Today the entire region in which I live was covered in smoke, the sun was red from sun up to sundown, when it was visible, that is, due to the wildfires in Canada. It was hard on my eyes, my nose, and I cannot imagine what it was like for anyone whose respiratory system is compromised, or whose job required them to be out in it all day. The smell of smoke was unavoidable. This all day darkening of the skies was a visible, palpable and disturbing reminder of the effects of climate change, and we need reminders because far too many of my fellow upstate residents and citizens of this country as a whole do not give a flying fuck about sustainability. In fact, in a town not far from my own the local municipal board voted to put a moratorium on the installation of solar panels on commercial buildings; they officially put a ban on solar panels on all commercial buildings and properties because they believe they must show how pro-fossil fuels and anti-sustainables they are. Idiots. Hopefully they’ll lose a challenge in court.

It was oppressive, the air and darkness at noon; it was disturbing and weird. As well it should be.

George Carlin said it best, as he so often did, ‘The planet isn’t going anywhere. We are. We are.’

In other news that includes a portion of the population shoving their heads up their asses, we had on CNN, in a Town Hall format, former S.C. Governor Nikki Haley being patently cynical and cruel because that’s GQP Presidential hopeful politics for ya. I confess I couldn’t watch it all, in part because her pandering to the worst of the worst part of the GQP base was revolting. She claimed that the reason why so many adolescent girls are depressed and struggling in the U.S. is because of trans-girls, the existence of trans-girls – although she called them biological males, biological males who are invading girls’ bathrooms and sports. This (non-fact, made-up) nonsense is so traumatic to our girls they cannot handle it, or themselves, thus they are suicidal and depressed. Sometimes my eyes roll back in my head so hard at this shit it’s a wonder they don’t get stuck there, permanently blinding me. Nikki Haley is a shitty human, trying to pin a real and troubling mental health crisis among teen girls on other, trans, girls, trans-girls who are being attacked daily for merely existing, and are in an especial state of vulnerability and crisis due to the cruelty of people like Haley and her regressive ilk.

Maybe, just maybe our girls, and boys, are in crisis because we’ve just been through a pandemic, on top of which we have politicians who are such shitty bad people and crap leaders they keep attacking one another, and vulnerable trans kids and all of the LGBTQIA community – in other words, the kids’ contemporaries, friends, family and community members. Maybe it’s because our shitty crap leaders keep doing nothing about the number one killer of children in the U.S. (guns) or about reining in social media and their purposefully addictive algorithms, or about climate change, or about a dozen other issues that really fucking matter in peoples’ lives.

Deep breaths.

And if you think kids aren’t aware of the moves made to prevent the relief of student loan debt, you too have your head up your ass. Our children are bombarded from their earliest age by algorithms, advertising, and messages of how much they are supposed to matter but how little they really matter, because the overwhelming issues we face collectively – climate change being one of them – gets very little attention, while oh yes, the media goes wild covering (not that they shouldn’t cover it), cranks like Nikki Haley attack trans-women and girls because she can, and, hey, this tranny sex stuff riles up the conservative base.

Deep breaths.

If you are concerned, actually concerned, about girls’ sports then fund and promote them equitably, and condemn those in the GOP who speak out about ending or eroding (as Betsy DeVos did in part during the Dump Presidency) Title IX protections. If you are concerned about top tier athletes who competed as male having begun their medical transition, then competing as trans-female athletes, then legislate a humane, common sensical solution, e.g. those who’ve gone through male adolescence and competed cannot then compete as a trans-female athlete for two or three full years after they transition. Do something, instead of speaking hate, particularly for political gain. Stop pandering and do something, find solutions and common ground, because it’s there, even though it might be on fire, or shrouded in smoke.

Do something about guns, the new number one killer of children in the U.S. – a shameful fact, absolutely mind-blowing – or is it? After all, we have been telling our children since Columbine that they matter less than guns, that a constitutional amendment written when even the sharpest sharp shooter couldn’t reload a musket in less than three full minutes should remain the standard. Do better and be better. I suppose the good news is that Nikki Haley doesn’t stand a chance of being elected President, and I very much doubt Dumpster-fire would ever, in a million years, choose a woman as a running mate, yet the whole enterprise is sickening, involves far too much money, and so many pure bullshit lines. Some of those lines are literally harmful, truly putting trans-kids at further risk, a population so small that anyone, any human being could target them is sickening.

The sun is rising red again today, not as red as it was yesterday, but red. We need to do something radical, and radically compassionate, about so many real and actual challenges facing our planet, and our country. May the whole world know peace, and healing. And soon.