Predictions For The Back Half Of 2020

There aren’t many things in this life that will get an American more excited than an opportunity to make a prediction about future events. And even though we’re wrong about 97.6 percent of the time, the dopamine rush when you get a prediction right is just intoxicating. Which is why we feel the need to share what we think is going to happen in every facet of life despite having no qualifications, knowledge, experience or insight. We just know we have better brains than the experts and we’ll trust our guts over the generals eight days a week and twenty times on Sunday.

So with that said, I am here to present my own list of predictions for the rest of this year based on keen observation and my generally myopic view of the world. And be prepared: if even one of these suckers works out, know that you all are going to hear about my genius for years to come.

  • A High School In Washington State Changes Its Native American Themed Mascot To The Murder Hornet.

In 2012, the Washington State Board of Education passed a resolution asking all educational institutions in Washington who still had Native American themed mascots to consider changing them. At the time, approximately 50 schools still had mascots which met this criteria. But with the arrival of the Murder Hornet in the state, these schools have been provided a special opportunity. I mean, no school is going to get too excited about changing their mascot to the Hornets. Hornets? Big Deal! An appropriately placed boot can wipe out several standard hornets in one stomp.

But Murder Hornets? That’s a whole different ball game. Think of the intimidation factor. “You better not mess with us Murder Hornets, or we reserve the right to kill up to 50 of your small children over the course of the next year. Uh huh! That’s what I thought!”

You heard it here first. Be on the lookout for the St. Mary’s Blessed Children of the Poor Murder Hornets, the charter school of your nightmares, coming to a high school athletic contest near you in 2020/2021.

  • Mike Pence Contracts COVID-19 Through An Outbreak That Occurs At The National Republican Convention And Requires Hospitalization And Isolation In The Very Mayo Hospital He Toured Without A Mask In April.

Republicans have said they are moving forward with a live, in-person convention in Charlotte, NC in August. This is likely precipitated by the strategy the president is taking of declaring victory over COVID-19 and doing all he can to focus the election on a recovering economy. I do understand his strategy and I understand the reasoning of moving ahead with an in-person convention. It would be hard to make the case that you fearlessly defeated an enemy if you are delivering the speech touting said victory in a zoom meeting while you hide from said enemy.

  • No Movie Released During The Rest of 2020 Surpasses A Worldwide Box Office Of $500 Million.

I realize $500 million is a lot of money. But for perspective, in 2019 two movies made over $500 million in North America alone. A movie making $500 million worldwide last year would have been the 15th most successful movie of the year. But this year, despite the loud voices of a few, I don’t believe the general public is going to be in a hurry to head back to theaters. In fact, as a second associated sub-prediction, I believe we’ll see the trend of releasing films directly to rental streaming continue beyond social distancing requirements. I also sub-predict several national movie theater chains will suffer the same fate as JC Penney.

  • Demand For New Automobiles Decreases Such That The Average Overall Price For A New Toyota Camry Drops Below $20,000.

I’m planning on buying a new car later this year. It just so happens I’m very interested in a Toyota Camry. There’s a chance this may be more wishful thinking than an actual prediction.

  • This Will Be The Ugliest Presidential Campaign Of Our Collective Lifetimes.

What do you do if you are a generally unlikable human being and you are put in a position of trying to make someone else look even more unlikable than you? That’s the predicament now facing Donald Trump. And boy, don’t doubt for an instant that he, and his vile little mini-me 1 and mini-me 2 aren’t up to the task.

Over the weekend, Donald Jr. leveled the claim that Biden is a pedophile. No proof of course, because in Trump-world proof is never required. What is required is to define your opponent with a slanderous allegation first, before that same definition can be assigned to you. With 23 named women-some of whom were minors at the time-on record with allegations of sexual misconduct against the president, it’s going to be important for the Trump campaign to get the stink of sexual miscreant slathered all over Biden as soon as possible. That way, when the damaging label comes calling for him, the hope is that we the public will have given the entire subject of sexual deviancy a collective shrug. Sounds almost Clintonesque doesn’t it?

Meanwhile, Eric Trump spent his weekend trying to breathe life into the ridiculous claim that COVID-19 is an overblown hoax meant to take down his father. He further claimed that once the election is over, COVID-19 will magically disappear. I could offer further thoughts and perspective on this, but instead, I’ll just go with what most rational human beings would say to this idiocy…Man, just shut the h*** up, you freaking Jack-wagon!

