TWO-PARTY POLITICS

A third party may or may not be an answer

 

Merely resorting to a third party in the presidential process isn't a solution in and of itself. Such a proposal ignores that the party is merely a vehicle -- the means by which one pursues a cause or agenda. Just as you have antiwar Democrats (Kucinich), so, too, you have antiwar Republicans (Ron Paul). Let us not be so concerned with the color of one's skin nor with one's party affiliation but rather with the content of one's character.

CHRIS HIATT, MINNEAPOLIS

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I strongly suggest reading Theresa Amato's "Grand Illusion: The Myth Of Voter Choice in a Two-Party Tyranny." She was Ralph Nader's campaign manager, and her story is about how third parties are blocked, not only the states, but in counties within the states.

Rules for one county differ from rules in the next. It is a nightmare. Neither of the parties want more parties, and both do whatever they can to halt them. Corporations fund both parties and don't want to fund more. The parties also do whatever they can to prevent anyone from entering a debate.

Anyone wanting to get a third party going must start in the counties and work up -- if that's possible. Best would be if no one ever listened to the media, but instead went to "listening events" where the people tell the candidates what they want and listen to what the candidates have to say.

WANDA S. BALLENTINE, EAGAN

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Right now the two parties are fairly evenly matched in total numbers. If your party is in power, you have the other half complaining and trying to stop the things you are trying to do. However, you usually have the bulk of your own party on your side.

If we had a third-party president, we could have a political makeup where two-thirds of the people belong to other parties. It would take only one vote more than one-third of the total in each state to win all the electoral votes for that state.

Technically, you could win one vote more than one-third in 15 or 30 states and zero in the rest to win the presidency.

STEVE IVERSEN, PLYMOUTH

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While the call for a third-party president is a strong temptation in our situation, it buys into one of the key underlying messages of Tea Party Republicans -- that the president is the main person responsible for current (and past) laws and policies.

This has never been true, since it is and always has been the two houses of Congress that draft bills and set policy to create the day-to-day changes in the lives of Americans. This deception has craftily been used to make the president the fall guy for failed policy (or in this case, complete failure to act) in Congress.

Like much deceptive political propaganda, it also appeals to people's desire to point the finger at one person and find a simple solution.

Like it or not, Albert Hunt's point ("Throw the bums out. And then what?" Aug. 3) is that we need active involvement by the citizenry in our democracy to forge the kind of change needed to support and foster courageous, intelligent people with integrity as political candidates.

And yes, it will be hard work. However, in the 21st century, it is time to consider a new paradigm of the way we operate as a democracy -- this summer has illustrated a clear portrait of the consequences of some of our systemic problems electing representatives and citizens who wish they could sit back and simply watch our government "work."

The catch we keep trying to avoid is that a strong democracy requires an informed, active citizenry -- like those who founded our country.

Obviously, those setting policy now are the least motivated to develop what is truly needed to reform our government for the good of the people, since it would likely boot them out of office. It is time for we the people to find a way to put forth candidates who will take back our government. It won't be quick or easy.

COLLEEN DHENNIN, COON RAPIDS

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Regarding a third-party president: Why not draft Obama? He would then be free of the Democratic and Republican ideologues and obstructionists. This country is desperate for a representative of the middle majority. Let's go for it and send the extremists a message.

LOUIS LAVOIE, PLYMOUTH

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IDEOLOGICAL LABELS

I am the Tea Party -- and, no, I am not crazy

 

I consider myself a Tea Party person when it comes to my fiscal views. I have been labeled by the media as a racist, radical, crazy and right-wing, and now I am a person committing jihad against the country.

Let me tell you who I am actually. I am a veteran, business owner, husband and father. I commit my time to my community through coaching. I am not against government; I am not against helping the helpless, but I am simply tired of helping the clueless.

CHRIS JESTER, MOUNDS VIEW

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Memorial vandalism

What we need is some corporal punishment

 

Only when the law begins to hand out harsh penalties for such petty crimes as public drunkenness and vandalism will the public see offenses like those at the new Interstate 35W bridge memorial disappear ("Defaced in a disgrace," Aug. 4). We should look to Singapore for our solution. Let's try some real multiculturalism.

RICHARD NEUWIRTH, MINNEAPOLIS

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AARP

If you want junk mail, this is where to sign up

 

Thank you, Susan Hogan, for your comment about AARP (Short Takes, Aug. 4). I have not been a member of AARP for two years, yet I continue to receive unwanted solicitations from life insurance companies and other entities I have no interest in.

Try finding a contact on their website to either write or e-mail a request to desist. It will take you hours, if you find it at all. Then submit a letter (twice) and receive no response while the solicitations continue to come in.

President Obama, don't take an AARP membership, even if it's free. You'll never get out from under it.

EVELYN COTTLE RAEDLER, BLOOMINGTON

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MOTORCYCLISTS

Some apparently like to ride shotgun with death

 

An Aug. 3 letter writer points out that helmets for motorcyclists are optional, and urges their use. Whenever I see someone on a bike or a motorcycle without a helmet, I imagine their decisionmaking process as: "If I get into even a minor accident, I think I'd rather just die."

ROBERT ALBERTI, MINNEAPOLIS