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The commentary by Rep. Jim Hagedorn about the impending doom of socialism is off the mark (“Voters have a clear choice — socialism vs. freedom,” Opinion Exchange, Oct. 22). Socialism in its classic sense advocates that the state own all the resources of production, industry, capital and land. Neither of our major parties advocate this drastic direction for our government. So what is he talking about?

We already have many elements of a softer side of social programs in the United States, including Social Security, Medicare, various forms of tax credits, student loans, unemployment support, veterans benefits, public roads, public schools, safety inspections, etc. — actually quite a long list of how public money flows to help many categories of people. These many helping programs have been developed over decades by both parties and his inferences otherwise are not correct.

Oddly, even the rural constituency that he says he helps — listing several government programs of farm support — can be seen as receiving soft forms of socialism. The most recent of which Hagedorn speaks is the evolving farm safety net. As quoted in a recent Star Tribune article on farmland value: “Farmers not only have received tens of billions of dollars in coronavirus and trade-war relief, but their crop insurance is about 60% taxpayer-subsidized and farmers participate in all sorts of government programs.” I’m sure these needed public-support programs provide a lot of help to the good rural folks in his district, but they are social programs. So for Hagedorn to say he eschews socialism and supports “freedom” is just nonsense. The people in his district deserve better thinking than this.

David Lingo, Golden Valley

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Hagedorn’s commentary was full of mischaracterizations and misleading statements. Democratic candidate Dan Feehan does not have a radical agenda, but clearly that trope is used across the country by Republican candidates. As is typical, Republicans turn to fear to sway voters. There is nothing to fear from Feehan as a candidate. He is a father, teacher, former soldier and husband. He brings common-sense solutions and a calm demeanor along with a willingness to bridge differences with those across the aisle.

Hagedorn’s defending President Donald Trump as a leader to admire is misplaced. Giving Trump and Republicans credit for “building” the strongest economy in U.S. history is wrong. Trump inherited a robust economy from the previous administration and has now trashed it due to the total mismanagement of COVID-19. While the wealthy get wealthier, the pandemic has only increased poverty and destroyed small businesses everywhere.

And for Hagedorn, who is facing ethics inquiries, to question Feehan on some vague intuition is again typical of how Republicans operate. Wait, don’t look here, look over at this shiny object! In 2009 Barack Obama and Joe Biden led the country out of the worst economic crisis in generations, handing it off to Trump. Biden, with support from Congress, knows how to handle financial disaster. Vote for Joe. Vote for Dan.

Judy Bird, Byron, Minn.

• • •

Hagedorn’s dramatic claim that a vote for his opponent will be “the end of the America we grew up with and love” is not only divisive fearmongering but an insult to Minnesota voters’ intelligence.

And FYI, as a gay man, I wouldn’t have been able to marry my husband in the America you grew up with and loved, Mr. Hagedorn.

Ray Lancon, St. Louis Park


The North Side deserves beautification

It seems to me that the concept of re-wilding the Mississippi River through the gorge is a prime example of privilege, especially in a future of uncertain resources. Where’s the excitement, creative energy and commitment to action for opening the northern part of the Mississippi River through Minneapolis, encouraging enjoyment of the river and outdoors? The limited parks, water access and outdoor spaces of the city’s north and northeast neighborhoods compared with the South Side is a fact. Re-wilding the Mississippi in this city is a privileged concept that needs to be examined in light of a commitment to justice and equity. If we are a community committed to equity, where do we put our creative thinking, resources and actions?

Elizabeth Hinz, Minneapolis

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