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All eyes on South Dakota

My friend and I were talking about the hard, hard struggles going on and our hope that our government would recognize it because ''it's'' been glaring us in the face for years now. Forever the optimist, a believer in the good and that the power of one can make a difference, I thought, ''We have a few days here to make a statement.'' Once again, South Dakota has the opportunity to have a voice.

We're not whiners. ... The soil of the ''Dirty Thirties'' flows through our blood. We are used to suffering in silence or sharing our concerns with our small circle, but just doing what we have to do. South Dakotans are usually not about making waves even though we have been given the gift of strong voices such as Tom Daschle, Tom Brokaw, George McGovern and our Native women. We are a people of strength and perseverance, but we need to speak out on behalf of our elders, our children and our grandchildren.

I am asking that you join your voice with mine, to speak up! To have our struggle recognized. Our families and neighbors are struggling, suffering. I see it, I hear it, and I am experiencing it along with my elderly parents, my children, my grandchildren, my friends and neighbors.

I remember talking to my very wise 84-year-old father about 10 years ago regarding the direction our country was going. I said the middle class in our country is disappearing and throughout history the disappearance of the middle class has led to the dissolution of that empire or government. I am saying now, pleading in those famous words by Dylan Thomas, ''Do not go gently into that good night. Rage, rage against the dying of the light.''

I figure we have a few days to have our voices heard. I am ready to stand in the middle of a field, the interstate or the main street of my village to shout, ''You need to hear us now!'' We are the backbone of this country and there is getting to be one too many straws on our backs.

If you would like to join me, please contact me at debwb@itctel.com.

- Deb Bickett

Wentworth, S.D.