But here’s the problem. This is just a preview of what’s to come. You see, Trump isn’t just going to dust off the Clinton playbook on how to deal with your political adversaries, he’s going to give it a massive overhaul complete with dual exhaust, gold rims and a hydraulic lift system. He knows he is going to have to generate as much dislike for Biden as existed for one of the most unlikable presidential candidates ever to come down the pike in the form of Hillary Clinton. That’s not an easy task. It’s gonna take a river of money the size of the Amazon all spent on advertising designed to bombard us into the stone age. And that’s just on the Republican side. I’m already tired of this election and it hasn’t even really started yet. And to make it worse, I live in a designated swing state. Maybe I should just join a monastery for the next six months. Or better yet, I’ll just disconnect my Facebook and stay in quarantine with just my Disney+ subscription to keep me company. When is the second season of The Mandalorian supposed to drop anyway?

  • Republican Senators Will Eventually Attempt To Have Former President Barack Obama or Current Democratic Presidential Nominee Joe Biden Testify Regarding “Obamagate”.

Boy have we seen this movie before. President Trump throws out the wackiest of claims and then demands that nationally elected GOP Senators and Reps back him up. Initially, these elected officials do all they can to avoid getting swept up in the latest hi-jinx of Trump’s on-going reality series Keeping Up With The KarTrumpians. But in the end, after months of non-stop conspiracy theory validation (minus any actual proof, of course) from Fox News and Rush Limbaugh, the pressure from their radicalized base gets too high and these GOP politicians trade in their solid reputations for a ticket to board the express train to Wackoville. Republican senators will follow this model once again and we should expect hearings on this Trump self-described “biggest political crime and scandal in the history of the USA.”

Which leads me to my next prediction:

  • Republicans Will Lose Control Of The Senate.

Way back in 2016, I made a prediction that despite how much fun it would be for Republicans to throw the world’s biggest temper tantrum and elect Donald Trump, in the end, The Notorious DJT would ultimately damage the party so severely that it would take decades to recover. For the record, I am standing by that prediction. For evidence, I say look no further than my home state of Arizona. I recognize that election day is a long way off, but polling today suggests that by January 2021, Arizona will be represented by two Democratic senators for the first time since 1953. It didn’t have to be this way. Had Republicans not run off Jeff Flake in 2018, there is sufficient evidence to suggest he would have held on to his seat in a general election. But he had committed the ultimate crime in the new Trump-GOP era. He spoke ill of the king. That’s not allowed. He voted for the president’s agenda over 90% of the time. But that’s not good enough. You have to kiss the ring, or anything else for that matter, whenever The Don says so or you are a Dead Man Walking. Well, it’s possible that the GOP could follow Jeff Flake into attaining Dead Man Walking status in Arizona if trends don’t change. The same is true in Maine, Colorado and Nevada. Georgia is now looking to be in play nationally in 2020 as is North Carolina and possibly even Florida. Now I don’t believe those states will all flip over into the blue column, but the writing is on the wall. Trump has done nothing to expand the base. Nothing! He may still win the White House based on his Reality TV/Larger Than Life persona, but those traits don’t play well down ballot. And a scenario that seemed all but impossible to Mitch McConnell one year ago now looks more and more like a real possibility: his days as senate majority leader may be coming to an end.

  • Democrats Will Screw Up A Prime Opportunity And Lose The White House In 2020.

The playbook is simple. Republicans laid it out for them in 2012 and 1996. You can’t win a presidential election by simply pointing out what an idiot/miscreant/sultan vile betrayer/demon overlord the other guy is. It never works. These parties live in a bubble and listen to what their base is saying and always fail to hear what the voters who make the difference are saying. Loyal democrats hate Trump. They hate him more than cats hate water. But while the middle of the road voter might not actually care for Trump, their overriding concerns are about actual issues that affect them. They care about their jobs. Voters that will decide this election in the states that matter care about manufacturing jobs, oil production jobs, and maintaining a way of life that mirrors the romanticized lives of their parents and grandparents. For all of his faults, Trump gets this. Time and again, Democrats have proven that they don’t. We’ll see if Biden figures it out in time, but if he’s forced to placate the progressive wing of his party then we’ll know he hasn’t. And we’ll know that he’s going to lose.

