Nelson-Pallmeyer continues state's progressive tradition

By Robert Heyman

When Minnesotans go to caucus on Tuesday, February 5, many will think only of the choice they are making in the presidential race. However, it’s important to keep in mind that choosing a presidential candidate is only one of many important choices that voters will be called upon to make that evening. We must also be ready to make a choice in the U.S. Senate race to replace (hopefully) Norm Coleman. But this is not only Norm Coleman’s seat. This is the seat of the great progressive leader, the late Senator Paul Wellstone, and in choosing, voters should be looking for the candidate best prepared to carry Wellstone’s mantle back into the Senate. I for one believe that that candidate is Professor Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer.Of any Senate candidate, Jack has the best understanding of the plethora of issues presented by global warming and consequently the best, most pro-active approach to averting the crisis. He has laid out a bold vision of reducing U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by 2030. He is also the only candidate in this race to sign onto the 1 Sky proposal, which works to combat greenhouse gas emissions. Jack firmly understands that because of the crisis we face in global warming, we are living through humanity’s “Most Important Decade,” and that this is one issue where we cannot afford to fail.

Furthermore, Jack is committed to a complete end to our disastrous war in Iraq, just as he was committed in his efforts to prevent it, helping counsel the late Senator Wellstone in his vote against the invasion. Jack supports a quick and complete dismantling of the U.S. military presence in Iraq. No residual forces. No permanent bases. He does, however, call for continued U.S. reconstruction aid to Iraq to help repair the damage we wrought and return four million displaced Iraqis to their homes.

Jack also supports several other major initiatives, such as universal national single payer health coverage, universal pre-school for all 3-5 year olds, increased K-12 funding, and funding levels that would make college tuitions affordable to all students. He supports comprehensive immigration reform that treats people like people, not demons. He also is a strong backer of equal rights for the GLBT community and of a woman’s right to choose.

Finally, Jack’s life experience as an aid worker fighting hunger here in the United States, as a witness to the violence caused by American imperialism in Nicaragua in the 1980s, and as Professor of Peace and Justice Studies at the University of St. Thomas has led him to understand that to achieve the goals mentioned above, we must first change the priorities of our government, moving away from militarism, imperialism, and oppression. Instead, we must refocus on building a stronger America through investment in peace at home and abroad. He is committed to cutting military spending and moving the focus of our government away from destruction to constructive purposes, such as stopping global warming and improving health care and education. He supports a full repeal of the Bush Administration’s tax cuts, so that the rich once again pay their fair share and the burden is not entirely upon an increasingly stressed middle class. He understands that without bringing this serious shift in priorities other reformers, no matter how well-intentioned, will eventually fail in their task.

For all of these reasons I urge all of you in the Macalester community to caucus on behalf of Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer in the DFL caucus being held this coming Tuesday. If you desire more information about his campaign you can visit his website at www.jackforsenate.org.

Robert Heyman ’10 can be contacted at [email protected]