On Sunday, Sept. 6, our almost daily newspaper reported that an Australian man spent over 2-and-a-half (by 57 seconds) covered in ice cubes up to his shoulders. He used visualization and positive thinking to overcome the pain of a body beginning to freeze.
We might ask why someone would put themselves into such a state. He might answer that he was attempting to break his own record of ice immersion or he just wanted to see if he could accomplish a mind-over-matter state.
He achieved both — the latter being of the most interest to me. We’ve heard about like feats before such as spiritual persons walking barefooted over hot coals. I read an account of a long-time meditator whose pulse and blood pressure were so low that his doctor told him he should be dead.
I admire the concentration and will of those who achieve deep states of concentration and insight that replace the smallest hates and anger with great love and compassion.
‘Think for yourself’
It did not pass notice in my state of reflection that the mayor of the City of Sequim was front page news of the same edition of the Peninsula Daily News. The mayor, William Armacost, is quoted supporting a theory called QAnon as “a movement that encourages you to think for yourself.”
I have resisted looking into QAnon given the bits of information that I’ve heard, especially the anonymous part. I tend to be highly suspicious of groups that hide their origins, leadership and financial sources. I don’t give money to such groups soliciting donations and I’m far less likely to give unconditional loyalty to a theory or “movement” that hides in the shadows.
I was satisfied with my theory that the anonymous individual or group behind QAnon is either Russians in a continuing attempt to disrupt our democracy or a 400-pound guy in his basement just fooling around (you heard it here first).
However, my interest piqued when the PDN article went on to describe QAnon as “seeking to expose the ‘deep state’” allegedly working against President Donald Trump.” That description of government has been around since the president and his cronies, particularly Steve Bannon, brought the deep state theory of government control into the White House.
It’s no secret that Trump and Republicans don’t like government because it places restrictions on the way businesses do business or taxes on individuals and businesses for social programs such as Medicare and Social Security. Many of us can agree that the bureaucracy can seem impenetrable and impossible to negotiate. I’ve complained in this column about left-brained people interpreting legislation in ways that make some things in health care more complicated than it needs to be.
What more was there? I did a bit of research on QAnon, the mayor’s movement of choice. I was surprised by the stark craziness of the allegations put out by QAnon which, in my view, went far beyond seeking to expose the “deep state” said to be working against Trump.
The more dedicated QAnon loyalist believes that people in powerful positions promote homosexuality and pedophilia. They go a giant step beyond by claiming these powerful persons kill children and drink their blood or eat them. Did I mention claims of Satan worship?
Did I mention that QAnon’s take-over, called the “storm,” involves Trump and the U.S. military rounding up nonbelievers (that would be Democrats or anyone who doesn’t agree), jailing and eventually executing us?
I am astonished at the utter nonsense and lack of pretense of any reasoned and compassionate thought. I am stunned at the wretched willingness of QAnon followers to scare their children. Really, I have no words for such cruelty.
The campaign seems to be deepening under this president and his chosen department leaders.
On the day of this writing, a top official of the Department of Health and Human Services claims the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is “harboring a ‘resistance unit’ determined to undermine President Trump.” This official’s job is to develop messaging about the coronavirus that matches the president’s message.
The CDC informs public health officials and physicians according to science, not political strategies and, yes, resists using any other basis for their communication around the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of disease. The president’s crony seems to think that push back is “sedition.”
Drum roll …
The deep state is … science.
If only the so-called “deep state” that worries the president and all the people that want to please him were bureaucrats and molasses-moving processes, but it’s so much more. The enemy of the president, his acting secretaries of cabinets, business and the Republican party is scientific process.
America under this leadership has stopped any effort related to being good stewards of the very resources that are necessary to living including its people. The excuse for deregulating industry’s unnecessary pollution of air and water is denial of the science of clean resources and a habitable Earth.
The president stopped any coordinated national effort to control the coronavirus contagion through testing, tracing and quarantining, an approach that would have contained the virus, prevented some deaths and opened businesses. He refuses to insist on COVID-19 prevention measures to protect his ardent supporters.
His excuse is denial and disavowal of science, scientists and public health experts.
Neither of those two approaches of science denial by our president and his followers are working for us. I’m having a hard time understanding why the president and his cheering mask less crowds don’t recognize how ignorant he and they appear to be.
One of the best, if not the best book, I’ve read is Viktor E. Frankl’s “Man’s Search for Meaning.” Frankl recounts his experience in a Nazi concentration camp and the days of enduring inhumanity, and yet he kept his vision of life and goodness because, in the end, they could not control his mind.
Our task now is to solidly reject these arrogant and ignorant claims of superiority whose end point is to torture and destroy some of us. It’s a cruel and terrible fantasy in search of victims of fear. It’s a threat, not a movement, in which people think for themselves.
Better we search for meaning and truly focusing our minds to fulfill a vision of humanity as compassionate people who are able, care about others and nurture our Earth. That’s a movement worth out concentration.
Bertha Cooper, featured columnist in the Sequim Gazette, spent her career years in health care administration, program development and consultation. Cooper and her husband have lived in Sequim more than 20 years. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.