Letter: Democratic idealism needed

Published 11:02 pm Friday, October 5, 2018

I’ve been doing some phoning and door-knocking to talk with neighbors about our election. I am struck by how turned off and disgusted many are with politics. Even people proudly flying the U.S. flag are hostile to our own government and elections. They feel hopeless and want to turn away. While this is understandable, given what has been going on recently, it shows our democracy is in danger. These are the attitudes that Putin and Trump encourage: You can’t believe anyone. You can’t make a difference. Idealism and political action are pointless. But cynicism and withdrawal are not the answers. We need more hope and optimism if we are going to take action to save our democracy.

This is why I am encouraged by the positive messages of three DFL candidates in particular. Tim Walz is running for governor on a platform of “One Minnesota:” If we avoid divisions and differences, we can solve the challenges we face. Dan Feehan, our candidate for U.S. House of Representatives, is emphasizing “service,” inviting us to take part in something larger than ourselves. Here in district 19A, Jeff Brand is running for the Minnesota House with hope that we will be “working better together.” This is a new generation of public servants who are trying to rekindle that American can-do spirit and practical optimism.

Given the avalanche of disgusting news and negative ads, it’s easy to dismiss this as just politics as usual. But I know these candidates, and they are sincere. Positive change will be hard work and take time, but we need democratic idealism so “government of, by, and for the people will not perish.” These are the stakes.

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Joseph Kunkel

North Mankato