Religion and Politics

Religion and Politics

Religion and politics are two of the things I will not discuss with anyone.  Not even the hubs.  We are friends with a couple from Green Bay, and the husband talks about politics most of the time.  Towards the beginning of our friendship, I told him that I don’t discuss politics.  He respects me enough to not talk politics while I am around.

Religion

For the past eight or so years, I’ve been responsible for maintaining Papa Thor’s website.  Papa Thor being my dad, of course.

Every Monday, I would receive the previous days’ sermon to upload to the website.  There were many times that I would procrastinate and not put the sermons on the site for a month.

But then, I would receive emails from people who said they would listen to Papa Thor’s sermons when they couldn’t sleep.  Others said there aren’t preachers like Papa Thor anymore.  When those emails were received, I wouldn’t procrastinate on putting the sermons up any more.

The annual website hosting fees of $420 per year were getting expensive for my parents, who are in the 80’s and on a fixed income.  So Mother Marilyn decided it was time to let the site go, and shut it down.

Papa Thor, when out and about talking with people, would refer them to his website.  It was something he was very proud of, and wanted others to share in God’s Word.

When the site was terminated though, he was at a loss, and was a little depressed that he didn’t have the site to refer to anymore.

A cheaper alternative for hosting his website was found, but that also meant that I had to re-do the entire site.  Which also meant uploading and categorizing 303 sermons from 2009-2016.

But I made time to re-do the website, and though I am not totally finished, since maintaining a website is an ongoing project, it is near completion.

Creating and maintaining websites is something I enjoy, and it turns out that it is something that I’m good at.

The phone call I got from Papa Thor the other day, after I let him know that all of his sermons were uploaded and categorized, was priceless.  The joy I heard in his voice made me happy.

But back to religion

Though I grew up in the church, with Papa Thor as the preacher, I haven’t been to church for years.

Admittedly, it’s hard to find a preacher/pastor/priest that feeds you spiritually like Papa Thor does.

When I started college, I looked at not going to church as my rebellion for having to go to church every Sunday, sometimes twice a Sunday, sometimes three times a Sunday if it was Easter or Christmas.

At the age of eleven, I started playing organ in church every Sunday.  My first paycheck was $150 for six months of two services a Sunday.  I spent it on a stereo system I wanted from Radio Shack.

Even while in college, I drove three hours home every weekend to play organ at church on Sunday.

At this point in my life, I believe that everyone worships in their own way.  I’m not one to walk around saying “Praise the Lord” to everything and everyone.

But…I pray.  Every day, several times a day.

The challenges in my life wouldn’t have been overcome without my faith in God.

Without God in my life, I don’t believe I would be here today.

Too many people use Christianity as an excuse to justify the wrongs that they commit on a daily basis.

An article I read explained how swingers were using their lifestyle as their way to spread the Word of God.

It isn’t my place, it isn’t up to me to judge.

So I may not talk about religion, but I do believe in God and faith and prayer.

Politics

Politics is not something that I get involved in, at all.  There are thoughts and opinions that I have stored in my mind, but I am the most apolitical person there is.

Voting, I believe, is a privilege to voice my opinions.

It’s no one’s business who I vote for.  I don’t tell anyone who I vote for – not even the hubs.

Party affiliation means nothing to me, I vote for whom I believe is best for the job.

I guess I should say, I didn’t get involved in politics, until recently when I was asked to do a commercial for the Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters.

My response back was

“…as long as I can state something to the effect that I don’t take sides politically (Democrat or Republican), we all need clean water no matter what our leaning.”

I was scared to put myself “out there” like that, on a television commercial seen throughout Northeastern Wisconsin.

The first fear was how it would affect my immediate family.

The next fear was for any backlash I might receive from doing the commercial.

Thankfully, there was only one form of backlash that I was aware of.

Someone stating that the water doesn’t come out of our faucets like that every day.

At first, I was angry.

“thank you for telling me what happens behind my closed doors…”.

But then she went further.  So I made my final statement to which, thankfully, there was no further response:

“Well his ads say…” There are many political ads out there right now. Whether TV, radio, or the ton you get in the mail on a daily basis, they are all negative against the other party, each trying to slander the other. Some are true; some are FALSE. It is you that has to know which to believe, and it is not easy. Our great freedom is that you and I can vote for whomever we want. I have never told anyone before who I vote for, because (a) it is no one’s business (not even my husband) and (b) I vote for who I think will do best at the job. That is our great and mighty freedom to have our voices heard. So, please, you vote for whom you believe will do the best job, and I will do the same.

“We don’t have a lot of topsoil in Kewaunee County…” I agree, we do not. So why are there thousands of gallons per acre of liquid manure being allowed to be spread on that “not a lot of topsoil”?

There was manure in our water. We went for sixteen days without water to do dishes, do laundry, brush our teeth, cook, etc. Would you want to live like that for sixteen days, or even five days? Wouldn’t you be angry and upset about that happening to you, and want other people, who may also be susceptible to that chance, know?

No, it is not an everyday occurrence, however a couple years ago, several wells around Dyckesville had their wells contaminated with E. Coli bacteria. 60% of the wells in Kewaunee County ARE contaminated. If you have a well, have you had it tested?

