Daft. Demented. One sandwich short of a picnic. No light on in the attic. Out to lunch. Stark raving mad.
Every morning, these words and phrases pop to mind as I jump from site to online site, catching the headlines, browsing part of an article here and there, stopping for a longer visit with a writer whose work I admire. Many of these pieces are edifying and as ballyhooed as my morning coffee, but some of them belong in a three-ring circus of lunacy.
Here are just a few recent amusing – or disturbing – stories.
Saturday, October 19, was National Period Day, when women gathered in cities across the nation to raise awareness of menstrual issues and demand the removal of taxes on female sanitary products. “Stop taxing my vagina!” and “There will be blood!” were some of these protesters’ rallying cries.
I must confess my ignorance, a blindness undoubtedly born of my gender. I had no clue menstrual issues needed redress in the public square. As for taxing maxi pads and tampons, I am simply baffled.
Several states and many local municipalities still tax food. Children need to drink milk. Should we erase that tax? I can’t work without a car, but every year I pay registration fees on my Honda and gasoline taxes to boot. Perhaps I should raise high the black flag and shout “Stop taxing my Civic!” and “There will be gas!”
Presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke chimed in with his support of the Menstrual Equity Act For All, H.R. 1882. Several other politicians also support this bill, claiming that it will help “individuals with limited access” to more easily find these goods. Most pharmacies and grocery stores carry menstrual products, so this act also befuddles me.
In a related issue, a handful of transgender activists have prevailed on Proctor & Gamble to remove the female Venus sign from their sanitary pad packages.
Not everyone was happy with this kowtowing to political correctness. Leading Feminist campaigner Julie Bindel told the Daily Mail:
Removing the female symbol from sanitary towel packaging is basically denying the existence of women.
We’re now moving towards the total elimination of women’s biology. The women’s symbol has been used by feminists for decades. This is pure cowardice and virtue signalling from these big corporate brands who are capitulating to the trans agenda.
In the political arena, former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton this week accused Tulsi Gabbard, the Democrat representative from Hawaii running for president, of possible collusion with Russia to throw the 2020 election to Donald Trump. Gabbard returned fire, calling Clinton the “queen of warmongers.”
Those Russians certainly make the rounds, don’t they?
At American Thinker, Trevor Thomas examines more of these wacky ideas and actions poisoning the air. He recollects how the National Basketball Association once moved its All-Star Game from Charlotte, North Carolina, to protest that state’s traditional bathroom gender laws, yet is today kowtowing to Communist China and its often savage treatment of its own people.
In Portland, Oregon, Thomas tells us, liberals have decided to ban urinals in remodeling the Portland Building so as to “remove arbitrary barriers in our community.” (Note to you arbitrary barrier removers: Guys are notoriously poor shots. Be sure to hire more personnel to keep those bathroom floors clean.) Meanwhile, Thomas reports, powerful insurance company Kaiser Permanente produced a television ad promoting “Drag Queen Story Time” in public libraries.
It’s enough to make us believe that old Quaker saying “Me thinks the whole world is crazy except me and thee, and sometimes I wonder about thee.”
But every day I rediscover the antidote to these deadly toxins.
I drive into town and write for a couple of hours in the Happy Creek Coffee Shop in Front Royal, Virginia.
Here the Botticelli barista with the tiny gold nose stud greets me by my first name and with a smile. Here I sit at a table in the next room and hear snatches of conversation from those around me: the older woman with the silver hair and turquoise eyes talking to a 40-year-old guy about sports cars; the two young moms with toddlers discussing the formation of a play group; the man and his wife who own a brewery in town listening to a sales pitch by a guy with a ponytail and tattoos covering his arms; the three young women, undoubtedly students from the nearby college, typing away on their laptops and pausing every once in a while to make a comment or read from a textbook.
The coffee shop is real life.
The online headlines are, for all intents and purposes, secondhand reality.
Firsthand reality is the coffee shop, where Americans of all creeds and colors gather to enjoy some delicious food and beverages, to talk and laugh together, to work on school or business projects.
If we make politics our gods, as some of us do, then madness must follow.
There is no madness in this coffee shop. Here, Americans get along, treating one another with respect and kindness.
Here is my respite from the braying mob.
Here is sanity.
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Jeff Minick lives in Front Royal, Virginia, and may be found online at jeffminick.com. He is the author of two novels, Amanda Bell and Dust on Their Wings, and two works of non-fiction, Learning as I Go and Movies Make the Man.