President Harry Truman took steps to integrate the military. President Lyndon Johnson oversaw passage of the Civil Rights Act. Now, by endorsing equal marriage rights for gays and lesbians, President Obama has joined the pantheon of presidents who have taken courageous stands on civil rights.
Already some pundits are pointing to this as a bad political decision and a move that may cost him the election. Never mind that leadership sometimes requires taking an unpopular position, even in an election year.
Sometimes it's more important to do the right thing. I don't believe the president's support for marriage equality will cost him the election.
With enough introspection, Americans tend to come down in favor of civil rights. In another generation we will look back at 2012 and wonder what all the fuss was about.
The unintended consequence of the push for an anti-gay marriage amendment in Minnesota and similar campaigns across the nation will be the accelerated granting of marriage rights, as more citizens see the injustice involved.
DAVID HANSEN, OWATONNA, MINN.
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Let's have the state quit issuing marriage licenses and issue civil union licenses only. Then everyone, gay or straight, can have the benefits of a state-sanctioned union and the religious folk can still call their unions marriage if that makes them feel good.
PATRICK G. BORRELL, WAVERLY, MINN.
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To the Republican legislators who voted for the stadium bill: You just forfeited your claim to being opposed to big government, corporate bailouts, entitlement programs and any pretense that you support "free market" policies.
Gov. Mark Dayton: You were elected to help improve the lives of those who are less fortunate and cannot help themselves.
Instead, your No. 1 priority has been to seek a way to use public money to buy a stadium for an organization that can afford to buy one on its own.
Too bad that when we finally see some bipartisan cooperation, it's in the form of everyone selling out their principles to prevent a billionaire from leaving town.
DAVID ZACHMEYER, HUTCHINSON, MINN.
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I'm in awe of Minnesota politicians. Less than a year ago they were wondering how to keep the lights on, and now they have the political will to build a stadium and allow beer to be sold in another sports venue. And all against the will of the majority of Minnesotans.
They should consider passing a bill now that will fund a new stadium every 25 years for a team yet to be named. This would keep the multimillionaire team owners happy, as well as the people who like to dress up in costumes.
Our leaders could then spend less time arguing and more time on nuisance distractions like infrastructure and education.
MIKE JOHNSON, BROOKLYN CENTER
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The Star Tribune's May 7 editorial on crop insurance ("Small farms lose as crop program grows") was insulting and unfair. Crop insurance has become the risk-management tool of choice for Minnesota farmers, because it works. The program was created to ensure that the private sector would help shoulder part of agriculture's risk.
As recently as the late 1990s, only about 30 percent of farmers participated. Today, crop insurance covers 80 percent of eligible lands, providing more than $114 billion in coverage in 2011. Crop insurance not only prevents taxpayers from shouldering the full burden of a farm disaster, but also gets payments to farmers quickly, typically within 30 days of finishing a claim.
Compare that with federal programs of past years that have taken one to two years to get needed payments to those who have suffered losses. Crop-insurance subsidies are going up because the program is expanding and replacing traditional farm programs.
Overall taxpayer costs from crop insurance and traditional farm programs combined are going down.
Mother Nature does not just strike small farms. A crop-insurance indemnity does not make a farmer or rancher "whole" any more than a check from an insurance company replaces a house lost in a tornado.
What crop insurance does is help farmers dust themselves off after natural disasters, ensuring their ability to plant the next year, which is essential to our nation's food security.
PAUL JOHNSON; PRESIDENT, MINNESOTA ASSOCIATION OF WHEAT GROWERS
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My heart goes out to the landowners who will lose land to the new bridge being built across the St. Croix River ("The fortunes of Wisconsin landowners take a turn," May 8). As a one-time Minnesota farm girl who still believes nothing is more beautiful than a field of corn, in part because of its promise of plenty, I'd like to ask: In all those negotiations for the new bridge, did anyone ask about preserving our source of food and fiber for future generations?
GLORIA J. KIESTER, NORTHFIELD
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I was deeply touched by Michael Nesset's essay on depression, particularly the understanding and loving way he portrayed his wife ("A life of bravery, a life of torment," May 8). Depression is difficult to endure and hard to witness with a loved one.
Nesset understood the rage his wife experienced because of the illness and stood by her with compassion, which is admirable. His story was so well-written that it brought tears to my eyes.
If more people saw the disease for what it is, maybe those who suffer from it would be more forthcoming about their own pain and not feel the need to battle it alone. Nesset has done a great public service by sharing his experience.
TERRY EMMERICH, ANDOVER