only supportive of the protestors cause and reaching out. They’re the exceptions, however. If it was more general then we wouldn’t have the conflict there is now, to which there appears no end in sight.

While there have been looters and agitators, the intent of most protesters has been to do so peacefully. Most are reported as peaceful. Unfortunately, many police have raised the temperature with indiscriminate and unnecessary acts of violence. Peaceful crowds have been fired on by tear gas. Many protestors and bystanders have been hit by rubber bullets. Journalists seem to be a target of the police, and perhaps that an outcome of Trump deriding them for years on end. Several have been arrested or detained. One journalist has lost the vision in one eye after being struck by a rubber bullet. We watched yesterday as an Australian film crew was violently set upon. Otherwise, there’s been random and unnecessary acts – an old man with a cane pushed to the ground by an officer, another man with his hands in the air pepper-sprayed. There are hundreds, perhaps thousands of stories like that.

All this is against the backdrop of curfews and the National Guard patrolling the streets in their full uniform, and armoured troop carriers rolling through suburban neighbourhoods. Trump has threatened to call out the army. If this was virtually any other country in the world you’d think it was the act of a despot and dictator. Imagine the outrage if it was China! What makes it surreal is that this is the USA. The US has never been as pristine or honourable as they proclaim, but it’s upheld virtues much of the world wanted to believe in. There are still many – the majority perhaps – who are decent and honourable. The difference now is that they’re the underclass.

It seems to me that this conflict has moved beyond black lives. That remains at the heart of it, but watching from afar it seems to me a battle between liberal America and autocratic America. The split is between those that believe in equality and decency and democratic equity and freedom of expression – and those like Trump and his supporters, the rank conservatives and vested interests, and seemingly a good portion of the police and armed forces.

It’s not dissimilar to many other places, though right now we’re seeing a violent expression of the division. I’m naturally curious to see how this plays out in America – I don’t see a quick or peaceful solution at this point, not without one side offering something up. And I’m curious to see if this catches on in the places where a similar divide exists. I wouldn’t be surprised. There’s an appetite for change, for a new socio-economic order. I count Australia in that list, though the divide isn’t as pronounced – yet.

All the way


I keep watching the coverage on CNN even though it’s long past dark there now. Stories keep emerging. Across the country, east to west, there’re protests.

It appears that the protests are peaceful by day but become violent when night comes. I’m not sure what that means or why. There are stories that come the night other groups join the protests and turn it in another direction. I’ve no doubt there’s a lot of opportunists joining in – looting continues. There are reports that many of the biggest agitators are from ‘out of state’. I think there’s more than meets the eye, but then this is a complex, seething, tumultuous mass with a life of its own.

Earlier as I watched I saw a white man in his early twenties with a bandana across his face turn to the camera and give the white supremacy sign. A moment later a passionate and articulate black man from Liberia spoke directly to the camera and eloquently describe why he was protesting. Again and again, when asked, ordinary people are clear on their purpose. It’s impressive, even inspiring. No doubt there are ratbags and opportunists and agent provocateurs among them, but the majority seem fired by the moral imperative to stand up against injustice. It’s in their hearts. It won’t go away now.

Don Lemon has been chairing CNN as I’ve been watching. He’s been outspoken against Trump in the past, and for good reason. I find his transparency refreshing. Now is not the time to be impartial. Again and again, he has asked, where is the leadership? Where is the president speaking up to de-escalate the situation? But then, that’s almost a rhetorical question. No doubt he’ll let us know shortly by tweet.

Lemon was also outspoken asking why prominent black leaders in society aren’t speaking up at such a time? Business leaders, Hollywood stars, sportsmen – don’t be silent. His message was clear – your community needs you. Don’t be afraid of repercussions. Don’t be afraid of damage to your brand. He’s right, and I applaud him for being so blunt.

The thing is, while it’s the black community who suffer from systemic oppression and racism, it’s not a black problem. It’s a human problem. Just as violence against women needs men to step up to be counted, so too does racism against blacks requires whites to step up in support. And that’s not just in America. This is a pox on society, and we’re all a part of that. We all have a responsibility.

I have to say something. These things affect me very deeply. They’re like a hit directly on my emotions. I’ve always struggled seeing iniquity, bigotry and abuse, especially when it’s the powerful upon the weak. They sound like words, platitudes, but I hold true to democratic principles all the way through. I don’t take it for granted, and I feel it in me like it’s an organic thing. And so, when I see something wicked like we saw with George Floyd, I feel it hard, and I feel it when I watch people stand up for their democratic rights.

