D.J. Tice's Jan. 10 column "Though nation still stands, our faith is shaken" characterizes the sane half of our electorate as "today's feverish American left."
A fever is a normal and necessary response to a severe infection.
Dave Porter, Minneapolis
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Both Tice and Monte Bute ("We're all institutionalists now," Opinion Exchange, Jan. 10) discussed the fragility of our legal and political systems as exposed by the storming of the Capitol. They emphasized how crucial it is that our legal and democratic institutions stand strong and steady. But they failed to address how our institutions allowed Donald Trump to turn his presidency into a vehicle for destruction of our democracy. In 2016 the nation awarded him the bloody pulpit for four years, and he enabled white supremacist and conspiracy theories to delude and to gain credence. The institution of our free press was undermined as its effort to report the truth was ridiculed. It is critical that we reexamine our basic institutions and how they contributed to Trumpism.
The result of our abandoning majority rule, one of the fundamentals of democracy, and going the Electoral College route has been a disaster for the country. The reins of power are the crucial factor in governing a nation. When the nation awarded the presidency to Trump even though he was rejected by a majority of almost 3 million, we flirted with calamity. Majority rule is how we govern, from school boards to the Supreme Court. When a nonmajority takes over, it has the power to discredit the majority and the institutions that buttress our democracy. And that is what Trump has done.
Majority rule is one of the guardrails of our democracy. When the president does not represent the majority of voters, we invite abuse.
Fred Perry Kramer, Richfield
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In the aftermath of the U.S. Capitol insurrection on Jan. 6, analysis and assigning blame has begun, beginning with the shameful role of Trump and those who enabled him. While initial focus has been on political leaders and advisers, an important group was highlighted by Star Tribune columnist Lee Schafer ("CEO reaction to chaos at Capitol was lukewarm," Business, Jan. 10).
Schafer cites Jay Timmons, chief executive of the National Association of Manufacturers: "Armed violent protestors who support the baseless claims by outgoing president Trump that he somehow won an election that he overwhelmingly lost have stormed the U.S Capitol today … . This is not law and order. This is chaos. It is mob rule. … This is sedition and should be treated as such."
When I initially heard the report about Timmons' statement on a radio broadcast, I was encouraged that this was the start of a large effort by American business. Large corporations carry responsibility to support the institutions that have enabled U.S. businesses to thrive, and here they were, standing up to say they recognize this important role. But Schafer then reports that other business leaders across the spectrum have failed to step forward at this time, relying on weak statements like "we must work together to overcome these challenges" or remaining silent. Very disappointing.
I believe American consumers are becoming more active in their expectations for the business and financial world. We, along with many others, recently changed to a new credit card company when the previous company continued to invest heavily in fossil fuels. We will be watching closely when corporations fail to support the institutions and services that support our democracy as we decide where, and where we will not, take our business. Schafer finishes his column: "If last week's chaos wasn't enough for business leaders to demand action … for the good of their country, it's hard to even guess what else could come along that would."
Susan Sisola, Minneapolis
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As the voters usher Trump's corrupt and faithless administration from the precincts of the presidency amid unprecedented chaos, the least-reported story of his presidency must not be forgotten: that he consistently worked for Vladimir Putin and Russian interests against those of the United States. The evidence is everywhere before us, though often clouded by Trump's immense ability to suck up all media oxygen with his tweets and erratic and now seditious behavior.
Trump held nine unprecedented private conversations and phone calls with Putin, none with State Department officials present, and concealed the content, confiscating translator notes. He betrayed America's valiant Kurdish allies in the war against ISIS, abetting Russia's Syrian partner Assad. He undercut NATO allies while ginning up a trade war against China with little to show for it except distrust for the U.S., pushing China more into Putin's orbit. Throughout it all, Trump militantly sided with the global oil and gas industry, in which Russia is a major player, against the facts and implications of climate science, undermining global consensus to act on the evidence. Putin's kleptocracy has but one viable business, oil and gas. Action on climate change its biggest threat.
Trump's final act of sabotage may be the worst. Obscured by the loud violence of his departure is his denial, against all evidence, that Russia led the major hack on the U.S. government and American businesses, by far the most serious in American history, an act of war.
James P. Lenfestey, Minneapolis
Lenfestey is a former Star Tribune editorial writer.
NORMAN BORLAUG'S LEGACY, CONTINUED
The cause of overpopulation? The planet doesn't make a distinction
A letter published Jan. 10 takes issue with the notion that overpopulation is the root of socioeconomic problems, but the argument rather is one of misplaced blame for resource consumption. The poor get a disproportionate share of the blame (for excess procreation), while wealthier people per capita consume resources disproportionately. Both are true. Regardless of successful debate points, it all comes down to simple math. This planet doesn't care who wins the arguments. There is a sustainable number limit on Earth for our species, and we have exceeded that.
Bob Worrall, Roseville
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Thanks to the Star Tribune for printing reader letters about population and to the writer who pointed out how overconsumption destroys the environment. This is a big part of the discussion we need to have. The U.S., as the world's third most populous country, contributes more to global warming per capita than do China or India. However, the Jan. 10 letter writer, in using the phrase "blaming the poor," echoed a recurring communication flaw. Portraying population balance advocates as "blaming" chills the conversation. Meanwhile, growth leads to deforestation in favor of farm fields in many countries, as it has here in Minnesota. Norman Borlaug's "population monster" rages on.
World and local leaders need to cut through the "blaming stigma" to cooperate; to educate constituents on the necessity and means of family planning that prevents poverty and preserves farmlands, forests and beneficial species — saving Earth for future generations. Along with this comes raising the status of women and girls.
Causes of current mass migrations from poorer countries into richer ones are overpopulation-based. In Latin America more workers than jobs (due to many rural people moving into cities) leads to poverty which breeds criminal gangs. Corrupt officials provide little protection. Citizens flee for "the American Dream." Hard to blame them. The Center for Immigration Studies, using Census Bureau information: "Population growth in the United States is almost entirely driven by the federal government's immigration policy." Immigrants adopt our lifestyle. Higher U.S. population means we continue as the greatest contributor to global warming.
Could it be any clearer that developed countries need to take responsibility for providing resources to help poorer countries stabilize populations and poorer countries need to adapt? This was Borlaug's hope when he bought us time, preventing mass starvation by initiating the Green Revolution. So here we are with double the world population since his Nobel Prize 50 years ago.