Letters to the Editor 1-17-22: Howard, Hansen


Not your parents’ Democrats, either

Dear Editor:

Kay Ziegahn's letter of 13 January reminds me of my military time in West Berlin and being able to travel through East Germany as well. Got to know a few folks there in those years. True, the East German regime was one of the most oppressive in history, ending up with an actual snitch per 6.5 persons when it finished. They had their own versions of “see something, say something” or “report seeing children without a COVID mask.” But to take that history and make a connection to modern Republicans is a real fantasy stretch.

From the 20th century forward, it has always been the Democrats advocating for more and bigger government, constantly saying what they plan to do for you (without saying what they’re doing TO you) and how much more of your money they will take to do that. This started with FDR, an open admirer of Stalin’s “way” of dealing with Soviet troublemakers. True, some of today's Republicans don’t get a pass either and make you wonder what party they’re in.

So Kay Ziegahn is correct when she advocates to “think before you vote.” If you look for government to solve your problem, or like to be taxed up to your nostrils, or have personal liberty restricted as they tell you where you can go, what you can say or even if you’re allowed to work, the modern Democratic party is for you.

One of the big differences between the old German Democratic Republic and our constitutional republic is that we still have an armed citizenry. That was the first thing the Soviets made sure to get rid of. The Democratic party always tries that too; just give ’em time.

Wes Howard, Tomah


Freedom to Vote Act is crucial

Dear Editor:

What is needed for a strong nation and healthy democracy? The vast majority of us agree that protecting voting rights and election security is important. We see that making voter registration easier and increasing the ways to cast one’s ballot as commonsense measures to improve voting participation. 

It is troubling that some voters stand for hours to vote and those without transportation and child care can’t get to polling places. Imagine wanting to exercise your civic duty after completing a sentence and parole, only to be declared ineligible.

Maybe you missed elections because you’ve moved a lot for work, school or because of financial difficulties. How deflating to show up on Election Day to be told you have been purged from the list of voters. Most people want big money out of politics. We are all tired of political ads on social media and TV, floods of robo-calls and email, all financed by dark money. Billions of dollars were unleashed when long-standing restrictions on corporate contributions were lifted in the 2010 Supreme Court ruling, Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. We live with the results today: Too much money and influence, and little-to-no transparency and accountability from these out-sized players. 

We can fix this through the Freedom to Vote Act (FTVA).

Early in 2021, the U.S. House passed a version of this bill. The Senate won compromises and the FTVA emerged. It includes ending partisan gerrymandering of congressional districts; requires transparent, post-election audits with defined rules and procedures; and requires newer voting machines and voter-verified paper records

A handful of powerful legislators are blocking FTVA. They want to continue to exploit the loopholes in our laws to maintain their power. They like what we, the people, do not want. That’s unfair and un-American. Tell Senators Baldwin and Johnson to pass FTVA.

Andrea Hansen, Sparta



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