I don’t understand how one man can look down upon another for a spurious cause of race or religion. It doesn’t make sense to me. It’s wrong that someone might be denied the same opportunity as me for his colour. He has a life no less valuable than mine, and I think that’s the basic principle of human decency. We all start out the same, and surely it’s contrary to nature to hold down others while we elevate ourselves? It’s an obscenity, but it’s happened throughout history. You think of all the people deprived, the wasted lives, the injustice, all for this evil. And it still happens.

I have it easy. Most of us reading this probably do as well. I can feel this wrong in my body, but I don’t suffer from it. I can walk down the street and be one of the privileged. I understand what that means, but it doesn’t mean I’m insulated from the reality. There’s not much I can say except, as a human being, I’m proud of those guys speaking up today and protesting. They belong to the best part of democracy. Stand tall – much of the world is with you.

 

 

The tipping point?


I’ve spent most of this morning reading about or watching the race riots and protests currently in America (and I have CNN on in the background as I write this). Just to follow online is a torrid, traumatic experience. You can’t help but think that America now is at a critical juncture in its history. Regardless of how this resolves, you wonder if America is forever changed from our common perception of it. Trump changed everything, but in ways, all he did was to amplify and ultimately encourage, the divisions in society that are now coming apart. Terrible as he is, as he has been, there was always the civilised notion in the back of your mind that he was an aberration, and that sanity, common-sense, and decency would be restored once he was kicked out of office.

I question that now. We’re still months away from the election, and the way things are moving anything could happen before then. Even if in a best-case scenario and Trump is ultimately de-throned come November I have serious doubts that his rusted-on supporters – the MAGA crowd, the crazy libertarians, the white supremacists, and so on – would support such a result. He has emboldened them sufficiently that it would be no surprise if they resisted the democratic outcome.

There’s a horrible fascination in observing the events from so far away. I feel grateful to be free of that. I feel a little embarrassed as a white man horrified by what’s happening and wanting to understand. And I feel totally on the side of the black community that’s had enough of racism and violence and mistreatment. 100%.

I’ve watched different clips of black leaders speaking out, and I’m roused and moved and sad as well. It’s clear that even in the protesters there’s not a single common view, and that’s to be understood. With shops being trashed and looted and violence like wildfire, there are some that urge restraint, while others say, what do you expect?

There was a speech given by a rapper and activist in Atlanta called Killer Mike. He’s a fine, impassioned speaker. He was hard on the racist forces and political infrastructure that had oppressed black people for generations. He was angry and fierce, but his message was to “plot, plan, strategise, organise, and mobilise”. He urged people not to burn down their house but to fortify it as places of shelter. Behind him stood the mayor and the chief of police (who had earlier appeared speaking to the rioting crowd). His message, in short, was to keep fighting for your rights, but not to destroy.

Reading the comments on his speech, many were laudatory, but others thought the time had passed to be so reasonable. It had never worked before, why now?

There was another speech given by Tamika Mallory, which went off like a bomb. She was compelling. Angry, fluent, smart, bluntly telling the story of black oppression. Hardline as it was, it was hard to disagree with her. Why not burn Target if they are complicit in the system that oppresses black lives if they don’t step forward to defend them? She told the audience that looting was something they had learned from the whites, who had looted the Native-Americans first, and then the blacks. She made the point repeatedly, and with much justice, that “We learned racism from you!” It was heady stuff.

Another was a Princeton professor speaking to Anderson Cooper, Dr Cornel West. He expressed the state of frustration felt by black people very well. They have tried to protest peacefully, they have tried to affect change democratically, they have tried every way, but nothing ever changes, black lives are lost, people oppressed, racism continues. Listening to him, I thought of Colin Kaepernick and how he was excoriated and ultimately banished, for taking a knee during the national anthem in protest against racism.

His was the most peaceful of protests, but America couldn’t swallow it. What’s left to an African American when casual racism is an everyday event, and racist violence so common that it’s become a cliche? I read the comments of a black journalist explaining his life. This is an intelligent, educated man who related tales of how teachers were afraid of him when he was a kid because he was big and black. Of how, like many, he is commonly pulled over in his car by cops as if he was a suspicious character. Of white women recoiling from him as if he were about to rob them, and so on. How does that feel day after day, year after year? What does it feel like to know that so many consider you second-class and inferior all your life? And when a black man like George Floyd is murdered by police, what happens to you then?

