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Brugger: Some women march. And some don't

There has been significant commentary about the world-wide public demonstrations organized as the Women’s March. Something could be said about demonstrations in general, or about the trash generated, or about the fact that there was no violence. What intrigued me was that there were so many strong opinions questioning the necessity of the march and describing it as a waste of time. The women didn’t agree with the message(s) of the march. However, if we are all women, shouldn’t we all want the same things when it comes to our hopes and dreams? Evidently, not.

The march gathered women who share varying degrees of concern that President Trump’s campaign rhetoric would usher in an era of legal and cultural retreat from a variety of civil rights they care about, and, in some cases, actively fought for. It was encouraging to me, someone who generally but not always agrees with their concerns, that there were so many who cared enough to give time and talent toward making a public statement.

But what about women who didn’t march? At least on women’s issues, some of them felt strongly that they already had “women’s rights” and there was no reason to demonstrate for them. Some were very uncomfortable with public protest in any form. Some really want something else entirely, and I believe their point of view must be considered.

Many women and men bemoan the loss of the one-income family. It is a given that two incomes can give a family more disposable income. The regrettable truth is that wages can be so low that it takes two incomes to support a family. Yes, prudent money management can certainly help, but at one time, one income took care of most families well enough. They may see that “women’s lib” took away men’s good jobs. There is significant economic pressure, i.e. the cost of good neighborhoods and good schools, to earn a larger family income. The ad world pushes items to purchase which will surely make families happier.

I also don’t know anyone who is not concerned about the well-being of children these days. Many women and men see the absence of a stay-at-home parent as one reason that children are struggling. Programs such as boy and girl Scouting and 4H are less active because of a loss of adult leadership. Some families live in homes that need more attention to the traditional housework duties but time just doesn’t seem to be there. The stress of busy schedules take a toll on family bonding.

I was a woman’s libber because I also thought men’s roles were too constrained. Why did all men have to be he-men, ambitious, emotionally constrained, sole providers, etc.? I felt that individual freedom extended to gender roles. I’ve loved seeing men take a more active role in the family.

I’ve also heard beliefs that giving women career aspirations has led to more abortions and promiscuous sex in general. It is harder to keep children innocent these days because the shelter of the home’s cultural values has been ripped off.

I am attempting to point out that there are valid points of view that men and women have about women’s issues. None of them are mutually exclusive. There is established law on hiring and equal pay. Cultural norms have evolved. There has been an assumption that all women should want to have paying careers. That is not necessarily true. Whether it is a male or female spouse, many families want one breadwinner and one homemaker. It’s about personal choice and values, and it’s also about the pursuit of happiness. We need to have it all.

Other View: Trump's executive order on immigration is a self-inflicted wound

This appeared in Tuesday’s Washington Post:

On Sunday, a White House official told reporters that President Donald Trump’s order for temporary travel bans on visitors from seven countries and on refugees, as well as an indefinite ban on Syrian refugees,was “a massive success story in terms of implementation on every single level.” What really happened was a train wreck of decision-making. More worrisome even than the rookie procedural mistakes are the grave potential consequences of an order that’s wrong ethically and strategically.

Mr. Trump’s executive order was not vetted in advance by key Cabinet departments, including Homeland Security, State, Defense and Justice, according to multiple reports. Rather, it appears the order was drafted by a White House coterie. The New York Times reports that Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly was on a Coast Guard plane, in the middle of listening to an internal briefing about it, when Trump signed the order. Confusion erupted as thousands of green-card holders — who are permanent legal U.S. residents — found themselves stranded abroad. At first, the administration said that green-card holders were included in the travel ban; Kelly later said they should be admitted. Those who were hurt were not terrorists but residents of the United States who had already gone through extensive checking.