  • By December 2020, A Majority Of Folks Will Just Be Too Exhausted To Be Angry And Scared Anymore.

I wish this was a real prediction. Heaven knows we need it to come true. Everyday just feels like we’re all on a never-ending loop of the Jerry Springer Show and it sucks. We need to stop. We need to start seeing every other person for who they actually are and not for the radically segmented portion of the population they supposedly represent.

So instead of a prediction, let’s call it my 2020 Christmas wish. I wish for us all to calm down. I wish that if a world-threatening pandemic strikes us again, our most concerning thoughts will be on the welfare of others and not on who should take the political blame or what political statement I’m making if I wear a mask. I wish for 24-hour news channels to be banned as part of the final COVID-19 bailout bill. I wish for people to care about each other. All the time.

Bottom line, I wish for the impossible…and I know it. But like I said at the top of this post: ridiculous odds aren’t gonna stop me from making such a wild prediction. Because imagine the dopamine rush I would get should I happen to call this one right.

A Heavy Dose of the Bittersweet

When you break it down fully, life has very few moments that truly live up to “memorable” status. For me, I would guess there are maybe 50 moments in my life that have deep enough significance that I remember them clearly. Relationships are similar. In the grand scope of people you know over a lifetime, there are very few that gain admittance into your inner-circle. At least for me anyway.

But over the last two days, I’ve been given plenty of opportunity to reflect on both.

Like everyone else, the Rapiers have been learning to cope with an altered reality over the last two months. As days settled into weeks, it became easier to forget all we had given up. But as Arizona started its reentry into the “normal” this past week, we realized that our aimless drifting through time had placed us smack up against a hard deadline.

My son, Braden, received his call to serve a two-year mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Dallas, TX, on March 10, 2020. Three days later, the country literally began to shut down. Going on a mission is a rite-of-passage for young adults in my faith, and it is no small undertaking. A great deal of preparation is required, much of which requires shopping.

Unfortunately, shopping for mission supplies and clothing is not very conducive with worldwide pandemics and so we coasted along, basically avoiding thoughts of how we might deal with Braden’s approaching report date of June 17. That was all good at the end of March. It wasn’t really that big of a deal throughout April. However, when we learned that some retail stores might be opening this past weekend, it was shocking for us to realize we are not months away any longer, but rather weeks and days. And we were nowhere near ready.

Going on-line, I quickly learned that most retail shopping was still unavailable and that if we wanted to get anything accomplished, it would likely require an appointment. Thankfully, the good people at Pomeroy’s clothing store in Mesa worked with me and we were able to get in for their first appointment of the morning, even though there were technically no appointments available. I played the “woe is me, we’re from out of town” card pretty hard and they took pity on me.

Anyway, all that to say that I had no idea how emotional shopping for suits and slacks was going to be. I can’t explain it, but seeing my son in his suit for the first time made this whole adventure he’s embarking on a lot more real. And it also drove home how close we are to having him leave…in some ways for good. Standing next to rows and rows of shoe boxes, I actually teared up a bit watching him get sized. Thankfully, between my glasses and my mask (which was required) I don’t think anyone noticed.

I have a feeling that time will make the poignancy of that moment fade. But I also think I’m never going to forget it. Maybe I will. Maybe I’m overreacting and maybe events still to come in the next month or so will push this one deeper into the vaults of my memory than I realize. But in the moment, this one was pretty powerful.

Meanwhile, during our drive down to the Valley for this touching and yet ridiculously expensive family outing, I received a text message from my bishop. The message informed me that a man in our congregation had passed away in the early hours of the morning. Due to the list of tasks I had to accomplish, I did my best to push this news to the back of my mind. However, roughly 18 hours later when dawn broke on Mother’s Day, I was no longer in such a position.

The man in question was a person I would unequivocally declare as good. There really isn’t any other way to put it, he was just a good, good man. I have known his family for much of my life, but I never really knew him until we moved into our current home 15 years ago. But once I met him, and felt his all-encompassing arm around my shoulder welcoming me into the ward, I have consistently looked up to him.

To make matters worse, his passing reminded me that I would spend yet another Mother’s Day without my own mother. I miss her. You would think a decade going by would make things easier, and in some ways it does. But on other days, the feelings of intense sadness and loneliness are just as raw as the day she said goodbye to this earthly existence.

