THE OPPENHEIMER REPORT (December 14, 2020)
I saw this cartoon the other day and it made me chuckle. I think Snoopy summed up what most/all of us are feeling of late. I recently posted a spoof of a Dr. Seuss book cover, having to do with the controversial issue of masks vs. no masks. Of course, that drew some heat. Zealots rarely have a sense of humour. The other day, there was a post on the Hunters Bay Radio Facebook page, reporting on the Supreme Court decision to throw out the last Hail Mary act of desperation by the "ReTrumplicans" to negate President-elect Joe Biden’s obviously legitimate win. That post prompted a thread of unbelievably nasty, hateful remarks. Some people are so full of pent up rage that they have completely forsaken common decency and respect. A thinking man might be wondering if the world has finally lost its collective mind.
For me, the holiday season has always been bittersweet in the best of times. It so glaringly highlights the needs of those who are experiencing hardship. I believe goodwill and charitable behavior are to be practiced year-round, but it seems to be emphasized around Christmas time. Shauna and I just made our annual donation to the local food bank, as we have done ever since we moved up here permanently. This year, our gift was substantially larger than usual for obvious reasons. We contribute to many other local charities, and as well, to individuals whom we deem to be food insecure or otherwise in peril financially. While we do what we can, especially now, I feel as if it is not enough. Particularly this year, I have the sense that more people need our help than ever, and it can be discouraging. I wish I could direct people away from their fear and rage, but I wouldn’t know where to start. I see the corrosive posts and tweets on social media, and I’m bombarded with news of people’s deplorable behavior, and it seems like Pandora’s Box is wide open. It’s the same old story. This group hates that group because that group has different beliefs. Black, white, red, yellow, rich, poor, masker/anti-masker, liberal, conservative, Christian, Jew, Muslim; COVID-19 does not discriminate. We’re all in peril, and it seems only logical for all of us to get on the same page. Whether you believe we are experiencing a pandemic or not, and astoundingly, many do not, that reality will someday be a matter of historical fact. In the meantime, our healthcare workers and first responders, woefully undervalued, are at increased risk because uninformed people are free to endanger their fellow citizens. There will always be some who deny reality, but never before, have I seen so many denying it. For example, I never cease to be amazed that there are still those who deny that the Holocaust ever occurred.
My holiday wish for the world is that we miraculously come to our senses, resist our basest instincts, and take our cues from the heroes all around us. I am fortunate to have known more than a few of them, and I choose to believe and respect those role models. By all means, disagree, but agree to disagree, and show a little respect. You may think you know the truth, and maybe you’re closer to it than I am; maybe you’re not. The next time you are about to push “send” with your angry retort, count to ten and exercise some restraint. That simple act might be a better statement than you would have otherwise made. Hatred and revenge are not the solutions to our collective problems. Please play nice. Merry Christmas and Happy Chanukah.
Written by Jamie Oppenheimer ©2020 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED