Opinions

Wed
07
Mar
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Our Problem Isn't Video Games; It's Guns

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher, Swift County Monitor-News

As those who would stop any attempt to pass laws that could perhaps stop the next mass shooting in America, they are faced with an opposition that is well-financed, holds their clout over lawmakers more interested in re-election than children’s lives, and one with a massive propaganda machine.

First, for our readers, let’s establish the fact that we are not against all guns. We grew up hunting. We enjoy shooting a rifle for target practice. We just don’t believe that the 2nd Amendment and the Founding Fathers who wrote it contemplated assault rifles with high capacity magazines.

Tue
27
Feb
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Americans Agree Compromise Is Needed

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher, Swift County Monitor-News

We will start off this column with a couple of surveys that illustrate how much many Americans agree on two controversial topics and another one that says most of us want Congress to compromise to get things done on many of the critical issues facing the U.S.

Two-thirds of Americans want stricter gun controls in general. But when it comes to universal background checks, the nation’s voters are nearly unanimous with 97 percent saying they are needed. Even 97 percent of gun owners approve of universal background checks, according to a recent Quinnipiac poll.

A solid majority, 67 percent, favors a ban on assault-style weapons like the AR-15 used in the mass murder of 14 students and three faculty members at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL, Feb. 14.

Wed
21
Feb
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State Must Take Lead on Gun Control

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

Few people have faith in the leadership in Washington, D.C., to act with decisive purpose to implement meaningful gun control legislation following yet another mass shooting at a school. Fourteen children and three teachers slaughtered with an AR-15 military-style rifle in six minutes.

They’ve done this drill before. Twenty children and six teachers massacred at Sandy Hook Elementary, in Newtown, CT. Congress did nothing.

People gathered for good times at a concert (Las Vegas,) a movie theatre (Denver,) a nightclub (Orlando), and a shopping mall (Burlington, WA,) gunned down. People gathered at a church murdered in Charleston, SC, and Sutherland Springs, TX. What did we get from Washington to make our nation safer? Nothing.

Wed
14
Feb
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Fix Immigration, But Show Compassion

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

As President Trump and the Republican-controlled Congress block meaningful revision of America’s immigration policy, held hostage by the far right-wing base of the party, families are being torn apart at an ever-increasing pace.

President Trump won election partially by vilifying all immigrants, particularly those from Mexico and the Middle East. He aroused fears and prejudices.  He highlighted a few criminal cases. He highlighted the isolated murders, rapes, robberies, gangs, and the threat of terrorism. He made sure to push them to the front of his speeches despite statistics showing that undocumented immigrants are less likely to commit a crime than a U. S. citizen.

His language hasn’t changed now that he holds office. In today’s internet world, where anger and vitriol spasm to the top, rendering reasonable thought objectionable, there is no room for compassionate acts.

Fri
02
Feb
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Candidates For Governor Need To Grasp Rural Needs

by Reed Anfinson
Publisher, Swift County Monitor-News

Last Friday nine candidates running to be our next governor sat down to be questioned on rural issues at an event sponsored by the Center for Rural Policy & Development and the Minnesota Newspaper Association.

Though the November election is still months away, this is a crucial sorting out time in the election process.  Republican and Democratic-Farmer-Labor (DFL) candidates have been traveling the state seeking support as the Feb. 6 caucuses draw near.

Those caucuses feature a non-binding straw poll where citizens vote their support for their favorite candidate. Those who make a strong showing get a boost propelling them ahead of the pack and toward endorsement at the state conventions in the first week of June.

Mon
22
Jan
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‘People Get The Government They Deserve’

by Reed Anfinson
Publisher, Swift County Monitor-News

‘The tyranny of a prince is not so dangerous to the public welfare as the apathy of a citizen in a democracy.’  Montesquieu - 1748

We hear there is a renewed interest in getting invovled in politics in America. We hope so. A healthy democracy demands an engaged citizenry.

Our democracy isn’t very healthy these days as vitriolic partisanship prevents those we elect from reaching consensus on legislation critical to our health, safety, economy, environment, national defense, immigration policy and judicial system.

How have we reached such a dysfunctional state in American politics? The vast majority of citizens don’t need to look very far to find the reason – it is just a mirror away.

Fri
05
Jan
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Following Through On Commitments

by Reed Anfinson
Publisher, Swift County Monitor-News

 

We’ve become quite cynical over the years about conducting studies. That cynicism is based on repetitive experience. A need is identified, there is considerable sincere discussion about the challenges and opportunities, a study is commissioned, citizens are invited to give input, the findings of the study are presented and, finally, a set of goals and objectives identified.

What we have repeatedly seen is that the study is shelved. Its demise doesn’t happen overnight but is inevitable. There may be a price tag to implement the recommendations; so elected leaders are hesitant to act. Those charged with implementing it are too distracted by their daily responsibilities resulting in no dedicated follow through. What were once weekly discussions become monthly discussions and then periodic discussions until the study is one more binder on a shelf gathering dust.

Fri
22
Dec
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Living In An Age Of ‘Unreason’

by Reed Anfinson
Publisher, Swift County Monitor-News

Sapere Aude
‘Dare to know’

It was called the Age of Reason and the Age of Enlightenment. Lasting 130 years from 1685 to 1815, it was an era when “reason was the primary source of authority and legitimacy, and came to advance ideals like liberty, progress, tolerance, fraternity, constitutional government and separation of church and state.”

The thirst for knowledge was spurred on by scientific methodology and experimentation. German 18th Century philosopher Immanuel Kant captured the movement in the Latin phrase – Sapere Aude – “Dare to know.”

We know the path to knowledge is paved with the sacrifices of those who have been called heretics and blasphemers. They have been poisoned, hung, shot, drown, and tarred and feathered for their pursuit of knowledge. Books have been banned and speakers arrested and imprisoned.

Fri
24
Nov
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School Board Must Respond To Citizen Concerns

by Reed Anfinson
Publisher, Swift County Monitor-News

There are times when a thoughtful, frank discussion about sensitive issues that have a broad impact on the quality of life in a community are necessary. The conversation is going to hurt feelings, offend people in positions of influence and authority, and demand leadership from those responsible for solving the challenges.

We are having one of those discussions now about the persistent losing records of many of our athletic programs at Benson High School. The impact reaches far beyond the athletic fields, rinks, and courts of BHS.

How the discussion evolves will depend on the seriousness with which it is carried out and the character of those taking part.

Fri
17
Nov
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Remembering Simpler Times

by Reed Anfinson
Publisher, Swift County Monitor-News

Last month we were in Tulsa, Oklahoma, for the annual National Newspaper Association convention. With our duties taken care of for the day, we went on a tour of downtown Tulsa with an official guide.

Tulsa is known for its striking art deco architecture with many of its buildings on the National Register of Historic Places. The buildings and art deco designs were the result of tenacious competition between the oil barons who were making fortunes in the city that was known as the “Oil Capitol of the World.” Each wanted to have the tallest and most impressive building. It was the 1920s and 1930s, and Tulsa’s population was exploding.

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