While viewing the James Comey interview on Sunday evening (“Comey heaps fuel on feud with Trump,” April 16), I felt I was watching a man conflicted by his actions in both his handling of the Hillary Clinton e-mail probe and his interactions with the current president. Many have and will continue to associate negative adjectives with Comey — adjectives such as self-righteous, ego-driven, self-promoting, angry. I may even agree with such adjectives. However, ascribing the word “liar” to this man, in my opinion, does not apply. I felt he was simply telling the truth, and, as the adage goes, the truth sometimes hurts. Loved ones in my life have told me truths I did not want to hear. But, as one in many millions who value honesty, I was always grateful. Many are angry with James Comey for one reason or another. I’m sure his interview did nothing to quell that anger. I just do not believe that dishonesty in Comey can be chosen as a justification for that anger. He simply came off [Sunday] night as stating the truth and I appreciate that, even if the truth sometimes hurts.
Diane Aegler, Burnsville
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Wishing Comey would have steered clear of peripheral mudslinging. Should have remembered the adage about wrestling with a pig: You both get dirty, and the pig likes it.
Not heeding Michelle Obama’s words about going high when they go low runs the inevitable risk of being painted with the same smelly brush.
Michael Cassel, Roseville
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In his interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, former FBI Director Comey said Trump is morally unfit to be president. With unmitigated clarity, Comey said, “A person who sees moral equivalence in Charlottesville, who talks about and treats women like they’re pieces of meat, who lies constantly about matters big and small and insists the American people believe it — that person’s not fit to be president of the United States, on moral grounds.”
This is not a political statement; it’s a call to those in power, and to all of us, to look dispassionately at the situation and decide whether we agree. If we do, moral backbone insists that whatever political policies we think we’re gaining from this presidency are ill-gotten goods; that legitimate politics provide avenues for conscience, not raw power; that we are called to address this unique situation with good-faith efforts to place in office a president who travels the high road, who will reflect the principles we founded our country upon.
Our president is a servant of the people, not an authority figure who cannot be repudiated.
Shawn O’Rourke Gilbert, Edina
Show of force had, let’s say, impact that was truly intended
On one hand, the lack of an overarching strategy regarding the bombing of Syria is obvious and extremely problematic (“U.S. bombs Syria,” April 14). On the other hand, the strategy is clear: to exercise and justify the great and impressive power of the military-industrial complex while also diverting attention from the investigation of the president.
David Kaiser, St. Paul
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So France and England joined America in this punishment of Syria for its use of chemical weapons. Big whoopee. The far more powerful message is that there was no military support from Germany, Canada, Japan, Mexico, Sweden, India, Australia, Norway, etc. Evidently these “allies” think it is OK to use chemical weapons against their own citizens. Let that sink in.
Martin R. Wellens, Shorewood
An early start is key to lifelong participation
As Minnesota’s secretary of state, I have the privilege of traveling to high school classrooms throughout our state to meet with students, to guest-teach classes in U.S. government and to answer questions about what it means to be Minnesota’s chief elections administrator. As I am fond of telling the students, I am in the democracy business.
Minnesota is a state with a rich history of intensive civic engagement. In our last statewide election, 74.72 percent of eligible Minnesotans voted — best in the nation by nearly 4 percent. As with most habits, the earlier we begin participating in the democratic process, the more likely it is to remain a part of our lives. That’s why my office in 2016 launched a new initiative to encourage civic engagement by high school students. “Students Vote,” the first statewide mock election for high school students, was successful, with high school students from 281 schools across Minnesota casting a vote. I am challenging students and schools across Minnesota to participate again in 2018.
The Star Tribune Editorial Board was right (“Make civics a priority in Minnesota schools,” April 13) to praise the advocacy and activism of the students in Parkland, Fla. Participation and speech are the cornerstones of American democracy. Regardless of any person’s political leanings, the simple act of speaking up is deeply patriotic. As my former colleagues in the Legislature debate the best way to increase civic engagement, I will be asking them to take our “Students Vote” program back to schools in their districts. At the end of the day, developing the habit of voting at an early age is the best way to ensure that our next generation of citizens continues the proud Minnesotan tradition of civic engagement.
Steve Simon, St. Paul
The writer is Minnesota’s secretary of state.
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I strongly disagree with the April 14 letter “It’s not what to know but how to think that matters,” responding to the April 13 editorial about civic education. I work around Minnesota on the passage of a 28th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would restore fair and equal representation to the citizens by regulating campaign spending. Every discussion must include education about how the amendment process works. Articles and letters warning us of the dangers of a constitutional convention have created real confusion in people because of this lack of knowledge.
Many people are not aware that Article 5 gives us two ways to pass an amendment. After a thorough explanation of how Americans have had to pass amendments seven times to correct bad Supreme Court rulings, people are relieved. In fact, when they find out that passing an amendment is possible, they become optimistic that there is an action they can take to restore our democratic elections. They are further encouraged that 19 states have already passed a resolution calling on this amendment.
The lack of civics education has done exactly what some in power want it to do. Our ignorance about the U.S. Constitution and our responsibility as citizens has caused our country to become dangerously close to a plutocracy. We should be ashamed at the lack of investment in our civics education. A strong country requires an educated public. Withholding knowledge from its people is the tool of oppression.
Vicki Barnes, St. Paul
Good job, Minnesotans
Thanks to all the snow angels in our metro and beyond, who over one weekend transformed each and every stranger into a trustworthy, generous neighbor. My only wish: to get lucky, win the lottery, buy a “snow emergency” for the Fourth of July. Better than fireworks, the rumble of those winged snowplows in tandem lighting up the night. Lots of heroes, too many to mention — you know who you are!
Judith Monson, St. Paul
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As I sat in Minneapolis watching the heavy snowfall out my window, I suddenly thought of the farmers who had to work so hard out there in the snowstorm so that, in the near future, I could have my milk and cheese, steak or pork chops, eggs, roast turkey or chicken. Those farmers who are responsible for livestock or poultry don’t get to take off for a snow day! And, of course, they in turn are dependent on the grain farmers who raised so much of the feed for their animals. So I just want to say “thank you” from an elderly city lady. I really appreciate what you do for me.
Mary Anne Page, Minneapolis