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From the Left Hand Corner: Three Rs

Back in country school days it was “readin’,” “ritin” and “rithmetic.” Now for this Democratic Party in Minnesota it’s the right, the responsibility and, hopefully, the reasonable.

Minnesota Democrats (DFL) gained the right to govern as of Nov. 6, 2012. Minnesota votes granted that. We already had the governorship. We expected to regain the state Senate and, by some pleasant surprise, the state House of Representatives went Democratic.

It was a clear sweep, presenting opportunity and challenge.

So now, assuring the majority sticks together and doesn’t fall prey to the internecine battles, as it did in the 1970s, the DFL is our governing force for this legislative session and the next.

With this right to govern comes a responsibility to govern responsibly. The DFL won its right to govern by fairly narrow margins. There was no landslide. There is no carte blanche entitlement to ramrod the DFL platform over and over into law.

I hope the DFL majorities do not succumb to the temptation to get even for the hardline overstepping of the more extreme Republican leadership of the past few years.

People are tired of extremists infighting. Hopefully they have also had enough platitudes and jargon and emphasis of fancy words and grabbing onto catchwords.

Let us hope that our DFL government can be open, direct and ready to speak and acknowledge the painful truths that exist. It doesn’t matter how we got here. Republicans will say we spent too much. Some few of us will say we’re undertaxed.

The truth in government, as in most other endeavors, is that you get what you pay for — and if you buy now, pay later, eventually later comes and you still gotta pay, with interest and a higher price.

We’ve robbed our schools and it is time to pay them back. We’ve allowed our infrastructure to deteriorate and now it’s going to cost more just to repair, renovate and maintain without even building new.

It doesn’t matter how we got here. We have to make up for the inopportune tax cuts of 1998-2000 and for the several budgetary school cuts, shortchanging and sleight of hand budgetary “balancing” of the last decade.

It is with a dire financial climate the DFL is called upon to exercise its right to govern now in a responsible and reasonable way. Hopefully it will.

To succeed it must operate responsibly and reasonably, because there is another “R” that is lurking not very far away.

The fourth R is for review, or scrutiny, if you will, that comes about inevitably on election 2014.