A number of Itasca County political junkies recently attended a farewell congratulatory celebration for former U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan. It was delightful to listen to the congressman speak, but I must add: A couple of his comments were quite shocking.

Nolan shared that he and Congressman John Lewis (of civil rights fame) asked for an accounting on what our country had spent on wars since 9/11. The answer was $16 trillion in 76 different countries. Nolan concluded with, "When politicians tell you there is no money for health care or schools or Social Security, they are right. It is being spent on wars of choice."

Nolan also spoke of our country's seeming lack of concern for atrocities committed by Saudi Arabian royalty, atrocities condemned by the rest of the free world but not by our government. Saudi royalty has vast sums of money invested on Wall Street, money that has been siphoned from their own people, their own countrymen.

Nolan is a Democrat, but when he spoke to us that evening, he talked about legislation he crafted with Republican colleagues. What remains at the end of his long political career is satisfaction derived from his ability to work with others.

We can do this, too! When our politicians place blame on the "other," let's call them on it. We want to hear what efforts they made to compromise, not an excuse for why the work didn't get done. And let's demand the truth; for without truth there can be no trusting relationships.

Mary Drewes