On this Friday morning the impeachment process, the third one in 46 years in a country gone mad with political partisanship, is nearing its end. That statement doesn't mean the Nixon, Clinton and Trump impeachment proceedings were wrong to take place. But it's a sign that things have changed in American politics during that time. And that's not necessarily good.

I am reminded of an opinion piece I ran across last fall in the St. Cloud Times that decried the loss of respect and civility in our country.  The writer, a man involved in the arts in Central Minnesota for more than 35 years who writes once a month for the paper, was mourning the loss of those two things in the United States. He said he was seriously disappointed when he read that Ellen DeGeneres had been criticized for sitting with former President George W. Bush and his wife Laura, people she had been friends with.

The writer said his parents taught him to respect others. "Opinions were respected in our house even if they were not shared," Peter Donahue wrote. He noted that he and his brother share opposing political positions. "Nonetheless, we share a deep respect for each other and cherish the times we spend together," he wrote. "I am convinced that adults must set an example of proper conduct for our children, our friends and associates. Civility and respect are the cornerstones of proper conduct. Without them we offend, alienate and diminish ourselves and others."

As examples he mentioned protesters resorting to anger and violence when President Trump was in Minneapolis the previous week. He mentioned angry encounters with police, setting fires and throwing cups at cars leaving the rally. Lest you think Donahue was sticking up for Trump, he also criticized the president  for a disparaging remark about former Vice President Joe Biden that was unprintable in some publications.

Donahue wrote that he blames corporate greed that has resulted in the disenfranchisement of the masses that robs them of power. "For with wealth goes power, and if not wielded for the common good, it is abused,"  he wrote. He said the lack of influence in Washington caused people to vote for Trump to try to upset the status quo, although Donahue said about the performance of Trump in his first three years, "It seems that corruption runs rampant and abuse of power may be at its worst."

While agreeing with much of what Donahue said in his opinion piece, I prefer to think the advent of social media, and the modernization of our country, has led us down a path of thinking that others are horrible people just because they have different opinions. And you'll likely get a first-hand look at that when the Minnesota Legislature, a body that has become increasingly partisan, starts its 2020 session in a few days.

Back in the day (my childhood), we had a big garden, divided household chores among the seven kids in the house, played at will with others and at other houses, and a "big night" consisted of the family, pre-television, sitting around listening to a radio while some were playing board games or reading. Our parents of the early 20th century, as well as grandparents of the late 19th century, guided us through lives that were much more uncluttered than the ones of today.  

When television came into our lives as the new link to the outside world it was just one black-and-white set, we still had party lines that allowed people to listen in on others' calls, there were no seat belts in cars, nobody had air conditioning, and not having to go outside to the biffy was considered a real step up in the world.  We could go play in a city park with others, not worrying about who they were or what they might do. (OK, so I'm an old fogey.)

Would we want to go back to those days? No way. But it was a much more uncomplicated world than we live in today, a world where looking at your phone 80 times a day, or an average of every 12 minutes among some, is the norm. Millenials (born from 1981 to 1996) average 150 times a day, one study shows, with 40 percent not able to make it through a meal without checking their phones.

I'm not suggesting that using a phone that often leads to the lack of respect and civility that was mentioned earlier. But it's part of our lives being way different than before. We live in a safer world — seat belts, no trains in town to jump on for a short ride, cars with warning systems, metal detectors at the State Fair, home security systems, etc. — and everyone has electricity and running water, although land lines are a thing of the past for many.

But in this hurry-up world of ours we don't seem to be as tolerant of other people's ideas as we should be. Someone's political leanings are often the deciding factor in whether or not someone is to be trusted.  That shouldn't be. Maybe that's a naive way to look at things but that's the way I think in my eighth decade. I wish it would change.

SPORTS SHORTS

While doing research for last week's Sports Memories, I came across a couple things from 1975 and 1980 that stirred a few memories. In January of 1975 Brad Ekstrom, who also played football at PHS, completed a rare double when he placed in two gymnastics events in an afternoon meet with St. Cloud Tech, and then pinned a 256-pound Cambridge heavyweight, who weighed a lot more than Ekstrom, that night in a dual meet. It had never been done previously in Princeton and hasn't been done since. That was quite a feat. And in January of 1980 Todd Knutson, who ended up playing college football in South Dakota as a four-year starter, dunked the basketball in a win over Foley. That was the first in-game dunk in PHS history . . . The PHS wrestling team is having quite a season. In the latest Guillotine rankings the Tigers came up in 10th place in Class AA. Princeton is in Section 7AA and that section includes Foley, ranked No. 4 in Class AA. Four PHS wrestlers were listed in the most recent metro honor roll in the Star Tribune. They are Tyler Wells, 105 pounds, 26-0; Landon Parent, 126, 26-1; Kyle Boeke, 132, 26-1; and Zack Wells, 145, 24-0 . . . I wrote back in December that the Minnesota men's basketball team would be up and down but I didn't think it would as up and down as it has been. The outside shooters have really struggled with something like 17 percent on threes the past two games. The team will need a couple big wins now to get to the NCAA tournament. Sophomore center Daniel Oturu is one of the top players in the Big Ten but I don't agree with Sid Hartman's assessment that it was a surprise he wasn't included in ESPN's NBA mock draft, although he might still reach that status. He's forcing shots too much, and thus traveling on occasion, and sometimes when he doesn't get a call he lingers on that end of the floor instead of hustling to the other end. And he's doing some trash talking, which he wasn't doing earlier in the season. Still, he's quite a talent and will certainly get a shot in the NBA . . . Next week we'll take a look at section rankings for boys hockey and girls basketball. The girls hockey team (8-15) ends its regular season tomorrow (Feb. 1) at home against North Shore (7-16) and then will likely have the unenviable task of playing Andover (21-2, No. 2 ranking in the state) next Thursday in the opening round of section play . . . The boys basketball team (14-3) is currently ranked No. 1 in Section 7AAA with a QRF rating of 135.6 that is barely ahead of Hermantown (13-5, 134.4), a team it beat in December,  No. 3 is Hibbing at 11-6 and 118.1, a team Princeton lost to at Hibbing.  Hibbing and Hermantown play Feb. 21. Hibbing has scored 100 or more three times, and 90 or more three times. The Tigers will play North Branch (3-13), Chisago Lakes (3-12), Cloquet (4-13) or Duluth Denfeld (1-16) to open section play, depending upon where they and those teams finish in the section. An unusual situation will take place Feb. 14 (at Cambridge) and Feb. 17 (at Princeton) when Princeton plays Cambridge twice in three days because of a rescheduled game.  Those are the top two teams in the Mississippi 8, with Cambridge at 14-1 overall and a 12-game winning streak. The Bluejackets are also No. 1 in their section with a QRF of 177.2 and they'll play Eden Prairie (16-0, No. 1 in the state with a QRF of 296.7) six days before the first game with Princeton. The Tigers are averaging 84.5 points a game, their opponents 68.1. Princeton is taking 26 threes a game and averaging 32.5%, averaging 48.3% overall on field goals, 64.6% on free throws, and 14 steals a game. Six players have led the team in scoring in games this season, four are averaging in double figures and two are averaging between 9 and 10.

