With regard to the NFL owners’ ruling that the players will stand during the national anthem or else go to the locker room (“New NFL policy designed to halt anthem protests,” May 24): I am a Vietnam-era veteran. I stand proudly and proffer a hand salute at events when the national anthem is played or at parades when the colors pass by. However, the reason I VOLUNTEERED to serve in the military and continue to serve my country as a chief election judge and community volunteer is that I believe EVERY citizen in this country has the RIGHT to express their own patriotism in whatever way they choose. That may include not standing during the playing of the anthem. That is why I took an oath, an oath that incidentally carries no expiration date, to give everything, up to and including my life: to make sure every American citizen will have that right. If we start taking steps to ordain to our citizenry how they will express their patriotism, we will be taking steps toward the type of dictatorship that I, and every military member since 1789, have fought against.
Keith Reed, Rosemount
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When will Republican lawmakers find the courage to stand up for our democracy by clearly denouncing President Donald Trump’s threats against NFL players who choose not to stand for the national anthem? There are countries where such actions are officially punished, such as North Korea, China, Iran and Russia.
We cannot thrive as a nation if our lawmakers will only defend the palatable aspects of democracy. How strange, however, that this president suggests NFL players who do not stand for the national anthem should be thrown out of the country, which he did on May 24, while he managed to find a way to describe white supremacists in Charlottesville, Va., as “good people.”
The time for self-delusion is long past. This president is a racist lacking any respect for the democratic principles that our founding fathers fought so hard to establish for this great nation, most specifically those elements of democracy found distasteful by many.
Freedom dies in the stifling air of conformity, but thrives in the bright air of dissent. And if conformity is our aspiration, then we as a people need look no further than North Korea for inspiration.
Kevin Doby, Yankton, S.D.
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Former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick and the NFL protesters are protesting racial discrimination and abuse, but they’re doing it all wrong.
The U.S. flag doesn’t represent what is oppressing black people. The national anthem and U.S. flag represent the rights and freedoms that all Americans have today. When you disrespect the flag, you’re disrespecting the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights. These are the very things that you want.
The bad cops who kill black people and abuse civil rights are the ones who are disrespecting the flag and what it represents. When they disrespect the national anthem, all the attention is focused on the disloyalty and disrespect of the protesters, not the perpetrators of the abuse. It seems like nobody is talking about Black Lives Matter because the conversation is all about Kaepernick’s refusal to stand for the national anthem.
Consider an example from history. During World War II, Japanese-American citizens were rounded up and sent to internment camps. They had every right to protest the outrageous disregard for their civil rights. So what did the young Japanese-American nisei do? They did not disrespect the flag and national anthem. They fought heroically in the war as American soldiers.
What would the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. do? The attention was on diners that would not serve black people, schools that would not admit black students and voting rights, among other things. It was not about flag burning or hostility to the Constitution.
The NFL protesters should stand for the national anthem because it represents what they are fighting for.
John Wong, Edina
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Since the NFL has decided to fine teams if players kneel or sit during the national anthem, I request that all professional leagues take the following steps as well.
1) Please remove any fan who is disrespectful during the anthem. When I attended a Twins game last week, there were two (white) college-age males who decided to chat and crack snide remarks during the whole song. This offended my sensibilities far more than anyone kneeling.
2) Please remove all corporate sponsorship from anthem-related activities. At Target Field, those activities were brought to me byThomson Reuters. While it is a fine company, I am offended that patriotism can be sponsored by the highest bidder.
Nick Hansen, St. Louis Park
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Minnesota football fans should be proud that Vikings coach Bud Grant was the first NFL coach to require that his team stand tall on the sideline when the national anthem was played and insisted that the NFL and national television broadcast it live. (See Bud’s first book, “I Did It My Way.”)
Tedd Johnson, Minneapolis
FREEDOM VS. LIMITS
Here’s the sticking point in our national debate
The May 24 letter writer who feels he is “a ‘left-wing’ person” whose “ ‘orthodoxy’ is the Constitution of the United States” should realize that it is not the freedoms of speech, religion and gun ownership that people of different orthodoxies disagree about. It is the “reasonable limits” that people seem to be unable to talk to each other about.
Patricia Katagiri, Minneapolis
Social justice for whom? (And, just FYI, regarding Dickens …)
In response to the writer of the May 24 letter “To schools: Stick to educating; leave your worldview out of it”: I would hope a good teacher of social studies, current events and/or history would go beyond simply “transmitting” knowledge and engage students in the better understanding of the surroundings in which we all live, to include the principles of “equity” and “social justice.”
I will give a current example as an application of the principle of “social justice” (“Edina teachers report threats amid ideological tensions,” May 23). A school board member does not like a class that engages in the discussion of social justice, since it is “nonacademic.” The board member uses a social-media outlet to post her position. The board member, and the people who support her, demand social justice in arguing that “social justice” not be taught in the classroom. How would you analyze this situation? Do the school board member and the people who support her have equity in this situation? What learning outcomes would you draw from this example?
John Healam, Minneapolis
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I was amused by the letter writer who wants Edina schools to stop talking about social justice issues and read Dickens instead. Apparently, this person has never read Dickens.
Naomi Jackson, Minneapolis
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Much of what Charles Dickens wrote was a social commentary — for example, “A Christmas Carol,” “A Tale of Two Cities,” “David Copperfield.” A lot of American classical literature was social commentary also: “Uncle Tom’s Cabin,” “Gone With the Wind,” “Black Like Me,” “To Kill a Mockingbird” “The Grapes of Wrath,” “The Scarlet Letter.”
One would think that if the teaching in Edina schools was so horrible, families would be exiting and the housing market would be sinking. That does not seem to be the case. In fact, Edina has families open-enrolling from other places. So I say: Good job, Edina teachers.
Belinda Flanagan, Bloomington