Letters to the editor for May 10, 2013

Insult to democracy

To the Editor:

Removal of {District 15} School Board member Matt Rustad is an insult to our democracy. Even the courts could challenge the school board on this issue.

That fact is he is my elected official. I thought I was his boss, not the school board.

This means if he is an employee that can be fired, I don’t have to vote. They just decide who they’re going to keep anyway. So why bother. Just find a loophole in the law and get rid of people you don’t like.

Oh, of course, we’re going to deny any bigotry and I know all about bigotry and its subtleties. I was a labor leader off and on for 40 years and my family contributed to the civil rights movement also. After all, we all look like fine up upstanding citizens with titles.

These people I reasonably suspect look like saints in their private lives, but people in power for some time get a little arrogant, like how dare you have new ideas and a mind of your own young man.

You see, School Board District 15, I feel sorry for you. You are in total self-denial. You can’t see the big picture as you hare giving your students a bad history lesson in democracy.

Let us hope they do not lose their idealism too or we won’t have anyone to fight our wars (example: Vietnam War). Don’t tread on me.

Friends of democracy,
LeRoy T. Schaffer
Lori Knutson, Pete Karpe, Greg Gehrke, Bernard Haelka and V.R. Spensley also signed this letter.

Wear a poppy

To the Editor:

“Please wear a poppy,” the lady said. Then I stopped and watched as she offered them there, and her face was old and lined with care; but beneath the scars the years had made there remained a smile that refused to fade.

A boy came whistling down the street, bouncing along on carefree feet. His smile was full of joy and fun. “Lady,” said he. “May I have one? Why do we wear a poppy today?”

The lady smiled in her wistful way and answered, “This is Remembrance Day, and the poppy there is the symbol for the gallant men who died in war. And because they did, you and I are free. That’s why we wear a poppy, you see.”

“I had a boy about your size, with golden hair and big blue eyes. He loved to play and jump and shout. As the years went by he learned and grew and became a man – as you will, too.”

“He was fine and strong, with a boyish smile, but he’d seemed with us such a little while, when war broke out and he went away. I still remember his face that day when he smiled at me and said, ‘Goodbye, I’ll be back soon, Mom, so please don’t cry.’”

“But the war went on and he had to stay, and all I could do was wait and pray. His letters told of the awful fight. I can still see it in my dreams at night. With tanks and guns and cruel barbed wire, and the mines and bullets, the bombs and fire.”

“Till at last, at last, the war was won. And that’s why we wear a poppy, son.”

The small boy turned as if to go, then said, “Thanks, lady. I’m glad to know. That sure did sound like an awful fight. But your son, did he come back all right?”

A tear rolled down each faded cheek. She shook her head, but didn’t speak. I slunk away in a sort of shame, and if you were me you’d have done the same; for our thanks, in giving, is oft delayed. Though our freedom was bought – and thousands paid!

And so when we see a poppy worn, let us reflect on the burden borne by those who gave their very all when asked to answer their country’s call that we at home in peace might live, then wear a poppy! Remember and give!

(by Don Crawford)

Let’s honor our POW-MIAs, veterans, those that gave their lives to keep our country free, and our military by wearing a poppy during Poppy Days (May 17 and 18) and at other times.

Thank you,
Darlene Thell
Anoka American Legion Post 102 Auxiliary president and Coon Rapids VFW Post 9625 Ladies Auxiliary junior vice president

The right to form a union

To the Editor

I have been a home care worker for about 15 years, on and off. Recently, I became very ill and have been forced to leave my clients twice.

I wasn’t able to receive unemployment benefits or disability insurance.

Because of the low wages of the job, I haven’t been able to save any money for my future.

I think that if I had the option to join a union and have a voice in my working conditions, I could have avoided some of these issues and things may have been different for me.

Home care workers in Minnesota deserve the right to form a union. We provide very necessary services for people who really need them, but often we can’t even afford to take care of ourselves.

Providing direct support services to the elderly and people living with a disability shouldn’t put home care workers at the risk of needing public assistance for food and health care.

I am a single mom and passing the bill to grant home care workers the right to organize could make our lives so much more productive.

I urge our legislators to pass this bill to give myself and my fellow home care workers the right to have a say in our future.

Susan Sina
Coon Rapids

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