German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer said: "The test of the morality of a society is what it does for its children." If that be the case, we are the most immoral of societies possible. Saturday's Star Tribune had a story about the children being held in detention in Customs and Border Protection facilities in Texas ("Migrant children living in filth at overcrowded facility," front page, June 22). The conditions: standing-room-only for months; no ability to wash or brush their teeth; same clothes they were captured in with no ability to wash them; teen mothers with no diapers for their babies.
We treat animals better. Is this what our country has become?
The fact that we, the richest nation in the world, are treating these children this way is a crime against humanity. Any politician from any party who does not rise up and speak against this deserves to be summarily booted from office. If you need a reason to get involved in politics, this is reason enough. We need to shout to the world: "Not in my name!" My country does not wage ware against children. This is beyond politics. No decent human being can remain silent.
Robert Veitch, Richfield
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In 2018, news of the Trump administration's family separation policy at U.S. borders caused grief and outrage across the country, and eventually, the outcry — even from supporters of the president — led to claims that the policy would be ended. However, it appears now that those claims by the administration were mere lip service. Recent reports of the squalid conditions and lack of care at a prison for children in Clint, Texas, make clear that we must again demand that our government change its inhumane ways.
These children are utterly helpless. We who have voices, votes and consciences must speak out immediately for them or we will be complicit in their trauma.
For the long run, we must also demand changes in policy toward Central American countries. Encouraging fair trade for their farmers, fair elections and fair justice systems will strengthen those societies and keep people from setting out on the dangerous journey to the U.S. — a journey where, at this time, the dangers do not end when they arrive at our border.
Anne Nelson Fisher, Brainerd, Minn.
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I once heard a survivor of the World War II concentration camps give a talk on her experience. She spoke of when the Americans were coming to liberate them. She went to her dearest friend, who was very weak, and urged her to get ready to leave. The friend said no, she knew she would not make it, but she had a very precious gift to give. She dug into her pocket and pulled out a little rag and opened it. Inside was the tiniest sliver of soap. She pressed it into the survivor's hand and said something like, "When you get to freedom, you will want to be clean."
Now we are taking refugees and immigrants and tearing their families apart. We are putting them in filthy cells and cages with standing-room-only and little or no access to sanitary facilities, while our government lawyers argue in court that they should not have to provide soap or toothbrushes to children.
What kind of people have we become? Where are the Americans who are going to liberate them?
Susan Ganann, Minneapolis
Parks can save pollinators — and us
We have whittled away high-quality habitat for pollinators and other wildlife. Now, pollinators that we depend on for our own survival are in crisis. That has to change. We need to plant more native flowers and plants for bees and butterflies in our backyards and also in our public lands.
The Regional Parks System was established by the Minnesota Legislature to protect and preserve high-quality natural areas in the metropolitan area. These "state parks of the metro" also offer an abundance of opportunities for wildlife, including pollinators, and should indeed be managed for all living beings ("Make parks for all living beings," Opinion Exchange, June 21).
Within many regional parks, however, pollinators find excessive acres of mowed lawn that offer nothing to support bees, butterflies or birds. Transitioning some of this turf to native pollinator gardens would increase critical habitat and also engage, educate and inspire park visitors to establish their own backyard pollinator gardens. Establishing pollinator gardens will also reduce mowing costs, regenerate soil and beautify landscapes.
Park agencies have prioritized, planned and funded regional parks for human use for decades. It's time for pollinators and other wildlife to take precedence. Human use will always be a factor; however, that pales in comparison to the urgent need to preserve these landscapes and save our pollinators. Our future depends on it.
Holly Jenkins, Eagan
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The concern over rare bees is fascinating to me, because it's only occurred as the Southwest light rail is going through wealthier neighborhoods — places that have the space and the zoning to preserve the green spaces that the rusty patched bumble bee calls its home (SWLRT extension will harm rare bees," June 23).
Would it be so bad to mandate green spaces at all the half-filled strip malls that blight the metro area's landscape? Or how about preserving or even expanding green space in the suburbs getting light rail?
Eliot AxelroD, Bloomington
BODY CAM FOOTAGE
Avoid the social media circus
The call by the Star Tribune Editorial Board for the release of body camera footage that resulted in the dismissal of five St. Paul police officers is wrong ("Reveal more about the firings of five cops," June 24). An internal affairs investigation and a civilian review board each made recommendations. Whether the dismissals were justified or not, the footage should not be released to the public. This is not a social media game where the video, without context, tells the entire story. Showing the video without witness accounts and other details could inflame the incident without merit. Further, it is not up to the community to make the ultimate decision. The community is represented by the civilian review board.
The union has indicated that an appeal is forthcoming. Until the matter has run its course, the video should be considered evidence and held in strict confidence.
Joe Polunc, Cologne
Seized with disengenuous concern, Trump fakes caring about 150 lives
I see a fundamental hypocrisy in President Donald Trump's explanation of a concern for civilian casualties in calling off the strike on Iran. Like many Americans, I lack confidence in his ability to speak truthfully or act morally. His lifelong actions have served mainly to protect and enhance his image, power and wealth, harming those in his way.
If Trump is genuinely concerned for human casualties, he would stop promoting inhumane policies creating countless casualties of migrant families on the border, especially children. He would stop advocating terrifying raids on law-abiding immigrant families ("Trump's new attack on U.S. immigrants," editorial, June 21). If he really cared about casualties, he would stop bragging about tax cuts that widen an already huge and growing income gap between working class Americans and top 1% rich people like himself. If he is concerned about casualties, he would stop calling climate change a hoax, reducing regulations of toxic, polluting industries and withdrawing from international commitments to protect the planet from casualties beyond belief. Etc., etc., etc.
Spare us from thinking this man acts morally and with concern for 150 Iranian casualties while imposing incalculable casualties in our nation, including the rights — and lives — of women and people of color, and respect for the Constitution, our democracy and the rule of law.
Peter Frederick, Minnetonka