Let’s go out on a limb for a post (or two….)

If you are a frequent reader here, thank you. I think it’s important from time to time to just say thanks and appreciate the people who chose to consume your content. While this blog is cathartic for me on many levels, you dear reader continue to be a source of inspiration and motivation for me to continue to create new content. I really, really appreciate you take your time to read my blog, again thank you.

Let’s go out on a limb for a moment and engage in speculation and fantasy. I live in the U.S., I realize many of my readers are not U.S. based. I am flavored by my environment and my past. I am a Gen X’er, a child of the 80’s and for the most part in my life I have not had a major calamity. No near death experiences, no extreme hardships, relatively. I’ve dealt with alcoholism, when I was in high school I had a parent die, I’ve been arrested and spent a weekend (or two) in jail for being disorderly (the boozy days, lol) but the older I get when I reflect back I realize that overall things have been good.

I am afforded the luxury of “what if’s” now, it’s a bi product of age really. It’s not regret based more reflective. So going out on a limb, what if the U.S. government chose to reduce its nuclear weapons? No I am not going down a political rabbit hole here this is more a math question coupled with observation. Now let me say clearly that the U.S. runs a budget deficit, they spend more money than they bring in.

How much do they spend on nukes? Below is a quote and link to ICAN and this blew me away if its correct. “ICAN estimates the US spent $67,352 per minute on nuclear weapons in 2019.” A minute…. Source: “The report by the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) notes that the $35.4 billion spent by the US in 2019 on its approximate 5,800 nuclear weapons was an increase of $5.8 billion spent in 2018.”

How many do we really need?

So let’s go out on a limb here… ICAN estimates there are 5800 nukes the U.S. pays for, and it costs 67K (rounded) a minute to maintain them. That means they spend 11 dollars a MINUTE for each nuke.  I know its math, hang with me here… So to expand there are 525,600 minutes in one year, that means 1 nuke costs (estimated) 5.7 mil a year to maintain. I do realize some nukes are more expensive than others. I am generalizing but let’s be generous and say 3 mil a year for each nuke.

How many nukes does it take to destroy the world? Is 5800 really necessary? Would 2900 (half) do the trick? I think so, so cutting it in half would be a nearly 3 billion dollar a year pick up? What if that money could be directed to mental health services? Homeless shelters? Veteran services? Domestic Abuse Victim support? Colon Cancer Research? Solar Panels on all Gov buildings?

The possibilities are endless, but it’s a proposed military cut in the U.S. I am out on a limb and I hear the branch creaking a little, I better jump down before it breaks. Still, I wonder, what if?

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Surviving 2020 & covid

Thinking outside of the box is okay, is speaking outside of the box okay too?

The western world has become more divisive. There are labels for everything and everyone now, many of us have been categorized into specific buckets because of one belief. As an example if you are pro-life Christian you will likely be labeled a conservative. Does one issue define you? Does one issue automatically place you into on camp exclusively and this label is to be yours for eternity?

I suppose this is an easy way to segregate people we don’t like. There are several blogs I read and the tone on many of them has shifted dramatically over the last few months. Essentially if you do not agree with the bloggers point of view on “X” issue you are an idiot, to be dismissed and in some cases mocked and ridiculed. At worse cancelled and harassed.

It’s disturbing for someone on the outside looking in, particularly as someone with anxiety. What happens if you don’t fall into “the box”? What if you agree and share views from all sorts of people? What if you are pro-choice but believe people should not be given public assistance unless they can demonstrate severe hardship or incapacity of some kind? The point is the boxes are getting larger and larger and division is rife.

Covid 19 is just the latest greatest example. Do you think things should be reopened? No? What do you think of people who have the opposite opinion you do? We now have huge social networks that offer affirmation on a whole sale scale. Places like Twitter and Fox News are echo chambers for similar points of views one can become emboldened to the point of empowering horrible behaviors. We’ve seen this play out before in history, this isn’t a new concept.

As someone who is an independent thinker (I know we all like to claim that) it’s a very hard thing to navigate. I become very disappointed when I see people I respect and like pontificate so strongly about their beliefs that literally anyone who disagrees is an “idiot”. Wait, last week were best friends though….

I find myself more and more withdrawn and disgusted by the whole affair and this summer once Covid clears up a bit in the U.S. we will have another great reason to attack others who don’t agree, the presidential election. I can only imagine what the narratives will be like when that is over regardless of who wins. I think for me the whole Covid situation has exposed rather clearly to me how weak minded many people are.

I don’t even think it’s their faults really, they are espousing tired talking points and memes they have heard over and over from others who might agree with them on issue “X” as an example. Progress stands still though, nothing really gets accomplished other than an ever expanding pool of resentment. Where do we go from here? How do we think outside of the box and at the same time avoid attack from those who do not want alternative points of view?

I wish I had some wonderful insight or historical context to provide to help. I don’t, I find it more and more prudent to say nothing and let those screaming in their echo chambers hear their own voices. I have one blog I frequent where the person was ranting on and on about “people on the other side of the argument” and all the replies, dozens of them were in lock step agreement.

What was the point? Whose mind did you change? Did anyone with an alternative point of view even bother to read your post? If they did what possible reason could they have to reply? I suppose I will stay in my box for now. It’s an odd place being one of those “independents” the media often references. More and more we are becoming extinct, as more and more we are put in a box for easy reference for those who need to shout loudly about how they feel, and how others should feel just like them.