Culture


A Year Round Christmas Story

Each and every day newspapers and news broadcasts run articles and stories about the results of high school sporting events and which teams won and who were the stars. This is well and good. Athletics provide a wonderful avenue for growth and expression for many students. But there are other things going on in our public schools that perhaps could use more attention.A few days before Christmas my wife and I attended our granddaughter’s D.C. Everest Junior High Christmas concert. Of course, we have been attending her concerts since she was a first grader and as always, ...

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Hate in America

Driving around the Northland you can see the confederate flag displayed on vehicles. Do you ever wonder what motivates a person to display this symbol of racism and hate? This isn't the Deep South. Wisconsin and Minnesota men fought proudly for the Union, and we have a very small minority community. Why would anyone want, or feel the need, to publicly display this hateful southern symbol?The confederate battle flag IS a symbol of hate. It is not merely an expression of pride in their “southern heritage,” as the apologists claim. Magnolia blossoms, mint juleps, and ...

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Implicit Bias

Implicit Bias is a term we hear a lot of these days. What is it? Why does it matter? What can we do about it?Andrea Huggenvik, executive director of YWCA, Wausau, spoke at a recent AAUW (American Association of University Women) meeting.She told us that a bias is an unconscious attribution of qualities belonging to a group. Without thinking, we react a certain way that has been pre-set in our brain. It would come under the category “we’ve always done it this way.”Implicit bias happens when our learned associations don’t match our values or knowledge. We ...

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THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM

I'm not a Republican, but I have a pretty good memory, am no fan of mice, and I'm fat. In fact, not just fat; obese. I am almost always the only fat person sitting at a conference table in a room full of people talking about health, and more specifically, the topic of obesity, exercise and nutrition, or as the people around me like to say, “chronic disease prevention.”What is even more awkward is that I suffer from many chronic diseases. Most of them have little to do with my size, but it is not as though I can just start telling everyone, “it’s not what you ...

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HATE IS STUPID

As I write this, Pride Month 2018 is drawing to a close. Two trans women in my social circle had very different experiences this past month. One found acceptance and a sense of well-being, the other one suffered from despair so deep that she took her own life.This has prompted a lot of reflection on my part. Will (my significant other) and I have always been big advocates for the LGBT community. Through the years we have seen great strides being made toward acceptance and understanding. But I realize that I was lulled into feeling that the community in which I live is ...

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REMEMBER DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR.

Fifty years ago on April 4, Dr. King lost his life by an assassin’s bullet. Dr. King was an American Baptist minister and social activist. He led the Civil Rights Movement from 1954 to 1968. He used the tactics of nonviolence and civil disobedience in his work for the poor and the forgotten people.In 1964 he was given the Nobel Peace Prize. In 1968 a federal holiday was created to honor Dr. King. The Martin Luther King Jr. memorial was placed in the National Mall in Washington D.C. in 2011. He was honored in many good ways.However, his work is not done. His words ...

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A DAY WITHOUT MUSIC

One day. That’s all I ask. One day for us to recognize how much we’ve come to depend on and simultaneously disregard music. And to think about life without it.One day without music in the doctor’s waiting room, the supermarket, the car repair shop. One day in silence while driving, while eating lunch at our favorite café, while having our hair cut. One day to live without a buffer against other people’s conversations, without music’s unique ability to suspend us in our own cocoon while noises of our increasingly crowded world batter us on all sides.Think ...

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A DAY WITHOUT MUSIC

One day. That’s all I ask. One day for us to recognize how much we’ve come to depend on and simultaneously disregard music. And to think about life without it.One day without music in the doctor’s waiting room, the supermarket, the car repair shop. One day in silence while driving, while eating lunch at our favorite café, while having our hair cut. One day to live without a buffer against other people’s conversations, without music’s unique ability to suspend us in our own cocoon while noises of our increasingly crowded world batter us on all sides.Think ...

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Most Influential Person in 2017? Women

One year ago, Donald Trump became our president. The day after that momentous event, women by the hundreds of thousands assembled to march in mass protest.They sang, laughed, talked, and shared their elation and sorrows right there in the nation’s capital. Marchers in 161 other U.S. cities and towns and in 81 other countries joined their protest. With one voice, they announced their opposition to the new president’s implied and stated goals. They also denounced his obvious delight in bullying, and exploiting others. Whether it was financial, emotional, or sexual ...

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AMERICA’S NEW GREATNESS

 It’s been a crushing year. One after another, hard-won social advancements have been blocked or dismantled in the rush to “Make American Great Again.” But what does that even mean?Exactly when was America greater? When everyone used outdoor toilets? When women couldn’t work outside the home? When skin color decided who could marry whom, or vote, or eat at a lunch counter?Is ‘great again’ a worthy goal, the best we should expect? Is the conservative mantra right, that free enterprise and individual liberty “under limited government” was and ...

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