I look at my two young daughters, one who was not yet a year old when she passed and the other who was four years too late to meet her at all. I mourn for the love they will never feel physically from a grandma who quite literally lived for her grand kids. I think of my oldest daughter who I sometimes fail to connect with fully. She was my mother’s first grandchild and there was a bond there. I can’t help but wonder what their relationship would be like now.

I have the best wife in the world. My children have one of the two greatest mothers I have ever known as their mother. They’re lucky. I’m lucky. And sadly, I don’t think I make a big enough deal about how special she is on Mother’s Day. For some reason, I just never seem to have the heart.

So as Mother’s Day weekend 2020 fades into the past, I pray for a lot of things. I pray my son will be safe. More than anything I want him to be safe. He’s going to struggle, and that’s okay. I just want him to go, learn what he needs to learn, and then come home safe. I pray for the Gardner family. I’ve been where they are. Sadly, they’ve been where they are all to recently with the loss of a son and brother. I hope they know that their father was not just special to them, but was special to a number of people they will probably never fully realize. In the months following my mother’s death, people I had never met would come up to me and tell me about the significant role she had played in their lives. I was stunned at all the things I never knew about her. I imagine the same will happen for the Gardners. It should. He was that good of a man.

I also pray for the women in my life. I pray that everything I believe is true. Because I can’t stand the thought of never seeing my mom again. It just has to be true. It just has to. And I pray for my sweet girls. This world is not getting easier and I worry they have such an imperfect father to try and help them get going in it. I worry I’m failing them. And I’m left praying that a Father in Heaven will somehow make up for my shortcomings.

And lastly, I pray for my wife. She’s amazing, but I don’t think she knows it. I try and tell her, but for good reason I believe she stopped putting stock in my opinion a long time ago. This life of mine would empty and useless without her. I love her. And hopefully, between homemade waffles (okay, Bisquik) and a card, she got just the slightest glimpse in to how much. Happy Mother’s Day, Sweetheart, one day late. I’m sorry you’re stuck with me, but don’t think about it too hard. Instead you should buckle up and hold on. I think this sending out a missionary thing is going to kick both our butts a whole lot harder than we think.

One Man’s Hoax…

Lately, I’ve discovered a fascination with nature shows. It started several months back when I happened upon Planet Earth on Netflix and it continues to this day. The beauty of life and the complexities of what happens on this big ol’ planet of ours is unreal. And it can also be horrifying.

Earlier this week, I was watching a National Geographic show called Wild Yellowstone. Shockingly, it was entirely about Yellowstone national park. Anyway, there was this very intense scene where a young elk calf was being pursued by a hungry male Grizzly. The calf had to hide and basically hope that the Grizzly passed it by while the mother elk could do nothing but watch helplessly from a distance.

As my six-year-old daughter and I watched, I was totally prepped to cover her eyes as I was pretty sure this was going to go badly for the young elk. To my surprise, things went the other way as the Grizzly finally gave up and moved on. Wisely, the mother led her young calf to a swift flowing stream/river to get away and wash away their scent. As they started across the flowing waterway, much to my surprise, shock and horror, it proved too much for the calf and it got swept away. The mother looked on helplessly as the narrator said, and I quote, “The calf survived the hunt of a Grizzly, but Yellowstone claimed him anyway.”

Ouch!

But there it was on full display, the harsh realities of life and death. And in the case of wildlife in Yellowstone, only the strong survive.

As we enter this new phase of COVID-19, there is a growing chorus of themes that are picking up steam among the population. One of those themes is that all this virus is doing is thinning the herd and that we should probably let it run its course. Of course, this isn’t exactly the way this theme is worded, but that’s the general gist. People are going to die and as unfortunate as it is, we’re just going to have to accept it and move on.

As much as I hate this viewpoint, I have to admit that it has a certain level of validity. I can actually see it from both a scientific and spiritual point of view. One, mother earth has a way of keeping populations from getting out of hand. And at our growth rate, it is an easy argument to suggest the human population might be getting out of hand. Two, according to scripture, God has sent plagues to torment his people before. And in the grand scope of biblical plagues, this one is not remarkably severe.

Either way, for those making this argument, I can grudgingly see their point. I don’t know what the correct way to handle reopening our country is, and the longer this goes on, I’m beginning to believe that no one really does. But I will acknowledge that if the majority of our citizens begin to subscribe to the idea that we have to get back at it regardless of the human toll, then that’s what is going to happen, in spite of what I may think.

