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~v~'~lr SENTINEL TRIBUNE Wednesday, October 19, 2016 Page 4 BETWEEN THE LINES By Tom Merchant - Sentinel Tribune -- tmerchant@ncppub.com Has there ever been a time like this? Is it just me? or has our country gotten more hateful and divid- ed? It seems our political candidates, of all stripes, are bringing out the worse in some people. I am not sure why there is so much hate coming to the surface this year. But I think I know what most of it comes from. Number one is negative campaign advertising. Some of it is all out lies, while some of it is items that have no explana- tion or things that are taken out of context. Another thing is our all knowing, all telling internet, from emails to tweets and who knows what else. All it takes is one piece of false or misleading informa- tion to go viral in no time and once it's out there it is impossible to correct. Despite all that things have definitely taken a turn for the worse. Over the weekend one of the Republican county headquar- ters in Hillsbourough, North Carolina, was fire bombed and vulgar graffiti was printed on a nearby building. In Kansas three white men were taken into custody for planning a bombing of a housing complex of mostly Muslim people. They were allegedly closely prepared to execute their plan, by the FBI. So if you are worried about Muslim extremists in the U.S. -- look around, the terrorist you see might be in your white Christian neighbor. These acts of domestic terror are not what I see this country is all about, and we should denounce those politicians or anyone else who is supporting these terroristic views. This is not what America is all about. We need to stand up to all forms of terrorism, including domestic terrorism in some of our family's. The good news is that most of us are generally against these terrible acts and should be willing to denounce them. Sunday morning on CBS Sunday Morning there was a story about a black woman from Cleveland who had gone to visit rela- tives in Vh'ginia. When she was returning, this woman who had hardly ever been very far away from her home became hopelessly lost. She went into a convenience store and desperately asked if anyone could help her to find her way to Cleveland? She was then approached by a middle aged (white) man who offered to help her to f'md her way to get home. He then told her she should follow him, and he drove 35 miles out of his way to get her to the interstate that would take her back to Cleveland. At any rate she found her way home. One day when she was in her church this man travelled to Cleveland and found her at her church to see how she was doing. When the lady saw him she was over- whelmed and gave him a big hug. I guess it goes to show that down deep inside we all are the same color, we all put our pants on one leg at a time, we all want to live together in harmony. You don't have to drive to Cleveland to take time to offer at least a smile when we meet someone on the street,.0r help spmeone who is s tmggli0g 'with ! R/e and carry- ing groceries or whatever. We are all responsible to make our coun- aas great as it can be. ve a great week and do good! Do the Debates Help Us Choose Wisely? ByLee H. Hamilton choose who is going to make the We're in the middle of the presi- best decisions. dential debates, and not surprisingly, I think we can do better. Selecting they're drawing viewers in great a president is serious business. We numbers, want to put control of the process on This is hardly a bad thing. Overall, the voters' side, and not let the can- presidential debates are a plus for didates get away with fluff. How do we do this? We change the public dialogue. Yet I think our focus on debates -- at least in the the nature of the debates. To begin form they currently take- is mis- with, I believe there should be a series of them, each focused on a placed: they don't actually help us make a good choice. Here's why: single issue -- education, say, or I've sat in on a lot of meetings at national security. Candidates should the White House where foreign and face a panel of questioners asking domestic policy were discussed, them to address the toughest ques- Presidents want to hear different tions on those matters who will opinions, seek advice, and then go press them when they spout mush. off and make a decision. The choic- Ideally, the candidates should face es a president has to make are often this panel one at a time, rotating very difficult -- almost by defini- who goes first, and with other rules tion, an issue doesn't get to that to assure fa'maess. level unless it's a tough one. What The point is, we want voters to go this means is that the real quality to the polls not just with a good idea you're looking for in a President is of where the candidates want to take judgment: the ability to consider us and how they're going to get issues from all angles, weigh options there. We also want voters to have a carefully, and then choose the wisest clear sense of how sound the candi- course -- sometimes from among a dates' judgment is, because that's tangle of unpalatable alternatives, ultimately what will make or break The qualities necessary to do this their presidency. do not come through in the debates, Lee Hamilton is a Senior Advisor for which tell us very little about how the Indiana University Center on candidates would do at exercising Representative Government; a judgment in the fog of policy-mak- Distinguished Scholar, IU School of Global and International Studies; and ing. A campaign event that calls for a Professor of Practice, IU