PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA
A day to remember: We are all Americans
Tuesday's inauguration of President Barack Obama caused two transformations in me, things that I felt I would take to my grave.
In my 60 years of life I have always felt like a black man and a black American in my country. President Obama's victory gave the freedom to see myself simply as a man and an American. Thank God I no longer have to carry this burden!
ALVIN RAY HAWES, SAVAGE
I heard many people say last week that they are proud of their country for the first time ever, or the first time in the last eight years. That is a shame.
Our country is something to be proud of always. If you're just proud now, you are not proud of your country but of your candidate. Applaud President Obama for being our 44th president, but never let a president determine the level of pride you have for your country.
We are all Americans and we can all be proud of our country, no matter which citizen is occupying the office of the president.
AUSTIN BLEESS, BLAINE
IF THE END IS NEAR ...
... and you're just making decisions, you're too late
Craig Bowron's "On not going gently into that good night" (Opinion Exchange, Jan. 18) was a stunning review of the consequences involved in not making "end of life" decisions in a timely matter.
These decisions can and should be made while a person is relatively healthy. This is the living will (or health care directive).
Just as important is designating someone to be one's power of attorney for health care issues. Completing this paperwork and discussing the contents with one's family is truly a gift to oneself and one's family.
MARY JANE MCCONNELL, R.N.,
NEW PRAGUE, MINN.
Fifteen months ago I was faced with the prospect of treating my spouse, who suffered from advanced Parkinson's disease with dementia, with treatments that would have prolonged but further reduced the quality of his life. The decisions faced in that kind of circumstance are much more complex and gut-wrenching than any health care directive or DNI/DNR order can possibly address.
We need to have conversations among doctors, caregivers, clergy, family members, friends on the front end of chronic illness, early in the diagnostic phase, about when prolonging life no longer adds value but, in fact, begins to do harm and to violate the sanctity of life.
I pray that health care professionals and family members will have the courage to know when care does not mean treat, when the best plan of care is, in fact, to let the patient have the natural death his or her body is struggling to embrace.
MARCIA S. HANSON, MINNEAPOLIS
Capitalize on windfall from Obama stimulus
The Obama stimulus package will include a federal middle-class income tax cut of several hundred billion dollars. The state should take advantage of this windfall and increase state income taxes.
For those who rail against any tax increases, this amounts to a transfer of money from the federal government to the state and a net tax cut for taxpayers of the state.
This transfer of money is just what we need to keep our social fabric in place. There will still have to be cuts, but not such drastic ones. I hope we can view this problem empirically and move away from past rhetoric and ideology and solve this problem. Let's let the feds help us out.
BRUCE FISHER, ST. LOUIS PARK
PAWLENTY'S TAX PLEDGE
It's still harming the health of Minnesota
Once again Gov. Tim Pawlenty is showing he cares more about his political career than he does about Minnesota.
His no-new-tax pledge has brought this state to lows never seen before. Our roads were being destroyed by lack of funding for maintenance and he was still determined not to increase the gas tax; thank goodness that veto was overturned (does anyone notice the added tax at the pump now? I sure don't). How about property taxes and user fees (I sure notice those!)? Is it not better to have everyone in the state contribute a little (tax), so that no one is overburdened? Not in Tim's world.
So now our governor wants to freeze wages on a small group of citizens (state workers), cut service and give tax cuts to business so they will do what? Buy up other distressed companies, cutting thousands of good jobs and owing the state millions.
MARY JO LUCAS, INVER GROVE HEIGHTS