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September 01, 2011 8:38 am

EDITORIAL: Heart Mountain lessons serve as guides today

Written by Ilene Olson

Lessons learned at the dedication of the Heart Mountain Interpretive Learning Center a week and a half ago include some that apply as much today — or perhaps more so — as they did during World War II.

Among those insights were statements of philosophy which, if taken to heart, could serve as guides for U.S. politicians and citizens alike as they seek solutions to serious budgetary and social problems of our day.

At least two speakers referred to today’s political posturing and polarization, which make it difficult to compromise and find workable solutions for mounting problems.

“One of the things I want you to be careful about in today’s political world is when you have an issue and you have opponents and proponents of an issue, they don’t attack the issue; they attack the proponents or opponents of the issue,” said Norman Mineta, former congressman and U.S. Secretary of Transportation.

“The problem today is, people cannot deal with the issues. Me and (former U.S. Sen.) Al Simpson, we had issues we differed on, but we didn’t slam bam each other. We compromised, then we went out to dinner.”

Journalist Tom Brokaw, author of “The Greatest Generation,” put it this way: “We’re always at our best as a nation when we’re more than the sum of our many parts. When we are not divided or pay tribute to people who want to divide us.”

They and other speakers referred to the continued patriotism of Japanese-American internees, who, despite being imprisoned unjustly in a relocation camp, and despite the loss of their property and livelihood, continued to live as devoted citizens of the United States.

If those people could set that pain and loss aside — though it certainly wasn’t forgotten — and work toward the greater good of all despite that injustice, it doesn’t seem too much to ask our national leaders to do the same today.

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