Apparently, Donald Trump has not grasped the concept of freedom of speech, as evidenced by his unwillingness to allow protesters into his campaign speeches and to answer the hard questions that women like Fox News debate host Megyn Kelly ask (“Trump won’t take part in Fox debate,” Jan. 27). He’d rather take his toys and go home when he doesn’t like what others have to say to or about him. Fine by me — it serves to remind us once again that he is bombastic, arrogant and uninformed. Imagine him as our diplomatic representative to the world!

Judy Gelina, Bloomington

• • •

Hillary Clinton stood up to the hostile Benghazi committee for 11 hours. Trump is afraid to go into a debate with Kelly. We see who is the strongest?

C.A. Emdy, Bloomington

• • •

I’m a conservative voter, very unhappy with the Republican Party “establishment,” but I don’t understand why anyone would support Donald Trump. We’ve had seven years of an egocentric president who doesn’t care what Americans want and believes only he has the right answers. So why would we select another egocentric know-it-all who believes only he has the right answers — who, like Barack Obama, shuts out people who disagree with him, then takes his balls and goes golfing?

Mary Z. Mackey, Maplewood

 

BERNIE SANDERS

We in the older generation were idealistic, too. But then …

So Leonid Bershidsky went to Iowa and witnessed the excitement that young people feel when listening to Bernie Sanders give the stump speech he gives everywhere (Opinion Exchange, Jan. 26). And if Sanders does not win, they may be disappointed.

We older people do remember the dreams of revolution. Believe me, the ’60s are never far away from our thoughts. Thing is, over the years you learn that making change is hard work. It takes time, strategy and coalitions. That is how democracy works. I hear none of that from Bernie. When he says he will win people over to democratic socialism by explaining it, I hear Ted Cruz saying that the American people are ready for a “true conservative” if he just gets the chance to present it.

I understand why young people “feel the Bern.” We all feel a burning need for change. I have two words of caution. George McGovern. Look it up. Then figure out how you can best achieve your goals. I’ll put my money on the tough girl who keeps getting knocked around, then figures out how to move forward.

Alice Johnson, Minneapolis

• • •

I am definitely older than 45 and, like Clay Steinman, I, too, have a son who is a fervent supporter of Bernie Sanders (“A message for progressives older than 45,” Jan. 27). In his article, the Macalester professor makes a persuasive argument for liberal baby boomers to get out of the way but better yet to get behind the millennials and lend our support to Sanders as their generation’s progressive hope and standard-bearer. The torch is passing to a new generation, and so it should. Yet, as a boomer who put my heart and soul into McGovern’s 1972 campaign, and who still regards McGovern as one of my political heroes, I cannot help wondering whether the professor and I should have a talk with our sons about the results of that election and whether the outcome holds any lessons for them in 2016. But first, let’s urge them to attend their precinct caucuses.

David Aquilina, Minneapolis

• • •

This is a letter to moderates who are frustrated by elected officials who will not compromise to get things done for the greater good. Have you ever attended your party’s caucus? My guess is “no.” So who do you think attends and makes the decisions for your party? Hint: Typically not people like you. Stop complaining and make a difference this time. Attend your party’s caucus on March 1. Caucus locations will be announced in February. Check your party’s website.

Karen Eckman, Shoreview

 

RACE AND THE POLICE

Poll was predictable (although, in one sense, alarming)

The results of the Minnesota Poll on race relations (“Views on race, police plainly divided,” Jan. 27) were predictable and, as a measure of progress, disappointing. It’s clear that white people are mostly insulated from involvement with blacks, and, unless inconvenienced, they have a detached and condescending view of potential black strife; therefore, they see the actions of groups like Black Lives Matter as inefficient or counterproductive. In general, blacks may have a similarly biased view of the reasons for, and the extent of, their mistreatment by police. I would like to see results of detailed local and regional polls of police officers, particularly those of color and those who live in problem neighborhoods, on the state of police-minority relations. That would be an interesting perspective.

David Craig Smith, Minneapolis

• • •

The poll asked for opinions on race relations in general and for opinions of Black Lives Matter, both questions on which reasonable people might disagree.

But, oddly, it also asked: “Thinking about the recent shooting of a young black man, Jamar Clark, by police in north Minneapolis … From what you know, would you say the shooting was justified or not justified?” Given that neither the statement of the officer who shot Clark nor the statements of actual witnesses, nor video from the incident, have been made public, the only plausible answer was “not sure” (as a slight majority — 57 percent — responded).

We’ve certainly heard a variety of strong opinions on both sides, but only from people who weren’t there and have no knowledge of what actually happened. It is therefore disturbing that 43 percent of Minnesotans felt comfortable responding “justified” or “not justified” in the absence of any real knowledge. It is also an indictment of the way that our local media cover such incidents.

John K. Trepp, Minneapolis

 

GUN VIOLENCE

Let’s take commentary writer’s smoking analogy further

The Jan. 27 commentary “A new game plan: Treating guns like smoking” encouraged me to think outside the box. Why not tax ammunition as we do cigarettes? Does anyone remember the Chris Rock routine about the gangbanger lamenting that he could not extract revenge because of the prohibitive cost of bullets? This would parallel the smoking analogy.

What if ammo manufacturers introduced less-expensive nonlethal rounds, and if these were tax-exempted? Why does law enforcement need to exclusively use lethal rounds for patrolling our neighborhoods? For years, British police didn’t even carry guns. Yes, I understand the counterarguments, but this could also protect officers in several ways, including accidental shootings and cases in which perpetrators gain control of an officer’s gun.

Steve Pine, Hopkins