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Open Forum: An abdication of duty

Thank you to the writer of the March 2 editorial on gambling. Legalized gambling has been aptly defined as a “tax on fools.” Worse than that, it is a serious abdication of duty on the part of elected representatives, who are to legislate wisely and for the ultimate benefit of all their constituents, not just a few lucky winners.

Legalized gambling may temporarily resolve some difficult funding needs. But one of the inevitable consequences is to cater to the weakness of people who can’t resist the “siren song” of get-rich-quick schemes. It also fosters the false notion that there are “painless” ways of responsibly funding worthwhile projects or activities.

Finally, there is the inevitable criminal activity, with its accompanying law enforcement costs, that never has been successfully separated from gambling — legal or otherwise. Consider how many even well-meaning people have been caught up in activities from “skimming” to outright embezzling, even in government-run operations. 

Let’s encourage each other, including our elected representatives, to honestly face up to our civic responsibilities. I’m a Vikings fan and in favor of a new stadium, But I believe the team owners and those who use the stadium should finance it — not the general public. Between the owners and fans of the team there is adequate money to construct the desired facilities for the game. Let’s fund appropriate public projects in honorable ways that build up, not tear down our communities. 

Dwight Johnson