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Letter: Democrats work for common good

While I found much of Robert Hoffman’s recent column not worthy of response, one thing he says bears addressing. He says that he does not know what the local Democrats stand for. I don’t hold any elected leadership in the local DFL, but I have been an active member since the early 1980s.  For me, the Democratic Party is based on two principles.  One is that government has a role to play working for the common good. This means defending Social Security and pensions. It means protecting the environment and the CDC.    It means working for social justice, defending unions and advocating for raising the minimum wage. Working for the common good means regulating corporate practices. It means maintaining roads and bridges, funding parks, the courts, police and financially supporting museums, hospitals and public schools. I think Democrats are willing to pay higher taxes to support these government enterprises, but they also want to make sure the rich pay their share. Working for the common good means that tax policy must be fair, that we are all in this together.

As to the second Democratic principle, as a child, I was taught that we are to “Love our neighbor as ourselves.” This has roots in both the Old Testament and the New (Matthew 22:35-40). To me this means that we are to look out for everyone and not let others divide us. To me that is exemplified by something as simple as wearing a mask in public. We don’t wear it because we are afraid — we wear it because we strive to love our neighbor as ourself, and we would never want to jeopardize our neighbor’s health. 

One more thing. Yes, Robert Hoffman is right that the Democrats lost local races.  Democrats lost local races in many rural areas across the state and nation. Of course, we Democrats need to examine results, figure out what it means and what we do about it. Yet, Democrats won the presidency and the Minnesota Senate seat, and Democrats hold most state offices. And in fairness, what does the Republican Party now stand for?    They didn’t even pass a platform at their national convention. The Republican Party’s national leadership now seems to run on manufacturing enemies to elicit fear (George Soros, Black Lives Matter, Muslims, Welfare Queens, Satanic pedophile cabals, science, the media, poll workers, teachers, Mexican caravans, and Republican officials who follow the law). These are not party principles. I don’t think this fear mongering represents local Republican voters. And, I don’t think Robert Hoffman represents their values and concerns when he engages in the smearing of local people and red baiting. It is mean spirited at best. I think our country has had enough of this. I think we all look forward to a government guided by principles and leadership working to unify us as a nation again.

Mary Hinnenkamp

Albert Lea