Opinions

Wed
25
Nov
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Our Elections Process Needs Reform

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

Perception is reality. It doesn’t matter if the truth is on your side if you can’t convince others there is a shared truth. It takes mutual trust and faith in what we call facts for us to come together to a mutual understanding and then move forward.

As we all know, there is an ocean-wide chasm these days between what those on the right and left believe about each other, about their character, and their motives. Good people on both sides are quick to anger and quick to dismiss those who aren’t in their camp.
That is a serious problem for trust and faith in one of the most essential foundations of the American experiment in a representative democracy – our elections.

Wed
18
Nov
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Will Rural Americans Delay Their Recovery?

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

As COVID-19 cases and deaths are exploding in rural America, we received what should be exciting news. Drugmaker Pfizer announced Nov. 9 that a formal review of its vaccine’s clinical trials showed it to be 90 percent effective. So far, the company said there have been no serious safety concerns with its vaccine.

Even more encouraging, we’ve been told the vaccine could be available to our most vulnerable citizens by the end of the year. Widespread vaccinations against the deadly virus could start early next year. Moderna knows says its vaccine has been 94.5 percent effective. Other companies are also near having their vaccines ready for approval by the Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA.) We are poised to finally defeat this deadly virus.

Wed
11
Nov
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Is Rural Minnesota Becoming Politically Irrelevant?

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

As the Twin Cities continues its steady population growth while much of rural Minnesota sees declining population, its influence in state political outcomes grows.

Consider this stark evidence of the power of just four metropolitan counties.

Despite President Donald Trump winning 75 of Minnesota’s 87 counties, he lost by 233,111 votes. Trump had 1,484,894 votes and Biden 1,718,005.

In just Hennepin and Ramsey counties, with the cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul respectively, Biden beat Trump by 460,496 votes. When Dakota and Washington counties are included, Biden’s margin of victory in these four metropolitan counties was 512,056. These four counties alone supplied the Democratic vote to swamp a Republican “Red” wave in rural Minnesota.

Wed
04
Nov
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Don’t Assume You Don’t Have COVID-19

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

It’s far simpler to spread the coronavirus and the potentially deadly COVID-19 disease it causes than we could have imagined. We say this now from personal experience.

It’s an experience that has vividly taught us why it is so difficult to slow the disease’s spread. Its path through our society is made easy through ignorance, false assumptions, and shrug-of-the-shoulders attitudes by too many. Yet, even for those who do their best to be careful, it slips unseen by their defenses.

And, too many of us have an ingrained mindset that we don’t want to make unnecessary work for people who are already busy.  To go to the doctor, to get tested, when we really didn’t feel that bad seems an imposition on overworked medical staff.

Wed
28
Oct
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Suppression Greater Threat Than Voter Fraud

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

Voting by mail was introduced in Utah in 2013. It soon became very popular, with some counties seeing 99 percent of the 2020 primary ballots come through the mail. It’s a deep red and religious state with Republicans firmly in control. It voted for Donald Trump in 2016 and will again Nov. 3.

Until this summer, Republicans in Utah were just fine with voting by mail. They trusted their ballots would be counted and that no one would mess with the process. Now they aren’t so sure. Not because the process has changed but because their faith has been undermined.
“Suddenly (residents are) worried about voting by mail,” Ricky Hatch, a local county clerk, and auditor, in the Salt Lake area told the press. “Voters refer to ballots being thrown in a ditch, a river, and dumpsters…or dogs receiving ballots.” And, of course, dead people voting.

Wed
21
Oct
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Settling for Herd Immunity ‘Total Nonsense’

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

As many in America become increasingly impatient with social distancing, mask-wearing, bars and restaurants operating at reduced capacity, and postponements of weddings and funerals, some argue for letting the coronavirus run its course.

If we just get back to pre-COVID-19 life, we will create herd immunity to the virus, they say. Now, these same people have a supporter in the White House.

“Herd immunity occurs when a large portion of a community (the herd) becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely,” the Mayo Clinic says. “As a result, the whole community becomes protected — not just those who are immune.” Herd immunity creates enough dead ends for the virus that it can’t find another host.

Wed
14
Oct
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Who Is The Best Candidate For Your Children?

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

If there is one consequence of the current elections that will have long-term implications for all Americans in the coming years it is climate change. It doesn’t have to be a Republican or a Democratic issue, but humankind’s concern.

It is already having an impact on all life around the globe. The depth of those impacts will become more severe in the coming decades. It will mean more children dying of starvation. It will see more refugees fleeing coastal nations where sea rise has flooded their homes. It will mean more refugees fleeing drought-stricken nations seeking food and security, more shortages of water for drinking and irrigation, and more political instability in nations around the planet.

Generations of our descendants will live with the choices we make today, as individuals, as communities, and as a nation.

Wed
07
Oct
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Informed Electorate Is Democracy’s Foundation

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

An informed electorate is essential to the functioning of representative democracy. In small-town rural America, we hold those in power accountable through the reporting of our community newspapers. Citizens make informed decisions on tax levies, elections, bond sales, the quality of our schools and healthcare facilities, and our communities’ safety through the reporting of their local newspapers.

However, this fundamental underpinning of a democratic society is endangered.

To assess the growing threat and seek solutions, Sens. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, Brian Schatz of Hawaii and Michael Bennet of Colorado introduced the “Future of Local News Commission Act” last month. While the three are democrats, support for community news comes from both sides of the aisles.

Wed
30
Sep
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Changing Electorate Will Have Impact On Elections

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

America is changing. We are becoming more diverse with each passing year and that diversity is going to start having an impact on elections. It’s a bitter thought for some who would hold on to America’s white, male dominated society of the past.

According to a recent Pew Research Center study, all 50 states in America saw their share of what are called non-Hispanic White eligible voters decline between 2000 and 2018. Ten states, in fact, saw their White eligible voter population fall by double digits. This change occurred because Hispanics are a growing percentage of their state populations and because they are getting older.

Wed
16
Sep
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Democracy Requires A Loyal Opposition

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

There is an old concept in politics called the “loyal opposition.” The party that is out of power is not seen as the enemy but recognized as made up of fellow citizens with a different point of view when it comes to governing. They share common goals with the  opposing party but see different paths for attaining them.

The role of the “loyal opposition” is to keep the party in power from overreaching and taking the country, state, or other units of government too far in one direction or the other. The majority party consults the leaders of the opposition party, allowing their input, as they craft legislation.
That’s not true anymore. Now the differences between the parties is a chasm. The span so great that compromise cannot bridge it.

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