PRINCETON SPORTS MEMORIES

Feb. 4. 1965 - Princeton beat Braham 73-51 and beat Osseo 56-55. Dave Duncan led with 17 points in the Braham game and Gordy Meyer led with 15 in the Osseo game. . . Joe Clemensen started the boys gymnastics program at PHS, although the team didn't compete against other schools until the next season. Only 20 schools in the state had the sport then.   

Feb. 4, 1970 - A 57-50 loss to Cambridge ended Princeton's eight-game winning streak in basketball. Mark Jacobs led with 13 points . . . Princeton placed third in the Princeton Gymnastics Invitational as Pat Burke won the high bar competition.  

Feb. 6, 1975 - Jim Pokorny broke the school diving record twice in a week. (He still holds the record.) . . . Kevin VanHooser  had 17 points in a 44-39 win over Braham, and 13 in a 61-34 win over Staples. Tim Holbrook scored 10 in each game. 

Feb. 7, 1980 -  Princeton beat Elk River 44-42 as Don Andrews scored 12 points . . . Dave Barthel and Dorren Woodiwiss had pins in a 39-10 win over Chisago Lakes even thought three PHS starters were out with injuries.

Feb. 7, 1985 - After scoring 40 against St. Cloud Cathedral Tom Blomberg had 37 in a loss to North Branch, giving him 100 points in his last three games, during which he shot 70 percent . . . The girls basketball team edged Milaca 37-36 after beating North Branch and Sauk Rapids during the week, and was tied for first place in the Rum River.  Kim Bottema scored 43 in the three games.

Feb. 8, 1990 - Princeton forfeited nine weight classes among 12 in a dual meet with St. Cloud Tech . . . The girls basketball team upset North Branch 37-20 as sophomore Alison Ringaman had 15 points and senior Rachel Brown 11. . . Princeton beat North Branch 67-65 as Paul Sather had 33 points and 13 rebounds. He had  20 points and 9 blocked shots in a 78-64 win over Pine City. 

Feb. 9, 1995 - Princeton beat Foley 60-34 as Mandee Young and Heather Carlson each scored 15, Sandy Thompson 14 and Ali Skarohlid 10 . . . Princeton beat Mora 7-6 in overtime as Jeremy Miller scored the winning goal. Miller and Chris Opskar had 3 goals apiece.

Feb. 3, 2000 - PHS, the fourth-ranked swimming team in the state in Class A, placed third in the Willmar Invitational as Shane Whitcomb won the 200 freestyle, and the medley relay team of Chris Anderson, Jordan Snow, Jake Ulm and Josh Varner also won . . . The girls basketball team ended an 11-game losing streak with a 61-56 win over Pine City, and beat Hibbing 43-37. Kayla Walker had a double-double in both games, totaling 36 points and 26 rebounds. 

Feb. 4, 2005 - The boys hockey team (12-8-1, 8-1 in the Rum River) beat Mora 11-2 and Chisago Lakes 4-3 to take over first place in the RRC . . . The boys basketball team (10-3, 8-3 in the RRC) lost 74-61 to Chisago Lakes and fell out of first place in the Rum River. Scott Roehl had 24 points and then had 26 in a 62-53 win over Milaca.

Feb 4, 2010 - The boys basketball team beat Big Lake 75-51 as Dylan Carroll had 21 points, Tim Murphy 14 and Josh Hanus 13 . . . The boys hockey team beat Rogers 4-3 in overtime, Ian Robertson getting the winning goal.

Feb. 5, 2015 - The girls hockey team (18-6-1) got the No. 4 seed in the tough Section 5A tournament. Maggie Peterson had 60 points for the season, Bridget Walter 47, Erica Schramel 47 and Larkin Walter 37. Goalie Kara Schramel had a 2.57 goals-against average . . . Brady Peterson had 36 points in a 77-68 loss to Duluth East and 18 in a loss to St. Michael-Albertville.

Dorr is the former editor of the Princeton Eagle (2 years) and Princeton Union-Eagle (31 years), and has covered sports in the Princeton area for 53 years.

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