Local Government Meetings: February 6 to February 9, 2023
Big injuries require big responses, right? Perhaps not always. The Holocaust engineered by Nazi Germany murdered millions, mostly Jewish, men, women, and children, but also the Romany, homosexuals, persons with disabilities, and political enemies of the regime. Such an immense crime must not be forgotten, but that very immensity makes it particularly difficult to grapple with. Some communities in Germany and across Europe have chosen a way of recognizing the lives lost which is more personal, both for the lives destroyed and the living. They place stolpersteine, or stumbling stones, into the sidewalk.
Earlier this fall the radio program This American Life rebroadcast an episode from 2015, “Three Miles” (listen at https://www.thisamericanlife.org/550/three-miles or read the transcript at https://www.thisamericanlife.org/550/transcript). It is the story of several students whose schools were a mere three miles apart in New York City, but whose lives felt thousands of miles apart. A pair of friends
Join with other LWVRA members on Zoom to listen, learn, discuss and vote on consensus questions on the LWVMN Firearms in Minnesota 2022 Study. Materials are now available in the Member Resources section of the LWVMN website: https://www.lwvmn.org/member-resources.
Do you vote? I hope that sounds like a silly question to ask of an LWV of Roseville Area member. How do you think of voting? Is it a right...a privilege...a responsibility...a duty...an opportunity...a power...a burden? Pointless?
Minnesota is proud of its high voter turnout in general elections. (You can view lots of voter data at https://www.sos.state.mn.us/election-administration-campaigns/data-maps/historical-voter-turnout-statistics/) About 80% of eligible voters voted in 2020. But when one looks at the numbers by age, it is clear that we cannot stop promoting voting.
Moral silhouette. Such an evocative phrase. While I quickly recall the general topic of the article wherein I saw it—the Berlin Wall—and I recall the phrase—moral silhouette—so evocative while still so malleable, yet I cannot recall the source of the article or the precise meaning the author imparted to this phrase. Was it the wall itself, the people who resisted it, the people who built it, or the Cold War in totality whose moral silhouettes the author was seeking to evoke? It could be any or all of the above. Some manifest in my mind as negative space for the harm done, some more like old-fashioned silhouette paper cuttings, for persons of courage in the face of brutality. These are events of my lifetime. How long beyond the lives of those then living will these moral silhouettes persist?
It sounds so easy, so straightforward. Give someone who could not otherwise afford college a
scholarship and you give them access to a better life. But that transition is not always so easy or
straightforward. Listen to the stories of first-generation college students stumbling through school
unaware of the unstated “rules” and expectations of college. What are office hours? Where do my
parents belong in my life now? How do I socialize with classmates who have so much money?
“How smooth must be the language of the whites, when they can make right look wrong, and wrong look right.”
—Black Hawk, An Autobiography (quote seen on plaque embedded in the sidewalk in Iowa City)
Many LWVMN and LWV of Roseville Area events now incorporate an acknowledgement that our
communities are located on the ancestral lands of Native Americans, the Dakota and Ojibwe peoples here in
Minnesota. I did not initiate this custom, coming to it after hearing it at several events. We are all aware at
some level that the entire North American continent was totally reallocated, reorganized, and just outright
taken from indigenous peoples by European colonists due to orthogonal understandings of the concept of
property and a massive power differential. The land grants from European kings to early colonies had no
ethical foundation and treaties under which millions of acres of land were ceded in the 1800s were grossly