Here we go again.
The Star Tribune Editorial Board implored Gov. Tim Walz to step up investments in early education to reach every Minnesota child who needs help in order to close the achievement gap (“Fulfilling the promise of pre-K education,” Dec. 2).
The benefits of early education are clear. But when will our state leaders understand and advocate for the complete picture of what we know about early development? When will our state make the investments required to prevent all the interrelated gaps and to achieve equitable education, health and income benefits for all children, families and communities?
More important than early exposure to reading and math, young children must develop early social and emotional skills. These make up the foundation upon which children develop cognitive skills. With this foundation set, kids are better prepared to have productive and positive lives as adults. Young children develop these skills by having safe, stable and nurturing relationships with extended families and communities. Moreover, contrary to the dominant perspective that focuses on deficits and problems to fix, families and communities of all types may lack access to sufficient opportunities and resources but possess the wisdom, knowledge, strengths and determination to take charge of their children’s development.
Yes, the governor should heed the call, and so should the bipartisan group of 150 leaders the editorial mentions. But not just for more early education, which is necessary but not sufficient.
How many of those 150 leaders advocate for adequate public and private insurance reimbursements for doulas, whose culturally responsive care is associated with cost-saving healthy pregnancies and healthy babies? How many champion paid family leave to promote secure attachment and family bonding, and how many support grandparents and other relatives, friends and neighbors who provide affordable and nurturing care for many infants and toddlers? How many invest in human capital to achieve a racially diverse and just workplace? How many support and encourage community-defined and -led solutions to achieve racial equity?
The time to comprehensively and equitably invest in and treat all children, families and communities with dignity is now. This will not just close the gaps but, with time, will stop them from happening in the first place.
Richard Chase, Minnetonka
Thoughts on the Democratic field
The impeachment inquiry continues. We do know, however, that the Senate with its Republican majority would not convict the president even if he confessed to pushing for a quid pro quo in Ukraine, colluding with Russia in influencing our election in 2016, saying what he said in the Access Hollywood tape, making huge mistakes in pulling out of the Iran nuclear deal and other agreements, decimating the Kurds in Syria, paying off Stormy Daniels through his former lawyer Michael Cohen, and making many mistakes in policy with North Korea, Saudi Arabia, etc. With its Republican majority, the Senate can stop or start policy for the president just as its members refused to even chat about, much less confirm, Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court.
The House should wrap up the inquiry as soon as practical, admit the Senate owns the outcome, and get on to the campaign for the 2020 elections. Knowing what we know about President Donald Trump, the only candidate who can really worry him is Michael Bloomberg. He is superior to the president in his business acumen and success, has paid his taxes and would prove it, and had one of the most difficult political jobs in the world as mayor of New York City. He knows the knockabout, raucous infighting of politics. He can pull other billionaires, perhaps Jeff Bezos, to contribute to his campaign, and they could vastly outspend the Trump gang. And in a debate, Michael would make Donald look like the foolish and childish buffoon that he is.
Democrats, finish the impeachment inquiry, let the Senate finesse their total corruption and get on with replacing the president. You might even elect some Democratic senators by dragging them in on Bloomberg’s coattails.
Jim Waldo, Pengilly, Minn.
• • •
In the last month, we have seen differing reactions to criticism from the current commander in chief and one of his rivals.
In one corner, the current president insists that his conduct regarding Ukraine was “perfect” while the U.S. House conducts a constitutionally sanctioned impeachment inquiry.
In the other corner, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, of South Bend, Ind., was called a “lying MF” by a prominent black journalist because of comments made during a 2011 interview about educational outcomes in the black community.
Their respective reactions to these political attacks are telling. The president attacked the process and claimed that he is the victim of a “hoax.” In stark contrast, Mayor Pete reached out to the reporter who wrote the viral article criticizing him and listened.
The Democratic Party has a plethora of qualified candidates for the 2020 election. I have no idea who is best able to win on Nov. 3; I have no idea who is best able to lead the country for the next four years.
I do know that I want a president with humility. Sitting in the Oval Office is an unparalleled challenge for any human, regardless of their resume. Humility is the best antidote to the corrosive nature of power; humility is the trait that helps leaders bring people together.
In one of Trump’s would-be rivals, we see a glimpse of the leadership we deserve. Mayor Pete currently has abysmal approval ratings with black voters. But when he was called on the carpet by a black journalist for misguided comments about the black community, he chose to reach out, listen and learn.
We need a president who acknowledges that they are imperfect, as we all are. America needs humility, not feigned perfection, in 2020. I hope we get it.
Owen Truesdell, Edina
• • •
This conservative case for Sen. Bernie Sanders as president dovetails nicely with the liberal case for him, which is that he actually stands for something — but not everything (“The (conservative) case for Bernie Sanders,” StarTribune.com, Dec. 2). Democrats have been so concerned with beating Trump and with anti-Republicanism that they seem to have forgotten that the most electable candidate (in theory) should provide actual solutions to actual problems instead of running purely as a contrast to other candidates.
To some, the president’s actions are deeply problematic. But more people would rather hear about practical problems. Bernie doesn’t really care to engage in politics as usual, and he doesn’t compromise on ideology for political expediency. He’s here to offer policy solutions to a segment of the population that needs them. He’s not engaging in a “culture war” because it will ignite his base; he’s been saying the same things for 40 years now because he believes in them.
Bernie polls well with a diverse group of voters and has the ability to persuade people because he’s trying to help them. That will turn a lot of people off, but Democrats have tried the passive anti-Trump approach and it has failed. Most of the candidates in the Democratic primary are weak; the party needs someone who offers a real alternative. Bernie may not be your cup of tea, but at least he’s bringing something to the table.
Max Minsker, Minneapolis
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