On Monday, it became very clear that our freedom is in danger. Our president doesn’t understand that free people can choose not to clap for his speeches (“Intel panel OKs release of Dems’ memo,” front page, Feb. 6). That is a right we have. He called the failure of Democrats to give him his desired applause during his State of the Union speech “treasonous.” This authoritarian attitude and behavior is frightening and must be stopped. I actually found Vice President Mike Pence’s and House Speaker Paul Ryan’s jumping up and clapping in time with the president, who was clapping for himself, very disconcerting. He was their puppeteer.

Betty Hartnett, Wayzata

• • •


Next up: windsurfing on the prairie, luring our neighbors

George M. Woytanowitz’s tongue-in-cheek list of events that could be attracted to Minnesota (“Rose Parade in Minnesota? Mardis Gras? Why Not?”, Opinion Exchange, Feb. 6) made me think of the Windsurfing Regatta and Music Festival that will be held June 8-10 in Worthington, Minn. Founded in 1999, the regatta attracts professional windsurfers from around the county to race on windswept Lake Okabena. Landlocked Worthington has even hosted the U.S. Windsurfing National Championships three times. The windsurfing is wrapped around a music festival; this year, the acts will include rising country star Neal McCoy.

The regatta draws a lot of visitors to Worthington and benefits the local economy. Like the Super Bowl, it happens because of a strong group of volunteers and backing from the business community. I agree with Woytanowitz that Minnesota should pursue more events like the Super Bowl. Who knows? Maybe we could host the Rose Bowl.

Mike Moser, Minneapolis

• • •

Now that the overblown, overhyped big game is over and all of the powers-that-be are getting their shoulders treated because of excessive backslapping, I have a question.

How again, exactly, does this event help me and other average Joe Blow Minnesota taxpayers? So far, the only explanation that we’ve been given is that it will be great for the state’s “image” and lead to more tourism and business moving in.

Really? (And, no, I don’t want to hear yet again how much extra money was generated for state coffers — hocus-pocus accounting.)

I’m an outsider who has chosen to live in Minnesota for the last 35 years, so I like it here. But is there anyone really dumb enough to think getting people here in February will make them want to come back? Do you know anyone who can’t wait to get out of Minnesota for at least a portion of the winter? I don’t. Why do you think that is?

Having lived in both places, I can almost assure you that no one who lives anywhere near Boston or Philadelphia will ever be back on vacation.

My guess is that 98 percent of all of the tourists who come to Minnesota live no farther than two states away. So unless the Chicago Bears or Green Bay Packers are guaranteed to land in the game, don’t bother groveling for another one.


Richard Hughes, Deer River, Minn.


Lessons from the time when a ‘redneck’ came to the rescue

Ruth Mayer wants to know “How do we hold onto the fire and the outrage that fuels our resistance to all of the cruelty that [President Donald] Trump is unleashing, but also embrace the world with more love? I wish I knew the answer.” (“Trump makes me furious, but a car mishap made me think,” Opinion Exchange, Feb. 3.)

Since she asked, I offer the following:

1. Stop jumping to conclusions (she “sized him up as a Trump voter”?).

2. Show the slightest bit of interest in our fellow humans — even the ones in overalls. Mayer “never learned his name,” even though he spent 10 minutes getting her car road-ready again. Here’s how you learn someone’s name: Say, “What’s your name?” Life hack: You could probably just look at the name tag on the overalls — don’t most rednecks have name tags sewn onto their overalls? This could backfire though, if the redneck is wearing someone else’s overalls — a safe assumption since I feel like most rednecks are pretty broke. Whoops! I think I just broke my own step No. 1. (Also, don’t you hate when people say “life hack”? Different letter for a different day.) Anyway, the name thing: Not only do you learn something fundamental about someone else, this question lets them know you see them as a person and not just a convenience who dropped from the sky to help you with your car.

3. Stay humble. I know it’s hard. We all fall into the trap of getting puffed up with our own righteous indignation and convince ourselves we’re the smartest person in the room. But you know how that nameless, assumed Trump voter used self-deprecation (I might be breaking step No. 1 again, but it’s worth considering he was giving a little wink at himself with the “redneck” comment) to make you feel more comfortable? Like that.

I didn’t vote for Trump either, and I’m not too excited about how things are going. But kindness across lines isn’t as hard as Mayer thinks (see: obvious Trump voter in overalls who took time out of his life to tape her car back together).

When the urge strikes to assume we know everything about everyone, resist it.

Katie McCollow, Minneapolis

• • •

Within Mayer’s commentary, I found the following to be defining:

“As I drove home, I felt the full extent to which Trump has actually diminished my own desire to be kind. He is keeping me so outraged that I hold ill will toward others on a daily basis. Trump is not just ruining our nation, he is ruining me.”

My reaction: Trump cannot diminish our desire to be kind to one another, but he can be an excuse for us so we do not have to be kind. Trump cannot keep us so outraged that we hold ill will toward others on a daily basis, but he can be used as an excuse for us to cling to that outrage. Trump is one individual. We the people are choosing to abandon civility, we the people are choosing to divide ourselves and we the people are using Trump as an excuse. Nations are torn apart by their reactions to the imaginary demons that they choose to see in one another.

I am glad that the author was able to see, instead of a demon, an angel in another, which reminded her that “we are all just people trying to get home safe. And that we need each other.” To answer her question, “How do we hold onto the fire and the outrage that fuels our resistance to all of the cruelty that Trump is unleashing, but also embrace the world with more love?”, I ask, “Why hold on to the outrage?” Abandon it, and focus on the love. If Trump is, to you, an avatar of hate and bigotry, then be an avatar of love and acceptance.

Jon Jubert, Plymouth


Some kind of divine intervention

Former U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann said her decision not to run for the U.S. Senate in 2018 is the result of unanswered prayers (“Bachmann has no plans to run for Senate against Smith,” Page B3, Feb. 6). Her announcement that she is not running means millions more prayers were answered.

Donald Voge, Robbinsdale