The battle line of the election is drawn
I agree that the two different visions for America are the essence of the 2012 election ("Romney shifts to 'redistribution,' " Sept 20). I also believe that redistribution is anti-American and is leading to an America that would not be recognized by our founding fathers.
The philosophic root behind redistribution is egalitarianism -- that equality is the standard of good and evil. It is a belief that our intelligence and results are based on luck and that to be fair we need to redistribute wealth. It means not better health care, but equal health care. It means equal rights to housing whether one can afford it or not. It means that all countries and their values are equal and that America is not exceptional. The tactic of egalitarianism is to pit one group against another in class warfare. The goal is not individual success and happiness, but fairness -- even if we all have a much lower standard of living.
The alternative view of equality I think was best expressed by Republican congressional candidate Mia Love during the party's national convention. She said: "We have an equal opportunity to be as unequal as you choose" -- meaning that in America you can be as rich or as poor as you choose and as happy or helpless as you choose; all it takes is determination, hard work and moving forward one step at a time.
These two views frame the 2012 election, and the winner will define the country's direction for a long time, maybe forever. I vote for the original American version of America.
CRAIG SCHWARTZ, WOODBURY
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Speaking of "redistribution," Mitt Romney's current buzzword: Wealth gets redistributed upward every time wages are cut, a union is ousted, a plant is relocated to a cheaper labor market, and an executive draws a bonus for accomplishing such changes. Let's look at the whole picture and we'll see who is "dependent" on whom.
CHERI REGISTER, MINNEAPOLIS
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Americans bear weight of violence by proxy
Ahmed Tharwat's nuanced analysis of the recent Muslim rage ("Shouting fire in the global theater," Sept. 20) should be soberly considered. It's incredible hypocrisy to condemn Arab countries for lack of free speech when it comes to denigrating religion, when mosques are being burned down in the United States. After more than two decades of U.S. wars in Muslim countries, to reduce the rage of that region to a 14-minute video is to be willfully ignorant of the human results of our own policies.
The United States supported Egypt's dictator for 30 years with $1 billion in weapons annually. Wars against Iraq and Afghanistan -- spilling over into drone attacks in Pakistan and Yemen -- have huge casualties that Americans are oblivious to. The rage we see now are the scarred results of U.S. policy. When will we ever learn? Tharwat provides an elementary lesson, if Americans are willing to practice some basic empathy.
LYDIA HOWELL, MINNEAPOLIS
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If 'Daytoncare' looms, please share details
Gov. Mark Dayton already has spent $28.5 million planning his own health insurance exchange. Now he wants another $42.5 million ("Moving ahead on insurance," Sept. 19.
In an Aug. 23 letter to legislative leaders, he said he will share his plan with them -- but not until after the election. That's right: He and the DFL want to keep this plan hidden behind closed doors until after you have voted.
This sounds very much like Obamacare is morphing into Daytoncare. Voters deserve to know before the 2012 election to what extent Dayton intends to hand off government control to bureaucrats in his exchange. Then we can make an informed choice in the voting booth.
KEN LONGTIN, CROOKSTON, MINN.
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Genetic modification is not the real danger
The Sept. 18 editorial ("Clarity in food labeling warranted") missed the mark. Crops grown using modern biotechnology are far more resistant to drought, harmful insects and disease than are traditional crops. Restraining these detrimental elements is critically important to facilitating higher crop yields, which in turn helps us ensure food security for our 7 billion-plus global population.
Yes, yields are important, but so is safety. That is why America's food and beverage companies agree with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the American Medical Association and numerous scientific and regulatory agencies around the world that genetically engineered food ingredients are safe and are materially no different than products that do not contain genetically modified ingredients.
As for California's "right to know" ballot proposal, it is a poorly written and deeply flawed measure that will mislead consumers, increase food costs and spawn a flood of frivolous trial lawyer-driven lawsuits without providing any health or safety benefits to consumers. It is also important to note that products produced without the benefits of agricultural biotechnology can be -- and typically are -- clearly marked as GMO-free for consumers that want that choice.
The best way to serve consumers is to reserve space on food labels for the critically important food safety and nutritional information.
PAMELA G. BAILEY, WASHINGTON, D.C.
The writer is president and CEO of the Grocery Manufacturers Association.