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Consider Leonard Cohen’s iconic song “Hallelujah” as a somber Christmas season nears. His song connotes feelings of regret, disappointment, sadness, loneliness and loss. Working through sorrow, it claims that the Lord doesn’t really care for music. But it notes in two previous song verses, that David played a secret chord and it pleased the Lord. Playing a “secret chord” alludes to the song’s chorus “Hallelujah,” which inspires hope regardless of adversity by promising redemption.

The 1984 “Hallelujah” debut with a 12/8 meter evokes emotive sentiments of early rock and roll and gospel music. The song never achieves great chart acclaim. Yet, Bob Dylan adopts it and others record over 300 versions. Cohen unites elegiac poetry with poignant melody. His song “Hallelujah” divulges to music what Leonardo da Vinci’s painting “Mona Lisa” reveals to art.

Listen to the song’s haunting words. Ponder Yip Harburg’s reflection, “Words make you think. Music makes you feel. A song makes you feel a thought.” Seek spiritual wisdom and understanding by singing “Hallelujah.”

Roger Combs


It’s time to end qualified

immunity for government

Another month, and we are again presented with the sorry sight of a large city hiding police abuse of citizens. In this case, police in Chicago breaking into a woman’s home, holding her for more than an hour, naked and handcuffed, then deciding they had the wrong address, sorry about your destroyed door, ransacked home, trampled rights and the threats to shoot you — just a minor misunderstanding!

And don’t bother filing a complaint or suing. We have “qualified immunity,” so cannot be held accountable for anything we do while wearing our uniforms. And now it appears the mayor was doing a cover job, denying knowledge although she had been informed of the case more than a year ago.

Time and again, we are seeing this scenario being replayed, with police misfeasance or even crimes being covered and justice stonewalled by the actions (inactions) of the justice system. Frequently we are told nothing can be done because of the qualified immunity laws, which protect government members from individual accountability when acting as part of their jobs. This provides a good part of the tinder for the “Defund the Police” bonfire.

I would like to propose a simple alternative to both inaction and the defunding rant: more accountability of all bureaucratic departments, with independent prosecutors elected by the people rather than appointees. Then, any judgments and awards for victims of the system should be taken from the payroll budget of the offending department. This way, when a bad apple causes a loss for their group, their fellows would know why there would be no raises or bonuses that year, and who was responsible. The negative feedback would be quick and effective to make sure that behavior does not continue.

George McKinney

Hurricane, W.Va.

Don’t credit President Trump with vaccines for COVID-19

The Dec. 16 opinion piece by Mark Thiessen (“Give Trump credit for vaccine...”) is overstated. The Russians and Chinese had their vaccines out first, and we tied with Great Britain. So now we’ve got several and though, somehow or other we at Woodlands got our first Pfizer round, but we won’t know for quite a while which of the many possible ones is best. Sorry to be grinchy at this season. The Dec. 16 paper carried another item to Trump’s discredit: “Cyber agency: (Russian) hack against the US is grave threat.” Are Always-Trumpers still claiming the Russia thing was a “hoax”? Russia threatens us with mega-nukes and trolls to stir up our internal bad guys; China leads the world in solar panel production. I’ve made my choice as to which Communist regime is the lesser of two evils.

The best news in that issue: “Beer bread fills home with beautiful aroma.”

This year the time to celebrate the season will not be Dec. 25 or the eve of Dec. 31. Jan. 20, 2021, can’t come soon enough.

2021: the year COVID and Trump were driven out. Spring will be wonderful.

John D. Palmer


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