Don’t Join The Crazy

I’m going to start off this blog post with a Dave Ramsey video clip from October 13, 2021 and then I’m going give my assessment of the non-stop social media craziness and finally talk about my personal experiences and a few tips that I think might help you be better prepared to deal with whatever crisis is up ahead. Not a single one of them involves stockpiling supplies, turning your home into an armed fortress, looking at fellow Americans with opposing political views as your enemy, or giving up on the United States of America. Here’s the Dave Ramsey video:

A few weeks ago, I decided to read the George Orwell dystopian novel, Nineteen Eighty-Four, which created a fictional totalitarian superstate, Oceania, that encompasses what was previously western civilization. The rest of the world in this novel is composed of two other totalitarian superstates, Eastasia and Eurasia, which might or might not actually even exist, because all the people of Oceania know is what information the Party provides to them. In this story, Oceania came about after nuclear war, an anti-Capitalist revolution, and mass starvation, but who actually makes up the Party or how the Party actually operates is never explained. People live in constant fear and anxiety worrying about social conformity, because there is no rule of law, only people disappearing after being apprehended by authorities. Oceania operates as a massive surveillance state.

I hated this novel when I read it when I was young and I hated it after reading it a few weeks ago, but it is brilliant at portraying the evils of totalitarian states, complete loss of individual rights, and how horrible living life in constant fear of the government would be. Yes, there are lots of comparisons I could easily make to the information control in Oceania and our American spin information war, but Orwell comparisons aren’t really going to help us figure out a way forward for America. In Oceania – there is no hope left for individual liberty. In America, I believe there’s still much to be hopeful about and to be thankful for, even now.

There’s been a lot of things that have developed in America’s culture war, politics and our American politcal/media spin information war that have worried me since this form of “spin war” began in the 1990s. All of the dishonest liberal media word games didn’t just start since Trump. They’ve been going on since the 1990s and for years I’ve felt like a lone voice on the internet writing about how this corrupt Dem spin information war works, but since Trump, the spin war went so off the rails, that plenty of right-wing pundits and politicians now catch the dishonest spin word games quickly, but the liberal media, liberal activists and Dem politicians never admit they’re dishonestly portraying events, so we ended up with liberal news media’s surreal reporting last year on rioters burning down a police station in Minneapolis as “mostly peaceful protesters.”

Trump posed the first real threat to the Dem’s spin information war, by engaging in the same corrupt spin info war as the Dems. Unfortunately, Trump and a lot of right-wing pundits & right-wing media now spin as dishonestly as the left’s spin war garbage. And then there’s the internet where on social media anyone, from politicians, news reporters, hostile foreign operatives, American activists and ordinary Americans can post videos and photos on social media that can go viral in minutes and drive millions of people into mass panic and anxiety.

Granted, there’s a lot to be concerned about with the COVID craziness and now more economic craziness beginning to impact, but here’s the thing I learned decades ago is that analyzing photos and video is challenging and often hard to verify, as I read a lot about intelligence analysis. With modern technology, there have been advances with deep fake technology and even some amateurs can do some pretty amazing photoshop work. I have no training in intelligence analysis whatsoever, just an interest in it, so this information on the difficulties analyzing photos and videos stuck with me as the online “viral” video phenomenon grew.

With the BLM activism, finding videos (often selectively edited) that can be sensationalized to generate massive anger at the police has become a common feature, but BLM isn’t the only group to try to generate media firestorms and there are groups and activists on the right doing this too. Often videos that create national firestorms or “national conversations” that the media talking heads blather on about are posted online by ordinary people. Here’s the thing – we rarely are given much information about who took the photo or video, when and where it was taken, whether it was edited and if how the narrative attached to the video is accurate. I’ve been telling my kids for years – don’t react to photos or videos that have gone viral – just wait until more information comes out. And this advice now extends to all news reporting – right or left.

During Trump’s presidency there were so many inaccurate and downright dishonest news stories ramped up by the liberal media that I started trying very hard to wait a day or two to see how much of the story was a lie. Often all of the story was a lie, like the Melania Rose Garden renovation hoopla, where liberal media went nuts spouting insane stuff like it was an “authoritarian design.” On Twitter some liberal hysteric went berserk tweeting that the new garden design was racist and had mostly white roses. The truth was liberal media had reported on the Rose Garden renovation plans before it happened, they reported Melania put together a team of experts, including experts on the history of the Rose Garden and she wanted a design that was more like the Jackie Kennedy Rose Garden and all those white roses, were JFK roses. That’s the kind of insanity that can create these constant media firestorms.

