Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays' take on things and experiences

Posts Tagged ‘opinion

RS Interview

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Relative Something just landed a scoop interview with *the* John W. Hays delving into a variety of topics he was willing to discuss with us. Out of respect for his personal privacy, we are leaving out the questions he declined to answer. Here are some selected excerpts where we talked about the pandemic…

RS: How are you holding up under the stresses brought on by the coronavirus pandemic?

JWH: Hanging on by a thread? I say that as a question because, even though I am coping rather well, it feels a bit shaky much of the time. I am acutely aware of a diminished buffer between my sensible self and my flip-my-lid self as I go about my days. A total meltdown looms large on the fringes of every day. It’s just grace that has allowed me to keep from blowing a gasket over the simplest of foibles, like a napkin slipping from my lap or inadvertently catching my toe on a perfectly flat floor surface and suffering that universal “D’oh!” feeling.

RS: Have you heard of anyone in your immediate circle of friends and acquaintances who have tested positive for COVID-19 since the virus began impacting the United States?

JWH: Not at the closest level, despite several reported situations and symptoms that triggered reasons to be tested. None of those have become known positives that caused me concern about a need I should self-quarantine as a precaution. There have been some reports of second-person or third-person cases, and just recently dear friends in another part of the world who have the virus, so it doesn’t feel very far away from me. I still take my temperature every morning and log how I’m feeling on the COVID Near You site. So far, so lucky, is the way I interpret my days of being spared.

John & Mike socially distanced in the great outdoors, autumn forest bathing.

RS: Do you ever think about how the last seven months might have been different if there hadn’t been this global pandemic?

JWH: Maybe in a few fleeting retrospective moments, but really, that’s a luxury that serves no purpose. The harsh realities we are coping with every day leave little space in my head to go there. Equally, it has sapped much of my energy toward looking ahead to plan anything in the future. Despite my attempts to remain as positive as possible, I all too easily fall into a “what’s the point” despondency about making any plans until the virus is under control.
Luckily, I have Cyndie’s precious energies enriching my life with her willingness to make some things happen. With masks on our faces, we have achieved several socially distanced get-togethers with some key people who have helped to keep me from becoming a complete shut-in hermit on days I’m not at the day-job.

RS: Will the pandemic affect how you vote this year?

JWH: We already voted! So, no. For the previous election, Cyndie was going to be out of town, so she requested an absentee ballot. It was so flippin’ convenient that I ordered one for myself. It was a no-brainer for us to go that route again for this election, except, with the very noticeable disruptions in our Postal Service recently –including delaying the delivery of our chicks, which cost the life of one of them– Cyndie chose to drive to the home of our township clerk to hand-deliver our ballots.
I don’t know that they’ll be properly counted, but I’m satisfied that we did our part to get them there. We’ve been reciting a mantra of “Fifty-Blue-States” to envision a landslide so obvious that a certain person finally gets the message he has to accept the results. However, just last night it occurred to me that 50 blue states would be so unbelievable it would serve as a justifiable reason to question the results.
I just hope the popular vote is what determines the outcome and not an electoral college or the Supreme Court.
Wouldn’t it be nice if the Supreme Court could put an end to the pandemic? Declare the coronavirus unconstitutional!

RS: Hard to object to that.

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Written by johnwhays

October 15, 2020 at 6:00 am

Trigger Words

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It’s so transparent, the malevolent words inserted as a preface to the targets of his greatest fear in any given moment. It’s a glaringly obvious tactic that is an essential weapon in every middle school bully’s arsenal.

“…radical Democrats!,” he emphasizes, striving to make them universally synonymous.

“…China virus,” he repeats in hope of deflecting blame as far away from his shoulders as possible.

He wants everyone to hear these trigger words, sympathizers, and nemeses alike.

He wants the descriptors to provoke. Who wouldn’t? I’d like to win the middle school war of words, too. Then you wouldn’t need to actually proceed to the playground fistfight that is the next result, if it came to that.

When I am tired, behind the wheel in the long commute at the end of a grueling day at work, and a soundbite plays on the radio before I can react to mute it, I am triggered to anger over the disingenuous conflations that sorrowfully smear the citizens of this democracy whose constitution he took an oath to preserve, protect, and defend.

“…anti-American protestors…” he rails while conspicuously and purposefully avoiding mention of the victims of the racially unbalanced excessive use of force by white police officers across the country that is sparking marches in the streets here and around the world by such wide cross-sections of populations as to be beyond grouping any more specific than “citizens.”

I know that those citizens are not being “anti-American.” I understand that he is tarnishing the masses to bolster his own weak attempts to garner favor with an outdated mindset that is in lock-step agreement with the false portraits he is ruthlessly painting.

Imagine, if we could only see what his other hand is doing to the pocketbooks of the 99% while he keeps all eyes and ears on his latest tweetstorm or disinformationbook post.

I urge all voting citizens of the United States of America to look beyond the partisan rhetoric, be smarter than any social media misdirections, and give your attention to the question of where the money is going. What is the national deficit? How will you afford health care and housing and transportation when an unmanaged pandemic is raging? How will our government address the maintenance needs of our aging infrastructure in the face of a changing climate?

Vote sensibly. Don’t fall for the trigger words our middle-schooler-in-chief is trying to sell.

There are blue skies out there if we can find a way to all reach them together.

That’s the place our chickens want to go, I can tell by the way they all look at it when they settle down on the roost at dusk.

