Groundhog Day: Did he see his shadow?

By the time you read my column — if you read it — Groundhog Day will be over, and you’ll know whether in your part of the country there will be more weeks of winter or that spring is on the horizon.

As much as many of us would like to be informed about current events, some of us believe that enough is enough. I’ve been kept from making positive moves in the past months by my addiction to the news.

I almost always vote, and I vote for both Republicans and Democrats. I expect those whom I support — and I donated $200 in 2020 to elect persons whom I thought would represent my views in the Senate — to do the work of the country in a thoughtful, collaborative, and honest way.

When I speak of the work of the country, I’m talking about issues such as the following which are the responsibility of our elected representatives:

· People in Congress carrying weapons into the workplace;

· Anyone — Republican or Democrat — making remarks that are racist, homophobic, anti-Muslim, anti-Semitic, misogynistic. I also want those called out for criticizing a person’s religion or those with no religion. Religion is a personal choice.

I find it difficult to believe that some with an IQ of 90 or above are still failing to realize that technology means anything they say or post on email and social media sites does not go away. What about the woman who recently chatted that she understood that Biden had lowered the age of consent to 8 and asked if any of her listeners had heard about that? And how many believed that lie she was spreading?

Additionally, I’m wondering if those who denied that COVID-19 existed or that if it did, it wasn’t a serious illness, are still holding to their position. And I still want to see more footage for myself from the assault on the Capitol on January 6, 2021. When will the footage of Capitol police officer Brian Sicknick’s skull being smashed by a murderer be shown per this past weekend when footage showed Rosanne Boyland being stomped or crushed as someone cried out for help?

Now, I have to worry about Game Stop and its manipulation of the stock market and whether my retirement account is going to be irreparably damaged. Or do I? We elected persons in Washington and those experts whom they hire to take care of this problem.

Groundhog Day? Can we chart our own future even if we and our families suffered personal and financial loss in 2020? Frankly, I’m ready to move on. You might ask, “Vivian, how are you moving on?”

· I’m learning a little about cooking, and I’m lucky my husband will eat almost anything I prepare. This past weekend I made gingerbread men and women with my daughter-in-law Rhonda and my great granddaughter Parker, age 4.

· I’m taking great pleasure in reading my college students’ essays about America’s unsung heroes who have impacted their lives in positive ways (I’ll share some with you once I get permission from my students).

· I’m working on several projects as a volunteer for the Miami Valley of Ohio Veterans Museum. One that I’m doing with Edison State Community College students involves creating a display of photographs and stories of women from our area who have served in the military. We’re starting with 25 women and will add to that list. I welcome your emails if you know women who’ve served, living or deceased. I have three women, now deceased, who served in World War II, and those photos reinforce something many of us already know: women served and are serving..

· I’m putting together a speakers’ bureau of women in the military so that area schools, veterans organizations, and community groups can schedule them once this virus is under control.

· Finally, I’m interviewing some of those who were involved in “Operation Babylift” in which babies in orphanages in South Vietnam were brought to this country in April of 1975 as the Vietnam War ended. The stories of these men and women, now 46 to 50 plus years old, inspire me and challenge me. One of my former students, now a media/communication major at Wright State University, Shelley Fisher, is producing a film about this subject, and the book I am writing will feature the stories and photos of those involved in “Operation Babylift” as well as photos and stories of the men and women from the Miami Valley of Ohio who served in the Vietnam War. There will be a traveling display at the museum, and community groups can register to see it and learn from speakers beginning in the fall of this year.

In conclusion, we can burrow down (I’ve been since March of 2020, teaching my classes online, having groceries delivered to my house, and going to the bank once a month), or we can ask ourselves if we are capable of assuming at least some responsibility for charting paths for ourselves regardless of what the groundhog predicted. I’m cheering for you even as I did counseling this weekend for my great granddaughter Parker and advised her that she could be a cheerleader and a basketball player just like her grandmother and I were, that the decision is up to her.

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By Vivian Blevins

Contributing columnist

Vivian B. Blevins. Ph.D., a graduate of The Ohio State University, served as a community college president for 15 years in Kentucky, Texas, California, and Missouri before returning to Ohio to teach telecommunication employees from around the country and students at Edison State Community College and to work with veterans. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.