Sobered. Emotional. Personally stricken. Most members of Congress were deeply affected by the shooting on the baseball field in Alexandria. Va. In fact, most were too stunned to look anything other than shocked and shaken as the day unfolded and they were interviewed for different news outlets. The rhetoric, even from the president, was lofty in the nicest way, appealing to the part of us that knows no political party, the part that loves the United States of America. Perhaps House Speaker Paul Ryan put it best when he said, "An attack on one is an attack on all."
Just when we need a female hero, Wonder Woman shows up. Reinvented in a blockbuster movie, she's tonic to the resurgence of misogyny in these odd, Trumpian times. (That we're about ten minutes into the movie before a man appears on screen is a wonder in itself.)
If bad omens always presaged the future, last week would not have ended well. First my printer went kaput. Then my computer screen went black with only the Apple icon displayed in the middle, while at the same time the computer began making an ominous whirring sound that went on and on and on. Abrupt and distressing, the magnitude of what that black screen might signify overwhelmed me: Had I lost months and months of work with one unfortunate click?
Why do the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine and the American Public Health Association all support legal abortion? Do obstetricians and pediatricians want to "kill babies"? In the heated rhetoric surrounding abortion, perspective gets lost. The reasons have much to do with the hyperbolic language of "murder" and little to do with medicine, science, ethics and morality. (If political power is seen as the answer, the questions don't really matter.) Let's inject some perspective.
Whether I end up reading the books or not, I love reading book reviews. This past week I happened upon a review written by the king of horror stories, Stephen King. (Note: For those who avoid horror novels as I do, check out essays written by Stephen King. He's a master.) The novel he reviewed is Mother Land by the acclaimed travel writer Paul Theroux. Suffice it to say I'm unlikely to read the novel, which is all about a son who loathed his mother, not to mention his siblings whom his mother was happy to pit against one another.
When I was a child there were no seatbelts in cars; there were no smoke alarms in homes or buildings. Even as technology advanced, understanding for their importance came slowly. Not that there weren't forward thinkers who saw life-saving potential. But common sense laws requiring their use took time; yet, it was the clout of law that improved public safety.
If a few hundred Americans were asked what important event occurred at 8:15 A.M., Aug. 6, 1945, how many would know the answer or could make an educated guess? Put another way, does it really matter if most of us don't know that was the moment America's "Enola Gay" dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan?
More than a changing of the guard, Jack Zaleski's retirement signaled a changing of the editorial page format for The Forum. Not that it means the purpose of the page changes, however. One of Zaleski's strengths was to maintain the editorial page as an idea exchange, dealing with any number of subjects, wide open to politically diverse viewpoints, and covering everything from the wise to the nutty. Political endorsements of the paper skew Republican, but opinions on the editorial page cover the gamut. That interchange is valuable for our area and for the state at large.
It was seeing the swans—the beautiful, beautiful trumpeter swans—hanging out in open water not far from our lake place that struck me. Looking at their numbers today, it's hard to believe they neared extinction in the 20th century. Thinking back, however, I don't remember ever seeing a wild swan when I was a child. I'm not sure I remember seeing any when our children were little, either, although we all loved E.B. White's charming book, The Trumpet of the Swan. How dramatically things have changed. And quickly.
Forget draconian cuts to things like higher education. Judging by overwhelming "yes" votes in the North Dakota House on HB 1169, HB 1310, and HB 1273, the big problem for the great state of North Dakota and our citizens is a lack of gun rights. Here an enormously sad sigh is appropriate. Oh, well, it's good to have a "go-to" issue when a significant share of today's inept legislators are the very same folks who put the state in its current pickle with over-the-top largesse for oil companies a few years back. Voters might remember that previous revenue-killing largesse come election time.