The American-News welcomes letters of opinion from our readers.

The American-News welcomes letters of opinion from our readers. Letters regarding current local and national news items are encouraged. All letters are subject to editing for length and style. Letters containing potentially libelous or obscene statements will not be published. Letters must contain name, address and phone number for verification and in case of questions. E-mail letters to: mmilbrandt@montenews.com Letters may also be mailed to:  Editor, Montevideo Publishing, P.O. Box 99, Montevideo, MN 56265

Congress is failing farmers

Oct. 12 is National Farmer’s Day. It’s a good day to vocalize our appreciation to the hard-working men and women who strengthen our local economies, steward God’s creation and provide daily food for our families. It’s also an opportunity to step back and consider the state of agriculture today. Congress is failing farmers. Regulations are countless. Healthcare is a mess. And we need more free trade.

After 28 years of Rep. Collin Peterson in office there is no way to see him as anything other than part of the D.C. problem. I’m running for Congress because I believe it’s time for fresh representation.

On a state level, I have fought needless regulations on behalf of farmers in my rural-dominant district, District 17A. I serve as the Vice Chair of the House Agriculture Finance Committee. I have stood up against policy backed by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency that would have resulted in devastating regulatory restraints on the sugar beet and ethanol industries. I fought the new buffer law. I resisted Gov. Dayton’s radical executive orders with ditch mowing and pollinator rules intended to take land from farmers. I will take this same spirit of fighting burdensome regulations to Washington.

Farmers consistently share their concerns with health care. Costs are out of control. Choice among health plans is gone. Access to local doctors and hospitals is in question. This spring, Peterson voted against the bill that would have repealed Obamacare and introduced free market solutions to health care.

I have already taken a tangible step to help farmers obtain and afford health care. This spring, I authored the Agriculture Cooperative Health Plan so that farmers can access insurance through their cooperatives. Dayton signed my plan into law. As your Congressman, I will continue to find out-of-the-box solutions that give farmers real relief.

Finally, Minnesota farmers tell me the importance of free trade. It is the greatest growth sector, particularly for protein. Agriculture is seeking open markets because we have the best product and are most competitive worldwide with proteins. Increased free trade will increase prosperity for Western Minnesota farmers and I will work towards this goal in Washington. Peterson has not done that.

Gone are the days when Peterson’s promises to farmers are enough to win him votes. Farmers are tired of politics as usual and promises as usual. After 28 years of Collin Peterson, Western Minnesota deserves new leadership.

—Rep. Tim Miller

Prinsburg

Food shelf says thank you

The Holiday Season is just around the corner and it is because of the continued support from individuals, farmers, gardeners, businesses, churches, school groups, and generous neighbors that we are able to keep our shelves full of food and ready to help families working through financial stress.  We are so thankful for the fun projects and ideas your organizations come up with to help raise money and food for the Chippewa County Food Shelf.

As you think about Thanksgiving and Christmas and make plans with family and friends to gather for a holiday dinner, think about what you are thankful for.  How do you give thanks?  Are Family, Friends, Jobs, Pets, and Food some of the things that come to mind when you think of what you are blessed with and what you are thankful for?  Food is not something everyone has in their homes to be thankful for.  

This holiday season, please consider a gift to the Chippewa County Food Shelf.  Cash donations are extremely helpful and with our partnership with the food bank, Second Harvest Heartland, we can stretch cash donations and purchase food with at least a 4 to 1 ratio.  With every dollar donated to the food shelf we can purchase at least four pounds of food.  Help a neighbor in need, your donation of cash will feed hungry families in our community this holiday season.  We appreciate your generosity and willingness to GIVE THANKS!

If you have any questions, please call us at 320-269-6578.

—Samuel Lye

Montevideo

Veteran’s hunt a big success!

Thank you to the Chippewa Co. and LqP Co. Pheasants Forever, the Twin Rivers Deer Hunters and VITO for the great hospitality shown to our veterans Oct. 7 at Heartland Hunting Preserve. Honoring our veterans by allowing them some fun and a chance to commune with each other, family and friends is great, but allowing them to try out their shooting, walking and other skills is just as good I think.

Thanks to all the vendors, the volunteers, Heartland Preserve and any others who have contributed to the success of this event in the past five years. This was my dream for our veterans. Coming more true as we move from one year to another. 2016 including a “silo hunt” was a great addition to this part. Back again this year it will be a keeper event for our less agile and intense hunters. We enjoy being catered to. After talking to Steve James, VITO coordinator for this area, I feel I’ve found a kindred spirit and I think Jan Payne is finding some relief and real help too.

   If everyone would do a bit and do it well, we’d all get a lot more done and the honoring of our veterans is a big issue in this area. They served. Now we try to honor that service and give it scope. They and their families deserve our best.

—Dave Swenson

Montevideo

Peaceful Protests

The NFL players and other athletes who kneel as a peaceful protest against injustice deserve our respect and admiration.  The flag is a symbol of our democratic values of  liberty and justice for all.  The commandments tell us that God is the liberator, that one should not have other gods or make idols.  Nationalism that reveres the cloth more than the ideals it symbolizes is problematic.  

Daniel 3 provides a story of resistance.  King Nebuchadnezzar builds a huge statue and demands that people bow down or be thrown into a fiery furnace.  God’s faithful risk death refusing to bow down to the King’s command.   Today's athletes protest in the midst of great criticism, even from their President who says they should be fired.  

Wouldn’t it be disrespectful to our armed forces not to exercise first amendment rights that they have risked their lives to protect?  Isn’t it more disrespectful to stand silent before the flag while injustice continues to be perpetuated against whole groups of people because of the color of their skin?!  Don’t we have a patriotic duty to resist when the ideals of our democratic society are not being honored?

People kneel when they want to show gratitude and respect.  These athletes are saying “I am grateful for the privilege of being born in this country, of getting to play this sport and I’m going to use that privilege to make a statement that things are not okay.”

Those offended by a peaceful protest of kneeling might ask themselves if they feel that their sense  of privilege is being threatened.

It is admirable when athletes who have public notoriety challenge our society to live up to the ideals represented by our flag, revering ideals that are more than a piece of cloth, acting from a spirit of faith, united in the possibility of a world with justice and peace for all.

—Vicki Poier

Montevideo

Free speech          

I was glad to read of the respectful dialogue between veterans and football players in last week’s letter to the editor. Honest conversation about war and inter-generational encounters of any kind are increasingly rare. Like Mr. Broich, I applaud those who facilitated and participated in the meeting. At the same time, I was troubled by the sub-text of the exercise. It seems to me that Coach Vik was sending a message loud and clear: dissenting views and civil disobedience are not welcome on his team.

It also seems to me that censorship of protected speech and mandatory displays of patriotism have more in common with the dictatorships our veterans fought to defeat than the American democracy they bravely defended. No doubt they fought so our Thunderhawks could pass the pigskin. And so our newspaper presses could operate as freely as the minds (and knees) of our citizens.    

When people disrupt the routines of our daily lives--shutting down freeways or kneeling during the national anthem--it’s easy to criticize their tactics, and misunderstand their purpose. “Isn’t that dangerous?” and “How disrespectful!” It’s harder to examine the societal conditions that spark protest. “What motivates those players to take a knee?” And harder yet to talk about difficult questions they uncover. “Do we--our values, culture, government--bear any responsibility for those conditions?”

On the field, the most appropriate response is usually a loud and hearty “Yes Coach.” On questions of race relations, freedom of speech, and patriotism, a few variations are in order: “Why Coach?” “To what extent Coach?” “Can we talk more about that, Coach?”

—Andy Stermer,

Montevideo