Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 376

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Pronouns: The Musical continues its trek this weekend featuring songs with Us in the title. Curtain time is Saturday at 1:00 am (Eastern US).

The next beach walk will be the last of the season – but hopefully not the last of the series because I plan to return to the beach in the future.

Wishing all the best for those in Hurricane Florence’s path.

Last weekend we saw the stage version of Misery (Stephen King). Well done – so did you see the movie with Kathy Bates?

Downtown Cincinnati installed a controversial streetcar several years ago. According to Channel 12, ridership is 46% below expectations – and I am not surprised.

At the dance studio where we regularly attended social dances, the owner/instructor is absent on Fridays during September and October. “Students” are volunteering to lead the hour-long class before the dance – and I’m doing one in mid-October.

A soon-to-be-announced blog break is on the near horizon. After all, fall is approaching – and yes, it will interrupt Pronouns: The Musical.

In the past 6-9 months, CBS News has been in the news for the various harassment issues. Their on-air personal continues to impress me by the way they address the reports.

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This past Tuesday marked the 17th anniversary of 9-11. An editorial title by a local resident caught my eye: Shared purpose after 9/11 nonexistent today Below I pulled three paragraphs that resonated with me – and are perfect for the politics section of this post.

I was in Manhattan on Sept. 11, 2001. Like all of us, I will never forget that day. But believe it or not, there is something about the days and weeks that followed 9/11 in New York that I actually miss. Something that we seem to have lost entirely today, and at great cost: a shared understanding of the world around us, and a common purpose. For me, that feeling was as unforgettable as anything else. …

Although New York City is famously diverse and also sometimes called the loneliest place on Earth, I found connection, common ground, and resolve in every eye I met walking the streets in those weeks. We were all thinking about the attack, the lives in the balance, and what we could possibly do to help. This shared understanding and purpose felt invigoratingly new then. It would be positively alien today. …

The public square is too regularly a shouting match, staged from our respective corners. This distance between so many of us has left in its wake a degraded political culture that simply can’t tackle big problems, or sometimes even little ones. And so those problems fester, trust in our institutions continues to dwindle and the distance grows.

For those interested, here’s the entire column.

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To lead you into this week’s dose of satirical headlines, The Onion made me laugh with this one about American politics – and the image is priceless. For more, click here.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)

Two-faced house guest who didn’t need anything suddenly wants glass of water
Deformed, half-feathered Audubon Society President flees into forest after injecting self with bird DNA
Man discovers huge cache of rare fossils while walking through Natural History Museum
Returning Jesus Christ downed by U.S. missile defense 30,000 feet before making landfall
Is football bad for the NFL?
‘The Onion’ has chosen to publish an anonymous op-ed from two sources close to Trump who think their dad is the best president ever

Interesting Reads

A look back at Thomas Beckett, Henry II, and the church
Green the Sahara?
1968 in Eastern Europe
Linking chocolate syrup and medicine
Attempting to replicate termites in order to help society
The cello and the cellist
(Video) An interview with the first female to lead the cadet corp at The Citadel
(Photos) Stunning silhouettes from Africa

Early this past summer I started sending you into the weekend with a song having summer in the title. This post marks the end of the season here on OITS, so I send you into the weekend with a different version of the first song – this time by Cincinnati’s Comet Bluegrass All-Stars. (The audio isn’t the best.) Give it a chance and enjoy! In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

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On a Remembrance

I didn’t plan this post, however, listening to the news this morning motivated me to write. After all, this day 11 years ago started much like today – a beautiful fall day with a mild temperature and a clear sky – but then something changed the world as we knew it.

On that day I was in my work cubicle with our local NPR station in the background when I first heard the brief report, and my colleague and I talked about a small-engine plane running into a tall building. As more news became available, our mood quickly changed.

Whether shock, terror, grief, or any other emotion of the day, the mood of that day stayed for months. The world had changed. Our routines changed. Our awareness changed.

One that day and in the days ahead, we were one. We were one as a nation, and yes, I believe one as a world. – well, at least the vast majority. The events blurred the differences of politics, ethnicity, culture, salary, profession, and many more. I still look back at that time of need and continue to believe that President Bush’s leadership during that time was the crowning achievement of his presidency. On that day, we also gained a greater appreciation for first responders, which eventually led to greater appreciation for those serving in our military.

Unfortunately, we lost that oneness. Before 2001 ended, politicians used the event and the issues to divide. Others reinforced the thought that the event was an attack by Muslim on Christians. Our elected legislators turned medical and financial support for the first responders suffering side effects from their work into a political football. All one has to do is look at the current election season to notice that our oneness has been replaced by something much less graceful.

Meanwhile, those in primary school at the time are now high school seniors or college freshman. Families still feel the pain of their loss on that day. Some lives have moved on – others remain crushed or embroiled in bitterness. September 11, 2001 affected many – and in different ways. Yet, in today’s time of economic need, I still yearn for the oneness beyond selfishness.

On 10 Years Ago

Regardless of the type of media, there was no shortage this past week of 9/11 stories. Sorrow, confusion, fear, pride, anger, grief, emptiness, and dismay – the stories were there to capture the emotion – as they were there to capture heroism, patriotism, or genuine service and compassion. This post is not about recounting where I was on that day; nor of my personal encounters with that day; nor is it to rehash the countless stories that already exist – but to stimulate thinking.

Learning is an important tool for everyone. All one has to do is read online comments regarding anything about Islam to conclude that many, if not most, American non-Muslims know very little about Islam and hold many misconceptions.

Forgiveness, an important Christian foundation, is something that one must do in order to heal their wounds. My November 16, 2010 post about forgiveness concludes with a challenge regarding 9/11.

My last aim is to remind us of something we had, but have lost. 9/11 brought a political grace to Washington. The event brought elected officials together. 9/11 gave leaders an opportunity to lead to heal. 9-11 gave Washington the opportunity to listen, discuss, and gracefully disagree. 9/11 gave leaders the opportunity to be country first. 9/11 gave us as citizens to be one. I a column titled Into an Unknowable Future, Tom Brokaw wrote these words a few weeks after 9/11: Will the surge of bipartisan spirit endure, washing away the pettiness that devalues public life and alienates voters? (NY Times, Sept 29, 2011)

It is my nature to be reflective and positive about life.  I appreciate the image above because it reminds us of what was and illustrates the light of hope for what is to come. And yes, a positive image.

On 8 Years Ago

In remembrance to those served and those who died on September 11, 2001. Let the time remind us of a lost, but possible human spirit – one beyond divisions and one of oneness. Although the video’s creator cut this short, it still is very meaningful. A good resource site for remembering the sacrifices of many from various battles and various acts of terrorism is remember.gov.