Feeding the fish


A high school teacher in California years ago began his annual Holocaust unit with an experiment at the front of the classroom. He outfitted an aquarium with water, shells, plants, and a bubbler but no fish. Each day he shook a little fish food into the water while launching into his lesson for the day.

After several days of this, he began to hand the food to one of his students, and the student would jump up and do the feeding. Eventually, students began volunteering at the start of class. Everyone knew there were no fish, but most were willing to act as though there were, the point being that it is possible through repeated iterations of a lie to make people act as though it is the truth, particularly when others are doing so.

There isn't much in life that is more important than being willing to do the right thing at a crucial time. Hitler proved that he could actually manufacture fear and rage by "scapegoating" the Jews for Germany's weakened condition following WWI. In the wake of the Holocaust, tens of thousands of Germans spent the remainder of their lives hoping their grandchildren would somehow understand and forgive how quietly most had watched their leader feed the fish, nurturing the blame and hatred of minorities in their country.

I can only believe that the Trump years will one day be looked back upon as the time when an American president actually lied, threatened, bribed, bullied, persuaded citizens to mistrust the free press and our own judicial system, abused and demeaned women, endangered the health and stability of our only planet, disgusted our allies, coddled inhumane and tyrannical leaders, and stirred up a fear of "the other" that victimized multiple minorities.

Each of us will then have to remember where we were, how we were responding, when all this was occurring.

The immigration policy of this administration has now brought us to a new low, as thousands of Central American parents have been forcibly separated from their children after fleeing to the United States of America for protection from violence. This is only possible under an administration that thrives on the scapegoating of entire immigrant groups. Feed the fear. Feed the hatred. Feed the fish.

Vickie Cobian

River Falls

A 'thank you'


This morning when I arrived at work at the Team Oil Travel Center in Spring Valley a thank you card was on my computer keyboard. As I opened it I was saddened to hear a key employee of ours was leaving to follow her dream in the medical field. In the card she explained her appreciation for Eric adjusting the work schedule over the last five years to allow her to keep up with her classes to achieve her masters in her chosen field.

Last and most important she stressed, she received her degrees debt free. She worked, attended classes, studied and invested in herself over the years by working at the Team Oil Travel Center. The sadness I have to see her go is minor to how proud I am of her achieving her goal, debt free by working and paying her own way.

Tony Huppert

Spring Valley