Lately, I’ve seen empty store shelf videos being hyped constantly and while I don’t doubt lots of stores in America are having shortage problems, but some of these videos being spun up are from last year during the COVID lockdown and I saw one a few days ago on Twitter that was someone hysterical about the shortages in America, but the photo was from Great Britain looking at the shelf labels. The news media, politicians, activists and even many online “influencers” make money creating and selling agitation propaganda or clickbait. Getting people riled is the content that garners clicks and viewers. There’s no reason you have to react to agitation propaganda or clickbait- it’s a choice.

I mostly use a nearby little Walmart Neighborhood Market store and since the COVID craziness last year, there have been some skimpy shelves, occasional things they are out of, including a particular soup, which I have to buy at my local Walmart Supercenter, but after the initial toilet paper shortage, it’s been pretty well stocked. I haven’t had to in any appreciable way change the meals I prepare, the snacks I buy or gone without anything. Of course, the supply situation might get way worse and large scale panic buying assuredly will exacerbate the problem.

Yes, I expect there will be more shortages, and heating costs and gas prices are projected to rise dramatically too, but I am hopeful that with some American can-do gumption, some of the most dire outcomes can be avoided. I saw Governor Ron DeSantis suggesting rerouting some of the backed up ships to FL ports to alleviate some of the backlog. These kinds of ideas are what I expect from American leaders – we aren’t Venezuela and if we all pull together, I am sure we can get through this economic crisis without our country falling apart. It will take Republicans, Democrats and ordinary Americans to stay calm and work together though.

All I’m saying is stop getting worked up by all of this constant social media and news media incitement and a very alarming, unchecked online rumor mill, that is fueled in large part by dedicated partisan spin information warriors and people with an agenda every single day. The Twitter politics rumor mill seems to be fueled mostly by actual news journalists, politicians and cadre of partisan political operatives, who hang out on Twitter and rush to retweet “news” and spin it up without verifying it. These are the folks driving the American news media…

Last year when the BLM protest/rioting craziness occurred, the level of dishonest lying by Dems and the liberal media jarred me. The insanity of talking about “defund the police,” as if it was a rational policy debate, left me deeply disturbed. It was plain nuts!

This year, though, on the right, there are pundits floating the idea of a National Divorce, balkanizing America, which would leave us totally unable to defend our country and create total chaos and pandemonium. These people, I think despise the far-left, don’t have any solutions to fix what’s broken in America, so they are selling National Divorce as a means for like-minded Americans to “save themselves.” National Divorce is a misguided suicide pact – people who gave up on defending and protecting the Constitution and the United States of America.

Rich Lowry, at National Review, responded to the National Divorce idea this way:

“There is no doubt the country is deeply riven along political, cultural, and religious lines. Yet a national divorce has nothing to recommend it.’

“The practical obstacles are insuperable, and the likely effects would be very unwelcome to its proponents. If an insufficient patriotism is one of the ills of contemporary America, then a national divorce would prescribe arsenic as a cure. It would burn down America to save America, or at least those parts of it considered salvageable.”

https://www.nationalreview.com/2021/10/national-divorce-is-a-poisonously-stupid-idea/

The crazy people on the left who want “Unvaccinated” Americans to be banished from polite society are the same as the crazy people on the right who are running around trying to figure out how to hide all their food in their homes and debating which “undesirable people” they aren’t going to allow to be part of their “tribe” when SHTF, because they didn’t prep or they don’t hold the same political views. The only way we can all get through a major crisis is by pulling together as family, friends and communities.

If you get a bunker attitude, then you might survive, but you’ve surrendered to mass panic and fear and in the process thrown away all of the things that really matter. Kindness, compassion, generosity and being a good neighbor matter – in good times and especially in bad.

When my husband deployed to Desert Storm, we were living in Germany. Three of our kids were in elementary school and the youngest was still at home. The U.S. military and German authorities ramped up security massively, due to increased concerns about terrorism. The increased security measures in and of themselves created some increased anxiety among some young Army wives and that was added to all the fear and anxiety of our husbands being deployed to war.

