'The popular will is suddenly asserting itself all over the globe. Ordinary citizens are standing up to leaders who have at their disposal the finest military arsenals our money can buy and about as much conscience as Son of Sam.
Flowers, cards, chocolate, dinner ... Valentine's Day. Do you have a sweetheart? Do you know someone with a sweet heart? How many couples out to dinner on Feb. 14 are genuinely in love? How many are quietly hoping for more? How many are comfortably complacent? How many are just going through the motions? How many resent this artificial exercise almost as much as they dislike each other?
Oak Park (and River Forest too) are filled with outspoken people whose opinions are informed and therefore carry some weight. And lately, there has been a lot to weigh in on, so we asked four residents, all of whom have been profiled in Wednesday Journal in the past and whose opinions we respect, to give us their quick take on four issues that have occupied the cultural/political spotlight of late.
Happy Groundhog Day. Did you see your shadow? Probably not if it's still snowing. As an annual observance, Groundhog Day is problematic, raising more questions than answers. With all due respect to Punxsutawney Phil, the whole thing seems rigged. What is the lifespan of groundhogs? How old is Phil?
If any issue cries out for a more civil dialogue in the aftermath of the Tucson shootings, it is legal abortion, 38 years old this week. In all that time, there has been almost no dialogue whatsoever. Both sides are locked in ideological trench warfare, digging in and demonizing the other.
The Tuesday after Thanksgiving, three men took the industrial-strength playground from John and Patty Henek's backyard in River Forest. It's OK though. The Heneks are hoping other kids will get some use from it ... in Haiti.
I was all set to call for conservatives to do some seriously overdue soul-searching and tone down their hostile, hateful, borderline-homicidal rhetoric, but decided, to be on the safe side, to do some personal soul-searching first.
Rev. Larry McNally, pastor of Ascension Church, didn't plan to spend so much time in the limelight this past year. He had no choice when one of his "weekend assistants," Rev. Larry Reuter, a Jesuit who worked at Loyola Medical Center and filled in celebrating Sunday Mass at Ascension, was "disappeared" by the Jesuits because word got out about an inappropriate relationship with a student at Loyola Academy, where Reuter had previously served as president.
Esquire magazine used to feature a series of interviews with celebrities at the end of each year titled, "What I've Learned." Maybe they still do. Regardless, as we enter a new year in a still-new millennium (which can only get better), here is some of what I've learned — as discovered in my notebook scribblings: