WASHINGTON -- Members of Congress retire all the time, but some retirements are leading indicators of the direction of our politics. Rep. Sherwood Boehlert's announcement last week to call it quits matters. The affable 69-year-old New York Republican is one of the last of a breed: a liberal Republican, though he calls himself a "moderate" and has the record to prove it. Boehlert's departure does not leave the House completely bereft of liberal Republicans -- Rep. Jim Leach of Iowa is actually more liberal than Boehlert. But Leach, alas, is an outlier.
In response to the headlines and stories in the West Central Tribune on March 17 and 18, I say Senator Johnson knows that many of his constituents do not favor the proposed constitutional amendment concerning marriage. I applaud the position he has taken and his courage in standing up to his critics. Eleanor Swanson New London
We live in interesting times when the Catholic Church has to defend its doctrinal beliefs regarding the adoption of children against those who insist that the church adjust its policies to reflect the preferences of gays and lesbians. Such is the case in Massachusetts, where the Boston Archdiocese's Catholic Charities has been challenged by gay activists opposing the church's rule that adoptive children be placed only in heterosexual homes.
Maybe Martha Wagner (Public Forum, March 14) can tell us where she gets her cell phone service from because she apparently has service that reaches the heavens. Kris Pederson Willmar
You'll never know what you got till it's gone. They paved paradise; they put up a parking lot. Citizens of the Benson area/School District 777 need to be aware there is a School Board meeting at 6 p.m. Monday at the Benson High School library. The agenda includes a community group concerned with keeping the only public-use indoor pool available in Benson. An ill-spread false rumor was the pool is not regulation size. The pool is the correct size for competition. This 33-year-old pool was paid for by taxpayers' voted referendum. This is the first major expense.
BOSTON -- I have a friend who taught her daughters to express their feminist views with men they dated. Her advice went roughly like this: Speak up, speak up, the only man you will scare off is your future ex-husband. This was during the era when sociologists were warning uppity women that they might end up alone. They were expected to trim their ambitions for the sake of a wedding ring. My friend saw right past the marriage ceremony to the divorce decree.
Recently there has been a lot of news about the gay marriage amendment. Letters to the editor have been numerous on both sides. The Senate will probably not allow this amendment to get on the ballot. Senate Majority Leader Dean Johnson is apparently very concerned about the welfare of gays and lesbians. His real reason for keeping the marriage amendment off the ballot is that such an amendment would bring out a heavy vote at the polls. Many of these people are only interested in this amendment and may not otherwise vote.
Two Willmar ministers were caught not being forthright with their audience at a January meeting. Their behavior is not something either should be proud of. Sen. Dean Johnson apologized Friday for stating at a January meeting of local ministers that three state Supreme Court justices told him they would not deal with the Minnesota's marriage law. Johnson was right to apologize. In the heat of a serious discussion, he said something he should not have.
Why should newspapers matter? In the Internet age, when virtually anything you want to know is available 24/7, should people not already in the habit of reading newspapers care if they survive? Think of it this way: newspapers are to the brain what exercise is to the body. Television, which delivers limited amounts of news with an eye on demographics and advertisers, is more like junk food -- immediately satisfying, but not good for you if consumed in large quantities.
The straw that broke the camel's back was the recent ad placed in the paper using this scare tactic -- it asked what will our children learn if gay marriage is allowed? Hopefully, our children will learn about the constitution and how it was written to protect our rights and should not be rewritten to infringe on a person's right to have the same rights as you and me. If the group who placed the ad is there to "protect" the sanctity of marriage, how about the other threats to a marriage, such as spousal and child abuse, divorce and poverty.