On The Horns of a Dilemma-US 2020 Presidential Election

Christians in the United States of America are faced with a voting dilemma in the 2020 presidential election.  To the Christian, the choice between the Republican and the Democratic candidates for president is analogous to having to choose between a rock and a hard place.

When Are the 2020 Presidential Debates - How to Watch Presidential Debates  2020
US Presidential Candidates Donald Trump and Joe Biden

On the right, you have the incumbent who is unlike any previous occupant of the Oval Office, while on the left there is the challenger whose conduct is more compatible with the dignity and prestige traditionally associated with the office.

The choice would be a simple one if the only issues at stake were the candidates’ personality, conduct and suitability for the position of president, but there are other factors at play.

Although the incumbent’s presidential credentials are less than desirable, he has made judicial appointments and other decisions of importance to the Christian community and has arrested the rising tide of cultural attacks against Christianity.

The suave, polished, sophisticated career politician challenger would restore prestige and respectability to the Oval Office, but, he supports (some would say champion) issues that are diametrically opposed to foundational Christian beliefs.

These issues, such as when life begins, abortion rights and the definition of marriage, are non-negotiable for born-again Christians who hold the Bible to be the infallible word of God.

So that is the dilemma facing the Christian voter! 

VP candidates Harris and Pence debate with friendlier fire - Los Angeles  Times
USA vice president candidates Mike Spence and Kamala Harris

The US is in the midst of a culture war and a lot is riding on this election.   The Christian voter is faced with a difficult choice.  Faced with two imperfect candidates, do you vote for the classier candidate or do you vote for the candidate who is advancing issues of vital importance to Christianity?

Is the incumbent’s championing of some Christian values a sufficient reason to overlook his know-it-all, crass, outlandish and narcissistic behaviour? Is it enough to overlook his irrational actions to pull the US out of important international agreements and organisations calling for cooperation among nations to tackle, for example, climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic?

Will a win for the incumbent motivate him to moderate his behaviour and see him becoming the leading voice for equality and unity in the nation? Or will his re-election be seen as approval to continue with business as usual?

Those are some of the questions the Christian voter must answer before voting.

Undecided Voters Were Key to Trump's Win in 2016. Will They Deliver Again?
An undecided voter

In the final analysis, the Christian voter should seek the direction and guidance of the God of all knowledge and wisdom, in deciding who to support for the office of president of the United States of America.

COVID-19 Conspiracy Theories

CONSPIRACY THEORIES. Text on note sheet, paper plane, symbol of gaining goals. Striving upwards royalty free stock photography

As countries of the world continue to grapple with spikes in the number of COVID-19 infections and deaths, the response of some citizens is telling!

It is interesting to note that many citizens view their governments with suspicion and are more inclined to accept some outlandish conspiracy theory on social media about the origins and affects of the virus, than governments’ advice or directives to wear masks in public, practise proper hand hygiene and observe physical distancing protocols.

This tendency to view governments with suspicion is contributing to the increase number of infections and adversely affecting attempts to continue with life as we knew it before COVID-19, while simultaneously minimizing the spread of the virus.

CORONAVIRUS CONSPIRACY OR FAKE NEWS WITH BIOLOGICAL EXPERIMENT BY MANIKIN. CREATION OF CORONAVIRUS WITH BALL, TACKS AND RED PAINT. INSTRUCTION ON A BLACKBOARD royalty free stock photos

I am not big on conspiracy theories, so I am at a loss as to why some citizens and ‘rights’ activists are so against something as simple as wearing a mask in public, to reduce the risk of spreading or contracting the virus.  To my mind it is better to err on the side of caution.

I am not aware of anyone dying from the wearing of a mask, but to date there have been over one million COVID-19 deaths and close to 40 million infections worldwide!

Prevention of coronavirus infographic vector

Commonsense suggests the rational thing to do is to comply with governments’ public health directives, but confronted with rising deaths and infections, some people continue to cling to unproven conspiracy theories while sowing seeds of confusion in the minds of the public.

It is remarkable that so many citizens around the world have so little trust in their governments!

