Pete Abler, Columnist
When does human life begin? This is a question that far too many people don't want to consider, much less answer. In most states it appears the legal or accepted answer is "at birth." But legality and acceptability aside, viability of the baby happens weeks or months prior to the point of natural birth. In a recent crime in another state, the suspect was charged with two counts of murder because the mother was pregnant at the time she was killed and the baby died as a result of the mother's murder. The charges were upheld by the state judiciary.
I seldom agree with Don Bye, the Echo's more liberal columnist, but I'm forced to this week. Undoubtedly, there is too much money in politics. This has almost always been the case and I don't know a constitutional way to change it. I don't want to live with it. But as long as we keep electing unprincipled politicians whose allegiance is to a party or interests above the people, we are stuck with it.
I'm fairly certain I've used this headline before. An old friend used to ask this question when we had reached a logical end to our discussions without really solving anything or having a good conclusion. That's exactly where I believe we are today. A few weeks ago we witnessed politics at its worst. Expecting unvarnished truth to come out of a hearing in our federal government is pretty much wishful thinking. Hoping that reason and decorum will prevail in discourse from either side appears fruitless.
Once I got to be a supervisor in the Air Force, I reluctantly became very familiar with these situations. Whether they involved he said-she said, or he said-he said, or she said-she said, it was virtually impossible to discover the truth unless there were reliable disinterested witnesses. Even then I sometimes wondered if I was being presented with reliable information upon which to make a decision.
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.