Letters, Sept. 28, 2022

Vote out seditionist Stauber

Pete Stauber received an “F” in Democracy from the Republican Accountability Project because he signed the infamous Texas amicus brief touting Trump’s Big Lie about election fraud. The brief was meant to disenfranchise millions of American voters. His failing grade from the R.A.P. was also due to his refusal to acknowledge Biden’s win until after the coup attempt failed, his vote against Trump’s impeachment for the insurrection, his vote against creating an independent commission to investigate Jan. 6, and his vote against holding Steve Bannon in contempt of Congress. 

The Minnesota AFL-CIO rated Pete Stauber’s voting record in 2021 at 23%. Stauber voted AGAINST the Build Back Better bill, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, the Voting Rights Advancement Act, the invest in America Act, the Paycheck Fairness Act, the Equal Rights Amendment, the For the People Act, the American Rescue Plan, the Equality Act, the Raise the Wage Act, and the Protecting the Right to Organize Act, which was written to make it easier to organize and join a union.

A typical Pete Stauber sentence consists of a noun, a verb and “our way of life.” But our way of life includes women having the freedom to control their own bodies. Pete Stauber opposes that freedom. And Stauber has been in lock-step with the Trump cult to the point of siding against federal law-enforcement in its investigation of Trump’s alleged crimes related to national security. In other words, he is devoted to the personality cult that has become a dire threat to our democracy. In November, Minnesota 8th district voters will choose between an economist, Jen Schultz, or a seditionist, Pete Stauber. 

David A Sorensen
Duluth, Minnesota

Vote like democracy itself is at stake because it is!
Like Trump, Hitler rose to power through a political process. But even though Hitler rose into power through a political process, he was not directly elected Chancellor of Germany by it. However, when the end of WWI caused the German empire to collapse, the Weimar Republic replaced it. And in June 1919 Germany was forced to sign the Treaty of Versailles which punished Germany for starting WWI.

Between 1918 and 1933 Germany was rife with economic problems and was expected to pay off its war debts, which led only to severe hyperinflation and devalued currency during the worldwide market crash of 1929. Thus many radical political movements gained members by promising to build a strong Germany – in ways similar to  Trump’s MAGA cult promises – that only Trump was able to fix the economy, create a strong authoritarian government, and unite all Americans. However, like Trump, the Nazis took advantage of fear and prejudice to create scapegoats – claiming that Jews and Communists were to blame for all Germany’s problems. Just as Trump currently stokes animosity toward Latinos, Muslims and “radical left-wing  activists,” And even though during the primaries Trump eagerly promised (everything to anyone) his positions abruptly changed (after) his election.

 Although the Nazis , led by Hitler, tried to overthrow the government by force and failed, they won 18% of the vote in the Parliamentary elections of 1930, which  firmly entrenched them in the minds of German voters. Then, in 1932, the Nazis won 37% of the vote but refused to work with other parties (while the rest of the government found it hard to govern without them)! So when Hitler demanded to be appointed Chancellor, Chancellor Paul Von Hindenburg gave in to him.

Although Trump chose to run as a Republican, he’s been manipulating existing laws and appointing yes men cronies who are devoted to him, while  trampling on the American Constitution. In reality, many things about his playbook and Hitler’s are similar, but some are not! What’s really scary though, is the large number of voter Suppression laws that Republicans are using to prevent black Americans, Latinos and other minorities, from voting.

Today, those of us who understand the first amendment are appalled when Trumpers ban descriptive nouns like “Racism” while some states are banning books like 1984 and Animal Farm (which might, in essence), portend an Orwellian/Trumpian omen!
So far Trump is not sending Democrats or Hollywood elites to concentration camps, but at a time with such obvious suppression of the vote, he might be able to go further than he has – perhaps by actively rigging our electoral system to award electoral votes to the parties which control their state legislatures – no matter by how much Dems win that state’s electoral votes?

 Sadly, I and many other voters, are no longer satisfied that “it can’t happen here,” because it already has! And now, we voters are the only ones who are able to determine how long Trump’s Bizzaro World madness will continue! Congress seems unable to stop it, and the Supreme court won’t. So the ball  is in our court – we, the American voters, are the only voices left that are able to speak truth to power (BY VOTING)!

 Peter W. Johnson,
Superior, Wisconsin 

Prioritize the Umbrella Issue

A Republican pollster recently said the issues currently important to the two political parties do not overlap. Republicans prioritize border security, crime, the economy and inflation while Democrats are focusing on abortion, climate change, guns and health care. He suggests the upcoming election is more about issues than in past cycles.

However, climate change is the one issue with the potential to influence the others – an umbrella issue, one could say. Climate-related floods, fires and hurricanes are primary drivers. They can prompt human migrations that include crossing borders. These events are also expensive – there have been 35 separate billion-dollar flood disasters in the U.S. since 1980. Fire events have increased 223% since 1983 and are even more costly. In 2020 U.S. fires cost $16.5 billion! According to the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission, climate change is a “major risk to the stability of the U.S. financial system and to its ability to sustain the American economy.” Even inflation is part of the story as fossil fuels are the single biggest driver of this part of the economy.

Climate change also has significant impacts on human lives and health. Between 2000 and 2019 more than 5 million deaths per year were due to rising temperatures (Monash University, 2021). The global average temperature increased 0.26 degrees C during that time. The World Health Organization considers climate change the biggest health threat facing humanity.

So, climate change is an umbrella issue, and likely the most important one humanity will ever face. If we fail to get this right, none of these other priorities matter. This is also an incredibly important election – doesn’t it make sense to vote for action on the issue that will impact all the Republican and Democratic priorities? Climate change is a human issue!

Check out Citizens Climate Lobby on the internet, a national organization dedicated to promoting action on this critical issue!
Peggy Burkman
Washburn, Wisconsin

Vote DFL to protect democracy

When Harry Welty did not advance through the Republican primary, it left reasonable citizens in Minnesota’s 8th Congressional District with no Republicans to vote for in statewide or federal elections this fall. Not one of the Republicans running for those offices has shown any commitment to protect democracy. Instead, the Republicans threaten to sabotage it. None of the DFL candidates want democracy to slide backward.

The legitimacy of government grows in proportion to the consent of all those who are being governed. U. S. history has seen legitimacy slowly increase as more categories of society got to vote. If it were made harder to vote, as Republican candidates want, government would be less legitimate. Yes, some ballots get cast by individuals who are ineligible to do that. That’s wrong, even if it was unintentional, but not as bad for legitimacy as systemic vote suppression would be. Unlawful voting is a possibility that always requires widespread good-faith vigilance. Likewise, all citizens need to insist that votes be counted as accurately as possible. Those duties for fair election administration have always been with us and will continue to be.

It won’t be enough to sit this election out if you agree with these points but don’t like some other policy a DFL candidate favors. You have to vote for the person who has a real chance to win the office against their Republican opponent. This year that person is in the DFL party – there’s no Jesse Ventura figure running. Register or update your registration if needed, vote for the DFL candidates, and do your part to give democracy a better chance to survive.

David Schimpf
Duluth, Minnesota