What we’re seeing is the anger of people too long disenfranchised and abused. The violence and the riots are expressions of pent-up frustration busting loose. It’s gone on too long, their voices have been discounted and muted too long, and enough is enough. With Covid-19 as the backdrop, the tipping point has been reached, and seriously, what is there to lose now?

The next 48 hours will tell the tale. Cities are in curfew now. There’s no sign of things calming – in fact, the anger is spreading across the country. America has the worst possible leader for a situation like this, but he is a part of the reason, too. He’s not the man to de-escalate this. Even if he had the will, he doesn’t have the capability. In all honesty, he’s more likely to tip a bucket of fuel on the fire.

I feel so much for the millions of Americans, black and white, who are decent and reasonable, watching their country fracture before their eyes. They have been held hostage by Trump and his cronies while the values they believed in have been sold off cheap.

I don’t know how this will end, or if it will. The anger is well-founded, the president is incompetent (at best!), and racism is entrenched. There’s curious evidence that white supremacists are exploiting the situation to provoke more violence (much of the vandalism has been by whites, including deliberate acts by mysterious figures). You suspect this is a confrontation they relish.

There must be an answer to all this, and the answer must be equality and justice for all. You’re not going to eradicate racist thoughts and actions overnight. That takes education. What you can do is ensure that every racist action is met with the full force of the law. A huge part of this is that since forever white racists, particularly in law enforcement, have got away with misdemeanours. There has to be equality of opportunity and economic equity. Justice must prevail.

These are fine words, but not long ago there was a black president, and even then none of this came close. Trump aint going to do it. Biden isn’t capable. What happens? It won’t be pretty.

On-hold


It’s another crisp, blue-skied morning. Today is my rostered day off, and without meetings to attend, I was out the door by 9.30 for my morning walk. On the way, I stopped for a takeaway coffee and a loaf of sourdough. I continued on for my walk, over the railway line, and this time walking down towards the beach at Sandringham before turning around to head back towards home. That’s when I bumped into Mrs Cheese out walking the dog.

We stopped to talk for 6-7 minutes. I hadn’t seen her since the lockdown began, and I was surprised to find how much I welcomed the chance to have a meaningful conversation again with someone face to face. Thinking about it there has been bugger all I’ve done that with over the last few months – her hubby, on our weekly walks, and a couple of times when I’ve run into acquaintances around the shops. She invited me over for dinner tomorrow night, so even better.

Being Friday, I’m left to do my own thing, and it means I try and achieve something on the day. One by one, I’ve been going through the rooms of my house, sorting them out – cleaning, tidying, sorting, and throwing things out. I’ve done the kitchen and bedroom, the lounge and bathroom. The study was the first room I started on but, like a lot of homes I reckon, the study is my junk room and has twice as much to work on. I’ve done about half – the other half comes today.

Otherwise, I aim to do some writing this afternoon. And right now I’m trying to chase up the rent relief that hadn’t come through yet – probably a futile quest as I was disconnected when I got down to fourth in queue, and now can’t even get onto the queue (the phone rings out).

I was thinking the other day that while I’m enjoying working from home, there’s a sense of not really going anywhere. That’s true in a literal sense, and it makes it real in a metaphorical sense also because there are no reference points to suggest movement. I can decry the soulless experience of the commuter catching the same train to and from work every day, but at least there is a sense of something happening because you transition from one location to another. Add to that the people you come into contact with and the chance encounters along the way, and you tend to overlook that nothing’s really happening. You’re so busy doing that it’s not a thing – not until you stop to think about it.

Right now, all I’m doing is working at my desk at home, going for my walks, shopping, cooking, etc., and catching up with Cheeseboy each week. That’ll change soon when the restaurants and cafes open proper, but that’s how it’s been for the last few months. I quite enjoy the base elements, but I miss the social aspects we’ve been denied. It’s a phony, slightly unreal period (did I say slightly?), and there’s a sense of being between things. Life is on hold.

I’ve experienced this before, and I hated it. Looking back, I still feel bitter at the wasted years when I was either unemployed or homeless and all the things that were denied to me then. It was worse then because I experienced it alone. Everyone else was living their life, but all I could do was look on. That was 5-6 years of my life, and it came at a time when I was set to change things up – so the narrative I tell myself goes. I was ready to settle down, fall in love, etc., but that’s probably a tale I understand in retrospect. Regardless, once I hit the iceberg, none of that was an option, not even ordinary life. I don’t think I’ve returned yet to anything like normal as I knew it, and probably won’t now.

