Letters to the Editor
Jesus is the reason for the season
TO THE EDITOR
I sat down and started writing out some Christmas cards today and I even put on some Christmas music. Do you remember the real Christmas music that we learned to sing in music class in (public) school back in (my) day? Songs that actually pertained to the season of Christmas. You know, when Christ was born! Back then we would put on Christmas concerts and kids and parents loved them. It was the only time of the year that I actually liked going to music class. I still can't play a flutophone and I almost flunked music class because of that.
Many years ago, in Washington D.C., where all of the wise people go to rule our nation, some Grinch decided they did not like Christmas music about the birth of Jesus Christ. They got a bunch of like-minded politicians and judges and lawyers together and decided to prohibit Christian music in public schools and other public places. Their reasoning behind this was related to the separation of church and state. I guess they felt a group of third graders singing Christmas songs presented some threat to the national security of our nation and apparently they still believe this.
Do I even have to mention which party pushed this? It's the same party who does not want to secure our borders because they feel that letting millions of undocumented aliens come into our country does not pose a threat to our national security.
I am here to tell you that Christmas is not just any "holiday." If you do not want to celebrate the birth of Christ, then don't. Go to work instead! Don't attempt to change the meaning of Christmas and lie to yourself and your kids as to what Christmas is about. Our nation was built on the cornerstone of Christianity yet we have politicians and others fighting against it every day. I am here to tell you that our nation is not becoming a better nation. Our people are not becoming a better people. We need to rethink how we elect people and especially who we elect and we need to remember that Jesus is the only reason for the Christmas season.
TO THE EDITOR
I taught U.S. History and Civics in Wisconsin for 32 years. Students learned that America uses a republican form of government, in which all power rests with the voters. They elect representatives to make and carry out policy. Elections were frequent, allowing citizens to choose new representatives when they were unhappy with those currently in office. America also developed a legislative process which was slow and deliberate, and which allows participation by both parties as well as public comment.
Wisconsin's Republican legislators have abandoned both the theory and practice of representative government whenever following them would diminish Republican power. After the 2010 elections, they held a series of closed door meetings. They used expensive consultants and taxpayer-funded lawyers to produce gerrymandered legislative districts that guaranteed Republicans legislative power, even when Democrats win substantial majorities.
Wisconsin voters recently chose Democrats to hold all statewide offices, including Governor and Attorney General.
Breaking with both republican principles and long-established practice, Republican legislators once again held a series of secret meetings. Without any Democratic participation, and no public participation, their clandestine meetings produced legislation that would significantly weaken the Governor's office, even though Republicans had expanded Scott Walker's powers while he held office. They also diminished the Attorney General's powers, provided the ability for legislators to use taxpayer funded lawyers to defend their questionable actions, and further limited citizen's ability to vote.
Republican legislators Adam Jarchow, Rob Stafsholt and Shannon Zimmerman supported every aspect of the recent power grab. Their constituents reported being unable to reach them before and while Republicans were scheming to hold on to power by ignoring the election results. These men owe they people they represent honest answers, not talking points to these questions. Why was it a good idea for Scott Walker to have powers that Tony Evers won't be able to exercise? Why would Republican legislators need taxpayer funded lawyers if they have not already broken laws or might do so in the future? Why are Republicans, in Wisconsin and elsewhere, committed to reducing the number of people who are able to vote?
Statue of Liberty
TO THE EDITOR
The Statue of Liberty, a gift to us from the people of France, stands in the middle of the New York harbor welcoming new immigrants to America. A plaque there describes our open arms:
"Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"
How wonderful it must have been for my great-grandparents and yours, to be welcomed to safety and the land of opportunity.
Now, when parents and children walk 1,000 miles seeking to share the American dream, how do we welcome them?
Families are severed. We rip young children from mother's arms, some of them to never to see each other again. We lob tear gas into Mexico, a sovereign nation, to terrorize helpless families fleeing the terror of Central America. Our president threatens lethal force by our military in violation of the Posse Comitatus Act. Then we close the border and promise to build a wall.
As I think of my granddaughter running out the front door, laughing and singing without a care in the world, I am overwhelmed with emotion. I'm sad when I think of so many other children that will have a life of dodging bullets, hunger and physical violence. Have we forgotten that those who seek to join us here are real, live people? They have hopes and dreams like we do. They get cold, hungry, tired, sad and frightened just like you and I would in their circumstances. How can we demonize those who seek the safety and freedom that we take for granted?
Ronald Reagan used a biblical reference in his farewell address to the nation when he said, "America is a shining city upon a hill whose beacon light guides freedom-loving people everywhere." Our light has dimmed. We cannot let it be extinguished.
Together, we can do better.
Gary L. Bakke
Bakke Norman, S.C.
County Supervisor's reply on carbon fee
TO THE EDITOR
My name was mentioned unfavorably in a post last week in the HSO by Ms. Meyers. That part was unsurprising, but then she attempted to tell everyone what my intentions were when I proposed that the County Board take up for review the resolution passed by the La Crosse County Board in December 2017 urging Congress to consider a revenue-neutral fee on carbon in fossil fuels. She is wrong about my intentions.
Early last Monday, I had contacted the Chairman of the Administration Committee informing him that this matter should be taken off the agenda because I had not had time to fully prepare for this important subject matter.
In spite of the matter being taken off the agenda, I received a barrage of anonymous text messages, some with threats, telling me that I better not move forward for discussion and debate any proposal that would urge Congress to tax carbon. This community as everyone knows has a small sect of quite mean-spirited, undemocratic residents. Here is one of the threats, "Go ahead and we'll make the French yellow, [vests] look like school yard."
I can take the heat, because I am a public official. But when my wife and neighbors are left to discover anonymous flyers on mailboxes stating that I am aka "The Gas Goon," I think this uncivilized conduct has gone too far.
Good grief climate change deniers, you can believe that the warnings about climate change are just a hoax, and you can believe that the earth is flat, just don't threaten public officials who desire to debate and potentially do something about this issue.
For the vast majority of those of you in this community who are extremely concerned about the ticking of the clock towards irreversible climate change causing extinctions of species and worldwide famine, please contact me at District5@sccwi.gov so that we can work together.
County Supervisor, District 5