Like many who put careers on hold, I wish my economic contributions were appreciated.
I am one of the women referred to in the Star Tribune article “Women caught in fiscal squeeze” (June 24), having spent the past 10 years caring for parents and other aging family members, which kept me out of the workforce and limited the income of my family. The article says, “It’s a disaster for the women concerned, but it’s also bad news for the economy because they are not contributing to growth and their skills are eroding through extended inactivity.”
Let me tell you about my “inactivity” and my “eroding” skills. I have navigated the health care system, the Social Security system, the Medicare system, the legal system and the insurance industry. I have managed trusts, financial investments, tax obligations, and competing demands on my time, my family and my resources. I haven’t exactly been sitting around on my backside, and when I return to the workforce, I’ll do so with a whole new menu of abilities and interpersonal skills that are and should be seen as a great asset to any employer.
The real disaster is not just economic but the gross lack of understanding and appreciation of the work and contributions that women bear in this society and in our economy.
Susan Leibnitz, Prior Lake
Clinton or Romney, the money’s still green
Hillary Rodham Clinton is trying to downplay the fact that she and her husband have made more than $100 million since 2001, so she can relate to middle-class voters if she runs for office in 2016 (“Clinton has stumbled when talking about her personal wealth,” June 24). This is in the context of the criticism of Mitt Romney, in Obama’s campaign, who they said was out of touch with the average voter. The only difference between Clinton and Romney is new money as opposed to old money.
Norman Holen, Richfield
‘Redskins’ a simple matter of free speech
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office was wrong to cancel the Washington Redskins trademark (US Patent Office finds Redskins’ name offensive,” June 19) and the Star Tribune was wrong to endorse that decision (“A slur dressed up as a tradition,” June 24). I say this not because the name of the team is inoffensive, but because the First Amendment precludes regulation of merely offensive speech.
To quote the American Civil Liberties Union: “How much we value the right of free speech is put to its severest test when the speaker is someone we disagree with most. Speech that deeply offends our morality or is hostile to our way of life warrants the same constitutional protection as other speech because the right of free speech is indivisible: When one of us is denied this right, all of us are denied.”
We have made many inroads on free speech in recent decades, eliminating gains of the 20th century. We have provided financial penalties for offensive speech in the workplace. We have criminalized thought by imposing greater sanctions for criminal acts when motivated by racial, ethnic or religious bias.
We must remember who we are and the value we place on freedom of speech, regardless of how much the majority of us may disagree with its content. We must speak up rather than compel others to shut up.
James M. Hamilton, St. Paul
DNR AND HUNTING
The Opinion section is produced by the Editorial Department to foster discussion about key issues. The Editorial Board represents the institutional voice of the Star Tribune and operates independently of the newsroom.