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People love stories

July 3, 2012
The Daily Mining Gazette

To the editor:

People love stories; especially simple ones that feature good guys against bad guys. Preachers and politicians know that people favor tales of good vs. evil over lists of facts or strings of logical arguments. The particular stories that impact each of us most powerfully are the ones that employ plots and themes consistent with the deepest beliefs that each of us carries inside our heart and mind. In this way, the set of stories shared by people in this place and time serves to weaves us together as one people but also makes us vulnerable to overt manipulation by those with the most to lose.

The shared theme that "Americans distrust government," gives rise to the present absurdity of some senior citizens, themselves beneficiaries of Medicare, proclaiming that they are opposed to "socialized medicine."

The shared plot line that, "hard work and determination will result in financial success," ignores the hopeless reality lived by many, many Americans struggling to survive in unthinkably broken communities, with dysfunctional schools, rampant crime and corruption, and social and economic chaos.

The myth that we love and support those who serve in the military and sacrifice on our behalf, yet disabled veterans still return home facing the burden of proving to skeptical bureaucrats the physical and psychological toll that their service has had on their lives and the lives of their families. Military families on food stamps?

Do we really share the idea that a community-driven spaghetti dinner must be the only viable mechanism to raise the often many hundreds of thousands of dollars needed to pay for the medical care of an uninsured child diagnosed with some potentially fatal disease?

Fact Box

The Daily Mining Gazette welcomes letters to the editor from readers.

Letters should be signed and include name, address and telephone number. Names will not be withheld and letters should be no longer than 400 words. No personal attacks. Writers are limited to one letter per month. The Gazette reserves the right to edit letters for length, as well as for spelling and punctuation.

Mail letters to: Letters to the Editor, The Daily Mining Gazette, P.O. Box 368, Houghton, MI 49931. Letters may also be e-mailed to or submitted on the Gazette's Web site,, by clicking on "Submit News."

Many of us are the descendants of the waves of Europeans who forcefully occupied these lands while, somewhat ironically, seeking freedom from religious and economic oppression. We must be mindful of the omnipresent danger that the modern incarnations of the very tyrants that our ancestors fled are alive and well among us.

Creating and sustaining real community entails the intentional exercise of humility and restraint. Embracing compassion entails seeking forgiveness and common understanding. Responsibly acknowledging our cumulative past means being ever mindful of the sins of that past and the ever present risk of repeating those very sins into the future.

The actual strength of our union can be meaningfully measured by the opportunities afforded to the least of these among us.





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