But there is one idea percolating out there that I cannot grudgingly accept. Along with the anger that has built up regarding the loss of jobs, or the loss of milestones in life, or even the loss of basic human interaction; a political anger has sprung to life that has reignited the talk of this entire exercise being a hoax. This insidious idea suggests that nefarious forces have been conspiring in the background to use a normal everyday illness, that really isn’t that bad, to sink the economy and ruin the reelection chances of Donald J. Trump.

I’m sorry, but that’s unacceptable.

78,000 people confirmed dead at the hands of COVID-19 in a matter of four months is not a hoax.

But wait, those numbers are inflated. I mean, nobody dies of pneumonia or the flu anymore. They’re just calling everything COVID-19, so it’s really not as bad as they say.

Yeah? Prove that!

And I’m sorry, verbal diarrhea spewing forth from the mouths of Sean Hannity, Tucker Carlson or Laura Ingraham is not proof. Anecdotal urban legends about your cousin’s wife, who works at a hospital and is the person responsible for reporting COVID-19 deaths, being bullied into changing numbers in favor of more virus deaths is not proof. I want to see actual data where confirmed COVID-19 deaths are being fabricated. Otherwise, shut the h**l up!

Because you see, for a lot of people who have really faced this first hand, they know for a fact this has not been a hoax.

Take for instance, the family of Kious Kelly. For them, to suggest this excruciating nightmare we’ve been living through is a hoax would just be cruel. Kious was a nurse who worked at Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York. When his hospital ran short of PPE, he volunteered to continue seeing patients without that protective gear so that others wouldn’t have to. Kious was remembered as a kind individual who was always providing small acts of service to everyone around him. Were it not for COVID-19, he would still be providing those acts of service. Kious Kelly was 48.*

For the 18-year-old daughter of Madhvi Aya, COVID-19 is anything but a hoax. Madhvi was a physician’s assistant who worked in the Emergency Department of Woodhull Medical Center in Brooklyn, NY. Her daughter, Minnoli, is studying pre-medicine at the University of New York at Buffalo and would talk with her mother every single night to catch up and share their daily experiences. She says what makes this entire grieving process worse is that she has absolutely no bad memories of her mother. To quote her, “All of them are good.” Madhvi was confident that she had contracted the disease from a patient she had cared for at work. Were it not for COVID-19, Minnoli would still be talking to her mother every night.*

Finally, for Dr. Lorna Breen, the horrors of COVID-19 were most definitely not a hoax. As the Emergency Department medical director for New York-Presbyterian Allen Hospital, Dr. Breen contracted COVID-19 while treating dozens of patients infected with the disease. After recuperating, she returned to work and continued to try and stem the tide of COVID-19 patients flooding through their doors. In the end, it proved too much for her. She was sent home to further recuperate and eventually moved in with her parents in Virginia. In the days that followed this move, she spoke to her father repeatedly of the scenes she had witnessed including those of patients dying from the virus before medical personnel could even get them out of the ambulances. After several days of mounting detachment and exhibiting symptoms synonymous with depression, Dr. Breen killed herself. According to her family, she had never suffered from mental illness prior to her experiences associated with COVID-19.**

These are just three of the thousands upon thousands of stories associated with those who have lost their lives to this scourge. All of them real people with real families who would still be with their loved ones had COVID-19 not torn through our country and their lives.

That is not a hoax.

To me, one of the greatest tragedies that will be associated with COVID-19 will be the politicization of this pandemic. It will be that we lived in a time where caring about our fellow human brothers and sisters all too often took a back seat to our political indulgences. In 2001, 2,753 people died in the attacks on the World Trade Center. In the weeks that followed, people stopped being Republicans and Democrats and just became Americans. Millions of us had never been to New York, but we mourned with our fellow citizens just the same.

Since February, 26,581 New Yorkers have died from COVID-19. And sadly, there are far too many people on right-wing media and social media discounting their deaths as a ploy by the left to defeat President Trump in the fall. I’m sorry, but that’s just not right.

Because once again, I can understand the desire to get back to regular life. And I can understand those who would argue that death is part of the grand scheme and we are just going to have to accept it as we open up our country and move on. I may not entirely agree, but I can understand and empathize.

But a hoax? That’s vile!