Well, that is, except for the ones that are determined to perch upon the highest possible spot they can fit on for now…

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Written by johnwhays

September 3, 2020 at 6:00 am

Unprecedented Battle

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We are in the midst of a great challenge unimagined by many that has unleashed anxious moments and feelings of fear about the unknown during these trying times in an unprecedented battle with an invisible scourge that has people staying home and washing their hands to do their parts in this historic period of incredible sacrifice by those on the front lines in essential jobs that require endless supplies of PPE and forced some families to isolate individual members in basements and closed restaurants and schools causing farmers to lose markets and food shelves to struggle to keep up with demand.

I don’t know why my inner cynic experiences such a cringe reaction at the tiring opening qualifier to almost every human interest story on the news and corporate commercials that are no longer trying to sell anything except some assurance that they are helping consumers and customers during this trying time.

There is another view that I find more satisfying. It’s the long view in reference, yet with the immediate moment as a focus. There is always something challenging, potentially life-threatening, or life-disrupting at play in the world. Among the ongoing calamities in the world, there are people who are killed and people who deal with it and forge onward.

People react to the situation and set about seeking ways to cope. They do creative things like host online cocktail parties or step outside en masse to sing songs. We find ways to deal with the current realities and get on with life, including mourning those who don’t survive.

From this perspective, there is no need for an unending onslaught of messages about “this unprecedented battle” we are in. Life is an everyday battle. There were others before COVID-19 and there will be others after it.

Might as well buck up and put one foot in front of the other –in some cases under the stay-at-home orders, metaphorically– and cope …during “these trying times.”

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Written by johnwhays

April 23, 2020 at 6:00 am

Weak Claim

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Just my opinion…

Claiming innocence when overtly behaving in a spiteful, mean-spirited manner that is so blatantly transparent to the entire world of intelligent people is sad enough for any individual, but downright criminal and deplorable for a head of state.

Who would do such a thing in today’s world? Can you think of any world leader who would boldly and unabashedly stoop to such boorish behavior?

… [the virus] comes from China.

He’s just stating the fact. Over and over again.

It’s a fact. Whaaat? What’s wrong with that?

If you don’t see what’s wrong and are able to allow yourself to ride on that greasy train and cling to that embarrassingly weak claim of innocence, then you are fooling yourself. You are not fooling the rest of the world.

Such behavior adds importance to my yearning to send love to everyone in the world. I don’t want to limit my love to only those receiving or sympathetically witnessing this kind of abuse, but also those who find justification in supporting said abuse. I love the people, if not the behaviors and beliefs.

But wait, the pandemic flu of 1918 gets referred to as the Spanish Flu. What about Zika Virus? Ebola? They are all named after the places where they originated.

There you go. You have a perfect justification for the heavy use of the term in official press briefings and written government communications.

Except you don’t. It’s called “diplomacy,” wherein you respectfully respond to international and domestic public feedback by changing your behavior. To forge ahead and even double-down on the usage is a total callous disregard for the responsibilities and aura of importance for the highest office in the country.

When the world is no longer in the midst of the financial calamity extraordinaire that is reverberating from the embarrassingly delayed, under-prepared governmental response to this scientifically-predicted pandemic situation, feel free to embrace that descriptor with all your mean-spirited resolve.

Maybe by that time, people will no longer recognize the subversive message oozing out with each repeated usage. That tilt of the head. That subtle emphasis on the word, “China.”

Chinese.

In a hundred years, go ahead and call it the Chinese Flu.

While untold thousands are currently suffering and loved ones are dying all over the world, maybe have a little respect and use the identifier the rest of the leaders of the world see fit to use.

Your sanctimonious innocence over the factual correctness of the geographic origin is weak, at best.

<end rant>

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Other Shadows

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On Monday, I posted one of the better shadow pictures from my photo-taking walk with Delilah over the weekend. For comparison, here are a few other shadows that didn’t come through as well as I would have liked.

I’m not sure what it is about each one that has me feeling they just missed my elusive and intangible ideal, but there is something they lack.

I knew the shadow in this second image was less intense, but I hoped it might still give me something to work with toward a final reward. I’m afraid it fell short.

Almost. Maybe. Not quite.

There is too much going on in that last one for me, none of which nailed it in terms of the individual areas of focus, less so as a whole.

Still, it was plenty of fun trying. Thank goodness I wasn’t shooting film that required developing. It wouldn’t have been worth the wait.

Speaking of developing, yesterday’s big development for me was the online publishing of a commentary piece I submitted to the local Twin Cities publishing staple, Star Tribune.

The editor accepted it for their “online extra” Opinions feature, meaning it would not appear in the printed paper edition. That’s okay with me, as paper readers wouldn’t be able to provide the immediate comments that the e-edition allows. A wise author might stop reading the online comments after the most rewarding appreciation showed up, but it’s a little like not being able to turn away from the sight of a wreck.

I’ll take the good with the bad. It’s more like real life.

I started writing that piece for a Relative Something post, but by the time I finished, felt it deserved a crack at the Strib. Since they seem to agree, I hope you will read it on their site by clicking on the image above. I think they gave it a better presentation than I would have. (The picture was their doing [and I’m very happy with it].)

Feel free to comment, either there, or here. You can tell the world if you think I just missed, or I nailed it.

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Written by johnwhays

February 26, 2020 at 7:00 am

How

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that light
is too bright
especially at this time of night
I can feel my eyes
putting up a fight
with hopes of saving
some small shred of sight
despite the unwelcome fright
of seeing what just might
transpire
I cannot understand
how so many people
would knowingly raise their hand
in support of one particular man
who has demonstrated time and again
so many traits unpleasant
while he repeatedly fanned
flames of hate, fear, and banned
good sense or even
complete sentences of real plans
just a catch phrase or two
bullying braggadocio
rising on the worst
his cultivations rehearsed
to prey on some rabid thirst
void of real love and honesty
what remains is some kind of curse
how?

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Written by johnwhays

November 9, 2016 at 6:00 am