Letters to the editor: Inclusion resolution support; Not the place for insults
Current tax bill
TO THE EDITOR
The current tax bill favors large tax cuts to corporations with no guarantees and it will cost an added $1.4 trillion some of which will be paid for with a loss of deductions for many Americans and a significant increases to the deficit (H. Long, Washington Post, Nov. 16, 2017).
My biggest issue is that this time we are being asked to subsidize a permanent tax cut to major corporations. The idea is that these cuts will create jobs, increase salaries, and increase economic growth. Corporations have had huge profits this past year but this did not spur them on to create jobs or increase salaries. This tactic has been tried many times without success. This time I want to see some assurances. Corporations should only get or maintain a tax cut IF they can demonstrate job growth and increased salaries.
Did I mention that there is also a deduction for people's/companies private jets and an elimination of estate tax for up to $11 million? Currently, the limit is $5.5 million (C. Hayes, Newsweek Nov. 16, 2017). Meanwhile, the average American will be losing those once tax-deductible items in order to pay for the corporate tax cut. It is time to learn more and make calls to your senators!
Inclusion resolution support
TO THE EDITOR
I am writing in support of the Inclusion Resolution and in support of welcoming all into our community. Whether or not the City Council adopts an Inclusion Resolution, we as citizens must resolve to include people of all colors, beliefs and/or gender identity into our community. In church we often sing the hymn "All are welcome." It is high time we actually practice what we sing.
As a world traveler I have been exposed to a variety of "other" cultures which has only enriched my life as nothing else has. It began by hosting a foreign exchange student in our home and expanded from there. I have visited humble homes in China and shared meals with those whose homes were displaced by the Yangtze River dam. I've danced and sang with school children in China, Egypt and Figi. I have prayed in a Buddhist temple and my ears even learned to tolerate (at least a little bit) Chinese opera. I have been entertained at a dinner party in the home of well-to-do Egyptian Muslims, who explained the practise of wearing the head covering. I once helped an Australian aborigine who accidently found herself locked in a restroom; I lived with a family in Russia (and hosted their reciprocal visit in my home) and yes, I've used eastern-style toilet facilities.
Many more examples of interacting with people of different cultures could be given, but the point of this is that each and every experience brought me a better understanding of another's culture and of how much we all have in common. I feel sorry for those who choose not to enrich their lives by seeking others who are "different;" you are only depriving yourself of joys beyond your imagination.
Care out loud
TO THE EDITOR
While the Phipps Center for the Arts has an exhibit on religion that facilitates community understanding between Christians, Muslims and Jews, the Citizens for the St. Croix Valley is promoting a speaker of anti-Muslim rhetoric for area pastors, and regional church leaders. The Dec. 1 event suggests a forum with open questions about Muslims, but the speaker Shahram Hadrian has a confirmed position that seeks to sever all American ties with any Muslim relationships.
Shahram Hadrian is a former Muslim who has dedicated his life to the teaching of Jesus Christ. Christians and Muslims convert to each other's religions, but what makes Hadrian unusual is his outspoken condemnation of his former religion. Hadrian's website (tilproject.com), quotes him to say that he wants to expose, "the true goal and the threat of Shari'ah Law in America." He travels around the United States preaching to groups about how Americans should find all Muslims a threat. The DVDs he's made include titles like, "Unveiling the Face of Islam / A Wake Up Call for the World," "Islam's Assault on the Constitution," and "Chrislam Exposed: The Seductive Lie of a Common God Between Christianity and Islam." His views propagate fears that generate bigotry and are not supported by an educated base of international organizations.
As an advocate of the first amendment, I fully support the right of Citizens for the St. Croix Valley to present a prejudicial public speaker. This group is outspoken about their perceived fears and have every right to share their worried worldview.
The point of this letter is to illustrate that Hudson has a small outspoken group that actively works to segregate and separate. As the Phipps and other institutions try to take a step forward for diversity, they are there to push us back. This is not a singular incident, rather another example of systemic prejudice.
Now is the time to care out loud. Please support the inclusion efforts of your Hudson institutions, they'll need your help.
