I must respond to the Sept. 20 letter that finds “danger” in the slogan “No Single Truth” that is attached to the Ken Burns documentary film about the Vietnam War. It is nothing short of ironic that the writer cites those who deny historical facts as some sort of support to his argument yet would deny us the opportunity to know what the “single truth” of the war in Vietnam was, as he implies there must be.
If he, and all of us, are allowed to distill the “truth” of that conflict to only a “single one,” I hope it would be that “war is hell.” That is a truth I would agree to and find scant argument against. I don’t think that was his point, however, but he never told us what the one “truth” was, so we are left to wonder.
I am not sure if the writer has seen all 10 episodes and knows something I don’t, but I found that the history lesson contained in the first episode and the stark reminders of the lies and facts that were hidden from the American people are enough to weaken his point.
As he states, we the people and the government we embody are capable of denying history, motivation, intention and the way we act among the nations of the world, all of which were complex and multifaceted during the “Vietnam Era,” and that is the Truth.
Stephen Bennett, Golden Valley
Caring for child, community isn’t a mutually exclusive decision
I, too, am a parent in the Minneapolis School District. I want to assure Marguerite Mingus that the choice to keep my daughter in the district was no less difficult than her choice to leave (“You call it ‘fleeing’; I call it parent empowerment,” Sept. 21). My daughter attends a school where poverty rates exceed 80 percent, homelessness among kids is 7.1 percent, proficiency rates on the 2017 Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments were 18.6 percent, and on math, proficiency rates were even lower at 17.6 percent. I share many of the concerns that Mingus voiced in her commentary. I agonize every day that I have made the right choice for my child.
Mingus paints a false dichotomy between parents who make an intentional choice to stay and those who make an intentional choice to leave. I do not keep my daughter in the Minneapolis Public Schools because of convenience or because I am putting other children ahead of my child, or what would be best for the district’s budget or even because she is doing just fine. I keep my child in the district because I believe that putting my child first should not require me to leave other children behind.
We parents who decide to stay care no less for our child because of that decision. Policies that empower parents to leave should not do so on the backs of those who do not make the same choice. Surely, we can have a meaningful dialogue on what we can do to help all kids without creating an environment where those who choose to leave feel empowered and those of us who choose to stay feel abandoned.
Nicola Alexander-Knight, Minneapolis
GRAHAM-CASSIDY HEALTH BILL
McCain to vote no, standing in the way of needed reform
John McCain had an honorable military career and many years in the Senate. How sad that he is ending his career by preferring to slap down the president than to do what he promised his voters — to reform the imploding Obamacare (“McCain says he will vote no on latest health care repeal bill,” StarTribune.com, Sept. 22). No one believes your excuses, senator. If you want Democrats’ input — bring it to the floor — anyone can offer amendments.
Chris Schonning, Andover
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If Republicans are supporting the Graham-Cassidy bill because they truly want the states to be able to test what works best for their particular state, why is John Kennedy, R-La., proposing language “explicitly forbidding states from using the new block grants toward the establishment of a state-run single-payer system”? Such a limit seems hypocritical from a party that may let states seek waivers to the required protection of people with pre-existing conditions and no lifetime limits on medical coverage.
Joan Felice, Roseville
Those who are complaining of inconvenience are forgetful
There’s been much complaining about the new bike lanes on S. 26th and 28th streets in the Whittier neighborhood of Minneapolis, and it raises the question: Do you not remember all the fatalities suffered in traffic accidents on those streets this decade? Find two solid examples at http://strib.mn/2xo01UZ and http://strib.mn/2xtz7wz. There was a very clear pattern of traffic deaths along 26th and 28th, and when those kinds of patterns emerge, a responsive government institutes changes. If the lower vehicle speeds and the separation of bicyclists end the deaths along that corridor, then the lane changes will have been worth it.
David Muench Huebert, Minneapolis
Telling headlines online in articles about the arts
I applaud Rohan Preston’s Sept. 17 interview with Sarah Rasmussen of the Jungle Theater and Sarah Bellamy of Penumbra. It’s inspiring to read their stories about the experiences that propel them to make theater, and to acknowledge their leadership of two iconic Twin Cities institutions. It’s very true, as Rasmussen notes, that theater role models for women are hard to find in a discipline where fewer than 30 percent of plays produced are written or directed by women.
It’s disappointing, though, that the online headline for the article led with “juggling art and motherhood.” Calling attention first to their status as parents overshadows the insightful things Rasmussen and Bellamy have to say about women in theater leadership. For Preston’s March 2017 article about Joe Haj’s innovations in leading the Guthrie (online headline: “How the Guthrie’s Joe Haj is ushering in a new era for Minnesota theater”), there is no emphasis on Haj’s juggling of art and fatherhood, though presumably it’s challenging for him to do so, too.
If we truly hope to support women as leaders in theater, we must do it in a way that highlights their achievements without falling back on gender stereotypes.
Anne Bertram, Minneapolis
Finns get reduced
The Sept. 22 article about FinnFest USA was cute, condescending and loaded with travelogue generalities. In a state where some 63,000 people are proud of their Finnish heritage, I had hoped that Finns could be portrayed as more than people who “beat themselves naked” and are defined by a “stubbornness carried beyond all reasonable bounds.” But no. Once again, Finland was easily reduced to “sauna” and “sisu.”
Finns are just tough and quirky? I would urge the author to return to FinnFest this weekend — or better yet, travel to Finland — to learn more about Finnish history and current accomplishments. Finland turns 100 this coming December. For centuries, it was overrun and dominated by Sweden and Russia, but still, the Finns held on to their unique language and culture. When the Finns finally were free, they became a country that granted voting rights to women (before the U.S. did), educated their children superbly, fostered a unique understanding of architecture and design, and honored the beauty of creation in a multitude of ways — all while surviving the growls and swipes of a Russian Bear who has continually demanded “treats” from its next-door neighbor.
I am the daughter and granddaughter of Finnish immigrants. I know that the people and culture of Finland are much more than salty licorice, vodka and puukko knives. Welcome, FinnFest. Welcome, President Sauli Niinistö and Finnish guests. Inspire us once more!
Lilja Behr, Brainerd, Minn.