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Editorial: December 2015

Let it begin with me


    This month’s issue of North Dakota Living arrives at a point that is sandwiched between two holidays. Last month, we gave thanks for the many blessings we have in our lives. This month, we practice giving as a celebration of the birth of Jesus, who taught us to love one another.

     Watching all the darkness in the world order these days leaves one thinking more and more about the great quality of life that exists in North Dakota and America. It is nearly impossible for Americans to imagine packing up one suitcase of belongings, with children in hand, and striking out to seek a life that offers safety, security and a chance for a better life. Yet, more people from every corner of the globe have been uprooted by war, persecution or natural disasters than ever before in history. That amounts to 55 million people “forcibly displaced” at the end of 2014, according to a recent report from the United Nations Refugee Agency.

      Former U.S. Senator Byron Dorgan spoke to the greatness of our country when he addressed the Basin Electric Power Cooperative

annual meeting last month. It is beyond refute, he suggested, that the United States of America is and remains the greatest country on earth. There are many reasons for this. One has to do with infrastructure, and the rural electric cooperative network is an important part of this. Beyond electric power at the flip of a switch, there is potable water; connections to the world via the Internet; and access to housing, roads, bridges and public transportation in virtually every part of our country. Certainly, all this exists with inequality for some and for some geographical regions. But by and large, America’s quality of life is of the highest order.

Electric cooperatives have also made it a priority to bring the quality-of-life improvements brought about by access to electric power across the globe. Through the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association International Foundation, work is underway in dozens of third-world countries to bring the benefits of electric power to persons who live in darkness. One of our more recent actions was to support a bill in Congress called the Electrify Africa Act. This bill, if passed, would make resources available to develop power systems in Africa, where little or no grid power is available in the poorest of their countries.

In this season of giving, let’s pray that the day arrives soon when “Peace on Earth” is more than a phrase we recite in church. Instead, it would be a world where people can rise and shine each day knowing their basic needs have been met, and they can go about achieving good and greater things.

Merry Christmas to all, and may there be peace on earth.

Dennis Hill, editor-in-chief of North Dakota Living, is executive vice president and general manager of the North Dakota Association of Rural Electric Cooperatives, Mandan. Comments can be mailed to Dennis Hill, NDAREC, P.O. Box 727, Mandan, ND 58554-0727 or by email