Feeling Forlorn

98B39A80-031F-4DD4-ACBB-173BDD107999I have to be honest with you. I don’t think I have ever, in my life, felt forlorn.

Hmm. Let me think about that. Have I ever felt desolate or dreary; unhappy or miserable? How about lonely and sad? Forsaken? Hopeless? Bereft? Destitute? Nope, nope, and nope. Never ever have I felt any of those things.

It’s not that I’m a Pollyanna, an excessively cheerful or optimistic person, or anything. It’s just that there hasn’t been any reason for me to feel forlorn about anything.

Oh wait. I take that back. For a brief, wonderful moment, I was in a great mood. Then I remembered who our president is. Now I’m forlorn.

Written for today’s one-word prompt, “forlorn.”


The New World


“May God have mercy on his soul,” the minister said just before they injected the fatal cocktail into the man’s arm.

“He has no soul,” an angry woman said loudly to the others who were witnessing the execution.

“If there really was a god,” another said, “how could he have allowed someone to commit such a heinous crime?”

“There are bad people out there,” said yet another observer.

“I can’t stand it,” said a sobbing woman from the back of the observation room. “My son wasn’t a bad man.”

“Well,” said the man sitting beside her, “he should have known better. It’s no longer permissible to criticize the president. And what he posted in his blog was pretty strong.”

“He was just a foolish blogger,” she said.

“The Ministry of Information has super computers that use artificial intelligence to scan every blog post or news article posted. They’re looking for anything that in any way might be viewed as derogatory about the president,” the man explained. “Those journalists and bloggers who get tagged are rounded up and imprisoned…or worse.”

The woman began sobbing even harder. “Who would have thought back in 2016 that openly criticizing the President of the United States would be punishable by lethal injection?”

“It’s a whole new world out there,” the man said.

Written for today’s one-word prompt, “mercy.”

How Did He Know What To Expect?

When I wrote my earlier post today in response to today’s one-word prompt, I quoted Abraham Lincoln, who famously said, “America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.”

After publishing that post, I remembered something said by Henry Louis (H. L.) Mencken, a prominent newspaperman and political commentator during the first half of the 20th century. His quote, featured in the image at the top of this post, was published in the Baltimore Evening Sun on July 26, 1920.

Well, old H. L. was quite prescient, wasn’t he? It took 96 years, but in 2016the plain folks of the land” would elect a moron as their president.

How did he know what to expect?

The Death of Critical Thinking


Everyone thinks, right? It’s what we do. But much of our thinking, left to itself, is biased, distorted, partial, uninformed, or downright prejudiced. Yet, it seems more and more these days that people, rather than exercising critical thinking, are okay with allowing their thinking to be biased, distorted, partial, uninformed, or downright prejudiced.

So what is critical thinking? Well, it’s not negative thinking. It’s not being argumentative. It’s not being blindly critical of someone or something. Critical thinking is the ability to engage in reflective and independent thinking. It involves the objective evaluation of data, facts, observable phenomenon, and research findings.

Seems simple enough. Don’t take things at face value. Gather the relevant information, objectively evaluate the facts, and come to a well-reasoned conclusion. Easy-peasy.

Apparently it’s not so easy-peasy. Our educational system seems to be more intent on indoctrination than on teaching students to think critically. As a result, a large numbers of Americans are uncritically consuming “fake news,” falling for conspiracy theories, and believing all kinds of crazy, baseless assertions about their fellow citizens.

America now has a reality TV star and questionably successful real estate mogul in the Oval Office. This man has a tendency to tweet to all the world his immediate, uncritical reactions to whatever he hears or sees. He has neither the interest nor the patience to gain any depth of understanding regarding those areas for which he, in his role as president, is responsible for.

This ill-informed man was able to persuade enough gullible Americans, who lack sufficient critical thinking skills, that he has all the answers. Without the ability to distinguish fake news from real news or to understand the basic workings of their own government, they fell hook, line, and sinker for his claims that he alone knew better than the generals or than anyone else how to “make America great again.”

And even with ample evidence that our president lacks the temperament, the emotional skills, and the intellectual competence to master the role into which he was elected, there are still those who look at him uncritically and believe him to be the greatest thing since sliced bread.

We are witnessing the death of critical thinking in America.

Written for today’s one-word prompt, “critical.”

One-Liner Wednesday — Remain Silent

The quote, “Better to remain silent and thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt” is often attributed to Abraham Lincoln.

But some say that Mark Twain said something very similar: “It’s better to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid than open it and remove all doubt.”

Of course, it’s possible that neither Lincoln nor Twain said either one of these. One site, Brainy Quotes, attributes the alleged Lincoln quote to “Unknown.”

But where these similar quotes originated is not the point I wish to make here. I would hope that the current President of the United States would heed either of these warnings. Because with every word he utters and every word he tweets, he is removing all doubt to the world what a fool he is.

Written for this week’s One-Liner Wednesday prompt from Linda G. Hill.