Those who seek to destroy our way of life
TO THE EDITOR
That's what Citizens for the St. Croix Valley say in their last goal on their website, "Build a strong activist network that will protect our community from those who seek to destroy our way of life." A supporter in an earlier letter in this section said that "our way of life as referenced throughout the goals is our Constitutional Republic," but didn't address the full phrasing that was being addressed at the Common Council meeting Oct. 16, "...protect our community from those who seek to destroy our way of life." Saying this statement out loud is startling and makes me question its meaning, especially after they exclaimed in last week's paper, Viva Cristo Rey!
In the 1920s, thousands of Mexicans fought and died in an attempt to overthrow the government of their country. They referred to themselves as "authentic followers of the lord" and were named the Cristeros, so called because of their battle cry, Viva Cristo Rey! Long Live Christ the King! Today the Cristero rebellion and the church-state conflict remain controversial subjects in Mexican history, and apparently an inspiration to Citizens for the St. Croix Valley for standing up for religious liberty by publicly denouncing Muslims.
I am a white, heterosexual, educated woman who believes in God and strives to find the best in everyone. Perhaps there is some common ground here with Citizens for the St. Croix Valley. Because I don't follow or believe the extremist "American View" of government (Institute of the Constitution, americanview.com)—that says the founding documents of our country should be interpreted today through a lens similar to when they were written hundreds of years ago and that our founding fathers instilled those documents with biblical underpinnings of the Christian faith to guide interpretation,—but support gays, multiculturalism, and women's rights of all kinds, does this make me someone "who seeks to destroy Citizens for the St. Croix Valley's way of life?" Because I have inclusive thoughts and aspirations am I a threat to "your way of life?" When I want our city to adopt an inclusion resolution, does this make me exclusive, not inclusive because it's thought of as an attempt to "destroy your way of life?"
The prejudicial voice of Citizens for the St. Croix Valley is not the dominant one in Hudson.
Hate into our valley
TO THE EDITOR
The Citizens for the St. Croix Valley say that they are about educating themselves. They say that they are not a hate group. Yet they have collaborated to bring hate into our valley.
They are promoting a speaker, sponsored by a Tea Party group, who is known to the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) as a promoter of anti-Muslim messages. This same speaker has been known to stir up hatred in other rural communities. The SPLC states that Sharham Hadian operates "TIL Project Ministries," which is based around anti-Islam, anti-LGBT, anti-abortion, anti-media and other far-right ideologies. He positions himself as a pastor and operates his business with a pitch of "love offerings" of money, paid speaking engagements and the selling of DVDs, books and pamphlets.
Many of us in the Midwest associate this type of snake oil theatrics with other, less educated parts of the country. Yet here it is, in our beautiful valley.
If the mission of the CFTSCV is to educate, they would seek out educated, diverse and opposing views to advance their understanding and dialogue. Instead, they are promoting a speaker who will validate their bias rather than expand their knowledge. We see your true colors. This group is sowing the seeds of hatred and division right here in our back yard.
I call on those members of the CFTSCV who are not intimidated by the vocal leadership of your group (who will no doubt attack me personally in the next edition of this paper) to reject the spreading of hate.
Don't go to hear this speaker at Kilkarney Hills on Dec. 1. There are better ways to prepare for Christmas than to expose yourself to a false prophet.
Not the place for insults
TO THE EDITOR
A strong tradition of responsible journalism is one of the great backbones of our democracy. Our free press curates our news and makes decisions about what to run based on the needs of our community. When citizens are well informed they are able to make important decisions on how to make our community better as they see fit.
A good editorial board acts as a filter for our discussions. It listens closely to the mood of the community and finds the best letters and columns that make strong arguments and represent all sides of an issue.
The Hudson Star Observer is abdicating its role of encouraging intelligent discussion with its policy of printing all letters, all the time. It prints letters that mock and belittle others which ultimately polarize our community further. This is not journalism, it is simply selling papers with mean-spirited rhetoric.
Our freedom of speech is precious and alive and well. Regardless of your viewpoint, there are places to post your thoughts. The community newspaper is not, however the place for ugly personal insults. When the Hudson Star Observer begins to practice sound journalism, our local discussions will elevate and be productive. Until that time, it is hard to take it seriously either as a newspaper or as a partner in fostering healthy civic conversations.