My Point of View: Offering another reality check

Published 8:45 pm Tuesday, December 27, 2022

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My Point of View by Joe Pacovsky

We are recovering from the most challenging disruptions in decades. I have read many negative comments about the condition of our country, and to that I offer this reality check.

Joe Pacovsky

We are emerging from the effects of a worldwide pandemic that killed a million Americans and many more worldwide. Russia launched a brutal war on Ukraine, which has resulted in the deaths of 100,000 of its own soldiers as well as the deaths of tens of thousands of Ukrainians and the forced migration of millions of Ukrainian civilians. This unprovoked invasion has disrupted grain, natural gas, fertilizer and oil supplies for the entire world.

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The material and energy disruptions caused by the pandemic and Russian aggression and associated price increases are being corrected. Our economy is strong. The national unemployment rate is 3.7%, home prices have dropped 7% nationwide since June, and as an example lumber prices have dropped 70% since February. Gasoline has dropped from a high of $4.80 per gallon to $3.10. The housing market is benefiting from the flushing out of speculators and opportunists who distorted the housing market due to unnaturally low interest rates. The increased availability of housing will benefit home buyers who are looking for a place to live.

We witnessed history Wednesday night when Ukrainian President Zelenskyy addressed a joint session of Congress. The last similar address to Congress was by Winston Churchill 81 years ago just after the attack on Pearl Harbor and our entry in World War II. The situations are eerily similar. Britain was fighting alone against Nazi Germany in 1941. Today Ukraine is fighting for its own liberty and shedding its own blood to remain free. Its valiant efforts are also protecting our allies in Eastern Europe against further Russian territorial incursions, exposing the lies of Russian propaganda and revealing the weaknesses of the Russian military.

Zelenskyy’s speech was even more remarkable given that few thought that Ukraine would be able to defend itself so effectively. And one of the reasons is that the US and other nations in NATO and the European Union have supplied critical military equipment and humanitarian aid to Ukraine. Zelenskyy conveyed the gratitude of the Ukrainian people to Congress. But Ukraine has supplied the soldiers on the battlefield and borne the terrible cost of war crimes against civilians, which include targeting critical infrastructure needed to survive winter, and Zelenskyy appealed for more help.

Our contributions to Ukraine are money well spent. The return on investment to the U.S. is an incredible bargain — for less than 6% of the U.S. military budget, U.S. aid has enabled Ukraine to wipe out nearly half of our top autocratic foe’s military capacity in less than a year, without a single American casualty.

e than half Republican representatives chose to skip the Zelenskyy address, and some who attended were mute (the Trump/Putin wing of the Republican Party). Donald Trump Jr., ironically, whose father contributed zero in federal income taxes in 2020, called President Zelenskyy an “international welfare queen.” This while Ukrainian soldiers and civilians are dying to stop Putin.

The Jan. 6 Committee has issued its final report. The committee has referred Trump and his co-conspirators to the Justice Department for prosecution. There are four specific counts related to Trump:

• Influencing or impeding an official proceeding of the U.S. government

• Conspiring to defraud the U.S.

• Unlawfully, knowingly or willingly making false statements to the federal government

• Assisting or engaging in insurrection against the United States

I hope justice can finally be done.

I hope you have a happy holiday season and prosperous 2023.

Joe Pacovsky is a member of the Freeborn County DFL Party.