‘MY TURN’ with William Podgorski | Local Columnists

Happy New Year! Here is hoping 2018 will be better than 2017 for everyone. Now as I write my final article for this quarterly My Turn column, I look back at the articles I have written and the therapy it has provided for me and hopefully to you as well.

It has helped me understand the relationships that I have and the people who have supported me throughout these last 47 years. I have tried to be fair and neutral when it comes to our current political climate.

I voted for Republicans and Democrats throughout the years and even an Independent candidate for president, Ross Perot. It was 1992 and the idea of an independent businessman running the country over the incumbent George Bush and a young Bill Clinton appealed to me. It also appealed to nearly 20 million voters as well and resulted in a division of disgruntled Republican voters allowing Bill Clinton to win the election. But, I am proud that I have voted in all presidential elections and many of the midterm and local elections over these last 30 years.

I have tried to be patient during strained conversations with acquaintances, neighbors and close family members on topics such as, politics, reproductive rights, gun control, sexual harassment and LGBT rights.

We need to walk in a person’s shoes to truly understand their experiences. For instance, I do not know what it is like to be a black male in society being pulled over for no reason by the police at gunpoint for just driving to work. I have no clue what it is like to be a female being sexually harassed at work, knowing that if I complain that I may lose my job and not be able to support my family. I also do not understand what it is like to be a passionate gun owner who blames society or another race for not having a steady paycheck. I also don’t know how it feels to be a teenager being bullied in school and coming out to your parents as a homosexual.

These are real struggles that happen every day in this great country of ours. We need to be patient sometimes and listen to each other. But we also need to stand up and fight against the numerous injustices happening right now; it is just plain common sense. We have seen this lack of common sense in the world today.

Common sense is the basic ability to perceive, understand and judge things that are common to nearly all people without need for debate. For example, we should be able to agree on the need for stricter gun laws in society. Don’t worry, I am not advocating the removal of guns for personal protection or for hunting, but you do not need an assault rifle to thin the deer population here in Wisconsin. This should not be a debate. Our military and police officers need to have these weapons, not your Average Joe.

Also, sexual predators should not be on our ballots or representing us in Congress. If you are voting for a sexual predator because he is pro-life compared to another candidate, that is ludicrous. But, the majority of white males and females in Alabama did just that. Those victims of Roy Moore have rights and deserve as much if not even more compassion than the unborn, but unfortunately they are still being persecuted.

Global warming is another — pardon my pun — hot topic that should not be debated. Scientists worldwide who are smarter than the majority of us combined have determined that global warming is happening. A gradual increase in the overall temperature of the Earth’s atmosphere has been attributed to the greenhouse effect caused by increased levels of carbon dioxide and pollutants. The ice caps have been melting; the polar bear population has been dwindling due to global warming.

Our kids and grandkids may not be immediately impacted by this, but future generations will. So now is the time to continue the investment in clean energy sources and jobs so that future generations do not have to deal with an apocalyptic world.

Almost 242 years ago on Jan. 9, 1776, writer Thomas Paine published his pamphlet “Common Sense.” He argued for two main points: independence from England and the creation of a democratic republic. Our current president is threatening the democratic ideals that our country was built on. A true businessman, like Ross Perot, would have done a much better job, even today at the age of 87.

Now we don’t have too many pamphlets to spread messages any more; we just have opinion pieces like this one and Twitter to get our message heard.

So let’s strive for more common sense in this world. Happy 2018!