WNIJ Perspectives

Perspective: A Message From The Hilltop

Aug 6, 2020
Connie Seraphine

Butterflies flit all around me as I drive the four-wheeler up the hill, our four dogs in eager pursuit. Crisscrossing all around me are tiny white, orange, and yellow butterflies competing for my attention and the nectar from the alfalfa and clover buds. Shifting down, my eyes are drawn to two other winged creatures. Stunning Monarchs play tag and honeybees from the hives up the hill perch on scores of purple alfalfa and pink clover blossoms. A teenage entrepreneur friend who tends three hives just ahead has promised several more jars of this golden nectar of the gods.

Perspective: A Brave New World Of Campaigning

Aug 5, 2020
gvbsonic / Pixabay

As the 2020 election looms, it’s a brave new world out there.  COVID-19 has changed everything, even elections. Candidates, staffers and volunteers are working on virtual strategies. This will mean more mailings, phoning and texts in place of traditional face to face events.

COVID-19 has reshaped how campaigns are organized. Many of you know I am managing my daughter’s campaign for the General Assembly in the 66th district. Though I am not new to campaigning, I have had to spend time wandering through the virtual world. Ugh.

Perspective: A New Breed Of RINO

Aug 4, 2020
Pexels / Pixabay

RINO, Republican In Name Only, is a slur used against Republicans who fail one or more extreme right wing purity tests.  It’s likely Reagan, Goldwater, the Bushes, Eisenhower, John McCain and other Republicans icons would be labeled RINOs by the standards of Trumpism.

Here's a new term – PINO. Patriot In Name Only. Examples:

If you disrespect 1st Amendment's free press protections and call

Journalists “Enemies of the People,” you may be a PINO.

If you think protecting our flag is more important than protecting the right

Mabel Amber / Pixabay

I’m not bashful about my Christian faith, a belief grounded in love, justice, and equality.  I’ve been truly disheartened by some recent actions that have been deemed acceptable because of Christianity.  Most notable, the statement and reaction of Florida Representative Ted Yoho. A reporter from The Hill, an American political newspaper and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez herself, claim Representative Yoho used a French expletive to describe Ocasio-Cortez as a female dog.  Mr.

Perspective: Of Cannibals And Kings

Jul 31, 2020
Pixabay

Suppose I arrive late at a meeting and say, “Sorry to be late. I just flew  from the planet Neptune, and boy, are my arms tired.” And you, in response, say, “I thought you were planning to spend the night on Jupiter.” We’d both be joking of course. But suppose we weren’t joking. Then we would be sent to a psychiatrist. But there’s another explanation: Perhaps we come from a culture in which there’s a common belief that people can fly all the way to Neptune and back.

Perspective: Election Ploys

Jul 30, 2020

It was almost exactly a year ago that the president made his fateful call to President Zelensky. You remember -- Trump said he’d deliver the money Congress had appropriated for Ukraine's protection against Russian military incursions, then he added: "I would like you to do us a favor, though...."

 

Perspective: The Power Of The First Amendment

Jul 29, 2020
GDJ and Relentless, remixed / Pixabay

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Perspective: Making Trouble

Jul 28, 2020
Lawrence Jackson / Official White House photo

Since March, we’ve faced impossible issues and  limited choices to make the best of bad decisions. 

Enduring stressful days trying to keep everyone healthy and alive, our jobs and schools have been in a constant state of flux.  With the new school year looming, we wonder how to prioritize the health issues involved in opening our schools.

There really isn’t a good solution. 

Our world erupted after George Floyd’s horrific murder. And we found ourselves wrestling with how we as a nation reconcile ourselves and our actions of racism.

Paul Melki / Unsplash

From the White House to street corners of Chicago, from 10:00 a.m. Sunday mornings to nightly AA meetings you will find this disease. It is sewn into the fabric of our culture. It cannot be cured with a vaccine nor can your doctor give you a prescription. All of us have experienced it, some of us know it and others are unaware of its symptoms.

Perspective: That Other Pandemic

Jul 24, 2020
Maria Lysenko / Unsplash

The national pandemic continues. You think I’m talking about coronavirus? I’m talking about guns.

