In a Jan. 3 article, Gov. Mark Dayton states that he is not optimistic about working with a Republican-controlled Legislature (“Dayton sees a polarizing session”). What the governor seems to fail to understand is that Republican legislators were voted into office by a majority of Minnesota’s voters. When he expresses pessimism about working with Republican legislators, he’s actually saying that he can’t work with the majority of Minnesota’s voters. Minnesota deserves better. We need a governor who would be willing to work with the people he is supposed to represent.
Richard Roberts, Staples, Minn.
• • •
A person can agree with Dayton’s initiatives, as I do, or disagree with them. But one cannot dispute the fact that the governor is doing what he strongly believes is best for Minnesota and all Minnesotans. He is not positioning or posturing for a higher office; he is not introducing legislation written by a national partisan organization like the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), which has no investment in Minnesota’s success; he is not bound by a “no new taxes” pledge to nonelected, non-Minnesotan Grover Norquist; he is not bowed by the pressure of right-wing organizations like the Center of the American Experiment. However, the same cannot be said about House Speaker Kurt Daudt and many other Republican legislators. How many? I think it would be an important service to this state if this paper (and other media outlets) would do some investigating into how many legislators have made pledges to non-Minnesota individuals, groups or organizations; how many legislative bills are boilerplate ALEC initiatives, or other out-of-state organizations, and which legislators are submitting initiatives produced or promoted by out-of-state lobbyists or wealthy individuals or groups promoting their version of what’s good for Minnesota.
All Minnesotans should be concerned about the growing phenomenon of our elected legislators committing to these national partisan individuals or organizations rather than to their Minnesota constituents. Voters, please pay attention! Ensure that your representatives are passing legislation that reflects what Minnesotans believe is best for Minnesota and its citizens.
Edward Donahue, Burnsville
PRESIDENT-ELECT DONALD TRUMP
What does he know, and when will he know it?
First, he tells us he knows more than the generals. Then, he tells us he knows more than senior intelligence officials (“Trump still doubts Russian hack,” Jan. 5). I am certain it’s only a matter of time before Donald Trump tells us he knows more than the nation’s founders.
Bill Bickner, Minneapolis
Also know the circumstances, and be aware of shifting ground
Knowing the facts is a tricky business. Frequently, the search for the truth stops at the door of our beliefs. So it is with the Dec. 4 commentary by Clive Crook of Bloomberg View (“The problem with checking facts: Mission creep”).
How could PolitiFact have rated President Obama’s claim about the Affordable Care Act that “if you like your health care plan, you can keep it” as “True” in 2008, “ Half True” in 2009 and 2012, and “Lie of the Year” in 2013? Crook accuses the fact-checker run by the Pulitzer Prize-winning Tampa Bay Times of practicing “sanctimonious intellectual malpractice.”
Or not. The ACA was designed to allow folks to keep their insurance plan. So in ’08 this statement was true. But the insurance companies subsequently began to change plans in response to the economics of this new experiment. By 2013, it no longer was likely that one’s plan was still available. The claim, which the president still made, was no longer true.
Fact-checkers with good reputations, like PolitiFact, give us hope that truth matters, that lies and half-truths can be revealed if only folks care enough to open the next door.
Recent moves by Facebook and Google toward removing the economic incentive from fake-news sites is also encouraging. The chasm between what people believe and what is true involves one of the most important issues of our democracy — an informed electorate.
Jim Stattmiller, Bloomington
When you start down the slope, don’t be surprised where it leads
With regard to Lynda McDonnell’s Dec. 29 commentary, “How has sexual intercourse become so degraded?”: I think that she has the answer to that question in the response she gave to her mother so many years ago: “It depends on how you define immorality.” Although I doubt that she was thinking about the proverbial “slippery slope” when she gave this reply to her mother’s question about morality, it seems that our current society is careening down it.
Jane Savage, Falcon Heights
• • •
It was my generation that gave us the 1960s (although I was a bystander). The question was asked: “Why do we have all these rules?” And the conclusion? “No good reason.”
I lived in the Orient for eight years in the 1970s and noted that those cultures did not toss out the traditions just because they were old but rather considered them to be the distilled wisdom of the ages.
Cultures down through history have put boundaries on male sexuality, and consent used to mean consent to enter into a lifetime commitment — marriage. Social acceptability required a man to value a woman as “worth waiting for.”
When sex was separated from the potential for producing a child and then from marriage, consent became a muddy concept. Sexuality is the most elaborately rationalized behavior in which humans participate. Reason is not used to evaluate the advisability of a particular act but to justify it.
Ross S. Olson, Richfield
DIVERSITY IN GOVERNMENT
Great, but remember the overriding duties on your office
The incoming Congress may be more religiously diverse (“Other Views,” Jan. 2), but we should remember that government officials are not elected to represent their particular faiths. All elected officials should take the oath of office with a hand on the governing document of their office — the U.S. Constitution, the state Constitution, or the city charter. Add a religious book if you wish, but remember that your first obligation is to the secular office and the people who elected you.
Stephanie Wolkin, White Bear Lake
Support only those in your favor? That is not how it works.
I agree with Steve Williams that the financial-services industry uses predatory practices against merchants and customers (“We’re in danger of backsliding on swipe fees,” Jan. 4). But there’s a big contradiction in his argument.
He begins by criticizing government regulation and saying markets should be free. But he concludes by asking government to protect consumers and the economy against those predatory practices. That’s exactly what regulation is — protection against powerful corporate interests and their potentially dangerous practices.
I’d bet that Mr. Williams, who owns convenience stories, doesn’t want government telling him how much to pay his employees. Yet he wants government to tell debit- and credit-card companies how much they can charge him. That’s a classic example of business wanting it both ways.
Steve Schild, Winona, Minn.