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Editorials

Thoughts on a Sunny Afternoon.

Monday, February 10, 2014   by: David Root

Brighter days ahead.

Once again, I have let far too much time lapse between columns. Once again, I apologize.

It seems as though I will have some extra time on my hands for the foreseeable future. While I had been successful in securing an LTO (long-term occasional) position, these positions must be posted each semester.

Unfortunately, I was not successful in securing the position for the second semester. 

I won’t say I wasn’t disappointed, but for the most part it comes down to me: I just do not interview well. But, that’s the process, and I must accept the results.

However, I have no doubt that there are brighter days ahead: metaphorically and literally.

Once again it is time for me to crow, much as a rooster at sunrise, about the ever-lengthening days. We are coming up on two months since the solstice, and there is noticeably more daylight, now.

It really struck me last week, driving down Old Garden River Road at 5:30pm, and realizing that the sun was still up over the trees!

If you’ve never suffered from SAD, whether a mild case of the “winter blues” or a more severe form that requires light therapy, count yourself lucky. 

True, the sunlight will not banish all the doom-and-gloom of depression, nor elevate one’s mood all the way to a mild euphoria, but it certainly lifts one’s spirit.

As for my employment situation, well… something will work out. I don’t know what, or where, or when (although, since I’m eligible to retire in 12 years, I would prefer sooner rather than later), but I am confident that I will find something.

 

Olympics

Wow! I really enjoyed the opening ceremony. 

Yes, it was long… almost too long. But it was an enjoyable spectacle.

I read comments on various websites, many of them negative.

There were the usual complaints that the money could be better spent feeding the poor, which is true. 

That being said, there are an awful lot of poor and starving people that could be fed with the salaries of just one NHL team, or with the budget for one Hollywood “blockbuster,” so until protestors start marching outside of the rinks and theatres, it’s not a particularly strong point.

There were also remarks about the rampant corruption in Russia, in the IOC, and for that matter in every country’s Olympic committee, and in every country’s government.

While no real facts are ever presented, I am not denying that there likely is en element of corruption throughout.

That does not negate, for me, the brilliant spectacle nor the incredible achievements of the athletic competition taking place.

I freely admit to being a “flag waver.” I love my country, and I will cheer our athletes as they endeavour to be “faster, higher, stronger” … and to “hurry harrrrd!” in the hopes of winning a gold medal.

I will be disappointed when they do not win gold, or if they do not win any medal, but I will still be proud of their efforts.

I do not believe that our athletes are better simply because they are Canadian, however. That they are Canadian, that they posses a drive and determination that is reflected in the Canadian people throughout its relatively brief history is a cause for pride.

But it is not reason to believe that we, as a country, are better than any other. 

If we should win ALL the gold medals, that would still not demonstrate that ours is a better country than any other. It would simply demonstrate that our athletes, coaches, trainers, and others, worked very hard to be the best that they could be, at that moment in time.

Above all else, the Olympics is an athletic competition. Unlike some sports, where tournaments drag on through round-robin play and page playdowns, most Olympic competitions are brief affairs. 

In the first day of competition medals were awarded. If an athlete falls, goes off course, or misses a shot, that likely will spell the end of their medal hopes. 

The Olympics are not about second chances.

Some argue that there is too much emphasis on politics in the Olympics, and for the most part, I agree. Then again, I believe there is too much politics in politics.

Ideologies are necessary, but divisive. One faction stands against another, lines are darn, and sides take. All too often what should be a fruitful discussion  instead becomes simply a slagging match, with name-calling and insults taking the place of reasoned debate.

On the other hand, the Olympics offer an opportunity to affect change. 

Witness the fiasco that is the Russian government’s stand on “homosexual propaganda.” While we’ve by no means abolished any notions of homophobia and discrimination here in Canada, in North America, or indeed most of the Western world, we certainly have moved beyond believing that homosexuals are predators out to snatch children off the streets and have their way with them.

Or at least, I would hope we are.

Laws are being relaxed, and gay marriages are being recognized. 

I will admit, I look forward to the day when the word “rights” is no longer preceded by a hyphenated adjective: gay-rights, women’s-rights, etc.

Hopefully, one day we will just discuss “rights,” as they apply to ALL human beings.

However, Russia does seem to still be dwelling in the 19th Century, in some regards.

Countries, and corporate sponsors, are using what influence they can through the vehicle of the Olympics to encourage Russia to start moving forward on this front.

There are some who have advocated boycotting the games. I fail to see how this would achieve their goals, however.

The games would go on, just with fewer competitors. Even if they did not, it is doubtful Russia would admit defeat; rather, I expect they would remind other countries that they are a sovereign nation, free to conduct their internal affairs without interference from other nations.

And, as much as we might not like it, they would be right.

Instead, by being there, by having a presence that is openly supportive of gay rights, it forces Russia to face up to the fact that the world is changing, however slowly.

 

Winter

Hopefully I will find the time to keep the column more current. I do have some “free time” now, which should help. And the longer days are helping, too.

And while I do not enjoy winter as much as I would like to, or as much as I should, living where I do, I hope that many of you will get out and enjoy Bon Soo, or one of the many winter activities available to us: snowmobiling, skiing, or even (*shudder*) ice fishing.

After all, for all that people complain about it, the Sault really is a great place to be, summer or winter.

But… that’s just my opinion.

Comments
5
Note: Comments that appear on the site are not the opinion of SooToday.com. If you see an abusive post, please click the link beside the post to report it.
Mr. Poster 2/10/2014 9:24:58 PM Report

I love winter...it is just the LENGTH of it that spoils it.
right wing 2/13/2014 10:03:18 AM Report

"But it is not reason to believe that we, as a country, are better than any other."

I take it you mean that statement in a athletic competitive sense?


...cause if not, then yes we, as a country are better than many others and for many, many good reasons.
Spellchecker 2/15/2014 9:34:51 AM Report

Sorry you weren't allowed to keep the job you already had, David. Sure doesn't seem fair to have to interview for a job you already had. Poor system, I'd say. I hope things work out well for you.
Sam C 2/20/2014 1:43:03 PM Report

right wing... yes, athletics mostly, but there are other areas where we fare no better than any number of other countries.

For example: as much as we complain about taxation here, people in Denmark pay far more than us, but... pay very little in the way of 'user fees', etc, for services from their government. As well, they have the lowest level of income inequality, the highest minimum wage, and income security is excellent.

Granted, I understand your point: I certainly would choose Canada as a place to live over a somewhat long list of other countries.
right wing 2/26/2014 9:35:26 AM Report

Sam C

Instead of the vast array of relatively minor differences I look for the big ones...like which countries have the longest line ups of folks trying to move there...

Kinda says it all.

;)
Comments
5
Note: Comments that appear on the site are not the opinion of SooToday.com. If you see an abusive post, please click the link beside the post to report it.
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