Polarized and politicized world


We are living in a time period of incredibly politicized, polarized, and even toxic politics of anger that manifests itself in hate. From the top of the White House on down, tactics are those of bullying and the spouting of noxious and dishonest rhetoric that seeks only to stir up further anger against anyone other than ourselves.

By ourselves, I mean those nice white Christian citizens who feel compelled to rout out those of different religious beliefs or skin color. In particular, two frequent letter-writers (including one from last week) sow the seeds of prejudice against those who are different from them. Both regularly use this newspaper to elevate their politics of bigotry.

Good white Christians do not hate, nor do they espouse demeaning stereotypes and bigotry against others. The same is true of good Muslims and good darker-skinned immigrants who also oppose hate. Hatred is toxic, and it hardens our hearts. I've learned this the hard way, and while I am a devout Christian Catholic, I'm not entirely free of anger that borders on hatred. But - I am trying to become better.

I think it is important that we do try to be respectful of people with whom we disagree.

It's also important to be honest (we do not have a poorly vetted refugee program). And while I don't expect everyone to agree me on issues, I do hope we can agree that we must speak up when people of a different race or religion are denigrated. Otherwise, in the words of Republican Sen. Jeff Flake, we are complicit with it.

Jackie Brux

Town of River Falls

Cuts in rates for disability services


We professionals who live in western Wisconsin but serve Minnesotans with disabilities in the Twin Cities metro area need to make the general public aware of a serious issue that is being overlooked. The issue is a possible 7 percent cut to rates that fund services for Minnesotans with disabilities. This 7 percent cut will have a devastating effect on Minnesotans who receive home and community based services (HCBS).

Minnesota uses a standard formula called the Disability Waiver Service System (DWRS) that sets the funding rate people receive so that they can get the support services needed to live and work in the community. Minnesota lawmakers then wrote in rate increases to provide adequate support for enhancing services and paying direct support staff a living wage.

However, the availability of these support services is being threatened by a glitch due to current federal Medicaid rules where there is now a conflict between past investments in HCBS and future rate increases. These services are critical and cannot be reduced.

For those of you who are concerned about the devastating effect this cut will have on services for Minnesotans with disabilities, you can help by spreading the word via mainstream media, social media and word of mouth. The legislative session ends on May 21 so there is a sense of urgency in addressing this serious matter.

Patrick Bilbrey

River Falls

Aynazi Cyrus to speak in Hudson


Recently Bethel Lutheran Church hosted a speaker on sex trafficking in Wisconsin. Sex (human) trafficking is not a topic that was discussed in private, let alone in public, while I was growing up. Now, it seems as though we have an epidemic on our hands. I know. "Why and how is this happening" in our quiet little community/county/state? We (Midwesterners) don't allow this to happen in our neighborhoods."

Well, folks, IT IS HERE! Right in west-central Wisconsin. According to DHS, Wisconsin is NUMBER 7 in HUMAN TRAFFICKING! (sounds so much better than "SEX TRAFFICKING" doesn't it?)

Why doesn't SOMEONE do something? Why aren't more (other than me) PEOPLE aware and educated?

Wasn't implementing the "Amber Alert" enough? Where are the police reports of incidence of sex trafficking? How many cases of attempted abduction are not reported in the news? Are our children aware of the dangers and what happens?

I see and hear many people demonstrating for socialism, free choice of lifestyle, free choice of having abortions, drug legalization, control, women's equality, gay rights, ethnic equality, and even the practice of Sharia Law ... you name it.

What about the oppression of women under Sharia Law? Isn't that a woman's rights issue? YOU and I have the opportunity to educate ourselves and listen to a woman who has personally experienced the abuse of a woman under Sharia Law. YOU have the opportunity to become involved!

Aynaz grew up in Iran. As a young child, she was forced to marry. Beaten and raped, she went to the courts but was told to go back to her husband and obey him. With the help of her grandmother, Aynaz managed to escape and spent three years as a refugee on her own in Turkey. After gaining US citizenship in 2010, safety and the freedom to be herself finally became a reality.

Aynazi Cyrus is speaking at the Hudson House on Thursday, May 3 at 6. Come and hear her story.

Learn how Iran has changed and what life is like for women living under sharia. Understand how and why sharia still threatens her today. To learn more about Aynazi, visit her website www.liveuptofreedom.com

Attendees can pre-register by email: c4scv54017@gmail.com A free-will donation will be collected to help defray costs of the event.

Dianne Joachim

New Richmond