I have Stage 4 metastatic breast cancer. No, I do not blame the water! Cancer does not run in my family, so I was the one chosen. Clean water matters to me because of my compromised immune system. There are plenty of others with chronic diseases that also need clean water. We’ve heard for many years that the water in Africa is contaminated. That is, unfortunately, “expected” of a third world country. But we live in America – a developed country. It is not expected that we should have contaminated water in the year 2018. We have that right to have clean water.

That point, that we have the right to clean water, I would hope you would agree with.

Thank you for voicing your opinions. Please, go do what YOU believe in, and I will do what I believe in.

Thank you for listening.

Many compliments were received on the television advertisement.

On the day of the election, I went into the grocery store to pick up a few items.  I stopped at the deli counter, and the woman behind the counter said, “I probably don’t have to ask if you voted today!”

That was my first foray into the political world.  Would I do it again?

I’m not sure.

My Further Thoughts on the Well Contamination

I try to believe that I live in a kind of bubble and don’t know what is happening in the outside world.

I believe this because I live in a small community, and we aren’t a part of big city problems.

But small communities have their problems too.

Our small community has a problem with contaminated water in our wells.

Everyone is watching the farmers do what they do. Some farmers are good and some are not so good.

In the end, I thought we were all neighbors, but apparently the definition of neighbor has changed from years past.

People care about manure being spread, and are watching it, but are just talking to other people about it, not the right people that need to know.

“I heard…”,

“I watched each tanker load of manure, every four minutes, 125 tankers went into that field.”

Ask. Nicely. Try to understand how and why.

I remember growing up in the country and drinking water out the tap. It tasted so good! Even living in Thiry Daems we drank water from the tap. What has changed between then and now?

Liquid manure.

Not clumpy manure. Liquid. Like pouring water out of a bottle.

It is being poured into fields at thousands – tens of thousands – gallons per acre. PER ACRE. It is ponding. A little manure pond.

Some farmers have to work it in, some don’t.

Some follow the regulations and rules and others don’t give a shit. Pardon the pun.

But I care. I care about my home in this community.

But now, my home only has a value to me. I couldn’t sell a home with a contaminated well.

So what happens to the home that belonged to my husband’s great grandparents?

Is there no pride anymore? If I sold our home, it would most likely be demolished and the well abandoned. Tell that to my husband who has spent 25 years of his own blood, sweat, tears and money making this home ours.

There are CAFO’s, we all know those are the large farms. We’re talking 6000 cows. They are transparent and open and showing the community that they are planting cover crops. They have strict rules and regulations they must follow. They are trying their best to be stewards of the land, their community, and yet keep their business prospering.

Of course, not all CAFO’s are like this, there are those that have thumbed their nose at outside interference, rules and regulations, being a polluter for over 20 years. They don’t care. They don’t have the passion for the land or their community. They sit in the bar on a daily basis and get drunk to try and relieve whatever woes have beset them this week. And they talk shit about the community and its’ people.

The drunk farmer scoffs at the fines assessed to him in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

There are also the small family farms that still have that passion, passed down from previous generations, their names well known in the community. Not only was the passion passed down, but so was the reputation that came with the name, and they live up to and beyond the standards set by their predecessors to keep that name and reputation in solid standing. They care.

Then the little farmer that doesn’t give a shit. He got the farm because he was the only kid in the family that thought he wanted it. He’s not as well known in the community, and has hard feelings from and to neighbors. No passion was handed down or learned, no reputation was passed on. So he farms because he feels thats his only lot in life. Rumors abound – he’s broke, he’s getting divorced, again.

And his manure pit overflows because either he can’t afford to have it pumped, or he just doesn’t give a shit. Or both.

Every farmer wants to support his family. It is the foundation for what he does.

What the farmer sees beyond supporting his family, is what drives his passion, his work, his pride.

So what is going to happen when all of the wells in our community are contaminated? Already, 60% of them are. So when all of the wells are contaminated, including the nearby village, what then?

The large CAFO’s, will they move on into another part of the state and do it again, and leave our community with the aftermath, like Chernobyl?

But again, here I talk about the problem, but what is the solution?

Hit the farms-large and small-with even more strict regulations and rules, that there is no enforcement for?

Do the enforcers, if there were any, know what they are supposed to enforce?

And what about fines and penalties? What will they do?

“I’m gonna take away your cows”

Ya right.

Hit them with financial penalties and they will just pay and go back to doing what they were doing before, the slap on the wrist making them wince at the short-lived pain.

Make manure handling cost more in the form of a wheel tax for however many tankers are hauling your manure to the fields?

Again, laughable. This will  close down more of the small farms. They don’t make enough to even support their families now, without the wife working at an outside job, even just for health insurance. But that’s another topic for another day.

How do the farms who caused the problem make a solid and valuable solution to those of the community that they have harmed by contaminating their well?

How can we make our water great again?

Stop spreading liquid manure altogether. That is what started this whole problem. Yes, go backwards to move forward.

We all know that our environment can regenerate itself and grow anew. Stop spreading liquid manure, in such astronomical quantities, and let the fields regenerate. Let the ground breathe. Let it grow and flourish, and while it’s doing that, come up with better solutions to handling manure.

Our contaminated well issue is like a large fire, and each new contaminated well is a new, fresh piece of wood being placed on the fire.  But there is no solution for putting the fire out.

And that’s what I have to say about that. For now.

Sending love and hugs to you ~Erika

 

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