Current Events

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There are lots of people who enjoy people watching. It’s a source of entertainment for them. Many of us are that way, myself included, but it is not a pastime I ever associated with animals. Maybe I should have, but somehow, the idea never crossed my mind. Oh sure, we know that our pets watch us for clues about what is going to happen, such as is it time to go for a walk, or a ride in the car, or if they jump on our laps, will we pet them. That is not really people watching, but rather owner watching. There are other animals who like to watch people, however.

Yesterday, I read an article about the Lake Superior Zoo, in Duluth, Minnesota. That one caught my eye, because I was born in Superior, Wisconsin…just over the bridge from Duluth, but as I looked around the internet, I saw that the same situation is going on in many zoos. The animals miss the people who come to the zoo. I really never gave any thought to the idea of the zoo animals watching the people who are watching them, but the do. They are interested in the goings on of humans!! Shocking, but it’s true. I guess that it is more than just the humans who are adversely affected by the quarantines and shut-downs.

The zoo keepers are finding themselves being the entertainment for the animals, and it’s not just for something different to do, it’s necessary. Like people, the animals need mental stimulation to stay healthy. Many beings, especially those in zoos, have been locked up during this time. We have talked about the elderly people in nursing homes, or even in their own homes, who can’t have visitors, and how very lonely they have become. Sadly, the animals in the zoos feel the very same way, and until the shutdowns cease, there is little that can be done about it. The job of a zookeeper is an essential one, and it’s a good thing, or these animals would see no one. One of the zookeepers at the Lake Superior Zoo, Lizzy Larson said, “You guys as visitors are the main sources of entertainment for the animals at the zoo. As much as we like watching the animals through the glass or behind a fence, they also love watching us. We walk by, we do things. It’s really exciting for them to see us.” That is a strange thought for me, but I guess it makes sense. It makes me feel sad for them, because while we at least know the reasons for the closures, they don’t, they just know that no one is coming to see them.

As the final day of 2020 arrives, I find myself…relieved. This has been a hard year in so many ways…so many losses. Setting aside the loss of friends and loved ones, because that is almost too much to go into, I will turn my attention instead to the Covid-19 Pandemic, the source of much of the loss we all felt this year. Countless numbers of people lost their jobs this year, or at least temporarily lost their source of income. We became isolated, even if we weren’t sick, we were told to wear masks, and even when things opened up partially, the churches were told to stay closed, while the abortion clinics were considered essential businesses. We were told to shelter in place, making us feel isolated and alone. We couldn’t visit loved ones in nursing homes or hospitals, making them feel alone and forgotten. We were told to skip the holidays and stay at home, further isolating all of us. Urgently needed surgeries and cancer treatments were postponed, because of the virus, but people could still kill the unborn babies. Don’t get me wrong, I do understand the seriousness of the virus, I lost loved ones and friends too, but the way things were handled, especially in Democratically run cities and states, did nothing to protect the people of this country. We tried to listen to the scientists, but they kept contradicting themselves and each other. One minute masks saved lives, the next they didn’t. I hate to be a person who only rants, but like most of us, I’m over it…and I’m over 2020.

With all that has gone on in 2020, I am still able to say that I have high hopes for 2021. The craziness and sadness of 2020 will not last forever, because people have a strong tendency to have hope for the future. Pandemics have come and gone, and this one will too. As a nation, we will fight for our freedoms. We have done it before, and we are not scared to do it again. I believe we have God on our side, and in Him, we have the victory in every battle…especially this one. Whether people want the vaccine or not, it gives many people hope that there is an end to this Pandemic. I think that is the main thing that people are looking for these days…hope!!

