Opinion Archives for 2017-10

Civil Discourse: An Occasional Attempt to Restore Civility To Our Civic Discourse


By Roger Utnehmer




I turned the last page of Marty Schreiber's book, My Two Elaines, with tears in my eyes and a much deeper respect and admiration for Wisconsin's thirty-ninth governor.

His book is an emotional love story about dealing with his wife's struggle with Alzheimer's disease and his as her caregiver. It is as much a must-read self-help book for those who care about caregivers as it is for caregivers themselves.

Schreiber displayed a sensitivity to senior citizens during his service as Lieutenant Governor of Wisconsin in early 1970's. He brought a high profile to the office often considered a sinecure by advocating for the rights of nursing home residents. His compassion which raised the profile of his office long ago is evident in My Two Elaines.

With more than 5.2 million Americans age 65 and older diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, this book will have a dramatic influence on not only those who give care but those who care about those caregivers.

Schreiber describes in personal detail the chronic stress that shortens the lives and increases the medical expenses of caregivers. "No matter how much you love your partner, you cannot take care of him or her if you do not take care of yourself first," says Schreiber.

The book is replete with sageful advice titled "What I wish I'd known" and "What I wish I'd done." It is a quick read with valuable application.

Former State Senator Tiny Krueger once said that of all the governors under whom he served, Marty Schreiber was his favorite. When you read him describe his love for Elaine and say that the high of being a husband, father and grandfather surpasses any thrill of being in politics or business you'll understand Tiny Krueger's respect.

Facing the impact of Alzheimer's disease will inevitably touch all of us. This book will help you be a better caregiver, if that is your challenge. As important, it will move you to care for the caregivers with more presence, sensitivity, understanding and compassion.

Marty Schreiber has lived an enviable life in politics and government relations.

 

From a small home on Milwaukee's northwest side, he went on to govern Wisconsin, watch his wife dance in the White House with the President of the United States and lead one of our state's most effective government relations firms. Today I admire him most for the loving care he gives Elaine and the gift of guidance he gives to others by writing My Two Elaines.

Letter to the Editor



 

By Paul A. Haupt








"We must never regard as normal the regular and casual undermining of our democratic norms and ideals," Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona.


"A time comes when silence is betrayal." --MLK., Jr.


These two quotes hit at the heart of our current politics.  The first, from a sitting Senator, reflects what many of us in America see as a crisis of leadership from a President who is so lacking in fundamental character norms that he is unfit to remain in office.  He routinely lies.  He regularly insults opponents with school yard taunts.  He often publicly undermines members of his own cabinet using Twitter. He denigrates women. He has been "for" several issues before he is "against" them.  In short, we have a President who is not normal.


Many followers think this is exactly what they wanted-- someone who would "shake things up."  Unfortunately, when this kind of abnormal behavior is present in the Leader of the Free World, the chaos created is an existential threat to everything America has strived for since 1776.


We in America who see what is happening and remain silent are betraying not only our consciences, but also our country.  This also applies to our elected  members of congress, who reportedly agree with Senator Flake, but remain silent for political reasons.


To idly sit by and let our unique experiment in freedom be cast into darkness by this President is to disown our heritage.  This President's behavior is not normal.  It is time we all stopped our collective denial.  Call your Senator and tell them that "silence is betrayal."  We deserve a President who upholds the best in us.  I will no longer remain silent.  What will you do?


Paul A. Haupt, DO

Menominee, MI





Letter to the Editor: City should work with the community on granary issue



 

By John Hauser



I am writing to express my strong objection to the decision to raze the granary on the west side waterfront in Sturgeon Bay.  This building, while currently in poor condition, has the potential to become a landmark that sets our waterfront apart from other developments in small communities around the state. The decision to destroy it is a short sighted one and flies in the face of trying to provide visitors with the kind of unique cultural experience that would draw them into our community. The economic impact of this move will be negative.



I am also discouraged by the process used in making this determination.  Just a couple of months ago the City Council voted to defer a decision on the destruction of this landmark until 2018, giving the community time to propose, and gather support for, alternatives.  It is bewildering that the City is not honoring that Council decision and is instead moving forward with the destruction at this time - just as the community has reached its goal of securing the funds needed to stabilize the structure.  Adding to the confusion is the Fire Chief's comment that "We cannot determine if the Granary has moved to date as we have no prior readings that we know of."  Those readings do exist as a result of a City commissioned engineering study in 2013, and they should have been used to make a more objective and accurate determination of the short term risks of leaving the structure standing.  The fact that he wasn't aware of that study is certainly an indication that his decision was hasty and poorly thought out.



