Please preserve a stellar tradition of musicians

The Minnesota Orchestra must survive. It's a vital artistic treasure in your community, and it makes the Twin Cities the envy of many cities throughout the world.

In 1966, I joined the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra (now called the Minnesota Orchestra) in my first professional position after my college musical training. My tenure with the orchestra lasted only two years, as I left the Twin Cities to join the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. However, my musical life in the Minnesota is something I still cherish and will never forget. The Twin Cities have always been a cultural haven of enthusiastic support for the arts, and that support has produced this dynamic musical ensemble. The orchestra remains one of the nation's finest, and your community has been blessed with a history of great music. Somehow, you must find a way to preserve that tradition, and resolve the differences that have silenced this great orchestra.

RICHARD K. GRAEF, Evanston, Ill.

Move on after election

It's time to stop the moaning and cheering

It's time to move forward. If your side won, now the work begins. Your ideas received the most votes, so behave like a majority. Also, that one of those ideas was a willingness to compromise that does not mean capitulation for the sake of agreement. Work so that two years from now you will merit the appreciative votes of those who voted for you yesterday, and attract at least the admiration of those who did not.

If you lost, please try to resist the impulse to obstruct and demonize your opponents. The politics of "no" lost, and do nothing to benefit our country, our state or our people. The fact that in many instances you will have the power to obstruct does not necessitate that you do so. Recognize that the world, our country and our state have changed and will continue to do so. Challenge yourselves more than you challenge those who have bested you. If the explanation of your defeat lies outside yourselves, there is nothing you can do. If you accept that you must change in response to what has happened, then success may someday be yours again.

Thank you to everyone who got out and voted.


State Legislature

Let's make it harder to alter the Constitution

With the divisive battle to amend the state Constitution now behind us, it's time to take steps to ensure that this won't happen so easily again. I call on the Legislature to take up as its first order of business an effort to insulate Minnesota from legislation by amendment. It's clearly time to add one more amendment to the Constitution so that all proposed amendments must have a supermajority to get out of the Legislature and a supermajority to be adopted by the state.


A time for compromise

With the same players, will the game change?

The lesson to be learned from the 2012 election is that money doesn't make changes but, instead, people make changes. More than $6 billion was spent on national campaigns this year, and we stand in the same place we started. Republicans control the House; Democrats control the Senate, and President Obama is president. This situation is the same as we have had the last two years, when little was accomplished because of gridlock. Now that we have learned that money can't buy change, it's up to the people. We must all be willing to compromise and to make sacrifices to grow as a nation and continue to be the greatest country in the world. "Politics is the art of compromise," and compromise is what built our country.


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Let's look at what we have learned from this election: Twenty-one of 22 incumbent senators were re-elected, and 353 of 373 incumbent members of the House were re-elected. So the American people have re-elected 94 percent of the incumbents who were running for re-election to an institution that has an approval rating of about 9 percent. This shows that, as an electorate, we are a nation of idiots. We're now stuck with the useless, dysfunctional government that we deserve.


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Assume your doctor hands you a blue bottle and a red bottle and tells you that you're going to die unless you take a pill from each bottle. Do you take both pills, or do you take just one and then get your affairs in order? The Simpson-Bowles Commission handed us a revenue pill and a spending cuts pill and asked us to take them both. I'm a Democrat. My party wants to take only the revenue pill. Republicans want to take only the spending cuts pill.

C'mon, lawmakers, please take both pills. My affairs are too messy right now for me to have to get them in order.