Opinions

Wed
20
Jan
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Restoring Democracy Through Civic Literacy

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

Many years ago, we were standing by a friend in the church at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter. He was in the college choir and had a beautiful tenor voice. As the congregation began singing a hymn, we remained silent. He turned to us asking, “Why aren’t you singing?” We replied, “You’re so good we would be embarrassed singing next to you.” His reply, “If the only birds that sang in the forest were those that sang best, it would be a quiet place.”

Through the harmony of many voices, America has created a nation that has been the envy of people across the world. In Washington, D.C., Jan. 6, the world saw that already badly frayed harmony shredded.

Wed
13
Jan
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Rebuilding America As ‘A More Perfect Union’

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

“I hate it to end this way. Oh, my God, I hate it.” These words came from Republican South Carolina U.S. Sen. Lyndsey Graham, one of President Donald Trump’s most ardent supporters during his four years in office.

And while he briefly applauded Trump as a “consequential president,” recognizing what he had done for conservatives on judicial appointments, taxes, and immigration, he outright dismissed Trump’s challenge of the presidential election results. He also laid the blame for the Jan. 6 storming of the U.S. Capitol by his most extreme supporters that killed a Capitol police officer at Trump’s feet. Four others died that day as well.

Wed
06
Jan
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Strengthening Our Communities In Wake Of COVID-19

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

As a new year begins, we look with hope toward a time when our families will be safe from the deadly coronavirus, when our businesses can once again all be open to customers, and when we can gather with friends in public spaces.

We know that some of our local businesses have been forced to shut down during the COVID1-9 pandemic, and many others have seen their bottom lines turn from black to red. They are going to need help in the coming months from both individuals and local governments. Yes, we will be looking for aid from the federal and state governments as well.

Wed
30
Dec
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Mother Nature Teaches Us An Overdue Lesson

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

Just maybe, this blizzard taught some Minnesotans a lesson. Those of us old enough to remember the more intense blizzards of the past have a deep respect for just how life-threatening the combination of snow, subzero temperatures, and wind can be. When winter’s early sunset combines with wind and snow, you can’t see past the snowflakes hammering your windshield.

We also know that when strong storm systems engulf us, there is brutally dangerous cold air lurking on the backside. It rushes in, creating wind chills that can take your breath away and cause frostbite in minutes.
We were fortunate to get through last week’s blizzard with no lives lost. We haven’t always been so blessed.

Wed
16
Dec
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COVID-19 Vaccine Result Of Years Of Work

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

A moment we’ve waited for so anxiously for nine months arrived this past Friday with the emergency approval of Pfizer and BioNTech’s vaccine by the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA.) Moderna’s vaccine could get emergency authorization from the FDA Thursday.

Medical staff and residents in long-term care facilities will start getting the vaccine within the next week. Essential workers, including teachers, first responders, law enforcement, firefighters, and those working in the food and transportation industries, will be next. Then people with preexisting conditions and those over 65.

After that, the general U.S. population will be getting the COVID-19 vaccine. It won’t be until spring that most Americans have had the opportunity to be vaccinated.

Wed
09
Dec
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Faith In Our Elections The Real Loser

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

In the 2000 presidential election between Democrat Al Gore and Republican George W. Bush, it came down to Florida. Whoever received its 25 electoral votes would become the nation’s 43rd president.

Election night November 2000 the networks called Florida for Gore, giving him the presidency. They then reversed their call in the tightly contested race giving Florida to Bush only to renew Gore’s hopes when they switched that call.

Florida initiated a recount, but it was appealed to the U.S. Supreme court, which ruled that the recount could not be completed by the Dec. 12 deadline giving the state to Bush. Gore lost by 537 votes with nearly 6 million cast. While he strongly disagreed with the Court’s decision, in his concession speech, Gore said, “For the sake of our unity as a people and the strength of our democracy, I offer my concession.”

Wed
02
Dec
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Rural America Needs A Cabinet Post

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

Rural Rural America can be disappointed with both Democrats and Republicans when it comes to developing and implementing programs that address its most pressing challenges. Election year after election year, we hear the promises and plans for rural renewal only to see those promises unfulfilled.

Each election year, the media assess the urban-rural divide and the root causes behind it. Each time the questions are asked, with each study that is completed, the answer is the same: There is a growing gap in economic prosperity and opportunity between rural and urban areas. We out here in the sticks are being left behind.

It’s a gap that leaves rural Americans resentful and distrustful of government, with both sentiments quickly capitalized upon by the political parties.

Wed
25
Nov
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Our Elections Process Needs Reform

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

Perception is reality. It doesn’t matter if the truth is on your side if you can’t convince others there is a shared truth. It takes mutual trust and faith in what we call facts for us to come together to a mutual understanding and then move forward.

As we all know, there is an ocean-wide chasm these days between what those on the right and left believe about each other, about their character, and their motives. Good people on both sides are quick to anger and quick to dismiss those who aren’t in their camp.
That is a serious problem for trust and faith in one of the most essential foundations of the American experiment in a representative democracy – our elections.

Wed
18
Nov
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Will Rural Americans Delay Their Recovery?

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

As COVID-19 cases and deaths are exploding in rural America, we received what should be exciting news. Drugmaker Pfizer announced Nov. 9 that a formal review of its vaccine’s clinical trials showed it to be 90 percent effective. So far, the company said there have been no serious safety concerns with its vaccine.

Even more encouraging, we’ve been told the vaccine could be available to our most vulnerable citizens by the end of the year. Widespread vaccinations against the deadly virus could start early next year. Moderna knows says its vaccine has been 94.5 percent effective. Other companies are also near having their vaccines ready for approval by the Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA.) We are poised to finally defeat this deadly virus.

Wed
11
Nov
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Is Rural Minnesota Becoming Politically Irrelevant?

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

As the Twin Cities continues its steady population growth while much of rural Minnesota sees declining population, its influence in state political outcomes grows.

Consider this stark evidence of the power of just four metropolitan counties.

Despite President Donald Trump winning 75 of Minnesota’s 87 counties, he lost by 233,111 votes. Trump had 1,484,894 votes and Biden 1,718,005.

In just Hennepin and Ramsey counties, with the cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul respectively, Biden beat Trump by 460,496 votes. When Dakota and Washington counties are included, Biden’s margin of victory in these four metropolitan counties was 512,056. These four counties alone supplied the Democratic vote to swamp a Republican “Red” wave in rural Minnesota.

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