I am one individual, who strongly believes the onus is on the conspiracy theorists to prove that the World Health Organisation (WHO), the Centres for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) and governments all over the world are deliberately misleading the world about the existence of the novel coronavirus.

Groups and individuals should not be allowed to make unsubstantiated claims, especially when such claims have the potential to derail efforts to save lives and prevent infections.

I say to those peddling various conspiracy theories about COVID-19, put up or shut up!

Stop spreading confusion on social media and present your evidence, if you have any, to prove COVID-19 is non-existent, was created in a laboratory to reduce the world’s population or any of the other theories making the rounds in cyberspace.

That is the least one would expect from conspiracy theorists eager to expose deceitful governments and UN institutions.

BE AFRAID OF COVID-19

Incorrigible and you can’t teach an old dog new tricks!

Those were the adjective and idiom that came to mind when US President Donald Trump spoke of his hospitalization with COVID-19 and his action of removing his face mask before striding into the White House and conversing with staffers while still infectious after only three days of treatment.

US news

Any hope we had of the president returning with a sober and mature approach to the pandemic, was dashed when he tweeted the US had “learned to live with” flu season, “just like we are learning to live with Covid, in most populations far less lethal!!!”

The president had earlier said “Now I’m better, and maybe I’m immune. This is in stark contrast to his doctors’ prognosis that he still required treatment and at 74 years old, he is in the demographic that is most vulnerable to the worse effects of the virus and he will need ongoing treatment.

President Trump’s words and actions since his three day hospital stay, has done nothing to suggest he has started taking the pandemic seriously.

I readily understand a leader’s desire to prevent panic in the population as panic contributes nothing positive to any situation, but isn’t it a better option to acknowledge COVID-19 is dangerous, while encouraging adherence to measures design to mitigate and control the spread of the virus while minimizing the economic fallout?

The President’s reality TV star image of invincibility was shattered as soon as his positive test for the virus was made public so he can drop the act.

COVID-19 is real, dangerous and sometimes deadly!  The virus has shown time and time again that it has no regard for one’s position, reputation or status.

The fact President left the hospital walking is not a sign of his superhuman qualities but is more a function of the medical care available to him as leader of the country.

Sadly, over 210,000 Americans and over a million people worldwide have died, many due to lack of access to the quality of medical care President Trump is now using to promote his image as the conqueror of COVID-19.

The responsible thing to do is to promote and encourage adherence to preventative measures to control the spread of COVID-19.                                       

Studies: Wearing masks saves lives amid COVID-19 - CGTN

                                                                                                              

Following public health containment measures appear to be the most sensible approach to achieving the objective of returning to life as we knew it before the pandemic, in the shortest possible time.

I beg to differ from President Trump and declare to all who will listen that COVID-19 is to be feared! 

It is to be feared to the point where we scrupulously follow all measures to prevent infections and deaths.

Wearing a mask in public along with frequent hand washing and sanitizing is not a sign of weakness but rather a sign of strength!

President Trump and COVID-19

President Trump Photo Presidential Seal Wall Decal | Zazzle.com

Many people must have had a difficult time suppressing their natural instinct to be less than sympathetic, when news emerged of US President Donald Trump’s positive test for the dreaded COVID-19 virus.

CARICOM Health Ministers to hold Emergency Meeting on deadly Coronavirus -  CARICOM

It must have been particularly difficult for his political opponents and members of the scientific and medical community, as the president has consistently trivialized the severity of the pandemic while second-guessing, if not openly contradicting scientific and medical advice on the most efficacious ways of minimizing the risk of contracting COVID-19.

Mr. Trump’s words and actions have motivated millions of Americans to ignore warnings from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organisation (WHO), and have arguably contributed, in no small way, to the USA leading the world in number of deaths and infections from the novel coronavirus.

No other leader has done more harm to efforts to control the pandemic, although Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil is a strong contender for the dishonor.

Updated: Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro Denies Reports He Tested  Positive For Coronavirus After Trump Meeting
US President Donald Trump with President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil

Now that Mr. Trump has realized COVID-19 is not a ‘little flu’ that will miraculously disappear, it is hoped that both he and his wife make a full recovery and suffer no long term effects from the virus.

