I enjoy reading "This Was Brainerd," from 1980 to 1900 compiled by Bob Turcotte. The one Nov. 13 really caught my eye. Eighty years ago (1920) Judge Gustav Halvorson, M.J. Reis, S.E. Engbretson, Art Johnson, Fritz Mahl, A.M. Opsahl and Carl Soderman have gone to their camp at Hornby Junction where they will hunt deer.
I'd like to know where Hornby Junction is? Maybe we can hold a reunion there! Eh?
'Our wonderful governor'
On September 13, 2000, Mrs. Lashomb's second hour English class, from the Brainerd High School, was assigned a character sketch on Gov. Jesse Ventura in which you write a couple of paragraphs on reasons you like or dislike the governor. We spent the following two days researching him and putting together our sketches to hand in on the15th.
A classmate and I were fortunate enough to have ours printed in the school newspaper. Mrs. Lashomb asked my permission to send my sketch, along with that of another student in a different hour, to the governor himself. I excitedly agreed!
After approximately two weeks of anticipation we received his reply. To my astonishment it was not from the governor at all, but from a "close friend." I admit it was a nice letter thanking us for our sketches along with a signed picture of Gov. Jesse Ventura, but then we received a page full of fun questions and answers about our governor. The last thing we received was Jesse Ventura's favorite lasagna recipe. If that wasn't disappointing enough, he couldn't even write himself. After the long hours we put in to research and write about our governor, he couldn't even take time out of his busy schedule to write us personally!
After this kind of reception from Jesse Ventura, I have completely changed my mind about "our wonderful governor."
Our illustrious and colorful governor recently joined other misguided folks in advising us to abandon the Electoral College. However, despite the lamentable fact that most of us -- including Jesse Ventura -- do not fully understand it and seldom think about it, our electoral system serves some important purposes.
Perhaps most importantly for those of us in Minnesota, it prevents populous states from swallowing the votes of little ones. Remember back to ninth-grade civics class -- we were taught that our government functions through a system of checks and balances. The Electoral College is one of those checks to balance power between the states.
Our federal government itself has limited powers, another thing we may have forgotten from civics class. In this age of big business, we are sometimes guilty of seeing our country as a huge corporation. It is actually more like a Chamber of Commerce: States, like the independent businesses in a chamber organization, work together for certain goals like economy and protection. Each of us is a citizen of one of the United States of America; our state then mandates the actions of the federal government. Therefore, we voters tell our state's electors what we want, and they pass on the message.
The main reasons given for abandoning the Electoral College seem to be its age and complexity. It has functioned for two centuries; that would seem to support it rather than to condemn it. It is complex, but a democratic free union of states is a complex idea, requiring some effort to maintain.
In a day and age where formalities are being dropped like so many hot potatoes, the formal process of an Electoral College may seem too unwieldy; but without such processes, American democracy may become something that we not only don't understand, but that ends up pulled down by the weight of its own simplicity.
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