On Tuesday, in a matter of hours after tweeting a repugnant, horrific and disgraceful message involving disparagement of a race, a religion, a gender and a physical appearance, Roseanne Barr cast it as a joke, asked for forgiveness from the American people, was quickly admonished by cast members, was abandoned by writers, was dismissed by her own management agency, and was fired by ABC and Disney, with her show canceled. She was soundly and appropriately rebuked with the removal of her moneymaking television sitcom from prime time, reruns and streaming. Yes, despite the millions of dollars involved, there are still people of courage and conviction and moral care, because despite some contrary statements, those attributes still do matter.
Here’s our question to be answered, please: President Donald Trump has tweeted a multitude of such repugnant and disgraceful statements involving the same disparagements on an almost daily basis and declares himself the harbinger of truth. This abuse by words began years ago with his so-called and proven-to-be-false “birther” conspiracy regarding President Barack Obama, and still today these very same reprehensible tweets, which we are to take as his preferred communication to the people, are written off as if it’s “just Trump being Trump.”
In less than 24 hours, gone is Roseanne — who was, if we remember her as the Roseanne of always, being Roseanne — but Trump is still being Trump. She’s a used-to-be comic trying to reclaim fame; he’s the president of the United States.
Are we seeing any incongruity here?
Tom and Claudia O’Neill, Burnsville
In response to commentary, the cases for and against
Joe Selvaggio was so very right in his May 29 commentary on assisted dying (“Yearning for the dignity of ‘the happy death’ ”). How has it happened in this land of civil rights and liberty that our government controls the most personal of our decisions: the right to choose how we die? I want to live as long as I can, but I do not want to only exist. We are spending far too much money, time and effort in prolonging the inevitable; everyone dies. I have known Joe for three decades or more, and I know that for the most part he has spent his life helping other people in our community. Let us hope, Joe, that when your time comes to go, our society will enable you to leave as you choose without pain and with dignity.
Kathleen Clarke Anderson, Minneapolis
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Contrary to the position advocated by Selvaggio, assisted suicide and euthanasia are unnecessary and dangerous.
Selvaggio worries about pain and the “endless extension” of life. But pain can now be controlled better than ever. In the states where assisted suicide is legal, concern about pain (or the mere possibility of pain) is not even a major reason cited.
And it’s already legal to decline burdensome life-extending treatment and allow an illness to take its course. That’s very different from intentional killing — whether that killing is through lethal injection (as in the Netherlands and Belgium), ingesting a lethal drug overdose (as in several U.S. states), or dehydration and starvation (Selvaggio’s own “compromise” position).
Selvaggio suggests that the limitations that come with age are a good reason for such killing. “When we cannot help each other or laugh along the way, it’s time to go,” he says (quoting a comic strip). But someone’s ability to “help” me is not the measure of her value. Those who are sick and disabled matter just as much as those who are healthy and able-bodied.
Selvaggio also endorses suicide in order to prevent “ever more expenses” and to “have more resources to invest in the young.” This is the kind of pressure to die we can expect when killing is a viable option. In states with assisted suicide, some patients have been denied health coverage for treatments and offered less-expensive lethal drugs instead.
Everyone deserves support and care. Minnesota should continue to reject assisted suicide.
Paul Stark, Minneapolis
The writer is a communications associate for Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life.
SUPER BOWL’s ECONOMIC IMPACT
Something gained, but, the way I see it, something lost
The May 30 article claiming a $370 million Super Bowl payday for the Minnesota economy reminded me of reports from the tobacco and soft-drink companies stating that their products cause no harm.
Jim Barrett, Minneapolis
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News conferences and applause accompany the news that the Super Bowl brought a $370 million economic impact to the state. And we did love seeing the nation marvel at our ability to have winter fun in freezing cold. But as I read and heard the reports, I did wonder and would like to know who benefited from the event? Hotels and restaurants cheered, but what was the public benefit? How did it help our schools, our cities and our counties? How many good-paying jobs did it help create? Did it help make our communities safer and help our students learn? Beyond the headlines, it would help to dig deeper and articulate how it contributed to the common good.
Jim Scheibel, St. Paul
The writer is a former mayor of St. Paul.
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The news report of Super Bowl 2018 as a financial bonanza (for whom?) and the May 30 editorial crying out for more such mega sports events (for whose benefit?) reflect the totally misplaced social priorities of this, the state’s largest newspaper.
Willard B. Shapira, Roseville
License your bike and get it into a police database. It could help.
To the victims of bicycle thefts (Readers Write, May 28): I am 66 and the proud owner of my mother’s three-speed Schwinn bicycle. She was smart enough to get a bicycle license, and the sticker is still in perfect shape. However, it expired in 1984. When I was a young girl, I distinctly remember a neighborhood police officer checking to see if we had our bikes licensed. He was our “beat cop,” and his name was Officer Jim. He was watching while we were practicing wheelies in the after-hours farmers market area on the Near North Side. He explained the importance of licensing our bikes, as the Police Department has oodles and oodles of them with no names. Doing a quick “look-see” on the internet indicated that bike owners can now and should register their bikes’ serial numbers into the police database. Obviously, this won’t guarantee a return, but it ups your odds.
Kathleen Balaban, Richfield