It is hoped the president will return with the evangelistic zeal of the Apostle Paul, to spread the good news of wearing of masks, physical distancing and frequent hand washing or sanitising as the main defence against COVID-19.

It is hoped he will support the efforts of the scientific and medical community or, at least, refrain from undermining their efforts with unrealistic announcements of when a vaccine is likely to become available.

The prevailing conditions in the USA, with the nation reeling from the effects of the pandemic, racial tensions (Black Lives Matter protests), an economic downturn and political polarization, demand sober and mature leadership.

It is definitely not the time for a divisive, braggadocio and conspiracy theory oriented leadership.

It is definitely not the time for an ‘Apprentice’ president.

I wish President Trump a speedy recovery if only for his unconventional and unorthodox approach to politics and the amusement it sometimes provide.

Hail to the chief!

BLACK LIVES MATTER

THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE AND THE CONSTITUTION SEPTEMBER 11 ...

I am not a fan of sci-fi movies but I have seen snippets of a few.

I can recall scenes from movies where aliens inhabit earthlings’ bodies and take total control of their actions.

I am beginning to wonder if some police officers in the United States of America are under the control of an external, supernatural force.

How to Become a Police Officer - wikiHow

I am serious!  Some of their actions simply defy logic.

Some of their actions are so illogical that the only plausible explanation I can contemplate is external control by an alien or supernatural force.

How else can the shooting death of Rayshard Brooks be explained?

It does not make sense that in midst of worldwide protests specifically over the needless killing of a helpless black man, George Floyd, by a white police officer and police racism towards people of African descent generally, that another white police officer would choose to shoot and kill Rayshard Brooks, a black man!

And what was Mr. Brooks’ crime? Brace yourself! He fell asleep in his car in the drive-thru at a fast-food outlet and disarmed an officer of his Taser while being arrested after failing sobriety tests.

To be fair, Rayshard Brooks pointed the Taser at the officer while running away from the scene. He was shot twice in the back.

Electroshock weapon Police TASER X2 Defender Axon, Police free png ...
A police Taser

It just seems to me that normal police officers would be extremely circumspect in executing their duties in the prevailing atmosphere of outrage over allegations of racist policing and use of excessive force in interactions with African-American males!

If Rayshard Brooks was shot in the leg after pointing the Taser at the officer, I suppose a case could be made that the officer acted in self-defence, but two shots in his back is a totally different matter.

The police action defies logic and demonstrates a lack of appreciation for what worldwide protests are about. Indeed, one may argue Rayshard Brooks’ killing is another justification, if one was needed, for the protests and police reform.

As a Jamaican, there is something else I don’t understand.

Why was it necessary to call the police because Rayshard Brooks fell asleep in his car in the drive-thru? Couldn’t someone have knocked on the car window in an attempt to rouse him?

The whole sorry episode has a supernatural feel about it.

Another strange thing about police killings of African-American males is the fact it is not restricted to one state or city. It is practically nationwide which suggests systemic, institutionalized deficiencies in law enforcement at state, county and city levels.

One thing is certain, whatever the cause of law enforcement’s systemic issues, it is not a good look for a country that delights in lecturing other countries on how to conduct their affairs.

THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE AND THE CONSTITUTION SEPTEMBER 11 ...

“I Can’t Breathe”

The fatal arrest of George Floyd, a black man kneed in the neck by ...
Protestors protesting George Floyd’s death

I can’t breathe!! Don’t kill me!!

That was the anguished cry from George Floyd as he was pinned to the ground with the knee of a white police officer pressed into the back of his neck.

George Floyd would later die in police custody.

 This incident in Minneapolis, Minnesota, is just the latest in a series of confrontations between unarmed black males and white police officers ending in the death of black males.

The deaths appear to be so senseless and avoidable that I am beginning to wonder if those police officers are sane.

I find their actions total baffling, even in a society where racism is still, let’s say, too prevalent.

Just think about it!

In today’s world where every man and his dog has a smartphone with camera ready to capture and post videos to social media platforms and police officers are equipped with body cameras, police officers are still shooting unarmed suspects and using unnecessary and excessive force to apprehend black suspects in full view of scores of witnesses!

