Letter: A lesson on the wall, from Karlstad, MN
I was lucky to grow up in Karlstad, a small farming community in northwestern Minnesota. My dad, cousins, and uncle were all volunteers for the fire department. This gave me the opportunity to be involved in some very exciting stuff at a young age.
One of the last summers I lived in Karlstad, I was able to take part in training provided by Northland Community College for volunteer firefighters. Among other things, we climbed ladders, ropes, and rappelled off of a structure. One of the tests at the end of the training was to climb straight up a 40-foot ladder that was held completely vertical by four ropes tied to the very top of the ladder.
Most of the firefighters were able to climb up and over, a few had a fear of heights that prevented them from doing so, but I was able to do it, and so was a friend of mine — both of us under 12 years old. It's one of the moments I will always remember, because I kept up with the big guys (and my friend as well.)
Thinking back on it, I realize that perhaps most 12-year-olds, with a little
encouragement, could do the same thing, and I was just fortunate to be part of a small community where it was possible.
The irony in the present time is that our country has a partially shut down
government for the purpose of securing $5.7 billion for a wall, pushed by our president, and the Democrat representing my hometown in Congress, Collin Peterson.
A wall that I could have easily climbed over as a child with the help of a
simple, cheap, tool. Trump and Peterson know better. It won't solve any
problems, it's just a quiet nod to the worst impulses in all of us. We're
all afraid of "the other," of people taking what is ours. It is natural,
but it goes against the lived values of everyone I've ever known.
Communities like Karlstad only exist because we all banded together, pushed aside that fear, and worked for the common good.
The world is changing, that's scary, but let's not throw resources at a
non-solution that will only make a few of us feel better for a short time.
Instead let's embrace the best in ourselves, see others as friends and make
our communities stronger together. I know the president won't hear my words, but I hope Rep. Peterson will. Collin, we deserve better.
— Tyrone Grandstrand, Moorhead