Jim Schultz wants a Republican majority in the Minnesota House ("State must undo one-party rule," Opinion Exchange, July 27). Schultz is upset with the number and type of legislative accomplishments achieved by the DFL-controlled House and Senate and signed into law by Gov. Tim Walz.
The citizens of Minnesota elected every member of the Minnesota Legislature and the voters will decide the makeup of the House in 2024. Fair enough — the political future of Minnesota is squarely in the hands of its citizens.
I take issue, however, with the language Schultz uses in describing the DFL and the last legislative session. His descriptors include: "extreme one-party control," "far-left policies," "predatory regulations," "how kooky our state's leaders have become," "sprint to the militant left," "strangest elements of the Democratic Party," "remarkably arrogant Democratic majority," "stunning display of cluelessness," "truly absurd bit of policymaking," and "put a brake on the madness." Schultz cries partisanship, yet his rhetoric is the epitome of partisan divisiveness.
I live in a district that is represented by a Republican in the House. I stayed in touch with our representative during the session, and recently we met for two hours to discuss legislative priorities and the future of Minnesota. He and I disagree on numerous issues and policy initiatives. Our discussion, however, was productive and respectful. And not one time did either of us resort to the type of rhetoric employed by Schultz. This is how mutual understanding, collegiality and compromise may occur.
If Schultz wants widespread support for his party he needs to tone down the rhetoric. He also should meet with citizens whose opinions differ from his own perspectives. I am available.
Phil George, Lakeville
Schultz writes that Minnesota government is off track because the Democrats have enough power to pass legislation. I can guarantee he would not be singing the same tune if the Republicans were in charge. Republicans are not frozen out of government. Republicans can still introduce legislation. Schultz is upset because Republicans no longer have the equivalent of a veto, which they had when in the majority in the state Senate. There is a reason the Republicans lost the Senate. The Republicans are not currently proposing changes which are the ones needed and wanted for Minnesota.
Accurate analysis of Republican politics shows of late they have often been anti-science, anti-minority, anti-public education and anti-democracy. The Republicans have been pro-business in ways that favor business owners to the detriment of employees. Business is great, but the goal should be to help all in society, not preferentially helping the owners over the employees.
Mark Brakke, Coon Rapids
Regarding Schultz's plea to end one-party rule: On the face of it many Democrats would agree — for not just Minnesota but also Minneapolis and St. Paul.
The problem is not what the Legislature did, though. He is very short on specifically what he doesn't like. Taken individually, most of the actions are popular and were campaigned on.
The problem is that the Republican Party in Minnesota has joined the national trend in backing extremist positions and still backs our very dangerous former president.
Until the Republican Party takes a good hard look at itself, it will not win statewide office. And it will not have any presence in Minneapolis or St. Paul at all. Which is not good for any of us.
Alice Johnson, Minneapolis
Healing can be found here
It is encouraging to see how Army veteran Stefan Egan used psychedelics to treat trauma ("'My outlook on everything changed,'" July 27). We should consider all options to address increasing rates of depression, anxiety and PTSD, including a more robust clinical mental health system. However, we know that clinical mental health care is often not accessible or utilized by people in need. We need more awareness of the power and possibility of the full range of integrative and cultural healing as part of a continuum of care.
A 2016 literature review by the University of Minnesota's Earl E. Bakken Center for Spirituality and Healing and commissioned by the George Family Foundation found ample evidence of the positive impact of yoga, mindfulness and meditation in treating depression, anxiety and PTSD. Among the findings: Yoga helped reduce the severity of PTSD symptoms among veterans by 29% and among women with histories of interpersonal violence by 33%. Eight weeks of meditation helped mental health care workers in post-Katrina New Orleans improve symptoms of anxiety by 18%.
Cultivating the conditions of mental well-being requires us to think beyond our existing available resources and support primary prevention practices outside of clinical care. Insurance should cover those interventions that have proven effective and that are accepted and utilized by people in need. The times we live in require us to create new strategies and enhanced awareness of the full range of healing modalities and make them fully available.
Suzanne C. Koepplinger, Minneapolis
Some have weaponized their role
I read with interest Julia Coleman's thoughts on the recent use of the term "mama bear" in reference to conservative extremists ("Please don't polarize the mama bears," Opinion Exchange, July 26). While in general I agree with her desire to recognize the value of mothers seeking to protect their children (and I would assert this should apply equally to all parents of any gender and sexual preference) and not to unnecessarily polarize the term "mama bear," I would point out that the group in question has sought to "protect" their children at the expense of others. For example, it has worked to ensure that no children, not just their own, can access specific books and learn about certain educational topics, thus seeking to usurp the rights of other "mama bears." It's not enough to care deeply for your own children; it is essential to care for all children and to give all parents a voice.
Cynthia Crist, St. Paul
POLICE IN SCHOOLS
More complex than that analysis
My first reaction to Jamie Utt-Schumacher's editorial counterpoint on July 26 ("Police in schools arrest learning, suspend trust") was that correlation is not causation. Research does show that in the past the more officers were present in schools, the lower the standardized scores and the higher the student suspensions. It is possible officers were added because physically threatening problems were already there and were factors in the scores and suspensions.
My second reaction dealt with personnel. Perhaps when the number of officers reaches as high as five in a single school, the chances of an officer being present who is ineffective becomes higher, and so does overall negative student reaction. On the other hand, my third reaction was to imagine myself as a student from a community where guns are illegally used in attempts to settle personal differences, so cops have to use guns, and how threatened I would be knowing for sure there were guns in my school — even legally.
Utt-Schumacher's commentary was a response to the Star Tribune's editorial on July 23 ("Cops in schools can be part of solution"). At least three times the editorial emphasized a key point. The success of the program depends on the qualifications of an involved officer. He or she needs the interpersonal skills of a school counselor or social worker but without the required license — with the license to be a police officer. An individual school within a district might be better off temporarily without an officer at all, if the difficult mix of qualifications can't be immediately found.
The issue is complicated, even before mentioning the elephant in the room, an armed intruder or enrolled student.
Jim Bartos, Maple Grove