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Opinion editor's note: Star Tribune Opinion publishes letters from readers online and in print each day. To contribute, click here.


In reading the recent letters submitted in response to Pam Pommer's opinion piece about student debt forgiveness ("Why can't student debtors do the math?" Nov. 14), I'm struck that perspective is all. On the one hand, we have the "I (or my children) did it so anyone can" or "I (or my children) had to do it, so everyone else should have to as well" points of view. These comments are based on often faulty assumptions about the lives of others. For example, you and your spouse counseled your children on this, so everyone else apparently has parents with the same knowledge, interest and availability. You paid off your loans, so every other debtor has the same ability to pay. Or perhaps if others simply drove cheaper cars and lived in more modest homes, they could easily afford to repay their loans.

Happily, on the other hand, there are people who focus instead on the overall value to society of having a well-educated population, who understand the complexities of student loans that make repayment a far more challenging prospect than many of us realize, and who recognize that virtually all of us enjoy the benefits of an array of subsidies provided by our government. And that helping out others in need does not diminish any sacrifices that individuals may have made to repay their loans. They might do well to remember the words of our late Sen. Paul Wellstone that "We all do better when we all do better."

Cyndy Crist, St. Paul


Thank you to the Star Tribune for the letters laid out in such a thoughtful manner in the Nov. 17 Readers Write segment ("Partial calculations won't do"). The contrast between a well-thought-out, forward-looking letter that describes the outcome of a country offering quality higher education against the myopic perspective of "a loan is a loan" couldn't have driven the point home any better. Higher education isn't a nice-to-have — it is a must-have for the future of our country. It isn't a new car loan or a mortgage loan. It is the nation's ability to compete in the global economy at stake.

Much like health care, any forward-thinking capitalist would realize that a healthy, educated workforce is the driver that will move our country forward. The mentality that making these two things universally available will drive us to socialism is a false narrative driven by those who are motivated by greed.

Paul Standal, St. Paul


Go slow, and be patient

Holy Angels hockey captain Mason Garcia suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI) when he was "sent" into the boards during a recent high school game. One television news report noted there may be consideration of him playing in the state hockey tournament, which is only months away. As a concussive (a person with a concussion/TBI) since being hit by a pickup truck as a pedestrian on Nov. 1, 2022, I feel strongly that caution must be taken with this young man's care.

The brain is complicated, miraculous, powerful and misunderstood. A TBI is an unseen injury. Having dealt with my own integrative therapies for the past 13 months, I can attest to the physical, emotional and psychological impact and challenges a person can face. My own therapies will be ongoing for many more months. Recovery can take months — or years. With the right holistic team around him, Mason's progress in recovery will be made in moments and days.

Mason is young, so he has this in his favor. However, pushing him to return to the ice too soon could have lifelong ramifications for his abilities and quality of life. To those who love and care for him, please be patient so you get the best possible Mason back.

Mary Jeanne Lee, Minneapolis


Throw out the obstruction playbook

The Minneapolis City Council has been reading the Sen. Tommy Tuberville playbook of holding citizens hostage. Tuberville's actions in Congress have jeopardized the readiness of our military and has risked the safety of U.S. citizens. Likewise, the Minneapolis City Council is tying the hands of the Police Department and risking the safety of the citizens of Minneapolis by voting down funding measures to hire and retain police officers ("Try again on police incentives," editorial, Nov. 22). It's been three-plus years since the horrible day when George Floyd was killed, and what exactly has the City Council done to help alleviate the discord in Minneapolis since then? The city has seen 300 fewer police officers on the streets, and I haven't seen a police car in my neighborhood in about three years. I'm hoping and praying that the new City Council can get out of their own way and actually do something to remedy the policing situation in this city. The citizens certainly deserve more than what we've gotten.

Cheryl Hunstock, Minneapolis


I feel the Minneapolis City Council has lost sight of Maslow's hierarchy of needs. After the basic needs of food, clothing and shelter is safety. Claiming that violence prevention should take precedence over filling basic police services does not fit the basic need of immediate safety. I agree you need prevention services, but these are more long-term than the immediate need of feeling safe. If the council doesn't recognize this, perhaps the real underlying reason for its reluctance to facilitate filling vacant police positions is related to its dislike and or hatred for police?

Lee McAllister, Worthington, Minn.


Biden's no liberal

As a lifelong Democrat, I'm calling on voters to demand an alternative to President Joe Biden in the 2024 election. And it's not because of his age, inflation or fears of poll numbers. It's because he is a conservative to his core, and he is killing the soul of our party. From continuing to build the border wall to the massive expansion in liquefied natural gas exports, which are hastening climate change, to his virulent support for what is clearly ethnic cleansing in Gaza, he has shown his true color has always been red. When he loses re-election, that will be the real reason why.

Christian Hagen, Minneapolis


Regarding the letter about staying connected to those on the opposite end of the political spectrum ("A little grace might save us," Readers Write, Nov. 21): The letter writer argued that a person's actions, not their vote, is what matters. To that end, he cited the displays of "remarkable grace-giving kindness" by a friend who'd voted for a candidate that he feared and still fears. Such kindness, he wrote, is what matters; a vote reveals "only her political stance, not her full character."

Voting is also something people "do." A vote may be one of the most important things we do, because it bestows a proxy upon someone with considerable power and the potential to abuse that power, to act on our behalf.

Yes, it can be difficult, even painful, to divorce friends or family. So, keep the friendship, if it is too painful to let go. But please, please, do not dismiss voting as a mere political stance. Voting is an action with consequences that ripple through our nation, consequences that may ultimately erase any acts of kindness, no matter how gracious.

Miriam Karmel, Minneapolis