Tag Archives: Despair

The Other Side of the Couch – Tomorrow


I have always enjoyed reading the morning paper.  Having breakfast, sipping coffee and catching up on the news has been a pleasant ritual – well, sometimes not so pleasant, but at least a ritual – for many years.  I especially enjoy the “Funnies”, as my dad used to call them. I can remember in younger years being intrigued by the glamourous “Brenda Starr”, confused by “Little Orphan Annie” and her sidekicks, Punjab and the Asp, and entertained by the antics of Beetle Bailey and Lil Abner and Pogo.

I still enjoy the Funnies, having followed Gary Trudeau’s “Doonesbury” with relish since the 60s.  New entries into the art of creating an “aha” moment are “Breaking Cat News” by Georgia Dunn (commentary on the foibles of humans from the cat viewpoint), “Prickly City” by Scott Stantis, perhaps created as an antidote to Doonesbury, and the amazing “Pearls Before Swine” by Stephen Pastis.

Pastis is the master of the pun, and one often comes away from his morning minute with the groans that good puns elicit.  However, he also has remarkable insight into the sweep of history compacted into four panels – or six on Sundays.  It seems strange to write about all of these wonderful writers without including examples of their work, but because all is licensed and costly, none of it can appear in this writer’s blog.  Instead, I will summarize the panels that appeared in Sunday’s edition.

Panel 1 – 1987 – FCC – Do we really need a fairness doctrine to ensure the media will be fair?  We don’t.

Panel 2 – 2000 – School Board – Do we really need civics classes for these kids?  We don’t.

Panel 3 – 2005 – Senate Committee – Do we really need to be regulating social media companies like publishers?  We don’t.

Panel 4 – 2010 – Daily Tribune – Do we really need this many reporters covering government?  We don’t.

Panel 5 – 2015 – County Supervisors – Do we really need mental health funding?  We don’t.

Panel 6 – 2022 – Pig: Do we really need this much barbed wire around government buildings?  Goat:  We do.  Rat ( throwing a rock at said building) And that’s for faking the moon landing.

Here is the link to this amazing cartoon:


It is well worth seeing!

Mr. Pastis takes us step by step down the path that has landed us in this unimaginable place.  It’s just like the frogs that, when placed in a pot of cold water that is slowly heated, will not realize that they should jump out and as a result die.  We are the frogs, and the water has been heating for a long time. We no longer have agreement on basic truth; we no longer trust our institutions.  And our country is awash with guns.

The future is uncertain.  I do believe that the “the arc of the moral universe is long but bends toward justice” – MLK.  I wish that arc were not quite so long, and that I were more sure of where we are in that path.  Sometimes I hear the last gasps of a frantic and frightened group of people who can’t see beyond their fear of differences.   Sometimes I see a retreat into an imagined past that never existed but is somehow believed to be better than it ever was.  Sometimes it seems like the end of all that we have known.  At other times, more hopeful times, I look at the young people who are fighting for the planet, for the acceptance of different kinds of life styles and of different kinds of people, and I do see a possible future that is different from the one we are living.

So I will sing with Orphan Annie and Alicia Morton –

“The sun’ll come out tomorrow
Bet your bottom dollar that tomorrow
There’ll be sun

“The sun’ll come out tomorrow
So you gotta hang on ’til tomorrow
Come what may

Tomorrow, tomorrow, I love ya, tomorrow
You’re always a day away”

About Susan Hammonds-White, EdD, LPC/MHSP

About Susan Hammonds-White, EdD, LPC/MHSP
Communications and relationship specialist, counselor, Imago Relationship Therapist, businesswoman, mother, proud native Nashvillian – in private practice for 35+ years. I have the privilege of helping to mend broken hearts. Contact me at http://www.susanhammondswhite.com.
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Hope at a Time of Despair

We’re a few days away from Christmas and it’s difficult to see signs of hope. 

We’re heading into another covid winter as infections and deaths again rise.  More than 800,000 Americans have already died from the covid virus.  Vaccines are widely available and medical evidence indicates that the unvaccinated are the ones dying now.  But too many people claim they have a Constitutional right to their “freedom” to refuse the vaccination. 

This argument distorts the Constitution.  Constitutional freedoms extend only to the point where one person’s rights infringe on the freedoms of others.  By claiming a right to reject the vaccine, anti-vaxxers increase the risk of infecting others, thus infringing on the Constitutional rights of others to live virus-free.  Anti-vaxxers also increase the likelihood that we will never reach herd immunity and that the virus will mutate into a form that is vaccine resistant.  

Unfortunately, the political and social disputes about covid and the vaccine are just the latest symptom of the twin diseases of political intolerance and violence.  Our country has a violent history. Therefore, it is disturbing to learn from recent surveys that around a quarter of Republican Party supporters believe it is acceptable to use violence to win political disagreements.   Meanwhile, the leftist fringe infecting the Democratic Party screams a message of tolerance through an intolerant program of “wokeness”.  Significantly, these pampered pooches haven’t agreed to give up one iota of their privileged, coastal-elite existence to bring their utopia to fruition.

Since no one is listening to each other and the few voices of reason have been drowned out by a sea of intolerance, there is a mad scramble to impose intolerance through the capture of the political process.  Too many states are passing “secure voting” laws that are designed solely to suppress the votes of people who are deemed politically and socially undesirable and inferior.  Virtually all the states are racing to create gerrymandered districts that will distort the outcome of elections over the next ten years.  Our Constitution stands in grave danger of becoming more useful as toilet paper.

So where do we find hope in this time of despair? History teaches us that intolerance eventually burns itself out due to its own excesses.  The Inquisition eventually ran out of victims to torture and murder in the name of God.  The American Civil War ended when the “secesh” states ran out of people to fight and die on the battlefield.  The covid pandemic will end when the virus runs out of people to kill.

My hope is that our country will reject intolerance sooner rather than later. My despair is that we value our lives and the lives of others so cheaply that we are willing to watch so many people die before our intolerance finally burns out.  

About Norma Shirk

My company, Corporate Compliance Risk Advisor, helps small businesses create human resources policies and risk mitigation programs that are appropriate to the employer’s size and budget. The goal is to help small companies grow by creating the necessary back office administrative structure while avoiding the dead weight of a bureaucracy.  To read my musings on the wacky world of human resources, see the HR Compliance Jungle (www.hrcompliancejungle.com) which alternates on Wednesday mornings with my history blog, History By Norma, (available at http://www.normashirk.com). To read my musings on a variety of topics, see my posts on Her Savvy (www.hersavvy.com).

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