a letter to my fellow Minnesotans

My Fellow Minnesotans,

I love you.  I do.  That is why I am so compelled to plead with you to please… please step outside of your religious views and help those of us who are fighting for what matters to us all.  I am well versed in all major world religions, and I know that none of them teach hatred and intolerance.  Why then, are you allowing yourselves to be swindled by politicians who feed you messages of hatred and intolerance?  We have a pretty nice state.  Minnesota has a lot to offer, and I have never regretted living here even after having visited most of the continental U.S.  Coming home is always a blessing to me, but lately I cannot help but feel some level of despair.
I could sit here for hours conjuring up the most eloquent way to state this, but eloquence won’t make any difference to those of you who rely on network news or campaign ads, so I am going to say this the only way I know how at this moment:

You are ruining my life.

Every time I see a sign in support of a candidate who campaings on messages of homophobia, I think of the Minnesota youth who are so ridiculed for their sexual identity that they find no peace but in suicide.  Church and state are separated for a good reason, and I wish to heaven and back that you would learn to respect that.  Your beliefs are not the issue here, you have a right to them which is protected by the very constitution of this land, but your beliefs are not for everyone, and it’s morally wrong for you to assert them outside of your private life.  If you believe I am going to hell, fine.  I don’t.  Nothing that either of us can say or do will change the fact that religious beliefs are private, subjective and unable to be proven.  You believe homosexuality is a sin, fine.  I don’t.

What can be dealt with is healthcare, education, infrastructure, etc., and those who run for public office promising to represent your religious views are precisely those we do not need running what is actually relevant to government.  We need good education to create a talented workforce and flourishing economy.  We need accessible healthcare for every person no matter who.  We need good transportation systems, clean energy and water, better, safer agricultural and food production.  None of these things are in any way benefited by religious ideology.

There are candidates running for office right now that can help us achieve these important human necessities, candidates who understand that we can create new and sustainable jobs by focusing on creating these new and improved infrastructures.  They understand that education must be a funding priority, not something to hack apart because our misguided governor refuses to tax us equitably.  You know, I can remember the last time we benefited from having a few of us become wealthy while the rest toiled in misery: that was never.  There is no justifiable reason to continue allowing the schemers to profit on the labor of honest, hard working people.
I live in a small community of people who mind their own business and pay their bills.  They take the work they can get and make the best of it.  Like me, they would probably love to change careers.  Like me, they probably feel trapped.  But we do what we can.  The policies laid out by those politicians that run campaigns on intolerance are going to hurt us all, and it’s because they figured out that they can keep taking all of the extra money you and I could have for our own families by simply telling us that they will defend our morals.


I beg of you, at the core of your humanity and good will, please find the courage to reject this harmful practice.  Take pride in your right to vote, and vote for the candidate that will protect us, our environment and our education systems.  Bless your fellow Minnesotan with the quality of your civil participation by ensuring that firstly, our leaders and governors are concerned only with providing the basic standards of a good and fruitful life.  If, after that, you wish to attend the church of your choosing, pray to the god of your choosing, or participate in any of the innumerable hobbies, groups or social activities available to you, go with my full blessing, and I hope that you find joy, peace and fulfillment in your journey.


Your Neighbor


2 Responses to “a letter to my fellow Minnesotans”

  1. September 25, 2010 at 12:20 am

    If only it were that easy. It’s ironic that “religions” were created for good. To give people living in cruel worlds a set of ideas that are within a person, but not easy to follow. The ability to rise above the animal instincts that are basic, that what is best for me takes precedence over what is best for you regardless of the consequences. I believe that is what the true intentions of those who thought they had found a way to allow people to consider those consequences. Then of course, like every true purpose, it was corrupted by those who found they could use it to their advantage. So, yes it is an obligation that these people are called out for their abuse of something that could be used for good. The sad truth is that is like Don Quixote going after the windmills, it’s a fools dream. I admire you for even putting something like this in writing, because with my level of cynicism, I would have stopped after the first couple of sentences and resigned myself to the fact that nothing can change.

    Also, you’re absolutely right about your point regarding a large gap in distribution of wealth. If you weren’t aware, prior to the Great Depression, the same situation occurred. Regardless of the debate of whether it contributed to the size of the collapse, the fact remains that it existed.

    I will take issue with one statement, that we don’t need the government to defend our morals. I actually think that should be an important role of the government. The concept of killing and stealing are moral hazards and penalties for such acts need to be punished and it’s best not that people gather those assumed guilty and find the nearest tree with a noose. The problem is that when morals, which I believe are those ideas that allow human beings to co-exist with one another, are hijacked by those calling themselves advocates for religion. I couldn’t agree with you more that it is absolutely necessary that there be a separation of church and state. But it also important that there be a separation of church and morality.

    Thanks for the stimulation of the mind.

  2. September 25, 2010 at 1:22 pm

    I will take issue with one statement, that we don’t need the government to defend our morals. I actually think that should be an important role of the government. The concept of killing and stealing are moral hazards and penalties for such acts need to be punished and it’s best not that people gather those assumed guilty and find the nearest tree with a noose.

    I would categorize punishing, or attempting to prevent, moral hazards in the “defense” area of what should be the government’s limited responsibilities. Anything that can cause considerable harm or death to another citizen should be classified as such, I think.

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