Comparing Joe Biden's presidency to Gerald Ford's, as John Rash does, misses the context of his presidency ("More Ford than Carter (or FDR)," Opinion Exchange, Jan. 22). Ford's predecessor, Richard Nixon, respected democratic norms and resigned. Biden's predecessor rejected a peaceful transfer of power, encouraged his supporters in a failed coup attempt and is still falsely claiming that he won.
Unlike Ford's era, Biden came into office at a time when we can't take our democracy for granted. The Swedish-based Global Report on Democracy said last year that U.S. democracy, for the first time, is backsliding. The Economist found that the overall state of democracy in the U.S. declined in 2020, ranking the U.S. as the 25th most democratic nation. Freedom House's annual rankings of freedoms around the world gave the U.S. 83 out of 100 possible points in 2021, an 11-point drop from 10 years ago.
Columns like Rash's normalize what's happening now. This is not normal. The GOP's voter suppression laws, replacement of honest election officials and continued repetition of 2020 election lies are laying the groundwork for them to successfully overturn the 2024 election results if their candidate doesn't win. We have to understand our democracy is under attack and give more media coverage to the fight to save democracy.
Terry Burke, St. Louis Park
Thanks to John Rash, I now better understand why I voted for Biden in 2020 and am disappointed in Biden in 2022. I wanted a transitional president in 2020, and I do not like that Biden is now trying to become a transformative president. Biden was elected to bring us together.
Mark Paper, Wayzata
Biden's policies lead to border chaos
Minnesotans don't usually think of our state as a border state, but we are. With the recent tragedy of an illegal immigrant Indian family dying just short of our northern border as they attempted to meet up with a human smuggler and seemingly became lost, it's apparent some measure of the death/chaos of the southern border is now coming to us ("Smugglers, brutal cold fatal pairing," Jan. 22).
This family's story is so tragic I can hardly believe it. We can only imagine the terror of these parents as they realized they were hopelessly lost in the cold, that they and a teenager and a baby would freeze to death.
Totally responsible for these deaths is the Biden administration's lax enforcement and deadly double-incentive message of, "Don't come, but if you make it, we welcome you." The Center for Immigration Studies reports our government's Jan. 14 figures show that of the nearly 180,000 illegal migrants apprehended in December 2021 by Customs and Border Protection at the southern border, 55,626 were "simply released" on their own recognizance by parole or with notices to appear.
Barely covered in the press is how Biden's double-message incentive has made human smuggling very lucrative. Let's demand a deep investigation with full press coverage into this smuggler's connections and apprehension of all others responsible, nationally and internationally. We the people deserve to know the full human effects of our government's policies. Whatever members of the press personally believe about illegal immigration, they need to do their job of providing citizens with facts.
Linda Huhn, Minneapolis
'RIGHT TO LIVE' DEBATE
Flawed comparison and argument
As a Jew and a physician, I was deeply disturbed by state Sens. Jim Abeler and John Hoffman's counterpoint in Tuesday's Star Tribune ("Bring on the 'right to live' debate," Opinion Exchange). Why is it that when public figures disagree with someone, their go-to allegation is that they — in this case doctors, Mercy Hospital, "medical science" — are akin to Nazis? Are they so ignorant as to not know or care what the Holocaust represents to Jews around the world? Do they not know that one out every three Jews in the world were murdered by the Nazis?
And why are they so disdainful of "medical science"? If they or their family members become ill, wouldn't they want the best that medical science has to offer? Or would they prefer some alternative science at a nonexistent alternative hospital? Physicians in this country all receive very similar education. The treatment they recommend is based on medical science, which is always evolving but soundly rooted on the most current research.
Yes, you can show your ignorance and attribute the decision to recommend withdrawal of the ventilator from Scott Quiner as "Nazi" thinking. Or in the future you may choose to have a discussion with a person such as myself. As a physician and medical ethicist, I've been involved with similar cases at the University of Minnesota for over 20 years. And though it is true that we all have a "right to live," all of us will die. Because that is God's will.
Modern medicine, with its amazing capabilities, can replace the function of kidneys, lungs and even hearts that have failed. But unfortunately all too often these capabilities only serve to prolong the dying process. And when doctors, in this case the intensive care specialists at Mercy, realize that their treatments have failed and that the patient is dying, they have a responsibility to the patient and his family to be honest and avoid prolonging the dying process and causing unnecessary suffering. It appears that is what they did.
Victor Sandler, Plymouth
There cannot be a meaningful public debate on the "right to live" issue without an accompanying, in-depth debate on the "right to die," as detailed in the Minnesota End-of-Life-Options Act, which supports medical aid in dying for the competent, terminally ill individual. These discussions should begin in the appropriate committees in the Minnesota Senate and House. Since ours is a representative government, every voter should write their senator and representative to make their wishes known and insist that the debates begin.
David B. Plimpton, Minneapolis
The writer is a retired physician.
Tuesday's counterpoint by Hoffman and Abeler was focused on who makes the decision to end life support, not the real issue of why we are in the position of having to ration health care. There are many systemic reasons to be found in our disjointed, for-profit health care system. One of the main contributing factors during this COVID pandemic is the anti-vaccination rhetoric spearheaded in the Anoka and Coon Rapids communities by Sen. Abeler. The hospitals are overwhelmed by unvaccinated people with COVID. Continuing to tell people not to trust science and the rigorous testing of these vaccines is causing a crisis in our hospitals and health care system. People who listen to Abeler are experiencing unnecessary deaths or severe ongoing residual effects from COVID.
My heart breaks for Scott Quiner and his family. Those decisions are tough enough without having to deal with the court system and bed shortages. The best way to avoid this situation is to become fully vaccinated, wear masks in public and social distance.
Chris Eaton, Brooklyn Center
The writer is a state senator, DFL-Brooklyn Center.
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