They cannot be sane! They must be ‘mental’.

Or is it that they believe the lives of blacks males are so expendable and racism is so entrenched that there will be no consequences for their actions?

I would not blame them for thinking there will be no consequences for their actions, as it is not uncommon for officers to be exonerated for shooting unarmed black males even when cell phone and body cam footage shows the officers’ lives were never in danger!

I am still going with the ‘mental’ angle as common sense would dictate officers proceed with extreme caution in the aftermath of scores of “Black Lives Matter” demonstrations in major cities.

These police officers must be mental, as normal people would approach black suspects with kid’s gloves after extensive media coverage of deadly confrontations between white officers and black men.

As usual, whenever people gather to protest and demonstrate for just causes, there is always an opportunity for people with ulterior motives to infiltrate and exploit the movement.

Minneapolis cop who knelt on handcuffed black man arrested ...
A burning liquor store in Minneapolis, Minnesota

This is seen in the nightly violence in Minneapolis, with the senseless looting and burning of businesses.  The violence does not advance the objective of the protest, but rather divert attention from the objective towards the criminal destructive behaviour.

Community leaders and activists must move to bring the situation under control, as the destruction of public and private property simply feeds into the stereotypical narrative of violent, out of control blacks.

They need to emulate the actions of Dr. Martin Luther King and more recently, Michelle Obama who said “when they go low, we go high”.

Michelle Obama White House First Lady of the United States Female ...
MIchelle Obama


I don’t pretend to understand race relationship in the USA, but the time appears to be long pass for deep nationwide introspection into the relationship between law enforcement and black communities.

Free MLK Day Clipart - Martin Luther King, Jr. Images

Genuine attempts must be made to improve the relationship.

Lawyers and politicians must be prevented from hijacking the death of George Floyd to advance their professional and political careers.

The demonstrators must focus on bringing those responsible for George Floyd’s death to justice and achieving fundamental improvements in race relations.

All parties must be honest is assessing the behaviour, conditions and circumstances that have led to the toxicity in relationship between white police officers, black communities in general and black men in particular.

From where I sit, it appears the best defence the police officers involved can mount is…..temporary insanity!!

COVID-19 Reflections

COVID-19 Confirmed Cases 5,354,539
At 11.32 AM May 24, 2020 
Top Five Countries 
USA1,628,251
Brazil347,398
Russia344,481
United Kingdom260,916
Spain235,772
Source: John Hopkins University

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to wreak havoc throughout the world, albeit at a slower pace, countries are taking tentative steps to restore their economies to some semblance of normality.

In the early days of the then novel coronavirus, our basic nature was laid bare as people stampeded to purchase food, sanitation agents, masks and just about anything judged able to afford protection from the virus. 

Few people cared if supplies were distributed based on need; it was every man for himself. Selfishness was the order of the day.  Few spared a thought for the needs of others.

There is nothing like a crisis to reveal one’s true character.

As the virus spread from country to country, the World Health Organisation (WHO) distinguished it from other corona viruses with the name COVID-19 and declared a global pandemic.

By February and March 2020, the virus, which first emerged in Wuhan, China in December 2019, had made its way to Europe and North America, leaving thousands of deaths in its wake.

COVID-19 Global Deaths343,116
At 11.32 AM May 24, 2020 
Top Five Countries 
USA97,211
United Kingdom36,875
Italy32,785
Spain28,752
France28,218
Source: John Hopkins University

Some heads of state took the pandemic seriously and followed the guidance of public health experts and scientists.  One prominent leader brushed aside the dangers of COVID-19 as just ‘a little flu’!

As the virus took hold in countries and the death toll began to rise, hospitals quickly became overrun with patients.

Countries started to close their borders and institute lockdowns and stay-at-home orders to control the spread of the virus.

 It was not long before economic activities all but ground to a halt.

Unsurprisingly, countries with leaders who trivialized the seriousness of the virus and initially disregarded the advice of experts have seen the highest number of infections and deaths.

Humility would dictate that leaders, who scoffed at warnings, would eat humble pie and admit their mistakes but that was not to be.

 A scapegoat had to be found and WHO was selected.

