An April 20 article quoted a proponent of renaming Lake Calhoun, who declared that the renaming “would go a long way toward acknowledging the sometimes troubling history of Dakota-white relations.” In what way does renaming a lake address the dire issues facing many Native Americans today, like widespread drug-abuse and lack of economic opportunity on reservations? We don’t need more “acknowledging,” we need action.
Consider Arizona: Just about every street, park, and mountain carries a Native American or Spanish name. How are their Native American-white and Hispanic-white relations going? If Minnesotans truly cared about the Native American people, and righting the government’s wrongs, then the Red Lake Reservation would not have poverty levels comparable to a rural Afghan village.
The appearance of “Bde Maka Ska” alongside “Lake Calhoun” is perfectly sufficient. Erasing the “Lake Calhoun” name does nothing productive — but it ignores our community’s history while alienating the southwest Minneapolis voters who truly care about making a tangible difference.
Michael Wellvang, Minneapolis
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The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board’s planning committee was right to unanimously support changing the name of Lake Calhoun. While we live in an age too often governed by ridiculous political correctness, altering the namesake of Minneapolis’ most beautiful body of water is a very worthy cause.
John C. Calhoun was a despicable figure in American history and perhaps the most influential proponent of slavery our country has ever known. Unlike the American founders, who viewed slavery as a necessary evil and sought to put it on a path of destruction, Calhoun argued that the insidious institution was “a good — a positive good.” He contended that the truth articulated in the Declaration of Independence that all men are created equal “has become the most false and dangerous of all political errors.” Calhoun maintained that citizens derive their equality not from their sovereignty as individuals under “the laws of nature and nature’s God,” but from the constitutional equality of the states within the Union. It’s this philosophy that fueled the Civil War.
Minnesota’s Civil War history is a proud one — ours was the first state to commit troops to President Abraham Lincoln, and the casualty rate of the First Minnesota Regiment at Gettysburg was the highest in the Union Army. Honoring Calhoun by naming one of our great urban waterways after him runs contrary to that noble legacy.
Andy Brehm, Minneapolis
EDINA AND SMOKING
Making the legal smoking age 21 will not deter teenagers
When our teenagers turn 18, we consider them an adult in most of life’s experiences — such as the armed forces, buying a car, renting a house and being on their own in general (“Edina on smart track to smoking age of 21,” editorial, April 24). If Edina has its way, tobacco will join alcohol as an item the 18-year-old adult is not mature enough to make a decision on. Making the age 21 to purchase tobacco will not deter that teenager from engaging in smoking or chewing tobacco. In fact, when dealing with millennials, my experience is just the opposite where teenage tobacco use could rise.
Christopher Lund, Hamburg
MARCH FOR SCIENCE
Why hundreds of thousands hit the streets nationwide
Hundreds of thousands around the country marched for science on Saturday. So what brought out these scientists, educators and researchers for something as abstract as “science”? Yes, we came out in response to threats to funding; to obstacles to the immigration of highly trained, extremely bright people who want to bring their talents to our country; to the dangerous slashing of EPA staff and funding, and to the Trump administration’s efforts to prevent us from effectively responding to the scientifically demonstrated truths about the dangers of global warming.
But science is more than that. These marchers were trying to remind us that science is a valuable method for discovering how the world really is, how it really works. Before being accepted as true, the results of scientific research have to be submitted to other qualified scientists who recheck the work and make every effort to find mistakes, to disprove it. Only when research is independently confirmed can it be accepted as true. This tedious, time-proven process has given us incredible tools to improve our lives and expand our horizons. Without science all we really have is opinion.
Science allows us to move beyond the individual experiences, biases and preconceptions that can blind us to the realities we must deal with. Without science we are bound to make serious mistakes; without science we are truly only human.
Dr. Bruce D. Snyder, St. Paul
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The Star Tribune left out some important information in its April 23 article on the “science march” in St. Paul. The article said Mark Seeley opened the rally, when in fact there were many young people who spoke before he did about why science was important to them. Some were nervous, some were loud and bold. They were Native American, immigrants, LGBT and more. They all spoke so well. Those of us who are graying may have knowledge and wisdom, and we may need to atone for some of the mess this planet is in. The young people have great determination and enthusiasm. Thank you to all who spoke and those who teach and encourage them. They are the hope for the future.
Barbara Fleming, Minneapolis
Headline’s big type overplayed study’s link to dementia risk
Ironically on the same day that thousands marched across the U.S. in support of science, the Star Tribune ran a front-page headline stating: “Diet soda linked to dementia” (April 22). However, when you actually read the article, it says, citing the lead author of the study, that “the main limitation … is the important point that an observational study like this cannot prove that drinking artificially sweetened drinks is linked to strokes or dementia, but it does identify an intriguing trend that will need to be explored in other studies.” Maybe there is room here for training editorial staff on the scientific principal that correlation does not prove causality. Seems like sensationalism trumped science.
Michelle Hayden Soderberg, Plymouth
A too-friendly report card strikes a false balance
Reading the Star Tribune’s “mixed report card” for President Trump’s first 100 days (April 23), I’m concerned Trump may be the victim of what George W. Bush called “the soft bigotry of low expectations.” The list of disappointments is fine, if incomplete, but the “Achievements” list strains to find events that reflect well on Trump’s presidency. The article is an example of the media’s obsession with finding balance in politics, even where none exists. The presentation counts among Trump’s achievements: giving a speech, reneging on his campaign rhetoric after a 10-minute chat with the president of China, dropping a few bombs, and rolling back a few important health and safety regulations. When a minority of Americans elected Trump, is this really all they expected from his first 100 days? That’s for them to decide, but they — and all Star Tribune readers — will have a hard time fairly evaluating Trump if this paper values balance over objectivity.
Chris Evans, Maple Grove