Ex-leader lived a lie, and that had a cost
I wonder really what former Totino-Grace High School president Bill Hudson taught his students by being honest after lying about who he loved for 18 years ("Gay president quits at Totino," July 3)? Is it better to lie, be safe and get promoted than it is to own that you are in a loving gay relationship? Hudson employed the expedient action and kept quiet until others created an atmosphere where he could feel safe enough to own his own truth. But how about the many GLBT kids at Totino-Grace he could have served as a role model for in the last 18 years? Even if he had been fired, they would have seen an adult who had the courage to live his truth and who did not put money and position above integrity.
I know many teachers who came out in the 1980s and '90s and did not receive the praise, celebrity, or the accolades Hudson is now getting ("Online petition backs gay ex-Totino leader," July 4). Instead, they put themselves in a vulnerable position of being an out GLBT teacher and taught many of the people who today worked tirelessly to pass the Freedom to Marry Act in Minnesota. Hudson has resigned. That seems like an honest response for being dishonest about who he is for 18 years.
JUDITH JAMES, Minneapolis
County exemplifies concept of local control
As a conservative, I am very supportive of the small-government approach to problem-solving on display in Pepin County, Wis. ("A ready template for sand mine regulation," editorial, July 5). Let this be an example for my left-leaning friends and socialists. Local problems are usually best solved by local people. Complex technology, environmental and economic implications have been thought through and addressed by this tiny community. If it is learned later that some current concerns no longer exist, the county can change at its own pace to adapt to the new realities. If the decisionmakers are wrong, they took the risk together. If they are right, that is good for them. Regardless, they acted much more nimbly than either the federal or the state government could hope to act — and not with the blunt instrument of federal and state statutes, but narrowly and precisely in a way that addresses their specific concerns. Excellent!
BEN RIECHERS, Coon Rapids
Today's South is not the old South
A note to several recent letter writers and to cartoonist Garry Trudeau, who seem to think that our Southern states will suddenly junk nearly 50 years of progress in civil rights just because one section of the Voting Rights Act has been changed to reflect the fact that the South itself has changed dramatically since the 1960s: Just who do you think will instigate these new Jim Crow laws you envision? The state of Mississippi currently has more African-Americans in elected positions than any other state, with Alabama and Georgia close behind; where do you think Minnesota stands in that respect? Before you make condescending judgments, make a visit to any southern city; if you were there in the '60s and hated it, you will be amazed at the difference nowadays.
DEAN C. NELSON, Mounds View
Don't disparage those who act on conscience
In response to the July 4 letter "This is what support for third parties brings," referring to the U.S. Supreme Court's voting-rights decision: I choose to vote for third-party candidates not because I wish to "throw my vote away," as the letter writer suggests, but because I believe that a third-party candidate would be the best choice for America.
Third-party candidates run on platforms that they truly believe in. They don't have to toe the party line or run with political ambition in mind. A third-party candidate runs because they feel — and this is becoming less true in this country each day — that their opinions hold just as much weight as those of a Republican or Democrat.
So, please, the next time you think that a voter, by supporting a candidate other than yours, is "concomitant with throwing a vote to the Republicans," consider that they truly support the message of the candidate they voted for. As anyone in a democratic republic should.
JONATHAN HARRISON, Owatonna, Minn.