Tears came to my eyes as I awoke Thursday morning, still partly in a wonderful dream in which I was going to an “A Prairie Home Companion” show. Garrison Keillor and a Walter Cronkite-type character were in the front seat of our carriage and we were in the back. My husband suggested we listen very carefully to the amazing discourse these two were having, as it was an unexpected gift to be with them. They had unique takes on the world today, and past — and wisdom, hope and jokes to offer for the present and the future. Then, in real-word time, we discussed how incredibly sad we were, and my tears continued — most of all for Garrison, his family and friends, and the tens of thousands of people who were touched by his work over 40 years (“Scandal hits ‘Home,’ ” front page, Nov. 30). We are in that last group and want him and others to know that he has our prayers, support and gratitude — for so much given. We know that he is wise enough to realize that the true rewards are still his — and that his legacy remains in the hearts of thousands. We hope and pray that he will continue with his creative efforts and dreams, but most of all that he can enjoy them with his family and loved ones — and, if we are very, very lucky, us lifelong residents of Lake Wobegon.
Susan Ehlers, Laurel, N.Y.
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I wish that Minnesota Public Radio would reconsider its decision to fire Garrison Keillor. It seems ungracious, ungrateful, unfeeling and wrong.
Keillor has nurtured our community life and our spiritual possibilities for decades. My life would have been poorer without his radio presence, and I’m convinced that in his professional life he was pure, mostly. That is all we can ask of anyone.
Please, MPR. Be kind. Be wise.
Alice O. Duggan, St. Paul
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I understand Minnesota Public Radio’s concern about sexual harassment in the workplace, or at least the appearance of insensitivity regarding these important and pervasive issues. However, I think the knee-jerk response in this case is really over the top. Keillor really is the shyest guy in the room. I do not believe he ever knowingly committed any impropriety. This is becoming French Revolution stuff — just a single comment and it’s “off with his head!” Keillor is a great artist and a good man. MPR owes much of its success to him. It should be ashamed. The Star Tribune should step up and recognize that all mistakes have gradation — the kid who steals a Snickers and the bank robber are neither morally nor criminally equal. Let’s get a grip.
Mark Mammel, Mahtomedi
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The bumper sticker on my car reads “I Make MPR Happen.” In truth, Garrison Keillor has made MPR happen. So far, I have seen nothing that would lead me to conclude that he has committed an offense so unforgivable that he must be completely erased from MPR programming.
Gloria Peck, Golden Valley
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I urge MPR to either come forward with a stronger case against Garrison Keillor or retract its disassociation from him and his body of work. Currently, Keillor’s account of his transgression stands as the public record on this matter, and subsequently, MPR appears to be grossly overreacting.
There is a significant cultural context to this issue. Keillor’s artistic creations added an important element to this state’s identity. So the steps MPR has taken not only diminish Keillor’s reputation, they also undercut what we believe to be good about Minnesota. This is a weighty consequence — MPR better be right in its actions; so far it has not made the case.
Chip Halbach, Minneapolis
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I agree with others who think MPR’s decision to fire Garrison Keillor based on the information provided fell short of fairness. However, I strongly disagree with those who state that they will pull all support from MPR because of this administrative decision. I am an elderly woman who has listened to MPR since its beginning. It has been my source of lifelong learning. This station covers every imaginable topic around the globe. It is the most trustworthy source of news, its classical music station provides endless joy and the Current challenges one to new music. It ranks among the top public radio stations. We need what the excellent staff of MPR provides to all who listen. I urge people to continue to support this public radio station and not throw the baby out with the bathwater.
Darlene M. Olson, Golden Valley
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I am so sad that Garrison Keillor got fired by MPR. They should not have done that. On his show, “A Prairie Home Companion,” he touched our souls with his honesty and wit and made us all feel human for our foibles, too. True, he touched a woman in a place that isn’t her soul, and doing that wasn’t appropriate. But what he did isn’t fire-worthy. He’s apologized to her. We all have our foibles.
Enough already. Don’t beat up on a 75-year-old man. Fire Harvey Weinstein and all the predators, but not a decent man like Keillor for a moment of comparatively mild indiscretion.
Paul Rozycki, Minneapolis
U.S. SEN. AL FRANKEN
Senator isn’t irreplaceable; he should take high road, resign
As a former three-term legislator, I’m grateful for U.S. Sen. Al Franken’s apology to his sexual-harassment accusers; however, he should take the high road and resign (“A humbled Franken back on the hill,” Nov. 28).
Good people have fought tirelessly for decades so that our co-workers, children and grandchildren won’t be sexually groped, diddled, manhandled, touched without their consent or abused.
The latest news swirls around Matt Lauer, Garrison Keillor and John Conyers; but the Minnesota question looms: What will Franken do at this critical juncture?
He’s not the only Minnesota progressive who will champion women’s rights or who can speak out about net neutrality. Several progressive, qualified women are ready for Gov. Mark Dayton to appoint to fill out his term.
Another long, protracted congressional investigation would be hard on the senator, his family and our state. Besides, Congress has no due process for sexual assault or harassment complaints. While taxpayers have been underwriting secret payments to victims of sexual abuse by congressmen for years, the victims are required to undergo counseling, mediation and a 30-day cooling-off period before their complaint is filed. And absent an Equal Rights Amendment in our Constitution, existing laws against sexual harassment and assault have no teeth.
That leaves resignation the only viable option, allowing Franken to listen, learn and help combat this terrible norm in our society from the outside.
Sexual abuse is nonpartisan; it extends all the way up to our self-proclaimed predator-in-chief Donald Trump. But first, it’s Franken’s turn to do the right thing.
Betty Folliard, Northfield
The writer was a DFL member of the Minnesota House, 1997-2002.
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Sen. Franken, your explanation that you take thousands of photos and can’t remember what you did is no longer an excuse. In fact, it is a weak defense that implies you can’t speak definitively of exhibiting proper behavior. Now that a fifth woman has come forward, your spokesperson has voiced the same excuse (“New Franken accuser tells CNN the senator cupped her breast,” StarTribune.com, Nov. 30). That no longer has validity. How many more victims before you and your party understand you no longer have relevance? Any impending ethics investigation is just a delay tactic and carries no weight. Do the right thing, Sen. Franken. Minnesota deserves better representation.
Joe Polunc, Cologne