‘FEAR AND FIREPOWER’

In labeling liberals, editorial kept up a myth

While I agreed with 98 percent of the Star Tribune’s Feb. 23 editorial “Fear and firepower on the American frontier,” I have to take exception to the assertion that “while the political right often feasts on conspiracy, the left is not immune.

“At various points, liberals have feared that Wall Street manipulators, the religious right and the Tea Party have cast a spell over the nation. And liberals often dismiss all conservative thinking as anti-intellectual — a claim that borders on paranoia.”

This ignores that operators on Wall Street, through use of dubious financial products and lax credit underwriting, almost brought down the world financial system. It ignores that the “religious right” and the Tea Party movement, with divisive politics, have driven all moderates from the Republican Party and have made compromise a lost art. It ignores that the recent version of “conservative thinking” so easily dismisses science and mocks anyone who tries to make a logical and factually based argument.

These things are not paranoia, they are reality. It’s up to the news media not to perpetuate a myth.

Michael R. Johnson, Burnsville

 

MINNESOTA ORCHESTRA

Do we want to be great, or just above average?

The stalemate between the Minnesota Orchestra musicians and management reflects Minnesota’s cultural traditions and is reminiscent of the current political debate in the United States.

The claim of management, as expressed by president and CEO Michael Henson, is that the community cannot afford the high-priced talent that has vaulted the orchestra into the top rung of world musical groups.

Although the orchestra board can hide behind the truth that the budget must be balanced, the unstated management philosophy, in the finest Garrison Keillor tradition, is that excellence may be shunned in order to maintain the goal of being “above average.” Being too good has always made true Minnesotans uncomfortable.

The budget proposed by management is designed to guarantee the survival of the orchestra for decades to come. Rather than seriously and creatively seeking new revenue, the board has proposed draconian cuts in expenses, much like the stalemate in Congress between those who advocate for spending cuts and those who propose a balanced approach.

When one has excellence, great care should be exercised in threatening it. If, as Henson has claimed, the orchestra’s financial crisis has been driven by the national recession, this temporary lull in revenue may well be reversed in the future.

Jay N. Cohn, Minneapolis

 

RADIATION THERAPY

Turf war over clinics will hurt patient care

Continuing the moratorium on the construction of new radiation therapy clinics benefits no one (“Millions spent in turf war over cancer-care clinics,” Feb. 26). This is not just about two companies getting into a turf war. This is about the patient population that is getting bigger on a daily basis as baby boomers enter their 60s and 70s.

There is going to be an increase in demand for radiation therapy treatments. How far are people going to have to travel to receive treatment? What if they have to wait because existing facilities do not have any room on their schedules? Who wants to be the one to tell patients and their families that they have to wait?

And what about the radiation therapists and radiation oncologists who treat these patients? How overworked are they going to become? And who wants to receive treatment from such a staff? Radiation oncology can be a stressful career to begin with. Why add to it?

Those of us who currently work or have worked in the profession consider it to be most rewarding, and it saddens me when money becomes the main issue, rather than the availability of quality patient care.

Surely the state can come up with a solution that ends the turf war yet provides the means necessary to provide quality care, close to home and in a timely fashion. Don’t postpone it until 2020. The problem won’t go away. Solve it now.

Rachelle Selvog, Robbinsdale

 

THE MESSAGE

Skip the Skynyrd song at Twins home games

As a new baseball season approaches, I recall how the Minnesota Twins play the opening of “Sweet Home Alabama” sometime around the seventh inning of each game. You will recall that this song by Lynyrd Skynyrd was written in response to a previous song by Neil Young in which Young criticized Southern society for tolerating the horrific treatment that many black Americans experienced there at the time.

However, for the purposes of a baseball game, forget that. Forget also that the song supports former Alabama Gov. George (“Segregation now; segregation forever!”) Wallace and says “never mind” about President Richard Nixon’s tolerance of, and involvement in, the illegal Watergate activities. Some might say that all of the above is merely a difference in political outlook.

What bothers me is the hypocrisy. The Twins start every year and every game with salutes to our military. On the other hand, until very recently, every concert performed by Lynyrd Skynyrd had a huge Confederate battle flag as a backdrop. That flag is the symbol of the organization that killed more United States military personnel than any other in history.

I am not a veteran, but I do love my country. I do not love terrorist groups or any people who would do our nation harm. And I know that “Sweet Home Alabama” begins with a catchy guitar riff. But let’s get rid of the hypocrisy by getting rid of that song.

Dave Rosene, Brooklyn Park