Where Am I?

I’m one of those people who, left to my own devices and remaining in my comfort zone, take forever to get going in the morning. Sunday morning was typical. I had just gotten out of the shower and turned on the television not quite ready for the activities of the day. The image that greeted me was of a protester confronting a paramilitary force in an urban environment. My immediate thought was that I was seeing a photo of a demonstration from a west coast American city that took place late the night before. I was wrong. The picture was from Beirut, Lebanon. There is a lot to unpack here. Let’s explore.

Like most Baby Boomers I grew up in an America where we assumed that we were number one in everything worth leading the world in. In fact if presented with a question on a multiple choice test asking which country led the world if the choices were America and three other countries other than the Soviet Union I’d by default guess America. The odds were well in my favor. It was us as the good guy, the Soviet Union as the bad guys and every other country was a contender from the bronze medal. Under Trump we are no longer the default guess for the top slot; in fact we are just one of many countries in chaos.

The demonstrations in Lebanon are continuing and are protesting government incompetence and corruption; just like the ones we have been experiencing in America of late. The catalyst in Lebanon (which is not many American’s idea of a stable and well run country where we’d like to take a luxury vacation) was an explosion in a Beirut warehouse. Just hours after it happened while most of the world was still searching for evidence of the cause President Trump declared it to be an attack. When pressed on his analysis by a reporter he attributed his conclusion to the expert opinions of many American generals who were advising him. Interestingly and tellingly none of those generals had names. My conclusion is that Trump lied again.

As the evidence was gathered and the facts mounted they pointed to the illegal and dangerous storage of explosives meeting an industrial accident resulting in an explosion of historic proportions. The combustible material had been stored unsafely for about seven years as a result of an incompetent and corrupt government. They are still searching for bodies. Bad government yields dead citizens.

In America one of the major causes of the recent demonstrations is the incompetence and corruption of government which has resulted in a multitude of deaths. Couple that with the incredibly poor government response to the coronavirus pandemic (160,000+ deaths at this writing) and you have a pretty good idea of why Americans have taken to the streets to protest their incompetent and corrupt government. In America as in Lebanon, bad government yields dead citizens.

This all culminates in the fact that you can’t tell Lebanon from America at a quick glance.

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