This world is bigger than Donald Trump. Human life and the dignity of those we have lost are bigger than Donald Trump. And I can say unequivocally that millions of people did not become infected with COVID-19 to undermine Donald Trump. Hundreds of thousands of people worldwide did not die just so they could stick it to Donald Trump. To suggest otherwise is just stupid.

As I see it, we had a worldwide pandemic that caught us all by surprise. We weren’t ready and in many situations we responded too slowly. Not Republicans, not Democrats, all of us. We had people doing the best they could. We had experts trying daily to get their arms and minds wrapped around what was happening and they did their best to try and protect as many of us as they could. Did they do it perfectly? No. Should we have even bothered with all of this shutdown business? Well, Dr. Fauci said from the beginning that if we handled this thing right, then we’d all be complaining that we overreacted when we were done. And now two months later, there are a lot of people claiming we overreacted. And that’s with 78,000 deaths and counting.

As the months and years go by, there will be a lot of armchair quarterbacking of this pandemic event. But the one thing that can’t be changed is that it happened. People died. A lot of people. And for most of us, at one point or another it was scary. Let’s never forget that.

And let’s also not allow ourselves to continue this talk of a hoax. That kind of argument devolves our entire shared experience in to being about one man. And I’m sorry. Despite what he himself may believe, he’s just not that important.

*These examples were provided by an article entitled, American hospitals have lost dozens of medical workers to the coronavirus. Here are some of their stories, published May 3, 2020 on the website, Business Insider.

**Details of this story were provided by an article published in the New York Times on April 27, 2020, entitled, Top E.R. Doctor Who Treated Virus Patients Dies by Suicide.

The Hypocrisy of Being Pro-Life

On March 17, a post/meme appeared on Facebook that read:

U.S. deaths since 1/22

COVID-19 – 27

Flu – 4,700

Abortions – 118,000

Facebook removed the post due to the fact that both the flu number and the abortion number were not actually known for that exact time period and that based on previous year’s data, both would significantly incorrect. But like most data driven arguments on social media, it’s not really about facts. It’s about generalities that are kind of true that make your point regardless of how factual they are. And to be fair, on March 17, those numbers would paint an abstract argument that would land in the ballpark of accurate.

For instance, in the most recent year we have data for (2017) there were 862,000 abortions performed. Should that number be broken down into the time frame referenced in the post/meme, evidence suggests that the number referenced was actually a little low. As for the flu number referenced, it also would be a little low based on data from previous years. COVID-19 numbers? Well, we know that the number referenced on March 17 is probably not a fair representation either.

But regardless, the message of the meme was clear: why are we going to all this trouble to save a few lives from a virus that isn’t that bad when we let almost a million lives get terminated each year through abortion. As someone who is adamantly opposed to abortion, I think it’s a good question. However…

Can we flip that around? The argument against abortion is that life is precious. Right? All life! That’s why the anti-abortion movement prefers the moniker, Pro-Life.

Let’s put this on hold and come back to it a little later.

Since the inception of the COVID-19 crisis, the political movement behind: minimizing the virus, suggesting the virus is a political tool to weaken the president, isn’t as bad as the flu, is pretty much the same as the flu, and pushing for an end to “tyrannical” rule and “martial law” has been the Republican party and “conservative” media. This movement has even gone so far as to say the following:

It is always the American government’s position to say, in the choice between the loss of our way of life as Americans and the loss of life, of American lives, we have to always choose the latter…. It is policymakers’ decision to put on our big boy and big girl pants and say it is the lesser of these two evils. It is not zero evil, but it is the lesser of these two evils and we intend to move forward that direction.” – Indiana Representative, Trey Hollingsworth (R)

Every premature death is a tragedy, but death is an unavoidable part of life.” – Wisconsin Senator, Ron Johnson (R) after advocating for the reopening of the US Economy despite scientific data that suggests doing so would result in additional deaths which would not occur if the economy remained shuttered.

The Cure Cannot Be Worse Than The Disease.” – Donald Trump.

Some may argue that the last quote does not advocate sacrificing more lives for the sake of the economy, but I would say those would be pretty weak arguments since the cure clearly refers to lock downs and the disease would be infections and deaths associated with COVID-19.

