Thanks to Bob Feist for his well-written counterpoint about Vietnam veterans ("Disrespect for Vietnam vets is fact, not myth," June 27). As the wife of a Marine who proudly served his country in Vietnam, I believe I have more firsthand knowledge than commentary writer David Sirota ("The myth of the spat-upon war veteran," June 8).
My husband was seriously wounded in the 1968 Tet Offensive. After numerous surgeries overseas, he was flown stateside, only to be spat on upon his arrival at the airport. He spent months in a hospital bed relearning how to walk and has spent a lifetime in pain. Even so, he still walks proudly as a Marine who served his country because it was the right thing to do.
JUDY ADAMSON, APPLE VALLEY
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I am grateful to Pat Fallon for his opposition to the marriage amendment ("Marriage amendment: 'No' is the helpful vote," June 26.) Unfortunately, the commentary displayed a common misunderstanding that homosexuality is primarily about sex ("keep the government out of our bedrooms"). Marriage, whether straight or gay, is about love, and sex is only one part of it.
NANCY NEWMAN, MINNEAPOLIS
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The decision by Minnesota's United Methodists to oppose the marriage amendment may confuse some people ("State's Methodists take a brave stand," June 6). Let's be clear about the official position of the United Methodist Church on same-sex marriage. The denomination's Book of Discipline states: "We affirm the sanctity of the marriage covenant that is expressed in love, mutual support, personal commitment, and shared fidelity between a man and a woman. We believe that God's blessing rests upon such marriage, whether or not there are children of the union. We reject social norms that assume different standards for women than for men in marriage. We support laws in civil society that define marriage as the union of one man and one woman." Over decades, the worldwide church has steadfastly affirmed that position.
NICK LAW, ST. CROIX FALLS, WIS.
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Perhaps the debate about voter ID is overblown. In the two years since the U.S. Supreme Court's Citizens United decision, which declared that corporate "persons" have the same First Amendment free-speech rights as "we the people," much has changed. Our elections have become auctions for sale to the highest bidder -- so those voters not blatantly disenfranchised by voter ID laws passed across the country at the instigation of the American Legislative Exchange Council may decide whom to vote for based on negative, distorted ads.
We can fight back, but first we have to realize that democracy is not a spectator sport. Its survival requires engaged, informed citizens. There's a growing movement afoot across the country to amend the Constitution to state unequivocally that money spent to influence elections by corporate "persons" and wealthy individuals is not equal to free speech and can, therefore, be regulated.
This week's Supreme Court ruling against Montana's attempt to regulate such speech has only further energized the movement. At the very least, every citizen can make use of the "mute" button on the remote -- making all that corporate cash spent on ads spent for naught.
PHYLLIS RODEN, MINNEAPOLIS
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The article about the way members of Congress have used inside information (most often, pending legislation) to adjust their investment portfolios was interesting ("Lawmakers recast their portfolios as economy sank," June 26). Any reader who was the least bit shocked by the abhorrent practices of our trusted elected officials detailed in the article should read Peter Schweitzer's 2011 book, "Throw Them All Out." Schweitzer recounts his meticulous research linking dozens of stock and real-estate moves made by members of Congress based on inside information that would land any of the citizens they represent in jail. Passage of the STOCK Act (first attempted in 2006) four months ago by Congress was due partly to public outrage caused by this book, and the law still doesn't go far enough.
DONALD G. ENGEBRETSON, EXCELSIOR
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I wholeheartedly agree with the need to change the way the political parties select candidates for public office ("The few, the proud, the machine," June 24). I propose a possible fifth consideration, in addition to the four outlined in the commentary.
At least one of the major political parties currently asks its candidates for party endorsement to pledge not to run in the primary if not nominated at the convention. The purpose is to end the candidate selection process and begin the campaign as soon as possible.
What this also accomplishes, however, is that some candidates who would stand a good chance of winning in the primary, but who are not popular with the convention delegates, could be eliminated before the primary due to these pledges.
Moving the primary election to June would help address part of this problem. But if it's decided to keep the caucus system, then also eliminating the pledges could result in a much fairer selection process. The question then is whether the caucus system is worth salvaging or whether it should be eliminated altogether.
ROBERT SULLENTROP, MINNEAPOLIS
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The shooting of a 5-year-old is senseless, maddening and sad. You'd think it would be unsafe to walk or even drive through north Minneapolis. But this fear can be hyped by the media and blown out of proportion to reality. North Minneapolis has more than 60,000 residents and 13 neighborhoods. Yes, some neighborhoods have pockets of problem properties, and poverty, but typecasting the entire area is not fair.
There is an marketing effort called "Get to NOMI" (short for north Minneapolis). What it is saying is that you'd be surprised to find out there are a lot of hardworking regular folks of diverse backgrounds, and great areas to visit.
The area is adjacent to Theodore Wirth Park and the Eloise Butler Wildflower garden; Wirth Lake; the Farmers Market; downtown, and the warehouse district. There are wonderful, tree-lined streets and parkways with a variety of quality affordable housing.
There are signs of rebirth everywhere. Don't write us off! We provide an important tax base to Minneapolis -- now and even more in the future.
KURT LAWRASON, MINNEAPOLIS