Politics too closely tied with religion

To the editor:

Thank you for the thoughtful July 8 column concerning what it really means to be Pro-Life. But unlike local majority Republicans, I am a Democrat who, like 57 percent of the American public, believes abortion should be legal in most circumstances.

I consider it morally difficult to be against all abortions…So I am part of the Majority Evil Empire to some of you whom I know personally to be highly ethical, to care as I do about our community, and to make a difference in our churches and neighborhoods with an intensity and daily generosity that makes me ashamed of my small contributions.

Many issues like abortion have strong intellectual and practical underpinnings that are compelling on both sides.

When I was growing up in the 1950s my micro-community, the Lynd School District, was split down the middle with no prisoners taken over whether to continue to have a high school in Lynd. It was at a time when it was rare to see a small school close because virtually all small towns equate school with community. Like now, there are always economic and social consequences of a school closing.

Compelling arguments underpinned whether children were better off in a caring and supportive small-school environment; or, in a close-by possibly less comfortable, situation with better access to both academic and vocational classes, more competition, and with a stronger college-prep track.

Nobody was a bad person for taking one or another of those sides — Save our School — or Consolidate. Still it was too easy to paint the opposition into a bad and undeserved corner. Then a bond issue passed by a sliver and the Lynd High School stayed open until it was economically impossible in the late 1970s. However, many residents did whatever it took to provide alternative educational options for their children in adjoining public school districts or parochial schools.

Finally, after Minnesota’s District Pairing and School Choice reforms, situations like the one in Lynd have gratifyingly de-escalated — replacing conflict with healthy diversity.

My end position is that politics gets too closely tied with religion. We take stands all over the place and are passionate to seek the truth. Political verities become Gospel even though they are often difficult or impossible to sort out from competing shades of gray. If we disagree with and cannot change our protagonists on one issue, maybe we ought to find out where we can agree elsewhere.

Politically we Democrats here should consider local candidates disagreeing with the majority of us on abortion, but agreeing to put aside holding up initiatives elsewhere for the sake of abortion that the Body Politic desperately needs to address like schools, transportation, and health care.

Likewise local Republicans need to be able to support people like Arne Carlson from those morally bankrupt Twin Cities where most of our children live. People who believe in fiscal prudence, close scrutiny of the role of government, and encourage private initiatives, but who disagree with you on abortion.

Remember, Roe v. Wade had the support of two reasonable mainstream Minnesota Republicans on the Supreme Court, not just coastal dingbats…How times have changed!

Tom Runholt