Opinions

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.

Wed
08
Jan
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Sorting Truth From Lie in Political Campaigns

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

It appears appalling. Former Vice President and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden making a racist statement. With more than 1.4 million views on Twitter already, his alleged comments are spreading with the speed only the internet enables. There is just one big problem – the video of Biden’s remarks in New Hampshire were doctored.

His comments were made in response to a question on combating sexual violence. “Folks,” he said, “this is about changing the culture, our culture, our culture. It’s not imported from some African nation or some Asian nation. It’s our English jurisprudential culture, our European culture that says it’s alright.” However, the person who posted the edited version of Biden’s comments left out the “Folks this is about changing…”

Thu
02
Jan
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We Must Retain Our Progressive Spirit

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

When we look at the now vacant lot where the Benson Power electric generation facility once sat, it’s easy to think about the loss. A 12-year-old $230 million energy facility employing more than 45 people and paying $832,000 in real estate taxes to local governments has been dismantled.

But there is encouragement future in the words of the state’s leaders who came to Benson 12 years ago to celebrate the grand opening of what was then known as Fibrominn.

“There is a long tradition in this part of the world of progressive politics and progressive leaders. It is appropriate that this would be the place where we would have this kind of revolution,” U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson said at the grand opening.

 “Benson is a pretty remarkable town,” then U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman said. “Here in the heartland of western Minnesota, you are at the forefront of energy innovation.”

Tue
24
Dec
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Peterson’s Impeachment Vote Fits His District, But...

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

Our 7th Congressional District made the national news frequently this past week. As our readers are well aware, that attention was brought from the halls of the U.S. House in Washington, D.C., to the small towns and rural reaches of our district due to a couple votes of Rep. Collin Peterson. 

He was one of only two Democrats in the House to vote against impeaching President Donald Trump on the charge of abuse of power and one of only three to vote no on the charge of obstruction of justice. With the Democrats’ majority in the House, both motions passed, the president was impeached, and now we wait for the U.S. Senate to act.

Because of the historic nature of the House vote and Peterson’s role, we would be remiss not to comment on it. But first, let’s hear from Peterson in his own words.

Thu
19
Dec
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Civility Essential For A Healthy Democracy

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

Our divided nation stands even more at odds in these days following the Democratic Party controlled U.S. House Judiciary Committee voting to send articles of impeachment for a full House vote. That vote is scheduled to take place this week with a Senate trial to follow.

There are two realities in America today.

One among supporters who believe that their president can do no wrong and that the Democrats are out of control in their pursuit to undo the 2016 election through impeachment.

The other reality exits for Americans who believe our country is led by a would-be dictator who believes he is above the law and has committed impeachable offenses in pressuring Ukraine to falsely accuse a political opponent of wrongdoing.

Tue
10
Dec
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It’s Time For A New Gymnastics Facility

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

It’s long past time when the District 777 Board of Education make a decision on a future home for the Benson-Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg (BKMS) gymnastics program. The decision that makes the most sense is going to the voters to approve a levy in the neighborhood of $1.2 to $1.5 million.

Before addressing the issue of financing, there are two questions to answer. The first is, does the gymnastics program need a new home? There is no doubt to the answer – definitely. Once that question is answered the next is, how quickly should the school board act? Again, the answer to that question can be answered without hesitation – immediately.

For more than two decades the school’s gymnastics program has operated out of a substandard, unsafe building.

Wed
04
Dec
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Protecting A Community’s Health

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

Last flu season in America was particularly deadly. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that 61,000 people died from flu related symptoms with 810,000 hospitalized.

As we enter the heart of this flu season, the Minnesota Department of Health, Horizon Public Health, our local medical staffs, and our pharmacies will be reminding us to get vaccinated – and you should follow their advice. Doing so not only protects you but safeguards the lives of infants whose immune systems aren’t fully developed and are too young for vaccines, those who have comprised immune systems due to cancer treatments, and those who are allergic to vaccines.

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