Don Bye, columnist
As I sit in my comfortable rocker with my first cup of coffee, I think of a concluding quote from a layperson's sermon a few years ago. As she said, I can truly say, "Thank you, God, for everything." This is an easy Thanksgiving column to write because I have so much to be thankful for. My first waking thoughts this morning as I lay in a warm, warm bed. I contemplated the time and whether I had to get up and "brave the elements" any time that morning.
There is good government all around us. We are surrounded with good government, no matter how much we complain about it. I believe that our best present-day governmental units are local, starting at the township level and continuing with our city council and school board levels. We live in the midst of our best examples of government. Hopefully, this column will stay focused on the good government that surrounds us and one subject matter that is generally agreed to be within the proper role of government, i.e. transportation.
Again this year, the biggest newspaper in the state published - and headlined several times - last weekend as "MEA weekend." Radio and television did the same. That has been going on for almost 20 years all across the state. It should and could stop anytime soon. The proper name in Minnesota is - and has been since 2000 - Education Minnesota, with its over 70,000 members and more thousand retirees. It has not been MEA weekend since 1997.
Most of you in the Northland probably don't know Tim Walz. The only reason that I do a little bit is that, as a longtime partisan hack or activist (or if you want to speak flattery, "elder statesman") back in the summer of 2000 or 2004, I happened to sit next to Walz during a several hour plane ride back from the Democratic National Convention in California. He had been out there testing support for what was then his initial and seemingly unlikely quest for First District Congress.
We as a society like to waste a lot of time complaining about our government. Overall, our multi-tiered government (with notable exception) is pretty good. It has been quite stable over almost two and a half centuries. We have had a quiet, free and safe environment over the years. Really, our government is as good as we collectively make it. Remember, our government is us.
The Minneapolis Trib had a lead guest editorial a couple weeks ago on, what else? President Trump. It was entitled, "My president? Yes. My leader? No." It was about the first six months of the Trump presidency. What else?
President Trump, Gov. Walker and others of their ilk are making a big deal over Foxconn coming to Wisconsin to manufacture electronic equipment. Some of us see the "big deal" another way. For some of us who like comparing Minnesota favorably with Wisconsin whenever we can, this looks like another case of all-Republican Wisconsin kowtowing to excessively big corporate profits with huge public subsidies that might be better spent to expand health care, or on roads and bridges, or our favorite, education.
Whenever I encounter anyone of my elder age grouping, single or a group, once we get past the weather and grandkids and the horrible political climate, and ask what is of most important concern to them, No. 1 is their present and future health care, and No. 2 is Social Security, or the other way around, depending on how well off or broke they feel at the given time. The numbers of us directly involved help explain why our Social Security and our Medicare are uppermost in our minds. So, how secure is our Social Security?
The U.S. Supreme Court recently agreed to decide whether the U.S. Constitution limits how far lawmakers can go to redraw voting districts to favor one political party over another in a case that could have huge consequences for American elections. The justices will take up Wisconsin's appeal of a lower court ruling last November that state Republican lawmakers violated the Constitution when they created state legislative districts with the partisan aim of hobbling Democrats in legislative races.
This is a column I hate to write. It will likely be somewhat boring and quite repetitious. I believe I wrote on the same subject a couple of years ago, if not before that. Still, nothing has actually occurred to alleviate the dire circumstance. Forget "Minnesota Nice." Once again our Minnesota Legislature has faded into the sunset without increasing the monthly allowances for those who must depend on our Minnesota Family Investment Program.