Rather than destroying this piece of history, I encourage the City to work with the members of our community who have already raised sufficient funds to stabilize and preserve it.  There is clearly a public interest in preserving and re-purposing this building; I encourage the City to support, rather than discourage, that interest.  As a first step, the City should engage the services of an engineering firm that is qualified to do this kind of analysis; rather than ignore the information that the City paid for in 2013, I encourage the City to update that information to make a determination of whether the possibilities outlined in that earlier study still exist.



I know that decisions like this are difficult, but certainly they should at least be made with all the facts in hand and with the counsel of those who have the ability to consider the broad impact of the decision.



Respectfully submitted,


John Hauser

Sheriff's Corner: Civil discourse needed in flag protest discussions


By Tim Kowols




Kewaunee County Sheriff and member of the Armed Forces Matt Joski is calling on those protesting the flag during sporting events to follow through on their actions to start a more meaningful dialogue. Joski himself could not imagine doing anything to disrespect the American flag he served for as a member of the United States Marine Corps and Wisconsin National Guard. While he says there is an obligation to allow for that expression, Joski just hopes the message does not stop at the protest.

 



 

You can read Sheriff Matt Joski's complete comments on the issue in his Sheriff's Corner below:

 

 

Since I began writing these articles, I have always tried to avoid any reference to current events which have any possible tone of political divisiveness. I would ask that you indulge me and allow for me to share some insight into my thoughts regarding civil discourse, specifically at public events.

 

There are actual law and guidelines which articulates how we as citizens pay respect to our flag whether it is how we fly it in our yards, or how we dispose of it once it is no longer serviceable. Having served in the United States Marine Corp and now serving with the Army National Guard, you can imagine that I have some very distinct views on what is transpiring at sporting events around our country. I have also served my community for close to 25 years with the purpose and mission of protecting each and every person's constitutional rights. My emotions have ranged as I have reached within myself to make sense of it.

 

I should disclose that I am not a big fan of football. I have never played the sport as I was too busy on the farm to engage in any sport. I last saw a Packer game in its entirety in 1996. I know they are all great teams and provide a much needed past time for our communities. I honestly can't sit still that long and can't justify spending time on something I cannot impact. My project list is just too extensive.

 

While I feel with every fiber of my body that our flag deserves the upmost respect as it represents the sacrifices of the many men and women who fought under it throughout our nation's history, it is history that has provided me with another perspective.

 

America as a Democratic Republic was established by using many of the principles and foundations given to us by ancient Rome. The Roman Empire was one the world's first true democracies. At its pinnacle, it was the most powerful country in the world, much like our own. It provided it citizens with great privileges and luxuries much like our own. They reveled in games played in some of the largest coliseums ever built. The game's gladiators where heroes to many. The Roman Empire's demise did not come from an outside force invading its walls, at least not initially. It was first weakened from within. As the decades passed, the government became despondent to its citizens and the citizens became apathetic to their government. As this disconnect grew laws were made that undermined the very fabric of the democracy. While all this was happened the games played on as a distraction to what really mattered; The Republic.

 

 

To the best of our knowledge, no gladiator of this era called attention to the issues that impacted their society. The games played on. In fact, the games became more elaborate to further distract and fill the need to escape the ever declining state of the nation. Eventually, the government structure evolved to where civil discourse was no longer a right or an option.

 

We are now and I hope that we always will be the greatest nation in the world representing all that is good in mankind. Whether it is a football player, college student, or any other member of our country calling attention to what they perceive is an injustice, we have an obligation to allow for that expression. I do not condone violence as any part of this expression, nor do I feel it productive to destroy the dignity of anyone just because we are on different sides of an issue. Those who would protest now have a greater obligation to follow through on their actions and take part in meaningful dialogue, and actual sacrifice on their part to move these various social issues forward.  We have an amazing system of government that allows for any adult citizen to put their name on a ballot and join in on this wonderful experiment called democracy. It is ours to sustain or destroy. Let's all work to sustain it for sake of our children and their future.

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