It’s not about Ely: It’s about Minnesota

The Sept. 1 commentary about the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, Ely and mining (“You think you know Ely’s needs?”) was filled with hollow presumptions as to why a mining project should proceed. The writer based much of his argument on the idea that his proximity to the BWCA somehow gives his opinion more value. As Minnesotans, the protection of our natural heritage shouldn’t be based on proximity or individual usage. Even if I never go to the BWCA, I’d still like to see its unique, relatively pristine setting protected. Much of the argument was designed to paint metro-area citizens as bumbling interlopers on the affairs of the BWCA. The reality is that the park belongs to all Minnesotans.


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After the way corporate America has taken care of the environment, it’s hard to believe it won’t spoil the water and pollute the land. Fly over Lake Erie and look at the pollution. The gold mines on Rainy Lake still have piles of tailings visible. One has to fly over the Iron Range to see the scope of how the Earth was changed.

How many times have we heard from those in corporate America that we must give them what they want or they’ll leave? From Mayo to Hormel, they only look at the bottom line. We who love the lakes and rocks don’t care if tourism is off. We will be here on the water and ice even if there is no work.

JIM GOUDY, Ranier, Minn.

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Debate, yes, but don’t insult veterans

I agree with most of Bonnie Blodgett’s Sept. 1 commentary (“A draft may be crucial to democracy”). I, too, believe that “compulsory military service in times of war” is essential to our nation’s existence. She’s right about the glaring demographic contrast in who serves in our military, which is “disproportionately composed of minorities and the poor.” But her discussion doesn’t go far enough, because reinstating the draft as we currently know it would disproportionately exclude half of the age-eligible population.

The all-male draft is a remnant of an old era. If a draft is potentially reinstated, we need to address the role of female troops. With both a son and a daughter who would be of draft-eligible age, I have mixed feelings. Yet, if we don’t require females to register for Selective Service at age 18 as we do males, we all have to ask ourselves why.

BRAD BURKE, Woodbury

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Blodgett should be a little more careful in her choice of words. Describing Vietnam-era troops as “riffraff” is unacceptable and condescending to the 58,000 dead and 210,000 wounded soldiers of that conflict.


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They don’t like being paid less than men

I laughed out loud after reading a letter writer’s response to Lee Schafer’s column on the earning differences between graduates of the College of St. Benedict and St. John’s University (Readers Write, Sept. 1). The original article argued that being a male resulted in a greater return on the investment made in a college education (“Gender still plays major role in value of a degree,” Aug. 25). the response: “Perhaps female graduates prefer to work in lower-paying occupations or take time out of the workforce for child rearing.”

Yes, every woman’s dream is to make less money than men. Oh, wait — women who have the same profession routinely already get paid less than their male counterparts. The answer to why it’s “problematic” for women to be paid less is because it’s sexist, unfair and damaging. Women “prefer” economic and social equity for their investment.


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In classroom, the lessons for life

Thanks to Elaine Bransford, an English teacher from Stillwater, Minn., for the thoughtful list of what every high school student should know (“Learning life from pages,” Sept. 9). She invited us to add our own thoughts, so here’s mine: You should know that the only thing you have control of in this world is your own attitude; everything else is up for grabs. The world will always rotate, change and evolve, and there’s nothing we can do about that. Ultimately, what’s important is how we live our lives (more than what we do with our lives).


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U.N. report critical to decisionmaking

I sincerely hope President Obama exercises patience before attacking Syria, even if he secures congressional approval (“Obama’s sensible delay,” editorial, Sept. 1). He needs to wait until the United Nations assessment is completed before launching any attack, to be absolutely certain Syria did use gas on its civilians. Doing so would help gain greater world acceptance for any military action. If the U.N. report disagrees with the findings of the United States and we attack anyway, we place ourselves in the role of being the aggressor and will face world condemnation.


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The American invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan were costly failures. A military intervention in Syria would be a costly failure, too. America cannot save the world from every atrocity, and we cannot force our morality onto other nations, either. Obama needs to end these costly wars and get our financial house in order. If not, there will be no America to hold up as an example for other nations to follow.