I am no fan of President Donald Trump. Not at all. However, attempting to place the blame for the past week’s tragedies solely at his feet is an act of sophistry. His words may have inspired people to do harm, but that is all he can do: inspire. Speak words. They have power because people give it to them. The president did not mail those pipe bombs. He did not pull those triggers. The decision to cause harm and end lives belonged to the people responsible, pure and simple. Words have only as much power as we give them. Despite the hate and inflammatory rhetoric spewing from our nation’s seat of power lately, we, the people of the United States of America, have the choice to ignore that hate. We have the choice to ignore those words. We have the choice to listen to different words. Words like “A house divided cannot stand.” Words like “I have a dream.” And we have the choice to be better people in the face of such hate. To treat our neighbors and our fellow humans with kindness, with dignity and respect, no matter who they are, what party they vote for, what country their forefathers are from or what gods they worship. This is a choice that belongs to us, and the president cannot take it from us.

We are humans. We are Americans. Everything else is secondary.

Natalie Kellar, Eagan

• • •

I’m tired of hearing politician X can’t be held responsible for horrific event Y. This is a simplistic response. Tone matters. There are 300 million people in this country. Tone affects more than zero of them. One-100th of 1 percent is still 30,000 people. It’s not hard to see how tone can effect enough folks to result in unfortunate events. Tone can project optimism and seek to bring people together or tone can divide. Change will be glacial, but change will occur based on extended messaging. Right now that messaging is divisive and negative and the glacial turn is in the wrong direction. Politics trumps principle and silence reigns where moral outrage should be voiced. We should expect to be inspired. We should expect to be better than we were yesterday. We should expect our leaders, regardless of party, to expect the same.

Jeff A. Parker, Chanhassen

• • •

As a Jew, I am compelled to say that your emojis — the sad, the angry, the love — while deeply appreciated, are not enough. I implore you to speak up now to your Jewish and non-Jewish friends, neighbors and family; to show up at the rallies and vigils; and vote Nov. 6 in favor of religious liberty, against the litany of hate of all kinds, in word and deed, emanating from the Oval Office.

Leslie Martin, Mendota Heights

HENNEPIN COUNTY SHERIFF

Dave ‘Hutch’ Hutchinson: Why I’m running against Stanek

I am running to become our next Hennepin County Sheriff because everybody has a right to feel safe and treated with dignity in our community. All of us.

I’m dismayed at the current state of how the Sheriff’s Office is managed. The incumbent, Richard Stanek, has received national attention for being a sheriff who does not care about the community he serves. He sent county personnel and resources to confront Native Americans and their allies in North Dakota, and has cozied up to President Trump’s rhetoric of intolerance and hate, advocating a bounty program for detaining suspected illegal immigrants.

This isn’t a game. Law enforcement officers serve the community; we are not trophy hunters. No jail should view imprisonment as a profit center. Taxpayer resources should not be mobilized for political purposes. We are better than this.

Maybe Stanek is trying to use the office as a political steppingstone, forgetting his role as a manager. In the law enforcement community, he’s built a reputation of financial mismanagement and gross inefficiency. We can do better.

Flushing out hate, bigotry and shameless politicization of the sheriff’s office will be my first priorities, together with building community trust. If we are to serve the community, we need to engage with the community we serve. All of us.

I know the importance of public safety and community service. Moreover, I understand that these vital goals are wholly consistent with core values of transparency, responsiveness and flexibility.

I would be honored to receive your vote on Nov. 6. It’s time to bring a new sheriff to town.

Dave “Hutch” Hutchinson, Bloomington

THIRD CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT

Paulsen’s work for med-tech (jobs) should earn his re-election

Minnesota’s medical-technology industry consists of more than 700 companies and 35,000 employees striving to develop life-changing health care breakthroughs.

Re-electing U.S. Rep. Erik Paulsen will benefit all Minnesotans because he has proved to be one of the foremost advocates for an industry that is critical to the state’s economy and the well-being of its residents.

In 2013, the Affordable Care Act went into effect and included a 2.3 percent tax on medical devices. Paulsen recognized that this legislation was not only stifling innovation but also disproportionately affecting his district, which alone includes more than 200 medical technology companies.

In July, the House passed a bill authored by Paulsen that eliminated this tax. In the months since, the medical-technology industry has already seen an increase in employment and increased investments in research and development.

Paulsen also serves as co-chair on the Medical Technology Caucus, a 48-member body that promotes awareness of the medical technology industry.

Re-electing Rep. Paulsen is a win for Minnesota jobs, health care innovation and, most of all, patients who benefit from the life-changing innovations our industry produces every day.

Scott R. Ward, St. Paul

The writer is chairman, president and CEO of Cardiovascular Systems Inc.

• • •

Could we discuss briefly Paulsen’s claim in his Oct. 30 endorsement counterpoint (“Third District voters have clear choice on economy”) of an “average tax cut” of $5,000? Republicans love the average claim. When a multimillionaire gets a tax cut of $500,000, that means 99 others get zero and the average is $5,000. I truly hope voters this year have enough math sense to see what their true gain (or loss) is on the bottom line. This is especially true for middle-income Minnesotans; many of us have lost the ability to write off the full state tax.

James Heimer, St. Paul

U.S. SENATE SPECIAL ELECTION

Housley is enthusiastic, tireless, consistent — and present

I’ve never been politically active before, but I feel compelled to do whatever I can to support Karin Housley for U.S. Senate. Her common-sense approach to politics is so rare and refreshing, it’s hard to not get excited watching her so enthusiastically trying to make good things happen in Minnesota. Over the past several months, I’ve watched Housley crisscross the state, campaigning tirelessly. Not only is she energetic and passionate, she’s consistent in her unwavering support of veterans, police, the elderly, the unborn and everyone in between. Most important, she’s present — which can’t be said for her opponent, who inexplicably skipped the live debate on KSTP-TV. As the old saying goes, “Eighty percent of success is simply showing up.” Housley has been showing up … everywhere. And she’s as impressive as she is down-to-earth. After watching U.S. Sen. Tina Smith work on so many failed political campaigns, it’s hard to understand how she could justify not even making an effort to make an appearance at the KSTP debate. Does she currently pick and choose where she’ll make an effort? Perhaps she feels that since her current job was handed to her, maybe the same will hold true of the votes she seeks. I prefer to have my representatives actually show up and make an effort. My vote is for Karin Housley, and I encourage fellow Minnesotans to vote for her, too.

Barb Petersen, Roseville