Pete Abler, Columnist
To quote a recent St. Paul Pioneer Press article reprinted in the Brainerd Dispatch, "Minnesota has one of the nation's largest achievement gaps. ... Students of color, those who are learning English and students who have special needs or come from low-income families routinely struggle academically compared with their peers."
I'm not going to start this column by praising President Trump. I'm going to start it by asking some pointed questions about how we are reacting to his rhetoric and behavior. For perspective, I have been comparing how I was as a parent to how I am now as a grandparent. As a parent, I was rather impatient, prone to argue - sometimes loudly and over things that weren't very important. As a parent I didn't realize all that my children were learning from my behavior. Thankfully, in some cases, they learned how not to act.
The Brainerd Dispatch recently reprinted an opinion column that originally appeared in the Grand Forks Herald. This column supported a city in Virginia's decision to add clarifying statements (context) to statues of Confederates. I don't think we have this problem in Minnesota or the Dakotas, but it must have been a burning question in someone's overburdened psyche.
Without the "every critical word is directed at our current president approach" of Don Bye's column from last week, I offer a few comments and corrections. We are not in danger of sliding toward another Sodom and Gomorrah. We've been there since the start of the 20th century and have been progressing deeper with every decade. Christianity, Judaism and Islam all believe in chastity, modesty and personal responsibility. We somehow need to reintroduce those to a society that ignores nearly all aspects of them.
Suppose next Tuesday evening about suppertime as you are sitting down to eat, there's a knock on the door. You go to the door wondering who it might be, and when you open it a man, woman and three children and some meager belongings sort of push their way into your house. As you try to stop them, they tell you they just got into town. They have driven here from another state and their car broke down in front of your house. Making their way to the living room they spy the food on the table in the dining room and the children just rush over and begin eating ravenously.
Sometimes my brain just bleeds when some people don't appear to think really hard about words and what they really mean. Take the word "truth," for instance. It's a wonderful word that is so simple it is often misunderstood or misinterpreted by nearly everyone.
No matter how closely you tailgate me, it's not going to make the car in front of me go any faster. And if there isn't a car in front of me, it's still not going to make me go any faster. Every car manufactured in the United States since I started driving comes with turn signals. The purpose of turn signals is to let other drivers know of your intentions - ahead of time; not after the fact. Your turn signal doesn't give you permission to turn or merge one nano-second after you hit the blinker.
According to the lyrics from the song with this title, a hundred million miracles are happening every day. The song goes on, "And those who say they don't agree are those who do not hear or see."
Some Christian churches' liturgical seasons include a number of holy days, feasts and solemnities that celebrate Mary, the Mother of Jesus Christ, saints and important events. Here in the United States, one equivalent celebration - in what I would term a spirit of secular sanctity - is Mother's Day, which we will celebrate this year on Sunday, May 13.
Occasionally I come up with so many ideas for an opinion column that it's hard to pick one over another. When that happens I can usually find a common thread among the issues that I can meld together into a coherent piece. But that's not going to work today.