Smart business owners don’t build walls

Merriam-Webster defines “business” as “the activity of making, buying or selling goods or providing services in exchange for money.” In the six months since same-sex marriage was legalized in Minnesota, there have been nearly 3,000 such marriages, resulting in a lot of revenue for a lot of businesses. That’s good news!

So imagine how shocking it is to read that some small-business owners “dread the day that a gay or lesbian couple walk in seeking flowers, a cake or other service for their nuptials” (“State confronts profound change from gay marriage,” March 2). What small-business owner in their right mind would deny goods or services to a paying customer? It defies logic and Business 101.

The family-values crowd, which likes to crow about job creators and trickle-down economics, needs a come-to-Jesus meeting with the rank and file. If small-business owners are going to use Bronze Age beliefs as a litmus test for whom they do business with, then Darwinism will rule the day, and natural selection will dictate that these small-business owners will soon join the ranks of America’s long-term unemployed.

Douglas Broad, St. Louis Park

• • •

After showcasing two men kissing on front-page coverage of its Sunday issue, the Star Tribune has seen the last $2.50 from this regular reader’s pocket. Obviously, the setting was theatricalized with statement-hungry photography that not only invaded the private acts in one home (which the dog in the photo didn’t even like) but, more unfortunately, the sensitivities of many households of formative children. I might have expected such divergent issues featured on the opinion page, at best — not paraded to children who innocently open the Sunday paper to find the funnies.

Randy Rajala, Grand Rapids, Minn.

• • •

I am a churchgoing (every week!), Bible-reading Christian, and I’d like to share what is deeply offensive to me: Six hundred thousand Minnesotans are missing meals each year and going hungry (source: Hunger-Free Minnesota); there are 50,000 allegations of child abuse in the state each year (Prevent Child Abuse Minnesota); our children are being bullied in school and lawmakers can’t agree on whether this is a real problem or not, and our climate is heating up and ice is melting at unprecedented rates ( These issues are deeply troubling to me. A picture of two people in love is not. Regardless, journalism is not about offending or placating; it is about helping us understand our world — a world that is bigger than us.

Jennifer Anderson, Minneapolis



Chicago/Detroit isn’t the right comparison

With respect to a March 2 letter regarding transportation, I agree that the question is what the Twin Cities should look like in the future. However, the relative decline of Detroit and success of Chicago, used as examples in the letter, cannot be attributed to road-building in correlation to public transportation. Economic diversity, or lack thereof, has played a much larger role in the fates of each place. This area is neither Detroit or Chicago. We are facing difficult transportation choices with finite resources, and we need to be aware of this and choose wisely.

Gordon Levack, Shorewood



Understanding is asked of all sides

I would venture a guess that every race in the United States is misunderstood to some degree (“Somalis in Minnesota: Still misunderstood,” March 2). Each has different historical and cultural backgrounds that are often exaggerated and distorted by the uninformed and by those who view derogatory media portrayals.

I’m curious — what do Somalis in Minnesota think of other races? Do these relative newcomers get along with whites and people of color? Last year’s food fight at South High School in Minneapolis turned into a riot over tensions between Somalis and African-Americans, due to what authorities explained were stereotypes Somalis had of African-Americans. Another example was noted in the March 2 article — that Somali entrepreneurs cater to their own subcommunities, thereby limiting their commercial viability.

Being open and inclusive has enormous benefits but will continue to evade us without a serious reality check. Seriously, can’t we all get along?

Sharon E. Carlson, Andover



Which of these many examples doesn’t fit?

“The spoils of power: Always so ostentatious” (March 2) was a familiar read about the excesses of political leaders, mostly dictators, who divert large amounts of public money into their private coffers. Examples given were the newly ousted Viktor Yanukovych; Imelda Marcos; Saddam Hussein; Robert Mugabe; Nicolae Ceausescu, and Moammar Gadhafi. Bad guys (and gal), almost everyone would agree. Then, in the second to last paragraph, the author inexplicably interjects former President Bill Clinton into the story, as if Clinton’s current wealth had something to do with such abuses. The rumor that he and Hillary tried to take some of the White House furniture when he left office was a low blow, and it was a stretch to compare that supposed faux pas with the horrible excesses of the aforementioned dictators. Nobody was forced to buy Clinton’s memoir or attend his speeches — it was capitalism that made him rich.

Paula Morgan, North Branch



The March 2 commentary “Somalis in Minnesota: Still misunderstood” misspelled the name of the incumbent state representative in District 60B. It is Phyllis Kahn.