School of impassioned oratory, a quick wit, Public and EnvironmentalAffairs. He one-liners, and sharp digs is not was a memberofthe U.S. House of especially helpful for helping us Representatives for 34 years. t i D O • "Stories from the Batt Cave" The polls aren't saying what we are saying I watched a dog raise a leg on a lawn sign. Dogs love being a part of the election process. We've had some windy days. I don't mind the wind when it blows the leaves from my yard. Some people blame the wind on the Norwegian ancestry of area resi- dents. Others claim that the wind turbines actually produce wind, but most blame the presidential debates• We pause in our complaining about the weather to complain about the The presidential election is simi- lar to an annual physical or a semi- annual dental appointment in that it comes around every few weeks• Election campaigns never end. They spend too much money on free speech. Candidates promise more promises. Promises made without intention of keeping• Some candi- dates fib more often than a 10-day weather forecast• They battle to see which one is the worst person. This makes us uneasy. George Carlin said, "In America, anyone can be president. That's the problem•" Jessica Mitford wrote, "Things on the whole are much faster in America; people don't 'stand for election,' they 'run for office.'" I love this country and I'm election • • proud to vote• We re different here• .El~t~o~gns wa_yed in the.w.'md.~.Sweden automatically registers as zf they, ~ere a field of bnght[ ,-~ " i,b'voters and Voting is Comi~ulsory colored gram I count campaign ~ • " in Australia. In Germany, TV ads signs to see how accurate their num- are restricted severely. The longest bers are in predicting election out- comes• I was enjoying the voting canine when my cellphone introduced a caller. It was a pollster• Polls take my temperature to see how I will feel in a month• There are too many polls. How useful can they be? A TV game show poll found that 25 percent of people think Vin Diesel invented the diesel engine. The pollster asked, "If you dis- agree with everything a candidate has ever said, if he said bad things about your mother and spit into your chili, would you still vote for him?" Every candidate has ideas• Some of them might work, but most won't. I can say that because I probably won't be offered a cabinet position• Politicians pander to underpaid and unappreciated creatures like us in the hopes of getting elected• rd vote for anyone who promised to put an end to robo-calls and push polls• election campaign in Canada was 78 days. We hold pernicious, pie- in-the-face debates and spend silly amounts of money on campaigns. I heard a candidate claim that rural folks had made the country what it is today. It's just like a poli- tician to blame others. I try to fmd humor in things. It's not always easy. I become fatigued. Politicians dig up dirt on their opponents while burying theirs. At least they won't be handling our food. Years ago, I asked a veteran campaigner if it bothered him that his opponent told lies about him. He replied, "Not really. It could be worse. He could be telling the truth." I listened to the radio, but strident voices drove me away. Iron ton- sils bellowed in outrage, "I'm right. You're wrong." We must remember that left wing and right wing are on the same bird. The criticisms required no reason. Just because you're offended, it doesn't mean that you're right. It means you're biased, just like all of us. I enjoy watching baseball. I watched bits of the World Series in 2014. I had no horse in the race, but was pleased to observe anyway. I saw the beginning of Game 5 in San Francisco• Aaron Lewis sang the Star-Spangled Banner before the game. I wasn't familiar with him other than reading that Lewis had criticized Christina Aguilera when she'd messed up the anthem prior to the 2011 Super Bowl. Lewis said that she was a self-absorbed per- former who had commandeered the hallowed national anthem for her own personal use. How did Lewis do when he had the opportunity to sing the,anthem? Lewis botched the words' :It Was like crifidiZifig an incumbent. When you're wrong, "adln t it. When you're right, don't say any- thing. There's little point in us argu- ing about religion or politics. It's akin to trying to convince someone who detests kale that he should eat it three times a day. Political rants are a waste of ener- gy unless we can fred a way to turn them into electricity. Zhuangzi said, "We cling to our own point of view, as though everything depended on it. Yet our opinions have no permanence; like autumn and winter, they gradually pass away." It's all fun and games until some- one gets elected. ©A1 Batt 2016 71622 325 St. 1-1, MN 56042 http://albatt.net/ F.P F, dl f Ear'Lhquc-,q K ~" Ill I (ISSN 8750-3905) Thomas Merchant tmerchant@ncppub.com Managing Editor Junette Merchant sentrib@ncppub.com Office & Production Joan Spielman jspielman@ncppub.com Ad Rep. & Circulation Published every Wednesday at Westbrook, Minnesota 56183 Periodicals Postage Paid at Westbrook, Minnesota 56183 SUBSCRIPTION PRICE FOR THE SENTINEL TRIBUNE WILL BE: In the following counties: Cottonwood, Redwood, and Murray $45.00 per year. Elsewhere in Minnesota $49.00 per year. Out of the state $55.00 per year. Canada and foreign countries inquire at the Sentinel Tribune Office. If wrong amount is submitted subscrip- tion will be pro rated accordingly. "Snowbirds" may put their paper on hold at no extra charge while they are gone, or pay $5.00 extra to have it mailed out of state. 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