The position of congressional Republicans, especially our own Minnesota delegation, opposing impeachment in the name of "unity" and healing represents the utmost in hypocrisy ("State's GOP delegation opposes impeachment," front page, Jan. 13). Where was the call for unity and healing after the states' legal certification of Electoral College votes? No, instead they enabled and encouraged our president to sow mistrust and attack the peaceful democratic transfer of power, resulting in the violence at our nation's Capitol. Even after the riot, Reps. Jim Hagedorn and Michelle Fischbach continued to challenge the legal election results when they had a chance instead to call for unity. Not until Congress finally confirmed the election of Joe Biden, and President Donald Trump was threatened by a second impeachment, did they pay lip service to the need for conciliation. It is too little, too late, to believe there is an ounce of sincerity in their arguments now.
Jean Lewis, Rochester
THE FUTURE OF THE GOP
It's not so simple, Pawlenty
Former Gov. Tim Pawlenty's opinion piece must be challenged ("Where does the GOP go from here?" Jan. 11). Although I have the utmost respect for Gov. Pawlenty, having supported and respected his governance over the years, the premise of his opinion piece is flawed. Pawlenty states, "Democrats use government to advance equal outcomes for all — while Republicans try to stop government overreach from trampling our liberties." It's not a simple dichotomy of suppression vs. freedom. Rather, it's an ever-evolving issue of the just distribution of society's benefits and burdens. This is the heavy lifting of real democracies, adjudicating among interests of individuals vs. the collective good. We must move beyond the us-vs.-them mind-set of the past four years. Good governance is not binary but complex. Witness Western European democracies. Taxes are higher, but social benefits are mostly "cradle to grave." Happiness indexes in these countries are much higher than in the U.S. They must be doing something right.
Let's get away from divisive rhetoric and keep an open mind on the common good.
Charles Corcoran, Stillwater
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Gov. Pawlenty's commentary had a glaring omission. It may be that "the main fault line between America's political left and right is the way in which government resolves the inherent tension between equality and liberty." But for Pawlenty to not even acknowledge the fault line between the left and right on racial issues — in the state where George Floyd's killing spawned global outrage — is inexcusable. Broadly speaking, the left believes that Black people are unfairly treated by the police and justice system while the right claims Black Lives Matter refers to a terrorist organization — to give just one example of racial "fault lines." Under Trump, the Republican Party has increasingly become the party of white grievance — just look at the race of almost every rioter at the Capitol last week. I applaud Pawlenty's desire to embrace change, but if Republicans can't even acknowledge the importance of addressing racial issues in America, it won't be enough.
Paul D. Daggett, Minneapolis
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Although Pawlenty says that change is essential, he softens his conviction to it by listing long-held conservative principles (although many would disagree that conservatives still adhere to them) and introduces us to the term "modernism." To me, his explanation of the term is really an admission that the Republican Party needs to join the 21st century.
It's not that liberals are blameless for our society's problems, but how about starting with a good old-fashioned acknowledgment that conservatives all across this country allowed the last four years of division and deceit to happen and advancement in so many important areas to stagnate?
Pawlenty didn't condemn the violence that occurred last week in Washington, D.C. Instead, he said that "violently storming the Capitol is not free speech." He totally ignored the efforts of many Republicans to organize, incite, invite and welcome that violence.
Pawlenty does end his piece with several encouraging paragraphs. With careful phrasing so as not to portray his party as an obstruction to solutions to our country's critical problems, he lays out as necessary the very same positions that liberals have taken for years, namely energy conservation, environmental protection, climate change management, educational investment and immigration reform.
Finally, his last paragraph contains this: "A smart person once observed we need to embrace change if the alternative is disaster." If the alternative is disaster? How about if change will just bring about good?
It's time for all of us, especially our elected political leaders, to agree that certain issues need attention, that there are solutions to our problems, and that re-election is not only possible, but likely, if each one would honestly strive to unite instead of cast blame and find fault. That's the true challenge that all of us face.
Loren W. Brabec, Braham, Minn.
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I left the Republican Party several years ago. If it can accomplish what Gov. Pawlenty recommends, I'll be back.
Karen Huffman, Edina
New rule will give us more access
In summarizing opposition to Gov. Tim Walz's proposed clean car rule ("Dealers sue over electric car push" Jan. 12), Sen. Bill Ingebrigtsen, R-Alexandria, said he doesn't think Minnesota should be adopting standards of a state that is 1,700 miles away. My last car-buying experience suggests that adopting standards is the only way that citizens of Minnesota will be able to have access to these vehicles.
Early in 2020, I wanted to purchase a new plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV). I was told, repeatedly, that these are not available in Minnesota. I couldn't even order one. The initial reason I was given was that Minnesota doesn't have the infrastructure for them. The many Tesla vehicles I see would indicate otherwise. In my case, with a PHEV, that reasoning is false. The required PHEV infrastructure is household electric service and gas stations. When I pressed, the salesperson conceded that the manufacturers send those vehicles to locations with state-level requirements for electric and PHEV vehicles. It's not that people here don't want these vehicles; it's that we can't have them. Without clean car regulations, Minnesotans will continue to not have access to these quiet, clean and efficient vehicles.
Sen. Ingebrigsten and opponents of these new rules, change your perspective. Support these rules so that Minnesotans can have access to products that are currently 1,700 miles away.
Kyle Nelson, Minneapolis
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Surprise! Contrary to the argument in "Dealers sue over electric car push," Yahoo News reports "Chevy Bolt EV joins trucks, SUVs, and the new Corvette as General Motors big winners for 2020 sales." There are only around 20 moving parts in an electric car engine, compared with nearly 2,000 in a gasoline-fueled car. I love driving my Chevy Bolt and encourage others to check it out. You won't miss the lack of a gas smell on your hands and time and money spent on buying gas. And the best part is the routine maintenance basically is only windshield-washer fluid and tire pressure.
There was a movie called "Who Killed the Electric Car?" documenting how the automobile industry crushed a very successful electric car. Tom Hanks even drove one. Are car dealerships trying to take a wonderful option for consumers off the sales floor this time around?
Kathy Hollander, Minneapolis
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