What came to my mind while reading D.J. Tice’s March 11 column “What do the cool kids wear to an election?” was our family’s 2016 trip to New Hampshire and Maine in late October/early November. There, the landscape was awash in political signs. They were everywhere — crowded onto tiny medians between traffic lanes, precariously jammed amid rock and gravel on steep grades leading down into ravines, perched high up on sharp mountain curves that had to have made for hazardous conditions in which to place the signs. In many places, multiple copies of the same sign lined roadways every 5 or 6 feet. To our Minnesotan sensibilities, it was overwhelming and obnoxious.
Even many of the locals complained. People were overstressed after months of this political inundation. Some were even arrested for removing signs.
What a relief to return to Minnesota, where our laws would prohibit the placement of many of the signs we saw in New Hampshire and Maine. It just isn’t done here. We’re a little more restrained, and perhaps more geared toward public safety and being able to read street signs. Still, our people are well-informed, and we have some of the highest voter turnout rates in the country.
So, perhaps Tice finds fault with our restrained approach to Election Day, but I’m happy to err on the side of “solemnity” and “decorum.” Iron out the “kinks” so that the rules are applied evenhandedly, and let’s keep electioneering away from polling places on Election Day.
Lisa Wersal, Vadnais Heights
Free up the research? Nope, don’t trust it, if federally funded
The Star Tribune Editorial Board’s March 11 offering (“Assessing the ban on assault-style weapons”) seemed sincere and thought-provoking. The gist of the editorial was to call for more funding for research on gun-related crimes. It was a bit ironic after quoting a 30-year analysis from the Louis Klarevas book “Rampage Nation,” which bookended the 1994 assault weapon ban. There are voluminous sources of gun crime data from federal, state and professional sources.
So what does this call for more research really mean? The conclusion of the 1993 Kellermann study, funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, was that the presence of a gun in the home for protection was counterproductive to its intent. Using federal funds in this fashion was a bridge too far. As a result, the 1996 Dickey Amendment drastically cut federal funding. When “research” becomes advocacy, one must question the objectivity. The Editorial Board’s appeal for the return of federal funding may seem heartfelt. But in reality, it is a slippery slope and an end-run for more legislation. Nice try.
Joe Polunc, Cologne
• • •
I am not going to be critical of the editorial because, most likely, you (the members of the Editorial Board) would be dismissive of such comments. Instead, I think more about how much the American people are beginning to really disrespect and dislike news operations, news coverage, and the thoughts and views of editorial writers like you. I don’t know if you think about this, too. If not, maybe you should, because your editorial about “assault-style” guns asked the wrong questions and implied the wrong solutions. There is an old saying (the words of which I don’t recall exactly), but the gist of which was that generals often plan for war thinking the tactics of the next war will be the same as the last. We should have learned that lesson when terrorists used boxcutters and our own airlines as weapons on 9/11.
John Cumming, Brainerd, Minn.
TRUMP’S NEGOTIATING STYLE
Shouldn’t we be happy that he can move the center line?
I’d like to take up David Banks’ offer in his March 11 commentary “Who’s up for some random rumination?”
I especially like his line at the end, because it completely describes me: “I crave a certain structure, but I despise rigidity.”
What I object to is the inane statement about President Donald Trump’s negotiation ability: “It serves him better than any of us wish it to.”
Why can’t I be that pleased my president is a good negotiator?
I didn’t like Trump, never watched his shows and generally avoided any media spoonfuls of him.
Then during the campaign, he kept talking about “our country,” and that hooked me — let’s take “our country” back from the Washington swamp.
Banks may not like Trump’s negotiation style (starting from an extreme position to move the center line), apparently because it’s too effective, but Trump is the first American to get North Korea’s attention in 65 years.
Think about this for a minute, or maybe five: Kim Jong Un is 34 years old, and Donald Trump is the first person in his life that has told him “no.”
Think about this for a minute, or maybe 10 — think about the tectonic shift in the world order if North Korea gave up its nukes.
If North Korea were to no longer be a nuclear threat, we could focus on the real troublemakers in the world, and all it would take is for Kim to say he abandons his nukes.
I didn’t start there, but now I see Trump’s negotiating genius, and I have no problem with it.
Rob Godfrey, St. Louis Park
• • •
President Putin and dear leader Kim: Did you hear what our president just said? (“Trump says he made up facts during meeting with Trudeau,” March 15.) Our president not only said he doesn’t know what he is talking about, he also said he lies and bluffs.
Robert Dachelet, Wayzata
• • •
As Trump stumbles into a summit meeting with North Korea, the very nature of this man precludes any meaningful negotiations with that nation or any other. His ability to spew lies give him no credibility as a leader, or as a person. His penchant for changing positions on a daily basis make his negotiations hollow and meaningless. Letting Trump be Trump won’t denuclearize North Korea. A large majority of America has no trust or confidence in this ego-driven clown. Why would North or South Korea or other regional allies or adversaries have any faith in him, either? “Trust but verify” works both ways. Our president is not to be trusted, and you cannot verify a story that changes every news cycle.
Michael Mummah, Brooklyn Park
• • •
I want to take issue with the Washington Post’s headline and story reprinted in the Star Tribune issue of March 15: “Trump says he made up facts during meeting with Trudeau.” That assertion is also reiterated in the first paragraph. The term “fact” refers to a quality or condition of something that is indisputably the case. Facts are provable truths. For example, the statement “President Trump is a shameless liar” is in fact a fact, which the Post article proves and which reasonable people should not dispute, since Trump himself testifies to its veracity. The headline should have read, “Trump says he made up lies during meeting with Trudeau.” That, then, would have been a fact.
I’d suggest that in this era of “alternative facts” and “made-up facts” and “true facts” that the print media use the alternate spelling “phacts” to disambiguate conventional facts from heteromorphic “phacts,” for which the term itself might be regarded as a concatenation of “fatuous” plus “acts.”
Ivor Matz, St. Anthony