The elementary school my kids attended was in a US housing area, but it wasn’t the one where we lived, so my kids rode a bus to school. There were two bomb threats at their elementary school and pandemonium broke loose. Mothers in that housing area rushed to grab their kids and teachers had a hard time keeping track of their students. My kids came home on the school bus that day and told me all about the hysterical moms grabbing their kids. By the time Desert Storm happened, my husband was a first sergeant of an infantry company and he had deployed to Grenada in 1983, when I was pregnant with our second child. We had moved several times to different Army posts and over the years, both of us had gotten used to a lot of packing up and setting down roots in new places.

Some wives were so scared they didn’t want to let their kids return to school. Another time there was a bomb threat at a Post Exchange store (PX) at a another US military installation, or at least I think there was a bomb threat. I remember some wives calling me and telling me that a bomb exploded at that PX. I called a friend, another Army wife, who worked in that area, and she told me everything was fine. That’s an example of how rumors can incite a whole lot of unnecessary panic and fear. Thankfully this was before the internet and cell phones.

Nowadays we’ve got this dynamic playing out constantly on social media with people sharing and retweeting loads of hysterical warnings and “news.” Stay calm, wait for some verification, and most of all, unless authorities in your area have put out official warnings or directions, just sign off online and go about your daily life.

One of the things we always did when we moved was unpack our household goods quickly and get our house set up and running in our normal routine. I cooked dinner almost every night, I taught my kids to set the table and we all sat at the table and ate together. We continued other family activities as normally as possible throughout military moves and even during Desert Storm. Lots of Army families do the same exact thing, heck I learned a lot about how to function better around the Army from other soldiers and Army wives. My husband was very calm in emergencies and his calm helped me stay calm, because I am a worrier. Try to keep daily life as normal as possible. Some wives didn’t do that even during field training exercises, let alone their husband going to war. They invariably had lots of problems. They did not have the experience and/or skills to function living in new Army locations and far away from home and most of all they were the ones who got worked up about every rumor that circulated. Everywhere I lived around the Army, I always met many nice people and had other Army wives offer help and advice. I tried to help other Army wives too.

Keeping your daily life as normal as possible, especially in crazy times, will allow you to function better, stay calmer and keep everyone around you more confident. If you’re running around in panic putting more effort into preparing for every possible SHTF event imaginable or falling apart over store shortages now, you aren’t going to fare well in a SHTF event. Yes, it’s perfectly fine to be a prepper, but it’s not good for your mental health to live in a constant state of, “Omg, the sky is falling!”

Take time to laugh each day, take time to keep to as normal a daily life as possible. If you have kids, your kids are looking to you as an example of how to react to any crisis and while it’s important to be honest with kids, it’s also important to not let your fears and anxiety brush off onto your kids. Don’t create unnecessary fear or anxiety in your home. There’s no reason to do crazy crap inside your home – whether it was the COVID fear-based craziness of people going to extremes wearing masks inside their own homes/extreme disinfecting everything to now preppers talking about hiding food in their homes and running around turning their homes into bunkers. Yes, home security and personal defense matter every day, but keeping your home functioning as normally as possible will help you and your family function better through any crisis. During the Great Depression my grandmother set the table every day for meals, she cooked whatever she had to keep her family going. My mother picked potatoes and vegetables for a larger farm as a young child and handed the money to her parents, as did her sister and brothers, because everyone in their family worked together to survive.

Soldiers are great at turning anywhere they’re at into ‘home” and most have little things they do or snacks and personal items they take with them for training and to war. Most also develop a very keen appreciation for dark humor, because they often face some awful situations and being able to laugh is a huge stress-reliever.

Learning to adjust and adapt without getting all worked up constantly will help you feel more positive and also more hopeful. That doesn’t mean you need to pretend things aren’t bad or pretend there aren’t very troubling things happening, it just means you focus on the things you can control in your life. For the life of me I can’t understand why so many right-wing preppers are so invested in this prepping idea of turning their homes into a bunker and figuring out who in their family, circle of friends, and community they’re going to help and who they’re going to cut off, when right-wing folks were mocking left-wing folks who were acting like this about Trump-supporters and then the dreaded “Unvaccinated.” There’s no reason to add to the crazy.

Calm down, smile more, find some simple joys in life.

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Filed under Emergency Preparedness, General Interest, Preparedness

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