Coming from an African country, I never envisioned that tribalism could follow me to the United States. From the outside world — particularly Africa, the Middle East and South America — the U.S. is considered the custodian of democracy. And, over the years, it has made extra efforts to export democracy to these parts of the world. Progress is in the offing in some countries — for instance, Kenya, as witnessed in its Supreme Court-nullified presidential elections due to irregularities and illegalities. Why is tribalism growing in the U.S., threatening democracy?
The nationalism and Trumpism movements are the catalysts. These two forces converged at the right time, after the two major parties over the years had successfully split the country into die-hard camps. No side can listen to the other because it has been sermonized into believing perpetual taboos. And within these two camps, major split groups (far right and far left) have developed, worse in ideologies than the majority (center). Why will “one nation under God” allow primitive principles? The U.S. should never degenerate into such a state — should never allow chaos to rule the day and make Russia’s Vladimir Putin look like a genius tactician.
Americans must reject divisive politics and do the right thing — talk to each other regardless of political affiliation. Tribal politics is cancerous to the society.
David Sindiga, Roseville
TREATMENT OF VETERANS
In a span of a few days in our area, the good, bad and ugly
As a former Army soldier, I was invited by the principal of St. Michael-Albertville High School to attend a special program on Friday to honor veterans for their service. It was a beautiful program, and the auditorium was full. There was special seating for the veterans, probably 50 to 60 in total.
In addition to the students who spoke, Mayor Chris Coleman of St. Paul gave an excellent thank you to the veterans, and it was followed up by comments by Principal Bob Driver. We were called to stand up by name, and at the end, a round of applause was given that lasted for five minutes. The shop class made special wood plaques that were given to each of us by individual students, who thanked us for our service. The respect for us was huge!
The day after, in the Star Tribune’s Variety section, I read the story of people who had served in the military effort (“They served — and continue to serve,” Nov. 11). Each had a unique and, I believe, heroic story, until I came to the last one who served in the Marines. The caption below her photograph said that she “encountered sexual harassment during her service in the Marines” and “continues to fight for better treatment for servicewomen,” and the story stated that her military time is in the past. I found that interesting, if not disappointing, and thought that she must have had something else to tell about her career in the Marines to define what she was proud of and not what the reporter chose to bring out in the story, which had nothing to do with honoring these veterans.
Then, on Tuesday, I read of the situation at the high school in Edina during which some students decided to sit rather than stand during the national anthem and during “Taps.” (“Veterans Day protest roils Edina High.”) What a difference this was from the many celebrations and honors given veterans in many towns across the state and across the country, including St. Michael-Albertville.
Lee Waldon, Buffalo, Minn.
A citizen stopped the shooting in Texas. How close to vigilantism?
The reports that I have read about the events in Sutherland Springs, Texas, indicate that the shooter was engaged by an armed citizen as he was leaving the church, and that the armed citizen then pursued the shooter in a truck. Was it lawful for the armed citizen to chase after the shooter, or should he have left that to law enforcement? At what point does self-defense or defending others end and vigilantism begin? Perhaps legal experts could enlighten us on Minnesota’s laws in this regard.
Lisa Wersal, Vadnais Heights
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The Star Tribune Editorial Board has expressed its admiration for the Japanese policy of totally banning private ownership of handguns (“Thoughts, prayers aren’t good enough,” Nov. 7). There are 300 million handguns in private ownership in this country. Former president Barack Obama once stated that there are those of us whose values support a culture of God and guns, which you have told us in your editorials is inadequate. Tell us what policy you would carry out here. Repeal the Second Amendment? Raids? Arrests? Prosecution? Now that we know what the Japanese think, how about publishing the opinions of those of us in this country who oppose their views and believe that the best way to deal with bad people with guns is good people with guns. We not only support the Second Amendment. We support the First Amendment freedom of speech and hope you will not cut us off from expressing our views in your newspaper.
Should you choose to publish my gun control article, I would appreciate your including some of my other credentials in addition to being an NRA member. Former president, Minneapolis City Council. Former president, Minneapolis Planning Commission. Current member, Minneapolis Charter Commission. Honorable discharge, U.S. Navy. Former member, U.S. Naval Reserve. Member, American Legion. Member, Disabled American Veterans. Member, Urban League.
By the way, have any members of the Editorial Board of the Star Tribune served in the military?
Dan Cohen, Minneapolis
SEXUAL MISCONDUCT ALLEGATIONS
Today, it’s a rush to judgment; with Bill Clinton, it was not
I am not writing here to declare guilt or innocence. Of that I only have an opinion, and we all know about opinions. In cases of recent sexual-assault allegations, the accused is automatically presumed to be guilty in the eyes of the media and the public in general. I see nothing of presumption of innocence in the news. Let’s take Judge Roy Moore, for example. If he murdered someone or robbed a bank, at least he would be tried in a court of law. In this case, the media is the judge, the public, the jury with a guilty verdict before the trial begins. In regard to the recent accusations of sexual assault made against numerous politicians and Hollywoods, whatever happened to presumption of innocence? If those accused cannot provide absolute definitive proof, they are unquestionably presumed guilty. Let’s back up 20 years and look at an unnamed high-ranking politician from Arkansas. In this case it was incumbent on the accuser to provide proof of truth. Now it’s a complete 180 from those times. The accused has to respond to the accusation even when no proof is offered, only words. If the accused cannot provide definitive proof, they are presumed guilty. We need to meet someplace between 20 years ago and now.
Bruce Granger, West Concord, Minn.
Super Bowl transit shutdown would sully both sides, and us
The Metropolitan Council and the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1005 need to find a solution to their differences quickly (“Metro Transit workers vote for Super Bowl strike,” Nov. 14). A shutdown of transit during Super Bowl activities would reflect poorly on ATU Local 1005, the Met Council, as well as all of Minnesota. Not acceptable by any means. I trust that both parties will put their best foot forward.
Scott Young, Zimmerman, Minn.