A fulfilling mental break
As we approach six months of dealing with the additional stress brought on by COVID-19, finding an outlet that allows you a mental break couldn’t be more important. For many, it’s gardening.
Whether herbs, fruits, vegetables or flowers, there is something so fulfilling about planting and nurturing little seeds and watching them grow into something beautiful. And connecting with others who share this passion, while already important before the pandemic, is something I especially cherish in today’s world where we can do so virtually.
Three years ago, when I was unable to find an online community specific to gardening in North Carolina, I started the North Carolina Gardening Facebook group. I was already in awe when we reached 5,000 members by the start of 2020. But since the pandemic, that number has more than doubled to nearly 12,000 caring, helpful and supportive North Carolina gardeners, guided by my dedicated co-administrators.
As the pandemic stretches on, I encourage you to join our online community and look for ways to get involved with local agricultural organizations continuing volunteering efforts in a COVID-safe fashion. Here in Davie County, the Deep Roots Mocksville Community Garden is a great example.
There’s no telling what the coming months will bring, but focusing on the little things you can do each day to give yourself a bit of stress relief can make a world of a difference. If that’s gardening for you, we welcome you to our community with open arms.
Descent into madness
These images flash across our TV screens or are captured in newsprint far too often, drowning out whatever heroism and humanity exists in our nation:
Kids carrying carbines shattering the calm of our schools, turning classrooms into slaughterhouses.
Millions massing together on motor bikes and beaches and pools and at parties without any apparent concern for others while nurses and doctors sacrifice their lives in attempts to save tens of thousands of patients during the worst pandemic in a century.
Crazies burning and looting shops and hunting those they despise with pistols, paintball guns and semi-automatic rifles while peaceful protesters courageously speak out and march against renegade cops who indiscriminately shoot African Americans in their communities.
Small farmers across our country killing themselves in desperation after losing land that had been in their families for generations to drought, increasingly violent storms and misguided trade policies that have impoverished them.
This is an America where chaos, fear and hate reigns — a madness into which we have descended.
The company you keep
President Trump calls himself the "law and order president." Sounds great! Who doesn't want law and order? But like so many of Trump's sound bites, you don't have to delve very deeply to discover the contradiction between what he says and what he does. For example, some of his closest associates are:
- Paul Manafort, his 2016 campaign manager, now a convicted felon.
- Rick Gates, his 2016 assistant campaign manager, now a convicted felon.
- Michael Flynn, his national security adviser, now a convicted felon.
- George Papadopoulos, his foreign policy adviser, now a convicted felon.
- Michael Cohen, his personal attorney, now a convicted felon.
- Roger Stone, his friend and personal adviser, convicted of seven felony counts, and now pardoned by Trump. What's that all about?
- Steve Bannon, former White House chief strategist, recently indicted.
The list of shady characters associated with Donald Trump goes on and on. When I was a teenager, my mother always said, "Remember that you are known by the company you keep." Her message was loud and clear: You really don't want to make your father and me unhappy by disgracing our family name, because you will be even more unhappy, a lot more unhappy.
Were these the good old days? Hopefully these family values still exist.
On Nov. 3, ask yourself, is Donald Trump the "company we want to keep"? Seems like a fair question.
What is socialism?
I realize I’m asking a lot here, but if I could change one thing about politics, it would be the distorted and childish view that Republicans have of what they call “socialism.”
One of the speakers at the Republican National Convention made the standard clichéd claim that “socialism has never worked anywhere in the world.”
But some of the policies the Democrats would like to institute, like universal health care, are successful throughout the civilized world.
Republicans call such health care “socialism” — but it’s successful.
Which is it? It is successful socialism or successful something else? And if it’s successful something else, why can’t we do it here?
It’s no wonder that Republicans want to dismantle Social Security and the post office. Every dollar that’s invested in public health or public safety or public good is a dollar that Republicans can’t put into their own pockets.