Reading that the GOP leadership in the Minnesota Senate determined that only their own caucus members should receive the news that a number of their members had tested positive for COVID just before Thursday’s special session is disturbing (“DFL says Gazelka should resign,” front page, Nov. 16).
When our only defense against this virus right now is wearing a mask, keeping our distance, washing our hands and informing ourselves with relevant information in order to make good decisions and avoid risks, this stunt smacks as irresponsible at best and possibly dangerous for a number of people at worst.
When are people in leadership positions going to understand that their decisions and actions have real consequences for real people?
Judy Duffy, Birchwood
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Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka is delusional with his comments about letting the people make their own decisions regarding COVID rules, saying they will do the right thing. Obviously he has never sat at a stop light and watched all the red-light runners and speeders.
But last week, he had proof within the GOP legislative body, when he told his GOP counterparts about the virus outbreak within his ranks and did not share it across the aisle. Even he can’t do the right thing.
Lawrence Peterson, Brooklyn Center
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Nothing better illustrates our country’s polarization and lack of civility than a page-one headline on Gazelka’s COVID infection and the editorial, “How the Twitter cookie crumbles,” in the Star Tribune’s Monday edition.
In the headline, the DFL calls for Gazelka to resign after he and some fellow Republicans tested positive for COVID-19 and withheld this information from some Senate staff and the DFL caucus until the infections became public.
I consider myself a heavily left-leaning liberal, but I instinctively winced when I saw the headline about Gazelka and read the article. To me, it felt like kicking someone who’s already down, someone who’s contracted a serious, potentially life-threatening virus. As the Star Tribune Editorial Board noted in a different context, DFLers failed “to read the moment.”
Do I think Gazelka and his caucus should have been more forthcoming? Do I think that state and national Republicans have consistently misrepresented the seriousness of the virus? Yes, and yes.
Liberals like myself have — correctly, I believe — accused the Trump administration and most of the Republican Party of politicizing the virus. Yet isn’t this exactly what we’re doing here?
Today’s social media and instantaneous news coverage makes it nearly impossible for any of us to process and correctly “read the moment.”
I don’t know Gazelka personally, and our personal and political convictions couldn’t be further apart, but from mainstream news coverage, he comes across to me as a decent man.
If DFLers are to work with a divided Legislature, what is their endgame here? If Gazelka resigned, I doubt his caucus would replace him with, for lack of a better word, a more pliant majority leader. If anything, DFL actions could likely result in Senate Republicans electing a majority leader who will feel pressured by his or her caucus to be less inclined to compromise at a time when we need it most. It most certainly would further polarize political divisions across the state and widen the rural-urban divide.
Engaged people across the political spectrum keep calling for more civility in the public square. In this instance we liberals missed an opportunity to take a small step in that direction.
So, if it’s not too late to dial down the temperature, I truly wish Gazelka a safe recovery from this dangerous virus.
Marcus Kessler, St. Paul
If my mom could thank her caregivers, she would
My mom died last week at the age of 95. She wanted to make it to 97. But COVID found her and literally swept her off her feet and took her breath away. The end came quickly. She was well tended to and cared for. Now, she has become part of a state statistic, that last week set a new record (surely to be broken) for COVID deaths. Yes, I’m sick and tired of this stupid pandemic, but what about the essential workers who live and work on the front lines, take care of the real people behind all these statistics, provide for our essential needs, and get up the next day(s) and do it all again? Who tends to and cares for their needs?
My mom lived a good long life and aged with laughter and gratitude. I don’t think she was quite ready to say goodbye and maybe she wouldn’t have made it two more years. But in the end, if she could have, I know she would have thanked the heroes and angels for taking such good care of her. As all of these COVID deaths are, she was much more than just a statistic.
Sandra H. Overland, Richfield
The results are legitimate. That’s all.
I tried not to write a letter in response to the John Kass commentary (“Elites to Trump’s base: Heal, already,” Opinion Exchange, Nov. 16), but alas, my blood hit the boiling point. Elites, he claims, are telling the beleaguered Trump supporters to shut their mouths, just because, well, we’re elites and we know better. “Elite” is now code for “anyone who disagrees with Trump.” We make up more than 50% of the population — a very odd elite. And we are not telling anyone to shut their mouths. We’re simply saying that there are no facts — none — to support any further dispute about the result of this election. And, surely, it’s relevant that the man seeking his day in court is the man who announced from the get-go that any result other than victory for him would, by itself, be evidence of a rigged election — and that is still the only evidence he has. Does that repugnant notion deserve its full day in court, where somber judges weigh both sides? That is our path to healing? If so, there’s scant hope for recovery.
Stephen Bubul, Minneapolis
A reminder of who we can be
Thank you, Uwe Stuecher (“The America that liberated me has the strength to overcome,” Opinion Exchange, Nov. 13), for bringing us the poignant story you lived as a young person. I didn’t finish the story the first time I started reading it because it was filling my eyes with tears and I had to go to work. When I later finished your story, it brought tears to my eyes again. I wasn’t sad — I was overjoyed of you experiencing Americans as decent, generous and trustworthy. That is my own view of Americans but it has been difficult lately to see those qualities — at least in those Americans who make the news. I’m very anxious to see those qualities shining through once more. Thank you, Uwe Stuecher.
James Chenvert, Champlin
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I am writing to express my sincere appreciation to Stuecher for his commentary. His words were deeply moving to me as both my father and I were GIs stationed in Germany. My father was in the U.S. Army in Germany during World War II. He was part of the first American troops to liberate the Nazi concentration camp at Dachau. I was in the U.S. Air Force and was stationed in Germany 35 years later during the Cold War. I was stationed 17 miles from Czechoslovakia as part of U.S./NATO forces. My duties were to provide Air Force air support to the Army and other NATO ground forces.
And both my father and I drove big green trucks with stars on the doors. Vielen dank, Herr Professor.
Tom Richards, Lakeville
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