In a recent column I expressed hope for the 2014 election campaigns, made up of fair and open exchanges and presentation of contrasting candidates and contentions. That didn’t get off to a very good start. The self-entitled entity Americans for Prosperity gave our country, and particularly our area, a Christmas present by launching an end-of-year and early 2014 misleading negative attack on two targeted U.S. representatives — one from New Hampshire, and the other one our own Rick Nolan. Both are first-termers, facing stiff re-election challenges.
We don’t seem to have as many Christmas cards around as we used to. “Lost art” may not be the best term. Maybe it is more a lost practice or lost habit among us. The real art was always on the cards; but nevertheless, most often, the ” lady of the house” seemed to have a deeply ingrained practice of Christmas card selection and sending down to an art or science.
It was toward the end of a cold December Sunday. I don’t remember much detail, but I believe the outside chores were done. The only radio in the house was tuned to the only station that played through the nighttime static. President Roosevelt was on the air. His voice, in slow and measured fashion, sounded deep and commanding to this barely 6-year-old boy. Whatever was programmed was interrupted. The family huddled around the wood cabinet radio, listening and wondering with every word.
I share the thanks expressed by other writers at this time of year. Thanksgiving, like our recently expressed appreciation of veterans, ought to be year-around for all of us. We, in this lakes area, have so much to be thankful for. To begin with, we live in a society where we can speak out and express personal political belief and opinion with only a little fear of sanction. That is not true for many in this world. Since the U.S.A. began, most of us, whites at least, don’t lose their lives and property just for political expression, even when political losers.
On Sunday an opinion columnist labeled last week’s election (primarily referencing the Twin Cities) as an education election. I believe she was in part referencing the learning experience with the new ranked choice voting.
The Eighth Congressional District is huge. It runs from north to south from the Canadian border to the suburbs of Minneapolis-St. Paul, and east to west from Wisconsin to Wadena. Several of its eight-plus state Senate districts and 16-plus state legislative districts are larger than some states in the United States. So we have a very unique situation shaping up for the coming year.
Congratulations to Janet Yellen! I don’t know her and I didn’t know of her until a week ago. Ms. Yellen presents a likelihood of one strong, sensible move to keep a fairly aggressive Federal Reserve Board policy in place to alleviate the dragged out aspects of the recent recession. I really like the fact that it is quite clear that she wasn’t appointed because she is a woman. She was appointed because she was the logical choice, the most experienced, the best qualified and most ready to serve.
There seems to be much for we non-Catholics to like about the new Pope Francis. We don’t grant much earthly deity status to our pastors, synod bishops or denomination leaders. It seems most other sects or religious groups don’t, either. In the America of past decades, the leader of the Roman papal hierarchy has had a disproportionate impact and influence upon our total citizenry. Pronouncements from the pope are held in esteem and disseminated as strong edicts that sometimes become controlling laws, not just for Catholics, but all Americans.
We are ever reminded that life is fragile. Also, we are reminded almost daily to expect the unexpected. Yesterday I awoke, thinking that the first priority was to finish up and send in this week’s column. I’d been working with help from another, who recently alerted me to a technical problem, dilemma and concern. We ”tech Neanderthals” have been oblivious to the invasion of privacy, or tech piracy, of our own National Security Agency (NSA).
As I write this column, the Labor Day weekend is coming to an end. As in most of the last 50 years, I attended a Labor-oriented Labor Day picnic in Duluth. It was announced that similar commemorating gatherings have occurred in Duluth for most of the past 122 years. While individuals, non-union and even anti-union and Republicans attend and circulate, the event is organized, financed and otherwise made possible by most all of the Duluth area local unions acting as sponsors, hosts and workers for the event.