“Developed solutions” and “real ideas” vs. “postcard rhetoric” and “Post-it-note ideas.” This is how the Star Tribune Editorial Board has characterized what we are getting from candidates and what we should be getting from them (“Unhappy voters want solutions, not rhetoric,” May 3).
Hillary Clinton is a policy wonk. She has more white papers than the others, and that is a good thing. The Editorial Board is, no doubt, leaning in her direction.
However, there is another way of looking at this. Underlying the issue that contrasts “real ideas” vs. “Post-it-note ideas” is the contrast of “vision vs. can-they-get-it-done.” Our country, historically, has been pragmatic. The founders had the vision, and now we just need to get things done so everyone can get on with being prosperous and happy. But after time, the vision needs to change and new goals need to be set. The new goals are expressed in the new vision and are based on the evolving needs. The first tax-supported public school was opened in Massachusetts, in 1644. People only needed to be able to read and write in order to prosper. Nowadays, we need much more. Everyone who is capable should have the opportunity to achieve a higher education. The crucial factor here, and the fundamental value that needs to be accepted, is that everyone should have this opportunity whether or not they or their families can afford it. For this opportunity to be available, public institutions of higher education would be fully funded by taxes. Ditto for health care.
This is the vision. Can anyone get this done? Not with the Congress we have, of course. Neither Clinton, Bernie Sanders nor Donald Trump will be able to get much done, regardless of their visions. So the question is pretty much a moot point.
People need to accept the new vision, the new paradigm, then vote in legislators who will enact the steps necessary, like major tax reform, to achieve the new goals. But first someone has to shout out the new vision from the mountaintop to awaken the people. That someone has been Sanders. That is how things get done and get changed.
Burke Hilden, Maplewood
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The editorial noted that most voters see the political system as broken with little hope for a better future. Voters are discouraged because they see our political system as rigged in favor of the wealthy and corporations buying influence with hefty political contributions. Recent research has shown that the goals of ordinary citizens stand much less chance of being enacted than do those of the wealthy elite. We need to reverse the Citizens United decision that sanctioned enormous political contributions. But more immediately in Minnesota, we need to fund the political contribution refund program that gives a voice to those of ordinary means; we need to require disclosure of all contributions, as is required in other states, and we need to define what constitutes cooperation between candidates and independent expenditure committees so that contribution limits cannot be circumvented.
George Beck, St. Louis Park
TODDLERS AND GUNS
Will this real danger motivate as much as perceived ones?
I hope that the reaction to the May 2 article “23 shootings by toddlers this year” elicits a response commensurate to the reaction to the transgender restroom policy by Target. Most of the comments and letters I read in response to the Target decision blamed their objections on fear for women and children. I have not heard of anyone who was attacked by a transgender person in a restroom; however, the article about shootings details incident after incident of children either shooting themselves or another with a gun found in mom’s purse, on the floor of the car or under a bed.
One of supporters of the fight against tightening background checks said that “we need to enforce the laws on the books, and punish those who do not obey those laws.” Whom do you punish when a child shoots and kills his mom from his car seat?
The article said that there have been at least 77 instances of a child younger than 18 accidentally shooting someone this year. A Google search finds that there are no reported instances of a transgender person attacking someone in a restroom. I hope that those who are in a panic about the transgender bathroom issue will be even more so regarding the danger of guns to children. But, we know that’s not going to happen.
Kathleen M. Breen, Prescott, Wis.
MINNEAPOLIS’ NORTH SIDE
Public safety and livability should not be political volleyball
It was nice to see that officers from other precincts were sent in to augment patrols on the North Side of Minneapolis after the much-reported surge in crime in recent months. The problem is that this isn’t a permanent strategy to deal with North Side livability issues, and such a strategy has yet to be presented. North Siders often feel as if their level of policing is constantly fluctuating in a game of political volleyball. Police response and enforcement is perceptively lowered after something makes headlines with a tone of “bias” or “overpolicing.” It is raised after a headline with a tone of increasing crime or concerns and criticism of police inaction.
North Minneapolis residents deserve consistent policing at a level that keeps crime levels low and on par with the rest of the city and surrounding areas year-round. The residents do not deserve to have their personal safety, property values and livability subjected to the whims of convoluted political back-and-forth. I hope that the city takes this opportunity to set target goals for police response times, crime rates, case resolution and investigation and that it adjusts staff levels and police response based on those rather than as a reaction to the headline du jour.
Daniel Field, Minneapolis
Regarding biomass, we can’t miss the forest for the trees
I read with interest the Washington Post editorial regarding “burning biomass” (Short Takes, May 2), which castigated the U.S. Senate for passing an energy bill that allows this pursuit. Here’s the rub: We must support and encourage all approaches to reducing the production of carbon dioxide, and making use of biomass is but one. Every renewable-energy “solution” has problems and limitations, including solar cells and wind energy. We can’t afford to rule out biomass. But the true tragedy of the May 2 issue of the Star Tribune is found in the Minnesota Poll, which asked “Which ONE of the following issues will be MOST important to you when deciding how to vote for president?” Climate change was not even among the choices. The data are in, the results are clear: Climate change dwarfs every other issue on the list. Our elected officials — and our presidential candidates — have to start talking about it and get busy doing something about it.
Nancy Carpenter, Morris, Minn.
SHAKESPEARE AND TODAY’S POLITICS
Another apt quote
Here’s another Shakespeare quote for the presidential campaign, from “King John.” It applies to Donald Trump: “So foul a sky clears not without a storm.”
Dan Cohen, Minneapolis