I could provide dozens more examples from Fox News personalities and politicians along with memes posted by private citizens on social media that further my point. But I would just be repeating myself and frankly the message from President Trump and a large swath of conservatives is brutally clear:

An individual life, or even tens of thousands of lives, are NOT more important than the economy or jobs.

But the economy and jobs are not the only thing less important than life. Take for instance this same political movement’s stand on assault rifles.

I mean, I get it. I understand the second amendment. US citizens have the right to own guns. However, they are not allowed to own RPGs. Nor are they allowed to own surface-to-air missiles. Heck, the United States doesn’t allow most countries to own nuclear weapons. So it would appear that there are limits as to what kind of weaponry should be allowed into the hands of private citizens. After seeing the amount of death an assault rifle can deal to unarmed and unassuming citizens, it might be safe to ask what benefit do they provide by being in the hands of private citizens, especially if we are concerned about life.

Because crazy people are always going to be with us and things like mass shootings are probably just a new normal we have to accept. But the reality is, the number of lives lost if we banned assault weapons would likely drop dramatically in those horrific situations. Do we honestly believe 59 people would have died during the Las Vegas shooting if the shooter had not been able to spray the crowd with bullets from assault rifles? An honest answer would be no.

Nevertheless, conservatives and Republicans the across the nation (a vast majority of which do not own assault rifles) continue to rail against gun control specific to assault rifles. The message?

Life is NOT more important than gun ownership, even in the most extreme of circumstances.

Finally, hundreds of thousands of refugees are spilling out of Syria and other nations of the middle east where war has destroyed lives and Islamist extremism has displaced individuals and families from all socio-economic levels. Some refugee camps are well run and relatively clean. Others, not so much. Death as a result is common. And that’s if refugees can even make it to the camps. In 2019, over 1,000 refugees drowned in the Mediterranean Sea trying to cross on ill equipped rafts. Almost 2,500 deaths were recorded in the same year for migrants travelling on well-known refugee migration routes.

Meanwhile, the Americas have their own refugee concerns. Over three thousand people are murdered in Honduras a year. A vast majority of these murders are gang related. To give perspective, in 2012 Honduras had 7,172 murders among a population of 9 million. The EU that same year had 5,000 murders among a population of 500 million.

Honduras is not alone, and as a result, thousands of people flee this area of the world headed for the United States in the hopes of saving their lives, or at least the lives of their children.

And what is the response of the United States?

In 2019, Donald Trump signed the Asylum Cooperation Agreement with Honduras which will allow the US to send asylum seekers to Honduras, even if the people seeking asylum aren’t from that country. The US already has similar agreements in place with Guatemala and El Salvador-additional countries known for their high gang activity and murder rate. People sent to these nations will not have the ability to seek asylum in the United States.

The basic responses from Republicans and conservatives are: These people just need to go about it legally. They should stay in their own country and try to improve it. It’s sad, but we just don’t have room for everyone. They would take American jobs.

Under the current administration, practices such as separating children from their parents and not allowing asylum seekers to reside in the United States while their cases are being considered have been put in place. According to an article in The Guardian by Ed Vulliamy from February 18th, kidnappings of migrants have gone through the roof with a report finding that 80 percent of migrants waiting to enter the US have been kidnapped by mafia controlled gangs in Mexico. 45% of those kidnapped have experienced violence or violation. Prior to President Trump’s directive, those individuals would have been in the US awaiting their hearings, not in Mexico.

Meanwhile, the number of refugees allowed to resettle in our country has been slashed over the last four years. In 2016, the ceiling for refugees who would be allowed to resettle in our country was 85,000. That number in 2020 is 18,000. The message?

Life is NOT more important than immigration law and keeping people out of our country.

Bottom line, I’m tired of hearing about the Pro-Life movement. I was told how important it was to vote for Trump in 2016 because we needed supreme court judges who would overturn Roe vs. Wade. Apparently, stopping abortions was so important that we needed to sell our souls to an immoral, dishonest narcissist who has time and again shown himself to be unworthy of our highest office. Why? Because life is that important, right?

However, to a majority of those making that argument, it is clear that life really isn’t THAT important. Only unborn life. The lives of those who have already passed through the birth canal are pretty much meaningless and disposable.

So please, can we stop calling it the Pro-Life movement? Calling it the Anti-abortion movement is fine. But to call Republicans and conservatives pro-life, especially those who unequivocally support Trump, is the ultimate in hypocrisy. And frankly I’m sick of it.