Will football make it into this column this week? Read on and find out:
Retail and bu$ine$$ thought$: That forum of reasoned debate, social media (pardon my sarcasm), was full last week of the pluses and minuses of the retail giants being open on Thanksgiving, or Black Friday Eve.
I was not out shopping on Black Friday Eve, Day or Night. You are free to disagree, but I can think of nothing I need or want to buy that would compel me to stand outside in the pre-winter pre-dawn darkness to have a chance of buying it. I hate to get up early anyway (one of the reasons I’m not a deer hunter, though I do not oppose deer hunting), and as for the rest of the day, I have worked on nearly every day after Thanksgiving in my life.
I do not begrudge those who want to go out and shop, because I begrudge neither business profits nor employees being paid. Platteville police, county sheriff’s deputies, and employees of Southwest Health Center worked on Thanksgiving. The Platteville Fire Department and Platteville EMS got called out Thursday. Anyone who suddenly got uncomfortable with his or her gas gauge needle pointed to E on the way to or from their Thanksgiving dinner was happy gas stations were open.
It similarly seems strange to criticize people for wanting to save money. Whether someone needs to buy something should be up to that consumer, and is really not the business of anyone else except, well, that business. Why do businesses open on holidays? Consumer demand (or, more exactly, management anticipation of consumer demand), that’s why. Businesses ignore their customers at their own peril. Every time you’re offended by mention of (insert favorite evil Big Business here), consider that publicly traded companies total exactly 0.1 percent of all the companies in the U.S. Without profit (more money coming in than going out), nothing happens in a business, principally paying employees.
Speaking of shopping: Platteville High School sold T-shirts during the Hillmen’s run to Camp Randall, as Potosi High School did last year. T-shirts are fine, but they’re not appropriate for many adults to wear to work. Neither are sweatshirts nor hoodies. Polo shirts are better, but only warm-blooded people like Platteville assistant coach Joe Schambow (the guy pictured wearing shorts on the sideline of Camp Randall last week) can wear them during our 14-month-long winters. I’d like to see some local retailer come out with a line of dress or twill shirts, with proper insignias, in black, white or team colors for those of us who want to show off our allegiances (and property tax payments) in a professional environment. (XL or 18–36 for me, by the way.)
From _____ to ... Having not read one yet, I don’t know if the Iowa–Grant School District history book reported on in a previous issue of your favorite weekly newspaper contained the nicknames of the athletic teams of Iowa–Grant’s former component high schools. What were the teams from Linden, Livingston and Montfort called? Read on.
Kendall vs. its residents: While the rest of us were paying attention to football, the Letters section of this page was consumed the entire month of November with a rolling argument between Town of Kendall elected officials and their constituents over, among other subjects, the state Open Meetings Law.
So the first thing that must be said is: Any elected official who flouts the letter or the spirit of the Open Meetings and Open Records law will have, and deserves to have, permanent enemies in the news media. The Open Meetings and Open Records laws, however, are similar to the First Amendment in that they are not only for the news media; they are for everyone.
The other thing you should find disturbing in that entire exchange was the sentiment that a certain side lacked legitimacy because its candidates lost the most recent town board election. Two letter-writers, who apparently were on the winning side last election, used the phrases “The voters have spoken” and “the will of the people.”
Not only are those remarkably arrogant statements, they are remarkably ignorant statements. Reading the U.S. Constitution’s Bill of Rights makes one draw the conclusion that it is concerned with protecting minority rights, and first and foremost political minorities. There is a saying that in a democracy 51 percent of the people could vote to imprison 49 percent of the people, and whether that’s technically correct, that is why the rights of those in the political minority to express their points of view need to be protected, regardless of what this year’s election results say.
The United States is a republic, in which we elect people to represent us everywhere from the White House to, yes, the Town of Kendall. Winners of elections have the responsibility to respectfully consider all points of view, including the points of view of the losing side in the most previous election. In our zero-sum political world the losing side in an election usually doesn’t win post-election legislative votes, but while we may have come to expect disrespect in Washington or Madison, we should not expect it in, of all places, a rural township.
Which brings to mind this related subject: A speaker at the most recent Platteville Common Council meeting repeated his request to have council meetings begin with the Pledge of Allegiance. A decent respect for the opinions of mankind requires that the council either grant his request, or explain why they won’t. There has still been no answer from the council.
0 for the weekend: Though Pioneer fans are disappointed at UW–Platteville’s NCAA Division III playoff loss to North Central (Ill.) Saturday, it could be much worse. Consider the Packers, who played like turkeys on Thanksgiving, and the Badgers, who committed the inexcusable sin of playing like spoiled leftovers at home.
... to Panthers: I do not know what the teams from Cobb and Rewey were called, but if you put the Linden Miners, Livingston Lions and Montfort Hilltoppers together, you get Iowa–Grant.