Two new studies by the Brookings Institution and University of California, Davis show a nearly 50% spike in gun sales in the US during the last 4 months -- nearly 4 million in June alone, and 19 million sold so far this year. Two main things seem to be catalysts: Covid-19 and the largely peaceful Black Lives Matter protests. (Yes, despite the media focus on instances of violence and looting, the vast majority of the nationwide protests were peaceful and lawful.)

Perspective: Diversify Your Friendships

Jul 23, 2020
Gerd Altman / Pixabay

There’s no doubt recent national events have underscored the value of our social support systems to overall wellbeing. While most of us typically choose people a lot like ourselves as our friends, it’s clearly time to move beyond this constraint. The world is a delightfully diverse planet and we need to create friendscapes that reflect this diversity.

Perspective: You Can Learn A Lot From A Firefly

Jul 22, 2020

It’s been a long time since I have seen the fireflies in such profusion blinking their love light into the gloaming, but perhaps, I was just not looking.

On this warm damp night, I have wandered out to our back yard to check on the status of the moon. Before I can look up, however, I am surprised and delighted to discover a bevy of floating fireflies greeting me in the darkness.

Perspective: Joy's Call

Jul 21, 2020
K. Kliche / Pixabay

“Redeemed humanity is still young; it has hardly come to its full strength. But already there is joy enough in the little finger of a great saint such as yonder lady to waken all the dead things of the universe into life,” says George MacDonald in C.S. Lewis’ The Great Divorce. I can’t shake this image of joy months since I put down Lewis’ novel where he imagines what would happen if people could take a bus out of hell to heaven.

Perspective: Forewarned Is Forearmed

Jul 20, 2020
Markus Steidle / Pixabay

"Forewarned is forearmed." State government budgets will suffer severe strain, on both the revenue and expenditure sides of the ledger. A crisis looms.

First, revenue. State governments rely heavily on income and sales taxes. Crushing unemployment and "lockdowns" have crippled both. Unprecedented levels of unemployment combined with unprecedented declines in consumer spending will impose unprecedented contraction of government revenues.

Perspective: Adieu, Dear Grillfriend

Jul 17, 2020

I have a startling confession. When I was growing up, we never had a grill. I know, I can hear you all gasping out there in radioland. But it is true. Secretly, I envied people who grilled out. When the neighbors grilled, it called to me, siren-like with its meaty goodness.

 

We still had hot dogs and hamburgers at my house on the summer grilling holidays, but they were all cooked in the oven. No smell of the outdoors there, just the sterile oven smell. Frankly, it was boring.

 

Jud McCranie / cropped. Wikimedia, CC by-SA 4.0

There’s love in the air.

I see it every night in my backyard — surrounded by pulsing, blinking lights.

Ahh, the splendor of the Lampyridae. Better known as the lightning bug or firefly.

That constant flashing is mostly from dudes looking to hook up -- a mating signal.

That glow is called bioluminescence. They suck in oxygen via the rear end that combines with chemicals that produce light.

Perspective: Critical Thinking Is Not Hate

Jul 15, 2020
Josh Miller / Unsplash

When I was a child my parents taught me that not telling the whole truth is lying. On July 3rd, President Donald Trump declared that educators are teaching students to hate their own country because critical examinations of history, allegedly, are a web of lies without perspective but with distorted facts.  

 

Perspective: Summer Stream Of Consciousness

Jul 14, 2020
oil painting
Angela Wilson / angelarosewilson.com

Having recently read To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf, I invite you to escape for the next minute or so and come along on this wee wander down a summer stream of consciousness.

Perspective: Make Common Courtesy Common

Jul 13, 2020
Susan Stephens / WNIJ

Holding the door open for someone approaching the door. Saying please, thank you, and excuse me. Pulling all the way up at school drop off. Wearing a mask. These are all examples of common courtesy.

I have lived in big cities, suburbs and here in DeKalb County for over a decade. And sadly, common courtesy is not something I see as often as I would hope.

