Something is fundamentally amiss with our political campaigns.
I recently returned from a 10-day tour of New England. Of course, at night one turns on the local broadcasts in the hotel to catch up on news and weather. I can't tell you how great it was to get home and see some hateful television commercials directed at people whose names and faces I actually recognize.
DON GRUSSING, MINNETONKA
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Something is fundamentally amiss with our political campaigns when the candidates and their staffs know more about voters' personal lives ("Campaigns mine personal lives to get out vote," Oct. 14) than the voters know about the candidates and their all-too-often nebulous and unspecific plans to balance the budget, raise taxes and otherwise regulate our lives.
JACK ULDRICH, MINNEAPOLIS
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Last Thursday, we listened as two leaders of our country debated issues. They conveyed their ideas in very different manners.
We were so disappointed to see and hear Vice President Joe Biden yell, smirk, laugh, interrupt and portray facial expressions of a spoiled teenager.
What was so funny? Twenty-three million people out of work? Deficits that will bankrupt our country? Four Americans murdered in Libya and an economy that is dead? I don't call this passion or energizing anyone. This is being plain rude!
Yes, Biden did energize the Republican side -- we found out how he would conduct himself as president. He did not laugh at his opponent, Paul Ryan; he laughed at the American people. Ryan was outstanding, with his calm, intelligent manners and replies. He demonstrated true leadership.
DAWN WOLF, BATTLE LAKE, MINN.
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In the debate, Ryan said regarding abortion: "We don't think unelected judges should make this decision. That people through their elected representatives in reaching a consensus in society through the democratic process should make this determination."
What I hear between the lines is that he does not believe in the structure of government that is the cornerstone of our democracy. He does not respect the balance of powers carefully crafted in our Constitution.
The judicial branch exists to ensure that the will of the majority is always tempered by an interpretation of the law by those schooled to understand both our Constitution and our legal history. Judges are sworn to determine what is just and legal, not what is popular. I should think the most basic qualification for a candidate for the executive branch is a deep understanding and respect for the role and importance of each of the branches of government.
ANNIKA FJELSTAD, MINNEAPOLIS
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Regarding "Affirmative action's time is not up" (editorial, Oct. 12): I disagree. If it were possible to admit more minorities without punishing the more-qualified students, affirmative action in university admissions would be acceptable.
I sent my open-minded, color-blind daughter to college, but now that she is in the midst of grad school applications, she has learned the new racism. She can spout out statistics about "overrepresented" and "underrepresented" minorities. She wants to know which schools will give her a spot based on her grades and test scores. She worked hard, but she's not underrepresented, so she knows her hard work isn't quite good enough.
Let the California system be the model. That system got rid of affirmative action, and based on merit, 50 percent of the students are minorities -- of course, they're overrepresented minorities -- which in the new racism doesn't count as diverse.
SHELLEY HAINES, PLYMOUTH
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I was taken back by the response of the coach of the popular and successful coach of the Minnesota Lynx that racial profiling was a factor in a traffic stop of one of her basketball players for having an item hanging from the rear-view mirror. This is illegal for any person. Why did race enter into this?
It was recently reported that white Caucasian people were outnumbered by other ethnic classes in California, so white people are the minority. So the next arrest of a white person for this offense would have a racial-profiling claim in California?
CHARLES STENNES, HOPKINS
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It was with great sadness that I read the Oct. 15 story about the "Nones" becoming the fastest-growing religion. We should keep in mind that a church is not a museum for saints, but rather a hospital for sinners. Jesus actually hated religion, but Christianity is a lifestyle.
I met all my closest friends at church. Its a place to study the Bible and hear the word of God so that you can grow your faith. You can mentor or be mentored by others. You can serve others both in and outside the church through ministries and outreach. You can even serve the world through direct participation or support of overseas missions. Health is restored through the prayers of many people we even know.
Many of us have had a bad experience at some church, but you don't give up on God. We believe that the sun will rise each morning, and if we can have faith in the creation, why can't we have faith in the creator?
DAN SKILLINGS, EDINA
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It would be good if someone would do a study about the civic engagement and charitable activity of we "Nones." The professor in the article asserted that the decline in churchgoing is cause for concern because it could lead to a decrease in charitable activities -- "like voting, like giving to charities, walking old ladies across the street."
It is so tiring to be assumed to have no conscience, no awareness of society, no commitment to the common good, no incentive to do the right thing, etc., if not goaded to do so by a religion. That's insulting.
I believe in kindness, in helping others, in behaving ethically. This is because this is the right way to live, not because a church is telling me to, or because, selfishly, it will assure my eternal salvation.
Religious people must believe they would turn to barbarism if they left religion and would be unable to behave well on their own. The other "Nones" I know are often more tolerant and kind than those who claim a religion.
KATHLEEN KORTZ, MINNEAPOLIS