The temporary inconvenience and insult are unfortunate but not the worst of this debacle. Trump’s order for a 90-day halt to entry and four-month pause in refugees included Iraq, the United States’ main ally in the battle that Trump claims to prioritize, against the Islamic State. As Trump insults their nation, Iraqi troops are engaged in a grinding struggle, supported by more than 5,000 U.S. troops, to reclaim Mosul. Where is the wisdom in undermining the credibility and standing of their fragile government in Baghdad, which is so essential to the strategic goal of defeating the Islamic State? If the point of Trump’s action was to improve security, why deepen the dangerous power vacuum in Iraq? In the future, the United States may need battlefield allies such as translators, but Trump’s order has endangered hundreds of them in Iraq who helped U.S. troops, had been waiting for special visas to the United States and now find themselves in limbo. Who will risk helping Americans if this is the thanks they get?

Yet another counterproductive outcome will be to give terrorist groups such as the Islamic State fresh recruiting material for the calumny that the United States is at war with the Muslim world. A “self- inflicted wound,” said Sens. John McCain, Ariz., and Lindsay Graham, S.C., among the small number of Republicans with the gumption to speak out against Trump’s misguided action.

It was an inspiration to see the spontaneous outpouring of public support for refugees and immigrants at airports and in cities across the country, including from lawyers who rushed to help those being denied entry. As Trump stained the nation’s reputation by barring the doors to deserving refugees, those demonstrators showed the world that thousands of Americans remain committed to the values that have made this nation a beacon for so long.

Our View: Making it in the Magic Valley

We’ve all heard the success stories about the region’s biggest or newest employers: Glanbia, Chobani, Clif Bar and Fabri-Kal.

They’re part of a larger economic development narrative the governor likes to call the Magic Valley Miracle.

But there are scores of other businesses with deep heritage, the smaller companies and lesser-known businesses that have been producing and innovating here in the Magic Valley for generations.

On Tuesday, the Times-News in partnership with Idaho Power hosted the Making it in the Magic Valley awards, the first of what we hope to be an annual effort to recognize businesses new and old, large and small, who produce or process goods here at home. Most of the companies also give back to our communities in ways that don’t always grab headlines: scholarship programs, volunteer efforts and charitable donations that make our valley such a great place to live.

As Idaho Commerce Director Megan Ronk, the ceremony’s speaker, pointed out, these are the companies putting Idaho on the map.

Nominated by local governments and city leaders, these 14 companies will be featured in a special publication inserted in your Sunday newspaper and available to read online at the same day.

We promise you’ll learn something new about every one of these businesses. We certainly did. Did you know Herrett Stocks in Twin Falls is one of the world’s premiere producers of gun stocks and has been for the past 56 years? Or that Moss Greenhouse in Jerome delivers to six different states? Or that the Sprinkler Shop in Paul has the only hot-dip galvanizing facility in Idaho?

The publication also features stunning photography that will take you inside these businesses to see Magic Valley workers in action.

At a time when good news may seem hard to come by, producing Making it in the Magic Valley was a reminder for us that there’s no shortage of great stories to tell — and that sharing these stories is just as important as chronicling the crisis of the day.

We hope you’ll agree that these businesses are truly Making it in the Magic Valley.

Letter: Government corruption?

Government corruption?

It may be wishful thinking, but under the Trump administration there is hope to not only “drain the swamp” but also to confront and stop misconduct and wrongdoing in federal government agencies. One may first think of the Veterans Administration. However, the Natural Resources Conservation Service has apparently shown misconduct and wrongdoing in administering one of its programs, the Environmental Quality Incentives Program.

This program provides financial and technical assistance to agricultural producers with the objective to address various environmental quality issues as soil erosion, etc. Approved participants enter into a binding contract with the agency to follow construction and operation requirements. In Idaho, the agency has apparently violated this contract behind the back of participants for years. Moreover, the reporting of this wrongdoing by a participant has exposed some of the agency’s cover-up practices like altering and falsifying documents including the construction inspection report.

NRCS also shifted blame of their violation by claiming that the participant is responsible for construction inspection — contrary to pre-construction agency claim. The agency didn’t stop there. It denied additional cost share to the participant who reported the wrongdoing even though the participant incurred considerable extra costs correcting a faulty NRCS irrigation design. Moreover, the NRCS state head’s assistance denial, and subsequent effort to suppress supporting evidence showing that the design was flawed. Good luck, Mr. President.

Tim Eilers