As we close out 2020, we can consider it hindsight as we look forward to 202Won!! I really like that, because this nation, as well as many others, need a win right now, and I’m all for putting 2020 in the rearview mirror, and turning the mirror toward the ceiling so we don’t have to look at it ever again. We will persevere, and we will come back stronger, if we don’t lose hope and our strong faith in God!! I am a positive person, but I think 2020 was enough to try anyone’s patience and even faith, but we must never lose faith. Never doubt in the dark, what God told you in the light. And don’t ley what you see make you doubt what God has spoken. So, here’s to the end of 2020. Bring on 202Won!!! Happy New Year everyone.

I finally finished my Christmas shopping!! I’m very excited about it. I suppose that would sound funny to most people, especially when you consider that today is December 28th. In case you are wondering, no I’m not finished with next year’s Christmas shopping. That would be a miracle, indeed. Actually, I was doing ok with my shopping, I had everything purchased and shipped to my daughter, Amy’s family in Washington state, with the exception of stocking stuffers. Then, it happened. Covid had made its way through our family, my sisters (except Alena Stevens and her family), brothers-in-law, and a number of cousins. Bob and I had it over Thanksgiving, which was also cancelled this year…at least for us. I thought maybe we would make it through Christmas Covid-free, but then my daughter, Corrie and her husband, Kevin caught it, and their quarantine would take us through Christmas. This just wasn’t our year for holidays.

That said, the urgency to finish my Christmas shopping left me, because we decided to postpone our celebration until we could all be together for it. Celebrating, when part of us we’re stuck at home or in the hospital was just not the same, and it would be especially sad for Corrie and Kevin. It doesn’t feel like a celebration when part of the family is not there. When the day comes, it will be worth the wait. It will be a real celebration, because we will all be well. So we wait, because Corrie and Kevin being with us is more important than what day we celebrate this year.

I suppose that means I could still have plenty of time for shopping, but who knows. The thing about Covid is that some people take a while to get over it and others are over it in two weeks. The day when we could finally have Christmas could creep up on me and then my shopping wouldn’t be done. Not good!! So, I decided to get it finished. And another good thing is that I actually have all the gifts wrapped Wow!! Now, whenever Christmas comes this year, I’ll be ready.

Most people have heard the song, “I’ll Be Home For Christmas” which was written by lyricist, Kim Gannon and composer, Walter Kent. Most of us also know that the song was recorded by Bing Crosby, putting it in the older, classic category. We also knew that if was probably written, and in reality was written to honor soldiers overseas, who really wished they could be home for Christmas. I wasn’t sure what year it was written, but have since looked it up to find, exactly as I expected, that it was in 1943 during World War II. Our boys were off fighting, and Christmas was going to be very different that year, for the families, but mostly for the soldiers, many of whom would be away for the first time in their life.

These days are really no different, except that quite possibly the old song, “I’ll Be Home For Christmas” has taken on additional meanings. For those who have soldiers serving all around the world, the old classic meaning brings a renewed feeling of the old meaning of wishing their soldiers were home. For many others of us, who have loved ones who live far away, it brings memories of Christmas’ past, when our children were little and everyone was with us, gathered around the tree and dinner table. Others are fighting off the Covid-19 virus, and are quarantined this Christmas. And still others are facing a very different kind of sadness and loneliness this Christmas. Some have lost loved ones to the Covid-19 virus. For others there are other causes for their loved one’s passing, but it doesn’t matter what the cause…the passing of a loved one is the worst loss that can ever be felt…any time of year.

The song, “I’ll Be Home For Christmas” is the epitome of of our longing spirit. Sometimes we feel like we need a good cry, and yes, we probably do, but that will never really ease the pain…especially the pain of loss. Time and prayer are the only was to move forward. We will never forget our loved ones, but we know that they are safe in Heaven, and we will see them again soon. Our soldiers will come home, our children living far away are only a plane ride away, our loved ones who are ill will recover, and there will be other Christmases. Can we ever get this Christmas back…no, but most of us can celebrate when loved ones get home or well, and still others can talk on the phone, Facetime, or Skype, so the miles seem to melt away. Whatever the reason for our fractured Christmas, this year and years in the past, we can all relate to the meaning behind the song, “I’ll Be Home For Christmas” and when we all get to Heaven, we will truly see that dream come true.

