Caryn Sullivan: Friday Food for Thought

After ignoring the explosion of crime in Minnesota, Gov. Tim Walz got fired up over the holiday weekend. Why now? Oh yeah, we have an election in 59 days.

Friday Food for Thought
Caryn Sullivan

With traditional values under siege, it often feels like we’re living in an inside out, upside down world, where right is wrong, and left is right, and those who speak up are shut down.

Friday Food for Thought offers readers news to chew on over the weekend.

Flatten the curve — a new iteration

Kermit the Frog must be sweating buckets. With Sacramento cooking at 116 degrees on Tuesday, the electric grid was severely strained. Gov. Gavin Newsom asked Californians to sweat it out by:

  • Setting thermostats to 78
  • Turning off unnecessary lights
  • Avoiding using large appliances
  • Avoiding charging electric vehicles during certain hours

Do we file this in the “you can’t make this up” file? More than 1 million Californians own electric vehicles. Newsom just signed legislation that will move the state towards a total ban of gasoline-fueled vehicles after 2035. But when the heat is on, the cars are parked.

The plan to go green seems to be based more on sacrifice than a considered step-by-step plan.

To get a glimpse of our future, let’s look at Europe. This week, the European Commission president acknowledged a global energy shortage. Citizens need to do anything possible to save electricity, she said.

And the goal is to “flatten the curve and avoid the peak demands.” Oh, déjà vu.

Why should we care? The Walz administration wants to adopt the California standard here in Minnesota. Are you prepared to park your vehicle when we have an electricity shortage? Will you be biking to work in February?

To judge or not to judge

After ignoring the explosion of crime in Minnesota, Gov. Tim Walz got fired up over the holiday weekend. Following an apparent gang-related shooting at the Great Minnesota Get Together, Walz chastised prosecutors and judges for not being tougher. Walz called for harsher penalties and … you guessed it … more funding for law enforcement.

Why now? Oh yeah, we have an election in 59 days, though early voting begins on Sept. 23.

Walz and his predecessor, Democrat Mark Dayton, appointed nearly 200 judges in 12 years. Prior to Dayton, Tim Pawlenty, the last Republican governor, appointed more than 120 judges in eight years.

In addition to appointing judges to district, appellate, administrative, and Supreme Court seats, the governor makes between 300 and 500 appointments to a variety of boards and commissions each year.

Just one more reason why elections matter.

Abortion versus crime

Asked about priorities this November, DFL and Republican voters have dramatically different responses.

Abortion was the number one issue cited by visitors to the DFL booth at the State Fair.

Crime, high prices, and education are overarching concerns for Republicans.

Consider these statistics from 2021. Whereas 9,100 Minnesota women underwent abortions, nearly 11,000 Minnesotans were victims of aggravated assaults, not to mention robbery, rape, murder, and carjackings.

The 2021 statistics aren’t nearly as bad as 2022. Is this not a concern for all Minnesotans?

If those statistics aren’t sobering enough, there’s “The Tim Walz Crime Report,” in which podcast host and Minnesota resident Michele Tafoya reports murders are up 93 percent since Walz took office. Check it out:

What do abortion and crime have in common? The more proactive we are, the less of an issue they are.

Food for thought.

From God save the queen to God save the king

Yesterday, 96-year-old Queen Elizabeth II died peacefully, surrounded by family. Just 27 when she became queen, she grew into the role. As 73-year-old King Charles III takes her place, the royal anthem undergoes a gender change.

Writing on Twitter about Queen Elizabeth’s imminent death, a Carnegie Mellon University professor named Uju Anya, a self-described antiracist feminist, said, “I heard the chief monarch of a thieving raping genocidal empire is finally dying. May her pain be excruciating.”

This is what a $76,000 undergraduate education gets you today. What’s happening to our country?

More on that topic tomorrow.


Caryn Sullivan

A retired attorney and author of the award-winning memoir, "Bitter or Better: Grappling With Life on the Op-Ed Page," Caryn Sullivan has inspired readers with her thoughtful commentary for the past two decades. To learn more about Caryn’s work or to connect, visit