There’s clearly been a shift in morality standards in America. Consider the last election. Was a de-emphasis on moral standards somehow reflected in the selection of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump? Swirling around them both were feelings that they had a high level of ethical and character issues, individually and combined. Trump won, and negative references abound — some false, some speculative, some earned: boor, misogynist, chauvinist, boastful, abuser, reckless, arrogant, bully, egomaniac, indignity, nasty, dysfunctional tantrums, unhelpful squabbles, and immune to embarrassment, etc.
Trump is driving people crazy, and conservatives are confused. They can’t figure out whether Trump is a breath of fresh air or a puff of bad breath. He’s an enigma within an enigma.
Obviously, there’s a conflict between popular conservative policies and questionable presidential behavior. So, why does Trump’s conservative base continue to support him? First, it is resolute in opposition to the Democrats’ policy priorities. Also, running through their heads is the likelihood of another Supreme Court vacancy, and they still seek an end to existing abortion laws.
There’s been a collision between behavior and policy, and policy is winning. Trump supporters simply see no acceptable alternative other than staying the course on their policy preferences.
Steve Bakke, Edina
• • •
Two Dec. 14 editorials suggested that Republican Roy Moore’s loss in the Alabama U.S. Senate election was a direct indictment of President Trump by voters of that state. I disagree.
Moore polled ahead of Democrat Doug Jones by double-digits for months, with no indication that would change. Suddenly, in November, multiple women surfaced alleging Moore engaged in inappropriate sexual conduct against them when they were teens nearly 40 years ago. Moore’s lead disappeared faster than Gloria Allred could call another news conference. The Democrats and media fanned the flames of this controversy all the way through the Dec. 12 election.
Jones bested Moore by a thin margin, approximately 20,000 votes (1.5 percent) out of 1.3 million cast. The scandal undoubtedly cost Moore a bevy of Republican votes, while it was widely reported Jones benefited from a surprisingly high turnout of black and young voters, both traditionally pro-Democrat.
Trump won Alabama handily in 2016 and remains popular there. To claim Moore’s loss was because Alabamians disapprove of Trump is laughable. If Moore had not been the subject of disturbing allegations four decades old, there is little doubt he, not Jones, would be Alabama’s senator.
Jason Gabbert, Plymouth
It’s crucial that victims go through HR. Here’s why.
If there’s one lesson from the recent sexual harassment allegations, it’s that perpetrators don’t target just one victim. That is why it was so disconcerting to read in the Star Tribune about a human resources expert who teaches victims of harassment to directly confront perpetrators instead of going to HR (“Will harassment reckoning go too far?” Dec. 10). If each woman who was harassed took this approach, companies would remain in the dark about employees who victimize multiple women. On the other hand, if women were encouraged to come to HR with even “minor” complaints of harassment, companies would be able to identify chronic offenders, which would likely prevent more serious harassment.
Furthermore, the HR expert describes querying workshop attendees about whether they would prefer to be approached directly about behavior a co-worker found offensive rather than being reported to HR. As the scope of the harassment problem has become more apparent over the past few months, it has become abundantly clear that reporting harassment is an extraordinary difficult hurdle for women to overcome; suggesting that they need to consider how a perpetrator may feel about being reported to HR makes the decision to report the situation even more daunting. While companies shouldn’t discourage women who want to confront harassers from doing so, they should also encourage these women to relay the incidents to HR.
Caroline Daykin, Falcon Heights
CELEBRITIES AS POLITICIANS
Which of these was actually prepared for the role? Lewis.
Steven Dornfeld’s Dec. 10 commentary comparing Rod Grams, Jesse Ventura, Jason Lewis and Al Franken (“Celebrities in politics: Minnesotans, have you finally learned?”) made me wonder if Dornfeld ever bothered to listen when Lewis was on the radio or read the book he authored. If so, he would realize how unfair it was to insinuate that Lewis was unprepared for office. Instead, Dornfeld attempted to cover up the Franken disgrace by making political points at the expense of others.
Rep. Lewis should be highly commended for constantly writing op-eds, communicating the Republican message via media of all types. He is articulate and smart, having earned a master’s degree in political science. Lewis, a strong defender of the constitutional philosophy of federalism, wrote a book on the subject called “Power Divided is Power Checked.”
Lewis is not a political novice. He ran for Congress previously in Colorado. Rep. Lewis gained a huge radio following with his studied, commonsense arguments aimed at government policy, what’s wrong in D.C. and how to fix it.
Since going to Washington, Lewis has worked tirelessly to accomplish goals to improve education outcomes, juvenile justice reform, tax and health care reform, among others.
Dornfeld should be embarrassed at his shameless use of the Opinion Exchange pages to criticize capable, accomplished congressman Jason Lewis.
Linda Stanton, Woodbury
THE LORD’S PRAYER
Temptation and free will
Our progressive Pope Francis continues to promote changes for his worldwide faithful, certainly not without controversy (“Does the Lord’s Prayer need an update?” Dec. 9). For those of us Catholics still confused by the addition of the word “consubstantial” to the Nicene Creed, the pope’s suggestion of rewriting the English version of the Lord’s Prayer to “do not let us fall into temptation” from “do not lead us into temptation” makes far more sense!
The biblical versions of Luke and Matthew “do not bring us into time of trial” suggest eliminating all worldly temptations to evil, which contradicts our free-will challenge to avoid evil and choose good, light over darkness. We can’t eliminate all temptation, so asking God to not let us fall into temptation is the better wording, offering a clear, simple understandable version for all.
Michael Tillemans, Minneapolis
• • •
As a Lutheran Christian, I have also found that petition about temptation in the Lord’s Prayer troubling. May I suggest it be, “And let us not yield to temptation.” Or, “And help us not yield to temptation.” They’re the same number of syllables and keep the poetic synthesis and basic theological understanding.
Diane Steen-Hinderlie, St. Louis Park
• • •
I would rather we emphasize our responsibility as active agents in our lives. We turn to God to let him into our lives to help us make better choices. So I would propose instead of “Do not let us fall into temptation” that we allow God into our lives with “And help us not fall into temptation.” We can be helped by allowing God into our lives as we exercise free-will choices.
Bruce Hermansen, Apple Valley