I read an article recently, that I can’t get out of my head. “A Study Finds 66% Of US Millennials Can’t Identify What Auschwitz Is” talks about the movement to remove certain elements from world history. The picture of Auschwitz is as foreign to kids these days as the idea of “The Final Solution” was prior to Hitler’s reign of terror in Germany and parts of Europe which led to the Holocaust. The thing that shocks me most is that when they were asked, after a tour of Auschwitz, which is located in Poland, why they didn’t tear these horrible buildings down, they responded, “Oh no!! We leave them up so that we will never forget what happened here, and never allow it to happen again.” Wise words, and words that more people would do well to remember today.

During the past year, we have seen unrest, protests, riots, and the “cancel culture” that has become almost the norm of our time. The schools don’t teach parts of history anymore, in an act of Historical Negationism or denialism. This is not about revising history based on new information that would correct history. Usually, the purpose of historical negation is to achieve a national, political aim, by transferring war-guilt, demonizing an enemy, providing an illusion of victory, or preserving a friendship. Sometimes the purpose of a revised history is to sell more books or to attract attention with a newspaper headline. The historian James M. McPherson said that negationists would want revisionist history understood as, “a consciously-falsified or distorted interpretation of the past to serve partisan or ideological purposes in the present” All of that sounds an awful lot like what we have going on today.

Couple Historical Negationism with “taking offence” or “political correctness” and you have a recipe for disaster. In many of the riots of recent days, the rioters have torn down our historical statues. To me, it doesn’t matter if they think the statue portrays someone they find offensive, or not. That person is a pert of history, good, bad, or ugly. A hero of the South, might not be a hero of the North, but to those in the South he or she might have been. Was a war hero from Germany any less a war hero to his countrymen, simply because he was forced to fight on the side of the Nazis? I don’t think so. In fact many of the German soldiers had no idea of what was happening in their own country. I’m not standing up for the rightness, nor against the wrongness of the people portrayed in the statues, but rather against the destruction of property. The buildings destroyed in the riots, the statues destroyed by the mobs, the looting that took place, all deemed “okay” because these places had insurance…does not make these vicious acts acceptable, or their perpetrators blameless. It’s time that we teach our children about patriotism, respect, fairness, and decency. If we don’t, we are going to find ourselves in the middle of a country that is destroyed by violence and hate. Wake up America!!

Let’s face it…2020, doesn’t seem to have a lot in it to be thankful for. It has been a tough year in many ways. With Covid-19, quarantines, lock downs, job losses, business losses, election struggles, riots, protests, and homeschooling…by choice or not, things looked pretty grim. Many people have lost loved ones, or friends, or friends and family of friends. Still, we have survived…those of us left, and many of us have contracted Covid-19, and still we have survived. This has been awful, and we will always miss those we have lost, but we Americans are a strong breed. We built this nation on God’s ways, and while some would disagree, that is a fact. Our forefathers came to this country to escape religious persecution, and founded this country on the principle that we should all have freedom to worship as we see fit. They knew that people would disagree on religion, but each person should have the right to choose for themselves.

This year has tested us in so many ways, but we are Americans, and we don’t give up. We are patriots, and we love God and country. As we are faced with new challenges, we have a chance to prove once again that we are fighters. We might be down right now, but we aren’t out, and we don’t quit. America is still the land where dreams come true, and it’s because we never give up. This year has been harder than any in my lifetime…maybe harder than any in the lifetimes of most of us, but we have come through it together. That is something to be thankful for, even with all the worry, loss, and fighting. Thanksgiving is a time to think back on the past year, and on our lives, and to be thankful for all we have been given.

