Sunday, December 2, 2012

Christmas wishes

photo of old fashioned Christmas decorations at the Dayton House, Worthington
© harrington
The past few days here at home we've been writing and trading Christmas lists. That's got me thinking about what I believe is an Indian proverb "a healthy person has many wishes, a sick person has but one." We know that our economy isn't as healthy as it could be so a wish for a healthier economy might not be out of place. But then I think about the number of places in My Minnesota that have fish consumption advisories. Limits on the amount of fish we can safely eat certainly doesn't seem to me to be a sign of a healthy environment. And then there's the just concluded political contention that ended in an election, immediately followed by other partisan contentions about our politically self-inflicted fiscal cliff. (Isn't there some way we could let the politicians go over that cliff by themselves, like the lemmings they are, and leave the rest of us behind?) There are increasing studies that indicate that our choices don't have to be between the economy and the environment. Tell me again why we decided to expedite environmental review and permitting for an iron ore processing plant that isn't going to expand here. One of my heroes, Robert F. Kennedy, delivered a wonderful quote years ago: "Yet the gross national product does not allow for the health of our children, the quality of their education, or the joy of their play. It does not include the beauty of our poetry or the strength of our marriages; the intelligence of our public debate or the integrity of our public officials. It measures neither our wit nor our courage; neither our wisdom nor our learning; neither our compassion nor our devotion to our country; it measures everything, in short, except that which makes life worthwhile. And it tells us everything about America except why we are proud that we are Americans." (This kind of wisdom is one of the reasons he's one of my heroes.) So, my Christmas wish for My Minnesotans is that we all have more of the wisdom Bobby showed in his assessment of the GNP.