“Society is like a ship; everyone must come together to steer the helm.”
LORI ANN REINHALL
The Norwegian American
Dear readers and friends,
As the news unfolds around our country and the world, we are sobered by the gravity of the issues we are facing. While the COVID-19 pandemic remains an imminent threat, we are experiencing civil unrest and protest in our streets at levels we’ve haven’t seen since the late 1960s.
There are many buzzwords and slogans circulating these days, and as educated citizens, it’s important for us to take a deep and meaningful look into the problems we face. And while our newspaper is essentially not political in thrust, we cannot ignore what is happening around us. For this reason, we offer an open forum on our opinion page, where different viewpoints can be heard. We report on relevant news from Norway to offer you other perspectives on issues that transcend our borders.
That said, we understand the pitfalls of comparing apples to oranges and oversimplifying complex challenges. While the foundation of democracy is strong in Norway and the United States, the fabric of each society differs significantly. What works in one country may not work in the other. But what is important is to keep the dialogue going to keep our minds open to new possibilities: creativity, solutions, and improvements.
When we first planned our current issue with a maritime theme, we didn’t know we would be here today in this sea of challenges: we were looking toward summer, a time when so many Norwegian Americans enjoy spending their weekends and vacations sailing, fishing, or simply spending time at a lakeside or seashore.
Nonetheless, somehow the metaphor of a ship at sea is very apropos to what is happening today. The sea touches all continents and people of the earth, and while some cultures may have seen it as a barrier between lands, Norwegians have always had an outward stance as a seafaring nation. Trade and exchange of ideas between nations is a means by which civilizations advance and evolve, and it is a proud part of the Norwegian-American heritage.
What is for sure: in today’s world, we are all on one ship together. Perhaps nothing has brought this home harder than the COVID-19 pandemic, as it knows no borders and must be conquered through global cooperation. The same can be said for environmental and human-rights issues. We share one world, and we must take care of it together. As the famous Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen said, “Society is like a ship; everyone must come together to steer the helm.”
In the end, we won’t always agree, but keeping an honest, healthy dialogue open will help us stay the course. Here at The Norwegian American, we are committed to providing you with a newspaper that you can trust with the confidence that we are doing our best to bring you a publication that is worthy of our community and its ideals.
And please don’t forget that we always welcome your feedback: in the form of news tips, editorial content, opinion submissions, and letters to the editor—we look forward to hearing from you.
Wishing you smooth sailing ahead,
Lori Ann Reinhall
The Norwegian American
This article originally appeared in the June 26, 2020, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.