This year may have been a really hard one, but our loved ones who have gone on before us, would never want us to give up…or quit. They would want us to live on and be happy. They would want us to be thankful, and to live our lives in such a way as to make them proud. We could have given up this year, but that was never really an option…now, was it? Thanksgiving is our day to celebrate this land that was founded on our love for God. So whether you are in quarantine, in a city where gathering together is only allowed in small groups, or just far away from your family, remember to take a few minutes to thank God for all we have been given. We are among the most blessed people in the world, and we need to remember that. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!! God bless you all and God bless America!!

The United States is a great nation, but it would be very hard for a nation to remain great, if that nation did not have a strong military. These days, national security is not guaranteed. That makes our military men and women absolutely essential. All too often, I don’t think we give our veterans the respect and recognition they deserve.

Veterans and soldiers are unique characters. Most of us are not interested in running off to some other country at the drop of a hat to defend people we don’t even know. Nevertheless, when a people are being oppressed, it is a soldier who is called to defend them. These soldiers leave their homes and families, often for months at a time, and go off to another country to defend strangers. They miss births, first steps, school plays, graduations, and so much more. They miss tucking their children in at night, dropping them off at school in the morning, watching their sporting events, and having weekend barbecues, just to name a few. By the time they have left the military, their children are often mostly grown up. It is time they can never get back, and yet they consider it time well spent, because they did their duty and they saved lives. What more could we ask of them?

Veterans Day is a day when we honor those who served and upon their discharge, came back home. In this case, while it does honor veterans who have gone to their Heavenly home, it is not about those killed in action. Theirs is a different day…Memorial Day, the day we remember those lost in battle. All of these men and women served their country and the world, but a veteran came home and lived out their life…hopefully with all their limbs attached, but many times that was not to be either. Those veterans, and those with PTSD need our help badly, but all veterans, no matter what the outcome of their service was, deserve our complete and total respect. Veterans Day began on November 11, 1919, making this year the 101st anniversary of that date. To all those among us who served, thank you for your service, and to those veterans who have gone home, including my dad, Allen Spencer and many family members, I thank you!! Happy Veterans Day.

Now that Election Day is here, our thoughts have turned from campaign speeches, fact checking, and stressing out over the polls, to getting out and voting, and then sitting back to watch the election night coverage…unless you are so tired of the whole political process, that you just want the whole thing to be over with!! Even if you are very intent on the election, you are most likely very tired of the political process. Still, the elections are very important…especially this year.

This year isn’t the only critical year we have ever had either. The November 3, 1948 Presidential election was really an important one too. President Harry S Truman was the incumbent, running against New York Governor Thomas Dewey. Truman was very much pro-Israel, and whether people realize it or not, that is important. That fact isn’t always considered important in an election, but in 1948, I believe it was, and that it made the difference. Nevertheless, many of America’s major newspapers had predicted a Dewey victory early on in the campaign cycle. A New York Times article editorialized that “if Truman is nominated, he will be forced to wage the loneliest campaign in recent history.” Maybe that was true, but it was not a deterrent. In fact, that may be the reason Truman chose not to use the press to get his message across. Truman decided in July 1948, to head out on an ambitious 22,000-mile “whistle stop” railroad and automobile campaign tour. Truman’s message was simple…”Help me keep my job as President.” As time went on, things looked worse and worse for Truman. The polls were against him. Nevertheless, the common voters warmed to his simple message, and although he was a political “underdog,” and at the end of one speech, the crowd could be heard yelling “Give ’em Hell, Harry!” It didn’t take long for the phrase to catch on and become Truman’s unofficial campaign slogan.

Then came the Chicago Tribune’s issue stating that Dewey had won the election. In reality, the Chicago Tribune severely jumped the gun. I’m sure the final outcome of the brought with it as much confusion as did the mistaken prediction of a Dewey win. Be that as it may, the “Dewey Defeats Truman” headline was a serious “egg on the face” moment for the Chicago Tribune. On Wednesday morning there was a new headline showing a picture of re-elected President Harry S Truman holding the Chicago Tribune issue that had wrongfully predicted his political downfall. In the end, Truman beat Dewey by 114 electoral votes. All I can say is beware of those early predictions.