It’s easier now, but while we’ll soon come out of lockdown a lot of things will have changed. It’s going to be a while until international travel is in full swing again. Back in the day, back ‘before’, an overseas trip every year was one way of convincing myself that there were movement and progression in my life. I was lucky like that, and the absence of that has bit hard in recent years. I haven’t been away since 2013. Except for a few days down Wye River, I haven’t had a holiday since then.

I can cop things being on hold if I know it’ll pass. I’ve endured it before. And this will pass, and there’ll probably come a time we look back with bemusement. It just reminds me though, that it’s high time I got back to living more fully. Time passes, and the trick is to make it meaningful. That’s the challenge.

 

Black lives


I spent eight minutes this morning watching a YouTube video of a black man in Minneapolis die. He was lying on the ground, being restrained by a police officer who had put his knee into the man’s neck. The victim was begging to be let-up, saying that he couldn’t breathe. Bystanders protested the violence and attempted to intervene, fearing that the man might be seriously injured, or worse. A police officer stood by impassive, keeping the crowd away, while the perpetrator of this crime seemed indifferent, his hands in his pockets.

After eight minutes paramedics arrived. By then, the victim was silent and still, as he had been for the minutes before. The dragged his lolling body onto a stretcher, claiming later that he ‘died in hospital’, though, for all intents and purposes he appeared lifeless then, and the lack of urgency suggested that the paramedics knew it.

Allegedly, this man had been resisting arrest. In that case, put him in cuffs and take him away, and fair enough. Instead, the officers chose to punish him. Why, you ask? Unfortunately, there appears one obvious answer to that – because he was black.

It was an awful thing to watch, knowing that the man’s life was ebbing away when it could so easily be saved. It was a callous act, fuelled by the pointless cruelty of officers in betrayal of their role. It’s being investigated by the FBI now. The officers should be charged but, you know, who has faith in that anymore?

It’s not as if this is a one-off. If I was a black man in the states, I know I’d be wary of police. How many times have we seen black men accosted by police in the street or driving their car, and how many times have we seen a gun drawn on them and shots fired? It’s almost a trope.

There must be many times when nothing untoward happens, and there must be many decent police officers – but clearly, there are also officers who are racist and violent. There’s a pattern of black people being victimised because they are black, and it’s no wonder that they protest and rebel. So would I. Take a knee – absolutely.

This case recalls another from about five years back when another black man complaining he couldn’t breathe while in police restraint. He died too, and you might recall the protest then, and NBA players taking to the court with “I can’t breathe” emblazoned across the front of it. And what’s happened since? It’s probably worse.

It’s not just the police, though they are repeat offenders. A few weeks ago, the awful story emerged of a black man taking a jog – Ahmad Arboury – who was set upon by a father and son, both white, and shot dead. Their claimed he was acting suspiciously (by running), and thought he’d committed a crime. So they acted the vigilante, just as the KKK does.

Last night I watched another video, more innocuous thankfully, but troubling in a different way. A woman in central park was out with her dog and had let it off its leash in an area it wasn’t allowed. A man – a birdwatcher – asked her to put the dog back on the leash. She responded violently, which is when he began to film her.

She didn’t take well to being asked to do the right thing and began threatening him by saying she was going to call the police and tell them an African American was threatening her. The implicit and racist threat is obvious. She then called the cops on him though he was doing nothing wrong, all the while half choking her dog to death.

By the time the cops arrived, they had gone, but the video went viral. The woman has been since fired from her job because of her racism, and the dog was taken from her because of cruelty.

I know last week I complained of online pile-ons and over-reaction. I spoke of how so often people choose to be offended and to take the most offensive take on any given situation.

This week I have to say this woman has got her just rewards. It’s there on film, and it’s clearly racist, and she seems an unpleasant person by nature. She’s claimed that she isn’t racist and she probably believes it, which is one of the more worrying aspects of this. She’s seemingly educated and probably says most of the right things when prompted, but when push came to shove, she reverted to racist bullying.

A lot of this stuff has been going on forever, but I wonder if the advent of Trump has empowered these racists to act out their bigotry more readily? It’s not helped when so much of this behaviour goes unpunished and offending police officers are let-off.

I don’t know how this ever gets fixed. Even assuming Trump is ousted in November, a lot of this is now hard-wired into sections of society. I don’t expect them to go quietly, incidentally, and I don’t see Biden as a leader who can put a stop to this. In truth, it goes much deeper, and it needs education and cultural reform. That’s the work of generations, and the US is heading in the opposite direction.