Abraham Lincoln said we have a "government of the people, by the people, for the people." If our elected officials are loyal to this charge, they should thoroughly review the recent statewide survey conducted by Mason-Dixon Polling and Research Inc. ("60% oppose new mining near Boundary Waters," Feb. 25.)
No matter their age, income level, education, or whether they are rural or city dwellers, when asked, "When it comes to mining, which is a higher priority?" 66% of voters statewide find "protecting the environment" a higher priority over "providing mining jobs." Fifteen percent are unsure or prioritize them equally.
The only slight exception is from one-third of the respondents who identify as Republican: 45% favor protecting the environment (38% favor mining jobs and 17% rank them equally or are undecided).
This survey and numerous others indicate a public reawakening of understanding the harmful effects of pollution. Additionally, people have gained a clearer understanding of sustainable job creation; that is, jobs that last into the future. No company stays in business if it doesn't keep up with current demand. According to market researchers, clean energy and responsible corporate citizenship are in high demand, and that demand will only get stronger.
Investing in mining is shortsighted and clearly against the will of the people. It literally threatens our lives, long-term job creation and the beautiful nature that makes Minnesota, Minnesota.
Audrey Britton, Plymouth
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It's good and needed to question what we are seeing in polling results, as the author of the letter "Are we seeing the same economy?" (Feb. 26) recently wrote. The poll in question was about the approval of today's economy — with, yes, a predictable (and stark) divide among Republicans (98%) and Democrats (10%).
But how can something as complex as "the economy" be reduced to this one statistic? Who benefits from this economy, and who does not? How poll respondents answer those questions likely informs if they "approve" of the economy or not. While we've seen record-high stock markets (recent coronavirus fears aside) and corporations benefiting under the 2017 tax changes, as recently as 2019 the U.S. Census Bureau reported that income inequality was at its highest level in the U.S. in 50 years, and income growth favors those with higher income. What's more, the racial wealth gap is growing, with black and Latinx median household wealth declining since the 1980s, as white median household wealth increases. I don't approve of that economy, and I bet a good number of Republicans wouldn't either if we dug into the details together.
It's no doubt we are living in times of division, but each of us has the opportunity to decide how we respond. I hope we Minnesotans — urban, rural, suburban, conservative, progressive and everyone in between — can seek to build common ground and equitable economic systems of shared prosperity, not further the rancor and speak of a "civil war brewing." That's something I certainly don't approve of.
Helen Schnoes, Minneapolis
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A letter writer in "Are we seeing the same economy?" bemoans the separation of urban and rural Minnesota, but I grew up in a small town, almost all white, and I can tell you the differences are mostly economic.
If the Democrats unveiled a comprehensive children's health care plan to cover them from cradle to grave, including Head Start, day care, and psychological assessment, added to a plan to make every inch of the country internet-available, their party would not have to worry about rural voters for generations.
People everywhere pretty much want the same things, and there's a lot less bigotry in small-town America than some people think.
Frederic J. Anderson, Minneapolis
MYON BURRELL CASE
Justice was not done. Twice.
If you haven't heard Myon Burrell's story by now as a Minnesotan, it's time to pay attention. His story has become national news since Sen. Amy Klobuchar bragged on the campaign trail about putting away 11-year-old Tyesha Edwards' supposed killer, 16-year-old Burrell, in 2002 and obtaining "justice" using paper-thin and weak evidence while she was Hennepin County attorney. A different man, currently in prison for another crime, admitted in 2008 to the killing of Tyesha under oath, but he was ignored. The whole story and the details can be found in the Feb. 1 Associated Press investigation.
This week, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman's office released the following statement about the case: "This case is being politicized because it first was tried in court when Amy Klobuchar was the Hennepin County Attorney." A news release said, "It should not be treated like a political football" ("Freeman defends Klobuchar in '03 case," Feb. 25). Well, Klobuchar herself made this case into a political football during her campaigns. Journalists and legal experts merely took a closer look at it.
Klobuchar initially oversaw the first trial, but Freeman convicted Burrell the second time. Freeman's public comments continue with, "Any complaints should be directed to this office [not Klobuchar's]." So far, Freeman has done nothing to address this potential injustice and reopen the case, but instead has defended the decision. In the past and present, Freeman has been very quick to prosecute and convict people of color in the community — where is that same urgency when it comes to making sure an innocent black man isn't sitting in prison? So far, Freeman has proven that he is just like every other prosecutor who has sat in that office: The priority is a conviction, even at the expense of justice.
Bryan Milliard, Minneapolis
Imprisoned, starving and literate
The Wednesday front-page headline, "Front-runner Sanders is hit by sharp attacks," should frighten any Democrat who hopes to unseat President Donald Trump in November. How is it possible that in the year 2020 an avowed socialist and apologist for tyrannical socialist regimes is leading the field of candidates seeking the Democratic nomination for the presidency of the United States? His recent comment about the Castro government that has brutally ruled Cuba should be sufficient on its own to disqualify him ("Sanders' Castro comments don't play well in Florida," Feb. 26). When asked why he supported the Castro dictatorship, Sanders said it did some "good things," like instituting a literacy program to teach the Cuban people to read and write.
Never mind that people were imprisoned without trial because of their political beliefs, tortured because of their sexual orientation, murdered if they opposed the socialist hierarchy and starved as a result of the corruption of the regime and its henchmen. But at least acknowledge that the single "good thing" Sanders could credit Castro with accomplishing, the literacy program, was for the purpose of indoctrinating the population that was unable to read the propaganda the government was spewing. Next Sanders will be telling us what a great man Josef Stalin was because of his farm program that made land available for collective farming by murdering millions of Kulaks who owned the land.
Ronald Haskvitz, St. Louis Park
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