Gerd Altman / Pixabay

It was not a trick question that I asked my fifth-grade students long ago.

"How can CPR revive a person if we breathe IN oxygen and we breathe OUT carbon dioxide?"

After some guessing, one student came up with the correct answer. "There is still some oxygen left in the air we exhale."

Yes there is, and while the ratio is different, it is sufficient to get the job done.

Perspective: A Uniquely American Crisis

Jul 9, 2020
Bonnie Taylor / Pixabay

We’re all suffering from outrage fatigue, making it hard to pay attention to all the new outrages. But please don’t miss this one. Trump, in a masterstroke of “two-for-the-price-of-one awfulness” managed to put bullseyes on both international students and university budgets.

Perspective: A Lesson From The Germans

Jul 8, 2020
By Cor2701, CC BY 3.0 / https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=76058004

Once again, I have found the latest round of “debates” on the legacy of the Confederacy baffling 155 years after the Civil War ended. Once and for all, we need consider the Confederacy for what it was and where it now belongs. The lesson on how to accomplish that comes from the Germans and how they treat their dark history.           

Perspective: COVID-19 Is More Than An Inconvenience

Jul 7, 2020
Bob Dmyt / Pixabay

For me, like I suspect many of you, COVID-19 has given me cabin fever. I’ve baked more fancy desserts than my partner and I need to eat. I’ve taken up drawing and painting (with painfully poor results). I’m driving my dog bonkers with all the walks I want to take each day. I haven’t tried making sourdough bread yet, but I’ve seen enough pictures on Instagram to know I’m in the minority there. For me, this pandemic is an inconvenience.

Perspective: I Have A Thing For The Old Guys

Jul 6, 2020
Franciso Solares-Larrave

I won't deny it: I like old guys, the furry, four-legged variety that enjoys lying in a sunny spot, naps for hours, eats well and commandeers their people's beds, heads or laps. Yes, I love older cats.

See, I volunteer at our animal shelter socializing cats; I play with them, pet them, bribe them with treats and do my best to get them used to being with people.

Perspective: Which Patron Saint Of The Internet?

Jul 3, 2020

There is a patron saint for virtually everything. And now the Internet may be about to get its own.

There are two contenders. On the one side, you have St. Isadore -- a 6th century bishop of Seville whose life’s work involved developing a 20-volume encyclopedia encompassing all human knowledge. Isadore was informally recognized as the patron saint of the web by Pope John Paul II.

Perspective: The Lost Art Of Reading A Map

Jul 2, 2020
Pixabay

Maps have defined my knowledge of the universe around me: road maps for driving, contour maps defining territory for army maneuvers, sectional charts for flying airplanes along designated paths to keep the planes separated, and solar and stellar maps to orient directions on sea or land. A peopled, inhabited, built up terrain.

I speak the language of maps. I know their origins and their references.

Perspective: The New American Majority

Jul 1, 2020
Joseph Redfield Nino / Pixabay

The last several weeks, we’ve been witnessing “The New American Majority.” Stacey Abrams coined this during her 2018 campaign for Governor of Georgia as she built a unique political and social coalition.  I believe it’s just the kind of broad-based coalition our country needs to work together combatting long standing policies and actions of injustice in our country.

Perspectives: Know Your Dictator

Jun 30, 2020
public domain

Juan Manuel de Rosas is someone everyone should know, not because of his role in nineteenth century Argentine history, but because he created a template for the modern autocratic ruler.

Perspective: Breathe

Jun 29, 2020
Cooper Baumgartner / Unsplash

A knee to the neck for over 8 minutes and a man can’t breathe, suffocated by the police ‘force’. Over 2 million coronavirus cases in the U.S., many of its victims can’t breathe. What ties these two crises together? The breath. We are, if not literally, figuratively gasping for air.

Perspectives: Grandmother Was An Astronaut

Jun 26, 2020
Nicolas Lobos / Unsplash

I grew up with a typewriter keyboard, and I grew up with a TV set. The other day I used a device that blends the keyboard and the screen -- it’s called a computer -- to talk via live video to a friend in Paris.  

 

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