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.
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
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.
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.
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.
We don't do torture, according to President George Bush. Then why did his good friend Alberto Gonzales as White House counsel go to the Justice Department in 2002 to get a ruling as to the extent of the president's authority to permit "extreme interrogation practices"?
Uncle Sam got shot in the foot by one of his kids. It was little George W. Bush that did it. The little stinker got hold of a real gun and was playing war with it. The wound didn't look too bad at first, but then it turned worse. The healing process is slow. The doctor bills are mounting and I don't think Sam is feeling very good. This incident has caused quite a stir in the community. The neighbors are saying it serves Uncle Sam right. His kids are out of hand. He shouldn't let them run loose like he does. They're getting to be regular nuisances around the whole neighborhood. It's too bad.
WASHINGTON -- In his 40th anniversary toast to his Yale class of 1950, William F. Buckley said, "Some of us who wondered if we would ever be this old now wonder whether we were ever young." Those who were not young 40 years ago, in 1965, can have no inkling of what fun it was to be among Buckley's disciples as he ran for mayor of New York vowing that, were he to win, his first act would be to demand a recount.
WASHINGTON -- Perhaps we should redeploy the democracy experts we have sent to the Middle East and ask them to work on our Congress. The last few days have confirmed that our national government is dysfunctional. It wasn't just the nasty Friday evening "debate" over Iraq policy in the House, set up by Republican leaders to score political points after Rep. John Murtha's call for immediate withdrawal received so much attention. What happened hours earlier, at 1:45 a.m., symbolized all that is wrong with Washington.