Absaroka…have you ever heard of it? No…I hadn’t either, but it was of some importance to the United States, and it would have been of some significance to me and my family had it not been a temporary situation. You see, when President Franklin D Roosevelt put “The New Deal” in place, there were a lot of people who didn’t think it was such a good deal…much like “The Green New Deal” of today. “The New Deal” was a series of programs, public work projects, financial reforms, and regulations enacted by Roosevelt in the United States between 1933 and 1939. The idea was to “help” by responding to needs for relief, reform, and recovery from the Great Depression. The plan created major federal programs and agencies, including the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), the Civil Works Administration (CWA), the Farm Security Administration (FSA), the National Industrial Recovery Act of 1933 (NIRA) and the Social Security Administration (SSA). They provided support for farmers, the unemployed, youth, and the elderly. The New Deal included new constraints and safeguards on the banking industry and efforts to re-inflate the economy after prices had fallen sharply. The New Deal programs included both laws passed by Congress, as well as presidential executive orders during the first term of the presidency of Roosevelt.

The New Deal failed because Roosevelt misunderstood the cause of the Great Depression. When a doctor misdiagnoses the symptoms that present themselves, the doctor cannot prescribe the right medicine to cure the disease of a patient. Similarly, Roosevelt prescribed “The New Deal” to cure the economy of the United States from the Great Depression. Roosevelt’s “medicine” did not work because his administration failed to recognize the true causes of the Great Depression and therefore prescribed the wrong medicine. Roosevelt assumed that the free market, and not the government caused the Great Depression. Roosevelt believed the Great Depression was partly caused by poor investments and stock manipulations by rich people. To complicate matters, he blamed the Great Depression on bankers, speculators, and journalists. In reality, the causes of the Great Depression boiled down to three major causes…which explain why there was a banking crisis, why the stock market declined, why exports vanished, why trading partners were upset, why major industries collapsed, and why there was uncertainty on the administration’s policies. These three explanations of the causes contrast with Roosevelt’s assumption that the private, not the public sector caused the problem. First, the negative consequences of World War I, increasing debt from less than $2 billion to over $20 billion, while at the same time, US loans to Europe amounted to over $10 billion. Second, the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act…the highest tariff in US history, which affected over 3,000 imported items and even increased taxes on some items. As a result of those high tariffs, foreign goods became less competitive and similar domestic goods more competitive. Third, the Federal Reserve did not prevent a banking crisis, but rather helped cause one. It was argued that the economic contraction was exacerbated because of the bank failures and the massive withdrawals of currency from the financial system while the Federal Reserve did not provide the necessary liquidity that the system required.

As people became more and more agitated about the unsuccessful New Deal, an idea began to form…secession. One of the leaders of the secessionist movement was A R Swickard, the street commissioner of Sheridan, Wyoming, who appointed himself “governor” and started hearing grievances in the “capital” of Sheridan. The new state was to be called Absaroka, which means “children of the large-beaked bird.” They planned secession in 1939. This region largely belongs to the Crow people and the Sioux, according to the Treaty of Fort Laramie (1851). Absaroka is also the namesake of the Absaroka mountain range. The area involved was the entire northern part of Wyoming, the western part of South Dakota, including the Black Hills, and the southeastern corner of Montana. Increasing tourism to the region was a motivation for the proposed state because Mount Rushmore (constructed 1927–1941) would be within Absaroka according to some plans.

The region’s complaints came from ranchers and independent farmers in remote parts of the three states, who resented the New Deal and Democratic control of state governments, especially the government of Wyoming. In preparation for state secession, state automobile license plates bearing the name were distributed, as well as pictures of Miss Absaroka 1939. The movement was unsuccessful and fairly short-lived. The chief record of its existence comes from the Federal Writers’ Project, which included a story about the plan as an example of Western eccentricity. Oh those eccentric Westerners!! Imagine wanting to limit government, high taxes, and strict laws and mandates!! What were they thinking? Freedom, limited government, capitalism vs socialism…yep among other things, that’s what they were thinking.

