SAN DIEGO -- It's not just during presidential elections that Americans have to put up with the annoyance of politicians evoking Vietnam for their own benefit. This brand of political gimmickry is never dormant. It can erupt at any time -- like now, for instance, as the country debates what to do in a new war, the one in Iraq. The latest eruption has me feeling conflicted. You see, I normally get fed up with politicians who bring up their service in Vietnam to prove their machismo or challenge the machismo of an opponent who steered clear of Southeast Asia.
Minnesota faces a growing concern of politics creeping into special election dates selected by the governor. Certainly, Gov. Tim Pawlenty's announcement Tuesday of a special election Dec. 27 in Senate District 15 and House District 15B raised concerns. The election date is just two days after Christmas. This date selection right after Christmas will find the majority of voters more focused on family visits and gift returns. This date selection is even more suspect when one considers that both districts are home to St. Cloud State University, which will be on winter break.
The question is: Do Americans really want to live in a world without newspapers? If you're reading this, chances are good you don't. Yet almost daily we read reports of more buyouts and budget cuts at America's papers owing to fewer readers. Newsrooms, now cubicled and corporatized, have become the morgues they so closely resemble, filled with ghosts of the departed and those who await the next ax to fall. Who's next? A copy editor here, a columnist there, or -- most endangered of all -- a cartoonist?
OK, class, pay attention. We have: The Bush/Cheney energy policy, which equals record high energy prices for you the consumer and record high profits for big oil companies. The Bush/Cheney fiscal policy, which equals $70 billion in tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans and $50 billion in benefit reductions for the poorest Americans. What does this tell you about this man and his administration? Kent Boyd Willmar
I enjoy ice fishing as much as the next guy, but I am becoming concerned about the debris that is washing up on shore each spring after the ice is out. We are lucky to have so many outdoor recreational opportunities in the area and we should do what we can to keep them clean. Our lakes are an important part of the quality of life in Kandiyohi County. I spend a lot of time on our beautiful lakes and I would like to keep them that way for the next generation.
SAN DIEGO -- The epiphany came while I was pledging allegiance to the flag of the United States of America. I was about to deliver a speech to a Republican women's group when it occurred to me: This was all my parents' generation of Mexican-Americans ever wanted, to be treated as full citizens of the republic and live in "one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all." They didn't want to start their own country or reclaim the Southwest for Mexico. They just wanted to be treated as Americans. They wanted it so badly that they tacked on a hyphen.
Today is the start of the holiday season when the spirit of giving captures everyone. There are a lot of things to be thankful for. The weather has cooperated so far which will minimize the early winter heating bills. The economy is holding up, despite high energy costs. Terror attacks have not hit American soil so far this year. The season of giving is also a good time to remember those who are not as fortunate.
I wish to respond to Judy Raske's letter of Nov. 19, wherein she appealed to the citizens of Atwater, Cosmos and Grove City to vote for the general operating referendum. I agree with her. As a teacher here in the New London-Spicer School District, I have had the opportunity to teach German to ACGC students for the past 15 years, and have found them to be wonderful representatives of these communities, as well as good, inquisitive, well-disciplined and earnest students. They have shown me they have earned and deserved the best we could give them in the past.
We are continually bombarded with the minority in our population trying to change the establishment of Christianity and the worship of God in our society. Many large retail stores no longer advertise "Merry Christmas" in their ads and in their stores. They replace it with "Happy Holidays." Such businesses should be boycotted by the majority of us who still like to have Christ in Christmas. It is the birthday of Christ and that is what Christians celebrate. Our small-town businesses need support. They contribute to the strength and welfare of our town.
America's celebration of Thanksgiving arrives Thursday. It is a holiday of many meanings and also marks the "official" start of the Christmas season. Most Americans assumed that the first thanksgiving occurred in 1621. The Pilgrims had much to be thankful for following their arrival in 1620. They had traveled for 66 days on a tough voyage, signed the Mayflower Compact and started a settlement at Plymouth. They survived a long and tough winter and, with the help of American Indians -- the Wampanoags, planted and harvested their first crops the following year.