Upon hearing that President Obama’s State of the Union address apparently was focused on the theme of equality, a reader submitted a letter (Jan. 28) in which he offered, unattributed, the following: “Equal people are not free, and free people are not equal.”

I would like to point out to the reader that when free people have the vote, we are indeed equal. The poorest person in this country is the equal of Bill Gates and other wealthy and powerful people. The people who would try to diminish or deny that reality are the ones who are not being true to the principles on which this country was founded.

As for equal people not being free, I invite the reader to give an example of liberals and progressives saying that everybody must be the same. We do not. What we advocate for is equal access to opportunity.

I much prefer the philosophy espoused by Paul Wellstone: “We all do better when we all do better.” And that, I believe, was the focus of Obama’s speech to our country.

Theresa J. Lippert, St. Paul