Of course, they aren’t really angels, but rather they are God’s laborers on earth…the everyday people who find themselves at the right place, at the right time, to save the life of another person. What each contributed was different, but each contribution was vital to the saving of my husband, Bob Schulenberg’s life that October 14, 2018. God tells each of us things we need to know, and if we are listening, we can find ourselves suddenly in the middle of a life or death situation, in which we have the unique ability to do the right things to stave off death for another human being. It is a mind blowing revelation, but it is nevertheless, a reality.

That was the position Bob’s Heaven sent Earthly Angels found themselves in. In an instant, my husband went from loading the groceries in the car and returning the cart to the cart stand, to lying on the ground in the Walmart parking lot, blood running from his head, his skin turning purple, and his eyes open, but not seeing. For all intents and purposes, Bob was dead. But God had a different plan. God’s servant, Sean Pesicka-Taggart saw my husband fall, and immediately rushed to his side, trying to wake him. I was in the car, and heard him speaking, but it didn’t occur to me that he was talking to my husband. A pickup pulled up behind us. In the pickup was Ginger Sims, a nurse working at Wyoming Medical Center at the time. She thought Bob had been hit by a car. She pulled around to park her car and assist, telling her son to press the OnStar and get an ambulance coming. Finally, with things in place to save Bob’s life, a man knocked on my window to ask if I knew “this man.” It finally dawned on me that it was Bob. I believe God intentionally stalled my awareness so I would not be alone with the situation. As I jumped out of the car and saw my husband, I immediately thought I was going to lose him, but then I stubbornly said, “No!!” Then I got down beside him telling him to wake up…”Come on Bob!!” Ginger heard me talking to him and asked if I knew him. Upon finding out he was my husband, she instructed me in rescue breathing. By now she was getting tired, and suddenly, Laura Lance, Sean’s girlfriend, and a transport worker at Wyoming Medical Center said that she knew CPR and so she spelled Ginger. Then, Valya Boycheva, another nurse at Wyoming Medical Center was leaving Walmart, and saw what was happening. She turned around, came back, and also assisted in CPR. Before I knew it, the ambulance summoned by both Ginger’s son and Sean, was there. I remember thinking how amazing it was that all this was taken care of with almost no effort on my part. And the reality is that it was only about five to seven minutes. How could so much activity have been crammed into that tiny sliver of time? Little did I know that there was more. As they were leaving Walmart, Chelsea and Zack Kessler saw what was happening, and began to pray. Chelsea called her dad, Scott Le Page and his wife, Donna, who also prayed. Lori DeSanti was leaving Walmart too, and she began to pray. These people were an extra amazement, because I knew them all, and yet they had no idea who they were praying for, and I had no idea they were praying. God just sent them there to pray, and they obeyed the call. The fire trucks also came to Bob’s assistance, and we knew one of the firefighters, Jerod Levin, because Bob had worked on the fire trucks when he worked for the City of Casper. Jerod took care of me…which I needed very much. He got me into the ambulance, so I could go with Bob, and then he took the time to bring my car to the hospital for me so I would have a way home later.

God’s Earthly Angels. No, they were just people, but God gave them the opportunity to act at a time when their own special skills were desperately needed to save the life of a man most of them didn’t even know. When we think of angels, we think of beings who go to battle for us, when we need them most. That is exactly what these people did, so I guess angels is an appropriate word for them. All is know is that I…we, Bob and I, as well as our families, are forever indebted to these wonderful people who went to battle that day in the Eastside Walmart parking lot in Casper, Wyoming to fight for the life of my precious husband, Bob…and praise God…they won!!

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