There’s no excuse for not showing respect

I so disagree with the low expectation of civil behavior expressed in the May 2 Letter of the Day (“The governor and the angry crowd: It’s part of the job, sir”). The writer seems to express the opinion that shouting down a speaker with whom one disagrees, as audience members at a recent forum did to Gov. Mark Dayton, should be tolerated as a mature adult response. How ridiculous.

Whether the example is shown by a U.S. representative shouting “You lie” at President Obama during a speech, or a high school student’s angry outburst at a teacher, there is a growing disregard for civil behavior in our society.

These uncontrolled emotional outbursts are indeed “juvenile” in nature because the lack of respect that they show immediately escalates the discourse to an emotional confrontation that destroys our ability to reconcile differences with one another.

As for the “implied understanding that goes with the job,” my view, whether the figure is a governor, teacher, police officer or neighbor, is that I should show respect even when I disagree.

Gary Clements, St. Paul

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We should not be surprised by the governor’s response to the vocal audience (“Dayton says forum crowd in Shakopee was ‘juvenile,’ ” May 1). After all, he has handlers and advisers who daily tell him the pulse of the state. They all want to keep their jobs, so I am sure they tell him what he wants to hear. Plus, the governor lives in a much different world than the average taxpayer does.

Everyone has their hands out to him, asking for consideration of their special causes. By the nature of politics, he knows that in order to be re-elected, the electorate needs to look favorably on his policies and history of achievements.

What better way to do that than to give funding to every organization that has a minority, disenfranchised person, handicapped or union affiliation. After all, it is not his money.

Evidently, the audience members in Shakopee are not on the receiving end of the state coffers; rather, they are the ones who fill it. I’m sure one of the governor’s minions got a stern talking-to over that speaking engagement.

David Dodson, Apple Valley

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Not only did Dayton accurately describe the behavior exhibited by some at the event, he spelled out the mature alternative: “Raise your hand and get a mike.” This would have allowed the dissidents to explain their position clearly and calmly to everyone in the room.

Diane Barnett, Edina

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The taxpayer cry about having a smaller piece of the pie is also a canard. Tax rates are the lowest they’ve been in 70 years, a fact that never seems to register. If everyone’s slice of the pie would just have remained the same size as it was 10 years ago (remember all those Ventura and Pawlenty rebates and tax cuts), we wouldn’t be having the budget issues we’re having today.

Tom Obert, Alexandria, Minn.

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It’s time to take another step forward

There is no doubt that the May 1 letter writer was sincere in his belief that there is no comparison between the abuse given to Jackie Robinson and the animosity toward gay athletes today. But those who booed Robinson firmly believed that it was unnatural for the races to compete on the same field. And that it was unnatural for people of different races to marry — illegal in some states until a 1967 Supreme Court ruling.

It took 130 years after the U.S. Constitution was written to guarantee women the right to vote. All of these beliefs were sincere, based on religious and social upbringing. Permission for all three kinds of bigotry has been rescinded, even though sincere beliefs remain. They are just wrong, that’s all.

Len Schakel, Lakeland, Minn.

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For the past two years, Minnesota has asked its gay and lesbian citizens to prove that they are worthy of marriage licenses, first by defeating a constitutional amendment and now by lobbying the Legislature. We have insisted that they tell us their personal stories of love and commitment so we can judge whether they are entitled to husbands, wives and children.

Moreover, we demanded that they already be successful at these tasks without legal protection and equal benefits and that they endure not only scrutiny, but outright harassment, for living their lives.

Well, the LGBT community sure has done a good job. They built a broad coalition of faith groups, businesses, professional organizations and ordinary folks statewide and presented a positive message about the importance of two loving people being able to legally join in marriage.

Moreover, under all the scrutiny of powerful and well-funded groups, no negative consequences of committed same-sex relationships have been demonstrated in our state.

It is time to end this period of examination and allow all loving, committed Minnesota adults to stand in line at our county courthouses and buy marriage licenses.

Beth-Ann Bloom, Woodbury

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In a May 2 article, Gov. Dayton was quoted as saying, “I believe all of us should have the freedom to marry legally the person we love.” I wonder what he would say to children who desire to be with both their mom and their dad?

If same-sex marriage becomes law, the law will encourage more children to be brought into this world without having the chance to know both their parents. Should the rights of adults to be with whom they want trump the rights of children to be with whom they want?

Emily Koenig, Minneapolis