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  • Writer's pictureChristopher McHale

Laugh or Cry, the World

I charged into 2020. I started a new business. I opened an account at a new bank. I met this fellow at a party and he seemed like a nice guy, so I asked if he would help me open my new account at his branch. Not the sort of thing you plan, but often the way life works best. I saw a TED talk about it. Let life flow.

I hired two people! From a post on Linkedin. That’s how optimistic I was. The American entrepreneur. Confident, brash, risk taker. Let’s go. Then February rolled round.

I was a little surprised at the news. I’ve been to Wuhan. I know big cities. I live on Manhattan. I like it here. Public transportation, no need for cars, cool neighborhoods, a big city. Wuhan is as big as New York and I read they shut it down. My head spun a little. How do you do that? Why do you do that?

I sat in the park reading the news and looking around. People walking dogs. a guy making bubbles, the air cold, crisp, blue sky, ocean light. a New York winter day and I’m reading something that’s knotting my stomach. The knot doesn’t go away because this TV Old Guy says don’t worry about it. Yeah, I don’t think so. Don’t worry about a city of 9-million people locking down? Hasn’t this TV Old Guy ever been to the movies? This is classic Act One. Act Two is usually a doozy.

I call my accountant. Forget the business. I call my brand new employees. Forget the jobs. Everything I do for a living, have done for a living, is doomed. The TV Old Guy said maybe a week, maybe a month. We’re talking February 2020. It’s now August 2021. It’s getting worse.

How can that be? What do we have to do? Build an army? Charge the bunkers? Fight to the death? Nope. We have to get a shot and wear a mask. Thank goodness there’s no Nazis to deal with.

I put it together this way: Nothing make sense unless you substitute the word ‘entitlement’ for the word ‘freedom.’ To show you what I mean I’ve done it here. Every time you read the word ‘entitlement’ it was originally the word ‘freedom.’ Here are some examples:

“People deserve their entitlement.” Former POTUS
“The Civil Rights Act of 1964 did not improve race relations or enhance entitlement.” Ron Paul
“Big Government means we lose our entitlement.” Rush Limbaugh

Freedom is something you earn. Entitlement is something you’re given. When I started substituting the word ‘entitlement’ every time I heard ‘freedom’ or ‘liberty,’ a lot of what was being said rang more true to me. It became a sort of an anti-gaslighting device. It cleared things up.

I don’t want to pass judgement on peoples’ opinions. We’re all ‘entitled’ to our own, but I wanted to be clear about the truth of what people said. I wanted to carefully fold the flag and store it safely away and see the people themselves, and see what was really important to them, what were they really saying. There’s no hiding behind patriotism. Doing that feels Putinish to me. In America, we let it hang out. We brawl. We don’t mince words. When we mean entitlement, damn it, we’re going to say entitlement.

So now that we’ve cleared that up, why are we saying things like no masks because I like to see children smile? I’m beginning to wonder just how lazy some of our leaders are? I mean, come on, the easiest thing to do in life is be negative. It sure beats actually sitting down and reading and thinking and coming up with solutions to complex and threatening problems. Much easier to point and call people names.

There’s two basic ways to get a well-paid job in Congress. 1. Study hard, go to college, get a good degree, stay up all night trying to craft passable legislation, meet with people and convince then of your new ideas, go back to congress, convince more people and put it up for a vote. 2. Take of your jacket and yell.

We can’t afford any of this any more. We need to calm down and focus. We’re facing a hurt world and a traumatized nation. The twin killings of COVID and Climate Crisis has exposed us for the circus act of entitlement we are. Our grandparents were a sober lot. They dressed better, they thought better, they disagreed better. Our leaders were once elected by a majority and the filibuster promoted compromise, not minority rule. We need to get back to that. George Washington said I cannot tell a lie not I’ll tell a lie and you’ll believe it or I’ll call you a socialist.



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