Late on a recent Saturday night while riding the Green Line home, I had the opportunity to witness a beautiful incident of civic virtue. The incident began as a dispute between an elderly couple and a young man. Voices rose, back and forth, and the young man stood and moved aggressively toward the couple. A bystander rose from his seat and stepped in front of the young man, facing him and raising his arms to grip the handrails overhead, blocking the young man's way and speaking to him calmly. The dispute continued for several miles, but always the bystander kept his position, moving slightly left or right as necessary to keep himself between the young man and the elderly couple.
I enjoy riding public transit, and this incident is one reason why. There was no indication that the bystander knew the other people involved. We live in a good city filled with good people we do not know, people willing to stand up and do the right thing, the very good thing, in the moment of need. I extend my gratitude to this bystander and all fellow citizens: Thank you for making our city good.
Frank Schweigert, St. Paul
Stop red-baiting progressives
When I read the Star Tribune's May 28 headline "Socialists growing force in Mpls.," about Democratic Socialists winning endorsements, I felt transported back to a red-scare era. No, the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) have not taken over the DFL Party. Stay calm and don't believe everything you read.
The article described the results of the Eighth Ward DFL convention as wresting the party endorsement from City Council President Andrea Jenkins. What actually happened was a significant first-ballot vote in favor of Soren Stevenson (69% vs. 29%). The people voting represented a spectrum of organizations and beliefs and demonstrated their dissatisfaction with Jenkins' performance on a broad range of issues, including the climate crisis, increasing police accountability and stabilizing rents. Neighbors who organize with a variety of community organizations like Faith in Minnesota, Home to Stay, MN350, Inquilinxs Unidxs and Unidos MN were among those who recognized Stevenson's strong commitment to addressing critical issues.
During the entire five-hour convention, neither the DSA nor any of their positions as listed in the Star Tribune article were mentioned. Instead, each candidate was asked to answer questions about the above-mentioned basic issues. For the record, Stevenson has not received any funding from the DSA. According to the article, Jenkins attributes her loss to being "out-organized" by Stevenson. As the vote demonstrates, she was not out-organized. She simply did not convince the delegates of her ability to govern successfully.
Lisa Franchett, Minneapolis
The Democrats are constantly reminding us that the right and Republicans are a major threat to our democracy. You have only to read "Socialists growing force in Mpls." to find out the real threat. Unfortunately, this isn't just happening in Minneapolis, it's happening all over the country. People have gotten very comfortable with the idea of free money and a lot of time off. Having the government take care of them doesn't seem like such a bad idea. The problem is, most people don't have any idea what socialism really is.
Defining socialism and interviewing people who have lived under socialism might be an interesting series for the Star Tribune to consider writing and presenting to the public. Americans who seem to find socialism so appealing need to hear why these people came to America to escape it. In many cases government care equals government control — complete government control.
Sheila Knoedler, Eden Prairie
Such fearmongering over Democratic Socialists on the Minneapolis City Council! When Minneapolis inhumanely bulldozes homeless encampment, who speaks up? When public housing lacked fire sprinkler systems, who spoke up? When the City Council voted to further pollute the East Phillips neighborhood, who spoke up? City Council Member and Democratic Socialist Robin Wonsley.
My source for this information? All the past Star Tribune articles quoting Wonsley. Her passion and commitment are clear in every article. To attempt to paint her and the other Democratic Socialist council members as scary radicals is just wrong. As a longtime DFLer, we should all want more leaders speaking from the heart and putting the needs of people first.
Paula Mielke, St. Paul
Star Tribune opinion editor's note: For more on this fall's Minneapolis election, see "A leftward-lurching Minneapolis confronts another time for choosing" and "Twin Cities Democratic Socialists: Our vision places human needs before profits," published last week on the Opinion Exchange page and at startribune.com/opinion.
Wait and suffer, you say?
On May 24, I read the front-page headline telling us about parental rights being taken from parents caring for their very sick child ("Chemo refusal brings parental right fight"). I cringed when I saw that the illness was described by doctors as an aggressive form of bone marrow cancer. That wording tells me this child likely has a slim chance of survival.
Lisa Swanson's counterpoint in Wednesday's paper seemed directly to the point ("In medical crisis, family needs support, not punishment"). Swanson wrote about quality of life. It brought to my mind the need for all of us to ask ourselves and each other how we want to live the last portion of our life, if we have the chance to choose. We are all going to die. Do we want to spend our last years or weeks or days chasing a cure, no matter the effects? Or do we want to be cared for, live as fully and comfortably as possible, and appreciate the support of physicians, nurses and spiritual caregivers? This latter description is called palliative care. Any of us living with serious illness can ask for palliative care.
A letter to the editor in Thursday's paper from a retired physician disagreed with Swanson and advocated continued chemotherapy for 5-year-old Keaton Peck. He wrote, "Hopefully, as medicine progresses, conventional care for patients like Peck will improve." These parents cannot wait but must cope with the present. They had been with Keaton as he endured chemotherapy side effects of "temporary paralysis, brain bleeds, and muscle pain and weakness." More chemo may bring more of the same with no assurance of cure. My prayer is that Keaton's parents may have their rights restored and to care for him in the most loving way possible.
Sylvia Moore, Bloomington
The writer is a retired hospital chaplain.
Praise for Mike Thompson
When Star Tribune editorial cartoonist Steve Sack retired in 2022, I was devastated. He was one of the best political cartoonists in the nation. But I have to say that that his successor at the Star Tribune, Mike Thompson, is fantastic. Thompson's illustrations are amazing, and his keen eye on the subject matter is equally fantastic.
Thank you for finding someone like Mike to fill the very, very big shoes of Steve Sack. I really didn't expect someone this good taking over for Mr. Sack, but Mr. Thompson seems to have it all.
Luke Soiseth, Lake St. Croix Beach