Opinions

Thu
26
Mar
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Vulnerability To The Coronavirus And Political Party

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

There are consequences for political actions that diminish support for science and health research.

In a study titled “Red State, Blue State, Flu State,” Harvard’s Matthew Baum looked at our politically divided society and its impact on attitudes and policies in states around the country involving healthcare. His specific focus was on the 2009 “Swine Flu” (H1N1) and vaccinations.

“Even seemingly non-partisan political issues like public health are increasingly characterized by partisan polarization in public attitudes,” he wrote. He partially attributed the increasing polarization to our loss of a common source of news that pervaded society until advent of the internet in the 1990s.

Wed
18
Mar
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Knowledge Will Keep Our Communities Safe

By Reed Anfinson

Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

“Knowledge will forever govern ignorance; and a people who mean to be their own governors must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives.”
James Madison
 Father of the U.S. Constitution
Fourth President of the United States

This is an extraordinary time in the lives of most Americans as our way of life is radically changed in just a few short weeks.

Who would have thought that as spring approached our schools would all be closed, that there would be no church services, that all sports from our high schools to the professional leagues would be cancelled, that people would be hoarding toilet paper, and that grocery stores would be seeing people buying stockpiles of food as if Armageddon were imminent?

Wed
11
Mar
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Is Our Reaction To Coronavirus Overblown?

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

During the 2017-2018 flu season, more than 61,000 people died in the United States – that is an average of 167 every day for 365 days. Few of our readers will remember any screaming headlines or endless television coverage of the flu season a couple years ago. There weren’t that many.

With each passing day the numbers of deaths attributed to the coronavirus is rising in the U.S. As of Monday morning, it was 27. The total number of cases was rapdily climbing toward 800. Sunday night a second case of the virus was confirmed in Minnesota.

If this virus is so much less deadly and pervasive than the seasonal flu, why so much hype about it? Why are public health agencies in full mobilization mode? Why are people being quarantined? Why has the reaction been so over-the-top that it is tanking the U.S. and world economies, with economists now saying there is a good chance of a recession ahead?

Wed
04
Mar
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Coronavirus Is Coming Here - Are We Ready?

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

Just as 2019 was ending, Chinese authorities reported to the World Health Organization (WHO) that a potentially new virus was circulating in the city of Wuhan. It was a respiratory virus causing pneumonia-like symptoms – congestion, shortness of breath and fever.

The next day, Jan. 1, the suspected source of the infections, the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in Wuhan, was closed. The fresh meat market was a place where animals and humans were in close contact with each other. Such markets have been the source of past viral disease outbreaks.
One week later on Jan. 7 Chinese authorities confirmed a new, or novel, coronavirus was infecting people in Wuhan and four days later, Jan, 11, it reported the first death from what is now labeled Covid-19.

Wed
26
Feb
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Invest In Our Youth And Infrastructure

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

This is a bonding year in the Minnesota Legislature. It is a session that should fund plans to finance improvements in public buildings, our roads and bridges, and water and wastewater facilities. It is also a year for a host of proposals on how to spend the state’s $1.3 billion surplus.

Democratic Gov. Tim Walz has a $2.6 billion “Local Jobs and Projects Plan” proposal that focuses on early childhood programs, child care, affordable housing, infrastructure projects, public safety and higher education needs. It would be made up of $2.03 billion in general-obligation bonds and $571 million in cash from the general fund.

“I’ve said this often, budget documents are more than fiscal documents, they’re moral documents,” Walz said in framing the current budget battle. “This is an opportunity for folks to talk about what they value.”

Wed
19
Feb
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Assessing How We Are Addressing A Changing World

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

Technology is changing the way Americans live, work, play and receive health care. And, it appears, the rate of change will only accelerate as almost magical innovations pile one on top of another. They will continue to shape, and reshape, every facet of our lives in ways hard to imagine.

Thrown into this cauldron of technological change is the vast uncertainty of how a warming climate will disrupt our communities, agriculture, and industry.

Through its American Roundtable project, the Architectural League of New York seeks to look at how communities are doing today and preparing for tomorrow. To gather information, it is asking for 10 proposals from editorial teams in small to medium size cities. With the help of a $10,000 grant, the teams are to produce reports over the coming months that address the challenges we face.

Wed
12
Feb
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Voters Have The Right To A Secret Ballot

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

Among the most fundamental of rights in our democracy is the right to a secret ballot. Minnesota’s current law upends that right. We have talked to a good number of people  who regularly vote in Minnesota’s elections who now say they won’t vote in the March 3 Presidential Nomination Primary.

Why won’t they vote? Because under state law, Minnesotans are required to identify the party in which they are voting and request either a Democratic Farmer Labor Party (DFL) or Republican ballot at their polling place. Who they vote for remains private, but their party preference goes to the state’s four major political parties: Republican Party of Minnesota, the DFL, the Grassroots-Legalize Cannabis Party, and Legal Marijuana Now Party.

Wed
05
Feb
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‘We Come From All Divisions, Ranks, And Classes’

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

“But words are things, and a small drop of ink,
Falling, like dew, upon a thought, produces
That which makes thousands, perhaps millions, think.”
Lord George Gordon Byron
British Poet

Lord Byron’s quote was the inspiration for the name of our column. We are not so naïve as to believe our words will go beyond the small-town community newspapers in which they are published, but it is our local readers we value. It is our local readers with whom we seek a conversation that we hope will expand their view of the diverse community in which they live.

Many community newspapers in America no longer carry editorial pages because they fear losing subscribers or advertisers – the revenue is too precious to jeopardize by taking stands on sensitive, or for that matter, any issues.

Wed
29
Jan
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Americans Now Less Open-Minded With Media’s Help

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

While liberal Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi was touring what was then the Fibrominn power plant in Benson around 2008, 7th District U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson talked to her about rural Minnesota’s innovative spirit. The conservative Democrat also made the observation that highlighted the diversity of his party: “There is no way I could get elected in her (San Francisco) district and there is no way she could get elected in mine.”

Republicans, on the other hand, fit a template that is nearly interchangeable across America. A metropolitan Republican from Alabama could likely get elected in rural Minnesota and a rural Texas Republican elected in parts of the Twin Cities.

Wed
15
Jan
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Newspaper A Civil Place For A Civic Conversation

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

Political letters policy

We are once again entering a political season when supporters of candidates and issues important to them will be writing us letters.

Letters to the editor provide readers with the chance to say how they feel about a candidate and the party that the candidate represents. We encourage our readers to write. The best editorial page is one on which our readers provide a wide variety of views.

Our newspaper provides a place for a civil conversation about the issues that are important to citizens and that will inform their decisions when it is time to cast a ballot. As we consider publishing the letters we receive, there are a few rules that we apply.

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