John Andrist: I Still Don't Have All The Answers


I was a boy of 10 when radios flashed the news of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

Although my childhood was filled with awareness of this monumental war, I didn’t absorb much of substance.

But I’ve spent quite a bit of time reading in fascination much of the WWII history and lore over the years.

At a time when war is increasingly being fought with money, mechanization, and drones, rather than with manpower and attrition, the WWII casualty rate was mind boggling.

This unparalleled event in world history, in terms of the loss of life, is even more mind boggling in today’s world.

Does anybody really comprehend the death of 55 million civilians? 25 million military? 5 million prisoners of war?

Or 2,500 alone in the attack at Pearl Harbor? (Half of them on one ship?) Or 90,000 in the D-day landing at Normandy?

Veterans Day was a big deal this year, here in the mini-community where I reside. One-fourth of the residents are veterans, the majority from that great war.

It was pretty darn solemn to sit in a crowd dominated by veterans, most of whom felt lucky to survive and who had close friends who didn’t.

There were a few memory tears. One vet said the most difficult image to get out of his mind is the sight of Japanese mothers throwing their children off a cliff, because they had been told the allies were cannibals who ate babies.

I’m glad the witless demonization of Vietnam veterans has been replaced by a sobering appreciation  for the courage that has been the hallmark of anyone who loves America more than themselves.

I sure hope some of you in my home town took time to stop and give John Benter a hug. And perhaps one more for one of the vets in your town who endured Korea or Vietnam or Afghanistan, or Iraq

The greatest generation? You bet!

Scientific evidence

I don’t question the scientific evidence that the climate has slightly warmed, nor that we have record levels of CO2 in the atmosphere.

I’m just looking for scientific evidence that if we shut down all our coal plants and accept utility bills that will rise by as much as 50 percent will we lower levels of CO2 in the atmosphere?

Or, what is it we did to reverse the global cooling they were worried about 30 years ago?

[mks_pullquote align=”right” width=”300″ size=”24″ bg_color=”#ffffff” txt_color=”#000000″]Finally, might we solve much of the problem if we just changed presidents?[/mks_pullquote]

Or, is there scientific evidence that bad weather really is caused by the warming of our atmosphere by a couple of degrees?

Or isn’t there some arrogance in the conventional wisdom that we really can change climate patterns?

Or, if it is true that CO2 is great for growing food, trees, and vegetation isn’t that somewhat beneficial?

Or, North Dakota has had a beautiful summer harvest and gorgeous fall weather. Do we really have to give that up?

Finally, might we solve much of the problem if we just changed presidents?

Another question

I’ve got nine great grandchildren now and another on the way.

A new thing for expectant couples is family dinner parties after the four-month ultrasound to guess, then announce the baby’s gender.

It’s a girl. Everyone is happy, because they already have two boys.

Am I the only one to wonder if it is a baby, it’s alive, and it’s a girl, isn’t it a human being that deserves some protection from being turned into medical waste?

And yet another question

After spending my life in a small community I have spent hundreds of hours trying to recruit candidates for community boards, church councils, city council or school board or park board or tree board seats.

As sickening as political debate can become, it occurred to me, while watching another one last week, aren’t we lucky that at least 14 active candidates plus a number who have dropped out, really want to be president?

You can tell. After 60 years of writing this piece, I still don’t have many answers. But I’m making headway in learning the questions.