What to do in 2016?

If you lean Democrat, should you vote for the 68-year-old white person with lots of baggage (fair or not) based — not a little — on nostalgia (accurate or not) for an administration that entered office almost a quarter of a century ago and because that person happens to be female? Or should you embrace the 74-year-old white person who until recently did not consider himself to be a Democrat and who promises to lead a revolution as president, even though not one member of the Congress he would face (535 members strong) would share his ideology?

If you lean Republican, should you vote for the 69-year-old white person with absolutely no allegiance to your party, or the first-term senator who apparently has no friends among anyone who has actually worked with him, or an “establishment” candidate who claims to be “electable” — which has worked so well for the Republican Party in recent elections?

Or should you choose what’s behind Door No. 3? That will probably be another 70-plus-year-old white person, someone who didn’t have enough fire in the belly to enter the fight with everyone else, but who might be willing to “save” us now — after the smoke clears — from all the others who were at least willing to put their political necks on the line and who did invest the blood, sweat and tears required to run the primary/endorsement gantlet that we rely on to weed out weak, unprepared and unworthy candidates.

Ain’t American democracy grand?

Tom Vollbrecht, Plymouth

• • •

The term “establishment candidate” has a trendy negative connotation, but it is not an accurate label for Hillary Clinton. It has taken so many years for a woman politician to finally be in the position of having enough experience, credentials, name recognition and financial resources to be a serious candidate for president of the United States. The hurdles that women in politics have to deal with in the public eye do not make it realistic to think there would be a female candidate who has not been around for a while. The female candidate on the Republican side suspended her campaign on Wednesday, lacking the required résumé or recognition. Women remain significantly underrepresented in public office on the state and federal levels. It has taken Clinton many years to build the résumé a woman would need to run for president, and now she get’s labeled “an establishment candidate.” Kind of boggles the mind and seems to confirm the double standard that still exists. If you don’t like her policies, that is a reason to vote for someone else. However, to reject her candidacy by claiming she is “the establishment” sets up a catch-22 scenario that is a real setback for progress.

Jennifer Nash, Minnetonka

• • •

A Feb. 10 letter writer (and former National Organization for Women executive) offers a rather confused endorsement of Hillary Clinton, averring that she supports Hillary’s stands on the issues and is not supporting her purely on the basis of gender. Which side of which issue? Clinton’s flip-flops are legion. Against gay marriage before she was for it. Voted for the war in Iraq, which she now decries. For TPA (trade promotion authority) while at the State Department, now opposed. The list is quite extensive and would require a fair amount of newsprint. Well, you get the point.

Of course, the writer cannot resist the temptation to close with a “drive-by shooting,” noting the supposed “unsurpassed extremism of all the Republican candidates.” No specifics, naturally.

One wonders how much credence should be afforded to a letter writer who claims that the “North American continent is the only inhabited one in the world that has not had a female leader of a country.” Apparently she forgot the 19th prime minister of Canada — Kim Campbell. Perhaps because Campbell represented the Tories, or perhaps because the writer has yet to master Google. No matter — facts must not stand in the way of leftist dogma.

B. Robert Smith, Minneapolis

 

JAMAR CLARK CASE

‘Slaying?’ Star Tribune should take more care with descriptions

The summary for an article about groups suing for the release of videos of the Jamar Clark shooting (Minnesota section, Feb. 10) says that the groups are demanding footage of the man’s “slaying.” Merriam-Webster’s dictionary says that “slay” means “to kill violently, wantonly, or in great numbers” and to “kill, murder.” The description is biased and misleading. It has not been determined that the killing was a murder. The newspaper should take care not to use biased, inflammatory language when writing about an incident that has not yet been legally decided.

James Brandt, New Brighton

 

THE LOTTERY

Playing is my choice. If it’s a bad one, not your problem. Butt out.

Bill Boyt (“Playing the lottery? Stop. Just don’t do it,” Feb. 10) may well be 100 percent correct. The Minnesota Lottery does not quite deliver on the promise (though 24 cents of every dollar does go to Minnesota coffers in some fashion). It likely fuels gambling addictions. It may well cause problematic spending for those least likely or able to overcome that unwise spending.

But Boyt’s central tenet that the lottery itself is immoral and unethical is patently false. Minnesotans did not have the lottery forced upon them. A significant majority of voters approved its establishment. If the lottery is immoral, then Minnesotans opted for immorality in large numbers. Further, how do you legitimately claim the lottery is unethical? Investing in the stock market carries many of the same risks and is not considered by all reasonable standards unethical.

What I really find troublesome, though, is that Boyt feels that he somehow has been imbued with the right to tell me what I can and cannot, should and should not, spend my money on. That is my decision to do so if I wish (which actually I do not). But if it is a bad choice, I have the right and freedom as an American to make that choice without hearing tsk-tsk from Boyt or anyone else.

Richard Rivett, Chaska

• • •

Attending pro-sporting events? “Stop. Just don’t do it. It’s an immoral diversion of money that could be better spent.” You could also include building billion-dollar stadiums.

Bob Gildea, Arlington, Minn.