After a long primary season, we now have our likely Democratic nominee (“Matchup for election is set, and transformed,” April 9). Many of us have had to take a few days to mourn the candidate, whoever it was, who inspired us; the candidate who we donated to and volunteered for; the candidate who we believed had the best chance at winning the presidency; the candidate who we believed would be the best president.
But now we must stand up and wipe our tears, because it’s time to fully and fiercely get behind former Vice President Joe Biden. We owe it to our country and our democracy. We owe it to the most vulnerable among us who will be most hurt by a second Trump term. Democrats, this is the most important election of our lifetime, and it is now time to begin the hard, but critical, work of unifying.
Especially due to the current COVID-19 crisis, this campaign is going to face many obstacles, and campaigning is going to look a lot different, but the importance of uniting as Democrats is more important than ever.
Allison Agre, Minneapolis
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Sen. Bernie Sanders has now made official what has been obvious for several weeks now. Bernie was not my first choice, nor was he my second, for that matter. That said, I have tremendous respect and admiration for Bernie and his passionate commitment to social justice. Where other politicians are too often weather vanes, spinning in the wind of public opinion, Bernie was a compass. He never wavered from the issues that were the bases for his campaign — Medicare for All, free college, eliminating corporate welfare, requiring wealthy Americans to bear a greater share of the tax burden. Bernie deserves credit for making those issues part of our national political discussion and even though Bernie’s candidacy is now over, that discussion is not.
Social progress in America has always been incremental, a matter of baby steps. I hope that those who so ardently embraced Bernie’s vision of a different America will continue to work to make that vision a reality. I hope that they will not choose to sit out the next election because their favorite candidate is not on the ballot. Look around. Your country needs you. Now is not the time to give up.
Gregory Merz, Brooklyn Park
Expanded mail-in voting is crucial
Kudos to Secretary of State Steve Simon for his proposal to expand mail-in voting and limit in-person polling places in Minnesota during the coronavirus pandemic (“Plan would send mail-in ballots to all Minn. voters,” April 9). Limiting in-person voting should be an extraordinary remedy, in place for only as long as necessary. But we live in extraordinary times, and the coronavirus does not care if you become infected by going to a crowded restaurant or going to a crowded polling place. Limiting large gatherings for any reason just makes sense for now.
The Republicans who oppose such measures say mail-in voting and absentee ballots will lead to voter fraud. One need look no further than Wisconsin to see the real reason Republicans oppose such common sense measures. The city of Milwaukee has around 300,000 registered voters and usually has 180 polling locations. For Tuesday’s voting, there were just five polling locations open in Milwaukee because many sites were consolidated due to a shortage of poll workers. Elderly people had to wait in line for hours to vote.
Who is going to be most affected by closing polling places in the state’s largest city? Republican opposition to mail-in voting in Wisconsin and Minnesota has nothing to do with preventing voter fraud and everything to do with voter suppression in urban and minority districts.
Terrance C. Newby, Roseville
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Over the last several years there have been concerted efforts to limit, confuse or even refuse the right to vote to certain individuals and groups. Many politicians have openly admitted these efforts were calculated to keep the other side’s likely voters away from the polls.
If we agree that the foundation of our nation is its democracy and that the right to vote is the most important part, the sacrament, of any democracy, then shouldn’t any willful effort to keep even one registered voter from voting be a crime against our very reason for being, a crime tantamount to treason? Is anything less patriotic?
We should no longer shrug off these efforts as just political gamesmanship.
Richard Sem, Burlington, Wis.
FOLLOWING THE science
Let’s not repeat old mistakes
As a retired family practice physician, I have been horrified to watch the unfolding coronavirus health crisis in our country. It is heartbreaking and infuriating. It is also teaching us many lessons. One of the most important coronavirus lessons is to listen to science. I have heard politicians state that “no one could have predicted this.” That is absolutely not true. Scientists have been talking about this for years. They have written books, published papers, given conferences and designed gaming exercises on how to prepare for this. Yet despite that we have been unprepared.
This is a cautionary tale for all scientists. It is not good enough to just do the science. It is not good enough to stay in your cubicle (or lab) and let politicians and corporations drive the agenda. Scientists need to be proactive and take value-based action. This is true for coronavirus, it is true for climate change, and it is true for water quality.
The Enbridge Line 3 pipeline is one of the areas that calls for value-based action. We know that the Line 3 pipeline is going to drive climate change. We know that there will be risk to the more than 200 water bodies this pipeline is going to cross. We know that toxic chemicals are used to dilute thick tar sands oil and then piped through our water. We know building the pipeline violates the treaty rights of native peoples. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency knows all this. I call on the MPCA to remember its own mission statement, which is to “protect and improve the environment and human health.” I call on the MPCA to be the agency of proactive, value-based scientists we need in these perilous times. Please, MPCA, follow the science and deny the permits.
Karen Hulstrand, Stillwater
Don’t talk density without transit
Once again, the Star Tribune ran an opinion piece on the Twin Cities Army Ammunitions Plant (“Arden Hills must embrace affordable housing,” counterpoint, April 6) that mistakes some issues, glosses over others and leaves out one of the most important. The city of Arden Hills has been working since 1994 to ensure that when the TCAAP property is developed, it is done in a manner consistent with a city plan that is affordable. The city has been listening to its citizens and looking out for their interests, which is what a city is supposed to do. The county, which spent tens of millions needlessly to first buy the property and then clean it, does not understand what an agreement is. But the most important issue missed in the piece is the lack of transportation planning in this area.
Transportation options in the northern suburbs are severely limited now. There is no current plan to support the growth that will result from the development of the TCAAP property. Putting low-income housing in an area without adequate services or transportation would be cruel. So, let’s broaden the discussion to include all of the issues necessary to properly develop this property.
Craig Wilson, Arden Hills
Kudos to retirees who want back in
I read the coronavirus-related article “Medical retirees ready to face risks to help” (front page, April 9) with great interest.
“OK boomer” should now be an accolade.
Lynn Eggers, Minneapolis
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