Opinions

Wed
01
Jul
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Be Thoughtful In Cleansing America’s Past

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

Few issues we’ve asked our readers about over our long career in journalism have brought out such deep and passionate responses as the tearing down of statues of historic figures from America’s past. It seems there is little room for compromise or understanding on either side.  Perhaps, there is greater impatience in each of us with the stress of how our worlds have been upset by the COVID-19 pandemic. We are a little more frayed at the edges.

The killing of Black Minneapolis resident George Floyd at the hands of police officers May 25 was a lightning strike in a tinder dry forest. Marches with large crowds of outraged citizens exploded across the nation and world. A few used the legitimate protests as cover for vandalism, theft and arson.

Wed
24
Jun
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Dreamers Get A Temporary Reprieve

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

In a split 5-4 decision last Thursday, the U.S. Supreme Court overruled the Trump Administration’s attempt to undo the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) protection for America’s Dreamers.

For many, this is the only country they’ve known. Dreamers had to have arrived in the U.S. by 2007 and before they turned 16 years old. Nearly 40 percent arrived in America before they were 5 with the average age of children who eventually became Dreamers just 7.

DACA was created by a 2012 executive order issued by then President Barack Obama to protect Dreamers from potential deportation as the U.S. Congress repeatedly failed to pass an immigration law. Claiming the order illegal, then presidential candidate Donald Trump said that he would overturn it on “day one” if elected president. He has been working toward that goal since his election in November 2016.

Wed
17
Jun
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Newspapers Renewable Energy For Democracy

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

Print is dead. We’ve heard it too often.

We’ve heard dinosaurs mentioned in the same sentence as print. Buggy whips, too. Print is obsolete having outlived its usefulness in the face of the digital revolution, it is said. Social media – Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram – are now the primary source of “news” for many youth. A fair number of older adults also turn to the internet for their “news.”

A friend of ours recently asked a group of young people if they read the local newspaper. The looks on the faces communicated a single message: “You are kidding, aren’t you?” Facebook. That’s where their news came from.

Wed
10
Jun
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We Are Not Immune From Racism’s Tragedy

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

Even in small-town rural Minnesota, what happens on the streets of Minneapolis, St. Paul, Los Angeles, Atlanta, or Washington, D.C., matters.

As streets have filled with citizens protesting the callous killing of George Floyd May 25 by Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, rural America has watched from a distance. The inflamed passions of those fed up with police brutality toward black Americans appearing on our screens is far removed.

For 8 minutes and 45 seconds, Chauvin had his knee pressing hard against Floyd’s neck. His pleas that he couldn’t breathe were ignored. He soon fell unconscious; Chauvin didn’t let up. By the time he removed his knee, Floyd was dead.

Who can’t help but being outraged by viewing the video of Floyd’s death?

Wed
03
Jun
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BHS Class Of 2020 Graduates With Smiles

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

As Benson High School seniors walked from their cars to the improvised stage set against the chain link fence of the Benson Family Aquatic Center Friday evening, we were surprised and reassured by the smiles we saw.

We saw an undiminished enthusiasm. We saw joy and laughter.

As each graduate held his or her diploma, facing family and friends, unrecognizable behind the glare on their windshields, most smiled bringing smiles to all who watched. They were proud. As graduates received their diplomas, car horns honked, and you could hear people cheering.

In the short car parade that immediately followed the graduation ceremony, we saw celebration by the graduates, their families, their friends and the community. Fire trucks and ambulances led the parade with their lights flashing and a horn blaring from time to time.

Wed
27
May
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All That Cardboard Tells A Story

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

With people stuck at home for much of the past two months, there have been some changes in shopping habits – one good for small-town America, one not so good.

Many people have shied away from the big box stores in regional shopping centers that have seen a significant number of COVID-19 cases. Neighboring Kandiyohi County has recorded 468 cases of the deadly coronavirus as of Monday. Stearns County, the home of St. Cloud, will have over 2,000 cases by the time you read this column. Shoppers are also avoiding the grocery stores in regional centers, preferring to buy their goods closer to home.

Wed
20
May
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Not The Flu, Not A Hoax, Not Time To Party

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

“It’s just the flu.” That is what some who believe Minnesota Democratic Gov. Tim Walz has overreacted to COVID-19 disease think.

“If I get corona, I get corona,” a young woman on a Florida beach told the press. “At the end of the day, I’m not going to let it stop me from partying.” This is another attitude among many who are not in the vulnerable age group hit hard by the coronavirus.

And, there are a few who maintain that COVID-19 is a hoax, overblown by the media.

It’s not a hoax. It’s not the flu. And, those who say “let’s party” have little thought or worry about the impact of the disease on their parents, or grandparents, or those with underlying conditions that make them susceptible to the virus.

Wed
13
May
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America’s New Class - The Expendables

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

While giving a speech Sept. 9, 2016, Democratic candidate for president Hillary Clinton had one of the more memorable moments of her campaign. It wasn’t a good one.

In speaking about then Republican candidate Donald Trump’s followers, she described them as a “basket of deplorables.” She saw them as “racist, sexist, homophobic, and xenophobic.” Acknowledging the storm of criticism for those remarks, she amended her comment to say only “half” of his followers were in this deplorable camp. It was a comment that further entrenched her unfavorable ratings.

Now we are seeing our president and some of his followers creating a new class of people in America – The Expendables. They are people 65 and older, as well as those with underlying conditions making them more vulnerable to the ravages of the coronavirus – diabetes, lung disease, asthma, or a compromised immune system.

Wed
06
May
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America Must Support U.S. Postal Service

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

On the most bitterly cold days, with windchills of 20 below zero and deep snow to trudge through, the United States Postal Service workers deliver the mail. In sweltering heat and humidity, and in thunderstorm downpours, they still go door to door delivering the mail.

Now add to their duties the delivery of mail during a pandemic. Despite nearly 1,300 postal workers having been sickened by the coronavirus and 54 having died, they continue to deliver the mail. With many people shut-in under stay-at-home orders, or fearful of going out because they are among those vulnerable to the virus, the postal service provides an essential service. It brings them medicines critical to their continued health.

Wed
29
Apr
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Absentee, Mail-in Ballots Essential For Elections

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

Though Nov. 3 is many months away, it may not be enough time for many states to prepare for the general election in a time of fear about the spread of the coronavirus and the deadly disease it causes, COVID-19.

At the top of the ballot will be the presidential candidates. At this point, there is an assumption that the two top candidates will be Republican President Donald Trump and Democrat former Vice President and Delaware U.S. Sen. Joe Biden. It will be a contentious election with potentially a record voter turnout.

Some speculate that the virus might not be around come the fall or won’t be much of a factor in people casting their votes. We wish. On the contrary, it is very likely going to have a significant impact on how we will conduct our elections in November.

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