Last month I wrote about presence, perspective and possibility. Truly, that starts with each of us in our own physical bodies. I like to refer to it as our Earthly vehicles. When is the last time you considered the amazing ways our bodies work? How recently have you shown some empathy to your body? It is imperfect and aging but still deserving of respect and awe.
There needs to be some rebuttal to letters submitted last week. Equal is equal: If you start selecting certain people as "other" then you are judging them by qualifications that keep them from being equal. The ERA did not fail, it is a proposed amendment. Minnesota ratified. It was not ratified by enough states by the prescribed date. States continue to discuss and continue to debate ratification. The debate continues about the "other." The debate creates qualifications and the hierarchy creating the qualifications cannot see that equal is equal.
Hastings School Board member Kelsey Waits penned a political letter against state Rep. Tony Jurgens recently. Last election cycle, Waits was prominently pictured on campaign literature for nearly every local Democratic candidate — including the one running against Jurgens — so her partisan motives are quite clear. Waits, part of a very small group of liberals around here who can't accept the 2018 election results, is concerned he opposed the DFL-dubbed "Equal Rights Amendment."
In a recent Star Gazette issue, two letters were included favoring a state Equal Rights Amendment and criticizing legislators who voted against it. They said that surely everyone should be in favor of this amendment. Well it's not that simple. On the surface, the ERA looks like it is harmless, but some of us remember back in the 1970s the protracted discussion that took place for the federal ERA. It eventually failed.
When John Adams was working to create the language of the U.S. Constitution, Abigail Adams famously wrote to him saying, "remember the ladies." This was an important first step in the women's equality movement, but unfortunately women were still left out of our founding document. In the same way, women have been left out of the Minnesota Constitution. Nothing in our state constitution specifically states that women and men have equal protection under the law.
Did you know there isn't an amendment to the Minnesota or U.S. constitutions that specifically states women and men have equal rights and protection under the law? On March 7, the Minnesota House passed the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA). Hastings House Rep. Tony Jurgens voted against it. And although Sen. Karla Bigham supports the ERA, the Minnesota Senate is being blocked from even hearing it by Senate leaders unwilling to support equal rights for all people under the law, and unwilling to let Minnesotans decide this issue on a ballot.
Even though health cannot be purchased, smart decisions can be made when purchasing foods. With the increasing amount of information on new food trends and food items, trying to choose products when shopping can be overwhelming. To make matters worse, people now have to worry about buying items in the store at an expensive price with low quality. Luckily, local farmers markets provide fresh produce that make shopping worthwhile.
As Earth Day approaches, let us all remember to be good to our Earth! I challenge you to help stop plastic pollution. Please join me in using only reusable water bottles. Here is why: "Out of the 50 billion bottles of water being bought each year, 80 percent end up in a landfill, even though recycling programs exist. Seventeen million barrels of oil are used in producing bottled water each year. Bottled water costs 1,000 times more than tap water. Drinking 2 liters of tap water a day only costs 50 cents per year," according to www.treehugger.com .
Help me understand just why citizens really get invited to public meetings! Many of us on County Road 42 got invited to an "open house" on the County Road 42 project ... public input — a sign of democracy in action? At first, we thought county staff were listening to our pedestrian and children's safety concerns. Then we got the impression it maya be a "rubber stamp" invite ... just too many "studies" to be done or other red-tape excuses. We had hoped city staff would attend.
On March 7, the Minnesota House of Representatives passed the Equal Rights Amendment. It came as no surprise that Rep. Tony Jurgens, R-Cottage Grove, voted against the amendment. Similarly, he voted against funding the Office on the Economic Status of Women (OESW) in 2017. The OESW was a one-woman office that conducted invaluable research regarding the economic hurdles that Minnesota women face. His voting record begs the question: Does Tony Jurgens support the equality of women in Minnesota? Pam Pontzer Hastings