A far-fetched analysis of Obama's 'real' agenda

Katherine Kersten's Oct. 24 column "Obama has been hiding his real agenda" proves to me how two Minnesotans of likely similar age can witness the same historical events and arrive at two vastly different narratives about a person.

When I look at President Obama, I see a politician who is concerned about social justice.

He advocates for extending unemployment benefits to the unemployed. He fought for health care legislation that will cover tens of millions of uninsured Americans as well as those who have pre-existing conditions who otherwise wouldn't be covered.

He pushed for a major stimulus to kick-start the economy, and continued the bank bailouts initiated by President George W. Bush in the fall of 2008 in order to save our capitalist system and instill confidence in the financial system (remember when the Dow was at 6,500 in March 2009?) This prevented unemployment rates that some economists predicted would have otherwise reached as high as 20 percent, and prevented the Great Recession from becoming the second Great Depression.

Social justice is not socialism. I don't see a socialist. Like Kersten describes, "It sounds far-fetched..." She's right -- it is.


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Katherine Kersten quotes Michelle Obama's statement that her husband is "a community activist exploring the viability of politics to make change" as confirmation of her accusation that the president has been "intentionally deceiving us" as he moves us insidiously toward socialism.

Many of us in the field of social work are proud to be part of a tradition of "community organizing" that seeks to empower people to make personal change as well as to peacefully change systems that are unjust, within the structure that our democracy offers us. I believe "community" is the key concept here, and in a democracy each voice within the community should count. Empowering the members of a "community" to use this voice to make change has a long tradition in America which is what I believe this country was founded on.

Isn't that what politics should be about?


income inequality

Contrasting columns explain governor's race

I often find myself wondering how people arrive at the viewpoints offered in the Opinion Exchange section of the paper. On Oct. 24, I didn't have to wonder too long or search too far.

Right next to David Frauenshuh's column, "Why I'm voting for Tom Emmer," was Lori Sturdevant's column, "The penny-pinched are drawn to Dayton," which cited research showing that from 2002 to 2007, two-thirds of the total income gains in America went to the top 1 percent of households.

I commend Frauenshuh for his personal success and understand how he would want more of the same.

The other 99 percent of us, however, need something different. That's why I'm voting for Mark Dayton.


ranked-choice voting

Another vote for reform in the election system

While I disagree with George Pillsbury, Nate Garvis and Tim Penny on their gubernatorial choice (I believe Mark Dayton is best-suited to lead Minnesota forward), I agree with them on ranked choice voting ("As easy as 1 2 3," Oct. 24).

They are correct that the current "plurality-take-all" system is aggravating the rancor in politics and perpetuating minority rule in Minnesota. In fact, Carlson was the last Minnesota governor elected by a majority of the electorate, and that was 16 years ago. I also agree that ranked-choice voting is a solution to these problems.

When ranked-choice-voting was introduced in Minneapolis a few years ago (it was called instant-runoff voting then), many wondered whether and how it could work. Minneapolis' successful debut last year proved that it does, and St. Paul's introduction of ranked-choice next year should be just as popularly embraced.

We should bring this long-overdue reform to the state level. Our statewide elections would be fairer and more representative. Candidates with different perspectives and ideas would be encouraged to run on their merits -- and let citizens vote their hopes and not their fears.

This year the DFL Party affirmed its endorsement of ranked-choice voting. I look forward to the day when we will use this method of voting in our statewide elections.


stadium financing

How about just polling Hennepin County?

In the new poll about a proposed Vikings stadium, you report that Minnesotans now show 48 percent approval of the Twins stadium ("Most oppose new stadium," Oct. 25).

How about a poll of Hennepin County on this issue, since we are the ones being taxed for it? Do you remember when the Hennepin County commissioners ran roughshod over our right to vote on it?

I am sure other Minnesotans think it is fine for them, since they aren't paying for it every day like we are.

No matter how they try to package it now, it still is what it is: another inappropriate gift to a business that should sink or swim by its own merits.