We have seven days left to save the Free World as we know it.
OK, when I say “we” I mean our friends in America.
And is saving the Free World a bit of an exaggeration? Actually, I don’t think it is.
One week today the US will go to the polls to pass their verdict on Donald Trump’s presidency.
From this side of the pond, that’s a no-brainer. We’ve been watching through our fingers as Trump has trashed the office he holds.
Those early days of lurid tales of “locker room talk” that showed staggering sexism gave way to his seeming admiration for despots.
It says something when someone who should be a beacon of democracy cosies up to the likes of Putin and Kim Jong-un while his Western fellow leaders look on aghast.
Then there is his dog whistle tactics to appeal to the rather unpleasant right-wing base in his support. Are those Proud Boys still standing back and standing by to see the result of the election, do you reckon?
Trump’s response to the Black Lives Matter protests following the killing of George Floyd said all you need to know about the prevailing attitudes in the White House.
Law enforcement officers using tear gas and riot control cleared peaceful protesters so Trump could walk to a nearby church for a photo op with a borrowed bible.
And add into this heady mix the absolute car crash of his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, from dismissing it as nothing to worry about to suggesting bleach and light in the body could be a cure.
Apparently, though, the great man has taken on Covid and fought it. He’s immune with a glow now. The last person to come through illness with the burnish of deity about them was Caligula.
Then there was the litany of lies, half-truths and spin from the White House to the point where no one can believe anything they are told by Trump or his team anymore.
All of this driven by the relentless and at times simply barking Twitter feed from Trump himself.
Now, there is genuine speculation about what happens if Trump loses but refuses to accept the result.
More to the point, what if his more extreme, cult-like followers refuse to accept it. You know, the ones with the assault rifles that Trump has been encouraging to “liberate” their states from local government-imposed lockdowns.
It is crystal clear to everyone else on the planet that Trump is dangerous. He needs to be kicked out and the reset button pushed on normality.
But such is the murky, distorted world of US politics just now that it is far from a given Joe Biden will win. The US is caught in a waking nightmare, one tripling around the world, undermining belief in democracy, giving succour to those who see justice, dignity, fairness and the rule of law as disposable commodities.
We can only hope America can wake up from its nightmare and restore the values to which we should all aspire.
Fireballs’ beacon of hope for the future
Having the Stonehaven Fireballs fall victim to Covid just sums up the impact of this vicious virus.
The Hogmanay celebrations in the High Street are all about bringing people together. It’s a happy, family affair where neighbours, friends, old acquaintances and new gather to see out the old year and bring in the new.
The atmosphere is always brilliant, friendly, excited and jubilant.
The fireballs themselves are stunning, a spectacular display put on by local volunteers who love the tradition and care about their community.
And on the stroke of midnight the place just erupts… cheers and applause, hugs and kisses freely exchanged with everyone around you, whether you know them or not.
Many of us have a wee pause to look back at what happened in the previous 12 months, then look forward to what is to come.
All of that happiness and optimism has been swept away by the coronavirus. The organisers deserve thanks for fighting to save the ceremony and applause for saying they will bring it back next year better than before. Their determination is inspirational.
It shows that sitting behind the sorrow of another event lost is the one thing we must all cling to. Hope that there are better days to come. Even without the fire to cleanse 2020, we can still have faith in the future.
Thunderbirds jumpers are a no-go
It’s beginning to look a lot like (digital) Christmas, according to our head health honcho Jason Leitch.
So, disappointingly, I won’t have to buy a Christmas jumper this year.
I do like a bit of fun on the old festive jersey front. I have iterations ranging from something that looks Scandinavian with reindeer to a full-blown fuzzy Santa face. My favourite though is a snowman Dalek.
But even that was going to be supplanted by one my Facebook feed offered. But now that garish Thunderbirds jumper which looked like yer maw knitted it will have to wait until next year.
Which isn’t so FAB.