The WHO did not sound the warning soon enough it is alleged.  The organization is too cozy with China and did not sufficiently question data and information coming out of the epicenter of the virus outbreak.

It does not matter that countries with the best and worst outcomes received the same information and warnings from the WHO, some leaders are just never wrong.

One leader in his continued quest to show his country’s superiority brags about having the greatest doctors and scientists, the most ventilators and his people being the greatest in the world.

His country also excels in another area that the leader does not find convenient to highlight.

His country has the highest number of fatalities from COVID-19 but, of course, that’s the WHO’s fault!

As countries begin to ease lockdown restrictions and stay-at-home orders, the WHO warns the virus maybe here to stay and great care must be taken to prevent a ‘second wave’ of infections.

The aforementioned leader is not too concern about a ‘second wave’ as he supports demonstrations to lift restrictions and pressures state governors to allow businesses to reopen at warp speed.

The leader has a trump card to play if a reckless reopening of the economy leads to the feared ‘second wave’ of infections.  The WHO can always be blame, maybe this time for not issuing the warning in a tweet!

As the world scrambles to return to some semblance of pre-COVID-19 normality, authorities continue to stress ‘social distancing’, face coverings in public and frequent washing of hands.

These measures are not without controversy as one man in the land of the free was seen on television declaring it is a free country and each person should be free to choose if they wish to stay six feet from another person! You don’t hear such wisdon everyday!

Additionally, again in the land of the free, guns have been brought into play when customers are refused entry to places of business without face coverings. It is an infringment of their constitutional right, they assert!

 At least one person has been killed while enforcing face covering guidelines.

May common sense prevail as governments seek to minimize the economic fallout while balancing economic, social, and public health considerations with individual rights and responsibilities.

Success or failure may depend on the attitude and approach of leaders. Now is not the time for frivolous superlatives! Lives are at stake!

COVID-19 is not a “little flu” and it couldn’t care less if you are the greatest, the most powerful or the best in the world.

International Women’s Day-A Salute to Women

On this International Women’s Day, I pause to celebrate and honour the women of our world!

Image result for free images of women on international women's day

It does not matter if you are a mother, a housewife, an academic, a head of state or the chief executive officer of a Fortune 500 company, women have made enormous and often unrecognized contributions and sacrifices to improve the state of our world.

Women have made tremendous strides in the face of a mountain of challenges and adversities.  The world would be worse off without the contribution of our women.

Women have demonstrated strength of character, courage, determination and resilience in their quest to elevate themselves culturally, educationally, economically and socially and their efforts and successes must be celebrated.

We must admit that historically, we have not always afforded our women the place of honour and respect they so richly deserve and take steps to accelerate actions to remedy the many wrongs.

We must not forget that, even as we celebrate International Women’s Day, there are countries where women and girls are living in virtual servitude and denied even a basic education.

It was never God’s plan for men to lord it over women.  The plan was always for man and woman to complement each other and thereby be stronger together.

Let us put aside the competition as there is no need to compete.

A man, even with the best of effort, can never replace a woman and likewise a woman cannot replace a man. So as women continue their struggle for equality and the recognition of their worth and value, let the watchword be complement and not competition.

Always remember the struggle is for equality not superiority.

Both sexes (genders?) bring strengths and weaknesses to the table and when combined, the strengths increase and weaknesses diminish.

So I say to my follow males, we do not need to deny women the right to self-actualisation as in so doing we are only denying ourselves the opportunity to grow stronger.

To women I say, continue to agitate for your God-given rights, but it would be wise to do away with pretensions of superiority to men. We need each other, as together we are stronger and apart we are weaker.

In your agitation for your rights, be careful not to offend the Almighty God with demands clearly in opposition to His precepts and commandments.

I salute all women of the world on this International Women’s Day!

There is a lot more work to be done to right the wrongs meted out to women over the years, but you have made enormous strides in your quest to reclaim your place in God’s plan for partnership between man and woman.

#MenandWomenStrongerTogether

The above is a lightly edited version of my blog posted for International Women’s Day 2019.

School Violence On The Rise

If you have been paying attention to news reports in both traditional and social media, you cannot help concluding that some students in Jamaican schools are out of control.

