Readers Write: (Aug. 31): City life, the Marshall Plan, governor's race, college financial aid, transportation funding

  • Updated: August 29, 2014 - 7:05 PM

If all people want is spick-and-span surroundings, what about the city’s soul?

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The Midtown Greenway area.

Photo: RENEE JONES SCHNEIDER • Star Tribune,

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I was disheartened by several comments in “Uptown vibe goes upscale with high-end rentals,” (Aug. 24), but particularly when mention was made of 29th Street, the crumbling street that borders the Midtown Greenway and many of the new luxury rentals referred to in the article. Apparently there is fear within the Midtown Greenway Coalition that these new renters will be turned off if they have “to cross this really ugly street called 29th” to access the restaurants, grocery stores and shops in the Uptown neighborhood.

I happen to see great beauty in a crumbling street, in a wrought-iron fence covered in climbing vines — in the vestiges of another time. It’s important to come across that contrast in our daily lives. If we are so intent on destroying all the reminders of what once was and replacing them with the slick and new, we lose touch with the soul of the city.

Sarah Streitz, Minneapolis

‘THE WORLD AS IT IS’

Properly understand the Marshall Plan

Bonnie Blodgett contends that America needs to look to the Marshall Plan as a model for how to spread American democracy and free enterprise (“A Marshall Plan for the modern era,” Aug. 24). However, in addition to several historical errors, Blodgett’s argument is based on a spotty reading of history.

First, the Marshall Plan was capital-liberating rather than capital-transfusing, meaning America’s provision of funds (and goods) allowed the economies of Western Europe to generate capital more freely. Thus, while the Marshall Plan provided Western Europe with much-needed aid to rebuild its societies and economies, the real force behind Western Europe’s postwar recovery emanated from the energies and decisions of its governments, not from American-imposed democracy.

Second, Japan’s and Germany’s postwar recoveries are anomalies when it comes to America’s attempts to spread democracy. Both were decisively defeated in World War II, then forcibly occupied during the Cold War. Both Germany and Japan adopted democracy because of the severity of their defeat and because of the Soviet threat. America’s other attempts to impose democracy since 1945 at a barrel of a gun have all failed, with the exception of Panama (1989).

In addition to this dismal record, it must be asked not only how or for whom America would implement Marshall Plan 2.0 but also whether America even possesses the right to attempt such a strategy.

Ian Lewenstein, Vadnais Heights

• • •

Blodgett’s idea is a good one. In fact, U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., has introduced a resolution “[e]xpressing the sense of the House of Representatives that a Global Marshall Plan holds the potential to demonstrate the commitment of the United States to peace and prosperity through poverty reduction in the United States and abroad.”

The Global Marshall Plan (HR439) is based on the idea that we are safe and secure only to the extent that the planet and everyone on it is safe and secure. It is the basis for peace that proposes that the developed industrial nations annually commit 1 percent of their GDPs to end, once and for all, domestic and global poverty, homelessness, hunger, inadequate education and inadequate health care, and to repair the global environment.

Unfortunately, this radical idea for peace is trumped by gargantuan amounts of money committed for power, domination and war. According to GovTrack.us, it has zero percent chance of being agreed to.

Isn’t that a shame. However, Ellison should be applauded, and we should contact our representatives in Congress to see that they support HR439. Our safety and security depends on it.

Bruce Fisher, St. Louis Park

 

GOVERNOR’S RACE

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