To the Editor:
I’d like to respond to Congressman Stauber’s Oct. 17 column about standing up for Minnesotans and respecting those with different views. I live in Minneapolis and spend a good deal of time in Pine City. I love both places. They both are full of good people who care deeply about their communities, their state and their nation.
He’s absolutely right that violence has no place in our politics and that we should “stand together and choose kindness.” I hope those who used violence are prosecuted fully.
But I’m also disappointed that Congressman Stauber used his column on respecting our fellow Minnesotans to further divide Minnesotans from each other. Based on a breathless tweet from a so-called reporter, Congressman Stauber wants us to believe that there was mass violence occurring in the city of Minneapolis, that hundreds of protestors were threatening and attacking police officers and event attendees. Let me be clear – no violence is acceptable in politics. But some perspective is important. Just one person was arrested and one person was cited in connection with the protests. In painting with such a falsely large brush, Congressman Stauber portrayed thousands of peaceful protestors and an entire city as the enemy. That is not standing together.
Nor does it appear that Congressman Stauber shared his advice to “choose kindness” with the evening’s headline speaker, with whom Stauber flew to Minneapolis on Air Force One. Congressman Stauber’s guest of honor attacked our fellow Minnesotans. He insulted both the mayor of the city of Minneapolis and Stauber’s colleague in Congress, along with the Minnesotans who elected them. He also maligned the entire Somali-American population of Minnesota – and the crowd responded with approval by booing. Minnesotans booed other Minnesotans. Let that sink in. Recent census information estimates there are between 42,400-55,200 people of Somali descent living in Minnesota – about the size of Pine County and Kanabec County together. How would Congressman Stauber feel if a national leader came to Pine City and insulted every person living in Pine County and Kanabec County and suggested they don’t have a right to live there?
Standing up for Minnesota means standing up for all Minnesotans, not just those you like or agree with.
Minneapolis and Pine City are not enemies. We are all Minnesotans. Let’s act like it, please.