Image result for free images of fighting Jamaican school children

There were reports of a student at a primary school engaging the school’s principal in a physical confrontation culminating in the principal’s doctor prescribing her some sick leave. 

The dean of discipline at a high school was the recipient of a number of punches to his face courtesy of a 12th grade male student.

The same 12th grade student was arrested days later, after returning to school armed with an ‘ice pick’ and making threats against the injured teacher.

One video making the rounds on social media, recorded a brawl between a male and a female student, at the same high school where the teacher was recorded threatened to ‘murder’ a student!

In this video, the opening scene saw a teacher desperately trying to keep the combatants from ripping each other to shreds, but the students were bent on causing bodily harm.

The teacher had to beat a hasty retreat when the fighters started hurling classroom furniture at each other with amazing dexterity, as their classmates roared them on while capturing cell phone footage for online sharing!

The scene was reminiscent of a fight between gladiators in the Coliseum in Rome.

Another video featured a fight involving three (3) school girls proudly decked out in their school uniform. This brawl was of a more conventional nature replete with kicks, punches and pulling of hair.

A third video surfaced featuring fighting school boys in uniform.  This time it took the intervention of a policeman, who was compelled to fire a warning shot, to break-up the brawl and disperse the adoring fight fans.

Image result for free images of fighting Jamaican school children

Those are just the ones that have come to my attention and I am assured there is no shortage of videos showing confrontations between students and teachers and student on student violence.

The minister with responsibility for education is suggesting social media is making the situation appear worse than it is, as incidents of violence in schools are relatively rare.

The president of the teachers’ union disagrees and is calling for teachers to be armed with non-lethal weapons to defend themselves when attacked.

I find the union leader more credible as his members are in the direct line of fire.

With many schools suffering from a shortage of teachers in critical subjects, a solution to students’ behaviour is urgently needed to prevent acceleration in teachers departing classrooms.

If a solution is not found, I would not be surprised if the teachers’ union begins demanding a hazard allowance and teachers’ dress code becomes suits of armour!

School administrators may also need to consider bolting school furniture to the floor, as in one video, furniture were transformed into missiles with frightening ease and speed!

On a serious note though, we are a violent society and the behaviour in school is simply a reflection of the society.

There is no silver bullet.

We require a determined, concentrated effort by all stakeholders (government, parents, students, teachers, church and community) to pull us from the abyss of crime, violence, incivility and indiscipline into which we have descended.

May God help us!

Teacher In Death Threat Video Keeps Her Job

Do you remember the Jamaican teacher caught on video threatening to kill one of her students?

Image result for free pictures of black teacher threatening a student

Well, news came during the week that the disciplinary panel convened to hear her case recommended she keeps her job.

I agree with the panel’s decision.

It is my understanding that today’s classrooms sometimes have more in common with war zones than with centres of learning.

Too many students come from dysfunctional homes with little or no knowledge of what it means to respect authority and how to conduct themselves in social settings.

Too many students have no interest in getting an education. They are more interested in emulating the worse of local and international popular culture.

Teachers are often overtly disrespected and ignored by students, and it is not uncommon for parents and members of the community to assault teachers and other school officials.

Against that background, it is not surprising that, occasionally, a teacher may ‘lose it’ and behave in a less than professional manner.  Indeed, what is surprising is that more teachers have not lost their cool!

It is true we are responsible for our behaviour and the teacher admitted before the disciplinary panel that her behaviour was unprofessional.

Image result for free pictures of black teacher threatening a student
What Teachers Need To Know About Restorative Justice

It was also reported the disciplinary panel recommended the teacher tender an apology to the school’s board of management and news emerged that the threatened student, who no longer attends that school, is also expecting an apology.

I don’t have much to say about the tendering of an apology to the student, except to say care must be taken to not empower students to misbehave and diminish teachers’ authority  and standing in students’ eyes.

Finally, I sincerely hope consideration has been given to providing teachers with the psychological support and coping skills necessary to navigate the minefields of today’s classrooms.

There is an urgent need for a coalition of parents, teachers, students and community members to work together to return classrooms to what they are meant to be, that is, centres of learning and character development.