Regretting the roads taken, not taken
In the dark days of the Republican domination of state government from 2002-10, I ran as a Democrat three times for the House in the old 18B, one of the most conservative districts in the state, knowing the chances of winning were slim. The work in the campaigns was my contribution to return the Democrats to power, believing that the true problems of Minnesota would then be addressed.
I pictured a more balanced tax system capable of leveling peaks and troughs of revenue; dramatic reform of education to meet the challenges of the future; investment in infrastructure; health care reform, and action on social issues such as substance abuse, childhood poverty, single-parent families, the rate of children born out of wedlock, and the gap between minorities and the white majority.
In this era of hyperpartisan politics, it will not often happen that a party controls all three parts of state government with the power to enact fundamental change. But the political capital of the moment has been spent on the Vikings stadium and same-sex marriage. This shows the power that self-interest groups exert in both parties.
I still believe that Minnesota can do better than this. It has to!
David Detert, Northfield, Minn.
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The only good thing about the legislative session is that it’s over. Unfortunately, the damage inflicted on families, taxpayers and employers will be long-lasting and far-reaching. The overreach of this Democrat-controlled House, Senate and governorship was historical. We can only hope their exuberance will lead to the loss of majority in the next election.
Larry A. Sorenson, Arlington, Minn.
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Someone is always quick to point out, as a May 21 letter writer did, that construction projects funded by the state create only temporary jobs. The fact is that any construction job, whether publicly or privately funded, is temporary.
Robert W. Carlson, Plymouth
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The failure to pass antibullying legislation this session was, in part, due to Republican legislators’ suggesting that many Minnesota superintendents did not consider bullying to be a problem in their schools. Are these schools really so different from those in much of the rest of the industrialized world, including the United States?
Academic studies, using a common definition of bullying, report that about 10 percent of children in Sweden, Norway, England, Japan and the U.S. say they have been bullied. When cyberbullying is included, it goes to about 20 percent.
These statistics show reliable trends across countries. Second, they have dire implications. Indeed, the primary motivation for antibullying research and school policy in Norway, Sweden, Japan and England in the 1970s was the realization that bullying was an antecedent to increases in school-age youngsters’ suicides.
When opponents decry spending too much on such programs because they are concerned with the financial burden left to “our kids and our grandkids,” I’m even more puzzled. Perhaps the same people who voted down antibullying legislation hope that the Sunday afternoon displays at the new Vikings stadium will be the models that kids need to be prosocial and not aggressive.
The Opinion section is produced by the Editorial Department to foster discussion about key issues. The Editorial Board represents the institutional voice of the Star Tribune and operates independently of the newsroom.