History's lessons must guide path forward
On Jan. 7, 2021, with the persistent and honorable leadership of Vice President Mike Pence, Joe Biden was confirmed president. In spite of the attempts at insurrection, the highest elected official at the Capitol simply did his honorable job.
In all the angst of the anniversary, few comments honored the courage Pence showed in the face of deadly chants and terrorist crowds. Our government held. That courage and the transfer of power will be the greatest lesson for history.
As a lifelong Republican, I know the torture of changing political alliances, especially regretting the tea party. With the GOP in shambles, Pence can now take the reins and work us all out of the Trump trap. While I took great pride in my open support of Barack Obama and Biden, a longing for past experiences with wise and forward-thinking members of the Republican family will always be in my heart.
Likewise, with the end of the Afghan war, we can draw hopeful solace and great joy, pride and resilience in witnessing and assisting refugees. The bravery of our first Afghan refugee wave in the 1990s saw many fruits borne because of our intervention and refugees' brave return to their liberated homeland. The lesson: Once freedom has been experienced, it can be paused but never extinguished. We owe our new refugees and returnees our eternal gratitude and support as we offer a welcome and prayer for an eventual return.
This will be a tough year. But if our focus can be shedding past regrets, escaping their traps and rebuilding the promise of our accomplishments, we can continue our historical strength and leadership. As Gen. Mark Milley counseled, learning the good and bad of our history will ensure our troops and our people will understand the depth of what we're fighting for – the promise of American life.
Lawmakers' thoughts take many odd twists
I've been trying to imagine what Indiana legislators must talk about before they introduce new legislation. Is it something like this?
“Help wanted signs are everywhere. It is really hard to find people to fill all those positions.”
“I know what the problem is: Too many people are working in public service jobs. We should be able to solve that.”
“True. Let's start with police officers. If we put guns into the hands of more people, with no pesky licenses required, that would make the officers' jobs much more difficult, and maybe some of them would quit.”
“Good idea. That would be a start. Now, what about all those health care workers?”
“Well, they've gotten so much praise for their hard work and dedication in this pandemic that they'll never quit ... unless ... is there some way we can bump up the numbers of unvaccinated people so more people get COVID and the whole health care system is overwhelmed?”
“Hmmm ... business owners seem determined to do whatever they can to bring those numbers down. Maybe we can limit their power to do that.”
“OK. But that still leaves a lot of teachers. They love those kids so much, it's going to be hard to get them to quit. We've already tried making them responsible for both in-person and online classes, while trying to keep all the kids healthy. We know they spend way more time at their jobs than we could ever pay them for. But maybe ... yes, let's make them post all their plans and teaching materials online so it's easier for parents – or anyone else – to find something to complain about.”
“I think we're on to something. All those 'Help wanted' signs will disappear in no time.”
Helen Frost Thompson