Well, it's finally over. I voted Tuesday morning, and as I write this I don't know who prevailed in my city, state or country. What I do know is that I'm very glad to have this election over -- whatever the outcome.
Now I can sit back and relax. Hopefully, now that I don't have to hit the mute button so often, my strained thumb will improve. Like most of you, I was sick to death of all the negative ads. Both parties and the special-interest groups that support them were responsible for this, but, also like you, I thought the other side's ads were worse.
One thing I did differently this year was to not contribute to all the noise. Early on in this election cycle, I decided to take the money I would have usually sent to my party and give it to a charity instead. My choice was a local food shelf. If more of us did this, there would be less money for the negativity.
Now, I can hear some of you say that I'm naïve and that my not participating in the process made no difference. I'm sure you're right, but it made me feel better. I bet it would make you feel better, too. Besides, the food shelf could use the money a lot more than the DFL, GOP or Independence Party.
DAVID SWENSON, MINNEAPOLIS
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All is not lost! After hearing the political ads these past few weeks, I began to think everyone was a crook. That there were no honest people left in the world. That we were doomed to a life that was nasty, brutish and short.
But fear not! A woman named Lucy has restored my hope in humanity.
I have never met Lucy, and I probably never will, but I would like to have that pleasure. My ID, credit card, cash and phone had fallen out of my jacket as I rode in Fort Snelling State Park. After retracing my steps, I began the process of canceling everything. I thought I would try one more time to call the phone. It was then I heard a ring at my mail slot. There were all my possessions, including the cash and a nice note from Lucy saying she had found it in the park.
I think I'm going to make her a write-in choice when I vote.
TRAVIS KARLIN, MINNEAPOLIS
The elections (and political ads) finally are over. In comes new state leadership and many national changes, even though far too many citizens didn't vote. Our most recent economic crisis appears to have passed, though far too many are unemployed and in debt.
But we remain in the midst of another crisis -- one of character and ethics.
Cheating, lying and other unethical behavior are at an all-time high, not just on Wall Street and in Washington, but in every state in the country, including our own. Bullying, harassment and other harmful conduct pervade too many corners of our society.
These huge problems cannot really be solved by more legislation or new bureaucratic policies. They must be tackled locally by groups of dedicated citizens, with a focus on our homes, schools, businesses and communities, by rekindling the importance of citizenship and instilling ethical behavior everywhere with a shared commitment to doing what is right for all concerned.
One group of Minnesotans, composed of civic, business, church and education leaders and doers, has decided to become part of this community-based solution by forming an organization called the MN Ethics Initiative.
If you share this vision of the crucial need for creating ethical citizens and leaders, please join the "MN Ethics Initiative: Partnering for Youth" public forum on Nov. 12 to see how you can get involved. Get details and register at www.partneringforyouth.org.
We are all in this character and ethics crisis together. Don't stand on the sidelines, waiting for government or others to address this crisis. The time for each of us to act is now. Step forward and make a difference in our state's future.
HANK SHEA, PROFESSOR, HOLLORAN CENTER FOR ETHICAL LEADERSHIP, UNIVERSITY OF ST. THOMAS LAW SCHOOL
So far the Vikings have been cursed with injuries, sloppy play and inept coaching. And then on Monday it was announced that the team had waived Randy Moss, who is a proven talent in the NFL. Adding insult to injury, we are losing a draft pick as well.
Team owner Zygi Wilf has shown that he is willing to put his money into the team to make it the best it can be. This is evident in the signings of Jared Allen, Brett Favre and a number of other skilled players. Yet, when it comes to high-level personnel decisions, it appears the Vikings management is deferring to coach Brad Childress, who has proven nothing.
His well-documented push to draft Tavaris Jackson over other highly qualified players ended up being a failure; his play-calling has been questionable throughout his tenure, and his personnel management has been awful.
Maybe it's time we waive Childress. His inability to perform his position with any sort of prowess is disappointing, and has become a gross embarrassment to the state.
ERIK SELDEN, MINNEAPOLIS
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Watching the Vikings from a distance has been a very difficult thing. When top players like Favre and Moss can't offer opinions and suggestions, it's apparent that Childress is a control freak.
They need to can Childress now. This team could still win the Super Bowl, but not with that head coach.
MARK DELAP, CARSON CITY, NEV.
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A huge thank you to Childress for sending our children the message that if you can't play the game of life respectfully, you will not play it with those of us here in our wonderful state!
BETH KUCERA, CHASKA
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The Vikings get rid of Randy Moss. Cost is over $3 million, plus a draft pick.
And they want us to pay for a new stadium? Hmm ...
JIM AVANT, MINNEAPOLIS