Hey, Colin Kaepernick, is that all you got? (“49ers QB uses anthem to state his race case,” Aug. 28.) Sitting in a chair is your contribution to the “oppressed” or the “voiceless”? How generous. Disrespecting the flag of your country that allows you to disrespect its flag is not an act of bravery or courage. It’s the act of a buffoon.
Don Eisenschenk, Minnetonka
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Many of those who condemn Kaepernick claim his action was disrespectful of the military and thus unpatriotic. Unfortunately, this betrays a sad ignorance of the meaning of America by those claiming to be its patriotic defenders.
The founders had a profound mistrust and fear of standing armies as the greatest threat to liberty. This is reflected in the Second Amendment to the Constitution, much lauded today, which was added to keep the federal government from breaking up the state militias in favor of a standing army. In addition, the Third Amendment forbids forcing people to let soldiers stay in their homes, which the British army had done in America.
After the Civil War, the huge army that fought the war was mostly dismantled as unnecessary for a country with no global imperial interests to defend. The 14th and 15th Amendments were adopted to guarantee equality before the law for all people, regardless of race.
Since this guarantee today is still not in practical effect throughout the nation, gestures to remind the public of this shortcoming are a necessary element of true patriotism to American ideals. The uncritical robot-patriotism of Kaepernick’s critics should not be mistaken for the real thing.
Jeff Miller, Minneapolis
Shut it down, says Star Tribune Editorial Board. In that case …
If the Star Tribune Editorial Board wants to shut down the Clinton Foundation because of the possible appearance of impropriety (Aug. 28), I would like to know what the Star Tribune and its parent company plan to do, in practical terms, to replace the good that is being done by the foundation. Specifically, what is the Star Tribune going to do to:
• Help provide AIDS/HIV medication to 6.8 million people living with that disease?
• Help more than 200,000 subsistence farmers around the world produce enough crops to actually create markets?
• Provide 50,000 cataract surgeries in Peru?
• Replace the $88 billion in capital investments that will make a significant increase in good-paying jobs around the world, including 10,000 jobs in America?
• Provide 225 kilowatts of free solar energy for schools in Haiti, the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere?
In short, former President Bill Clinton, who is not running for any office, has been doing what our country used to do at the federal government level to help emerging countries around the world instead of bombing them back to the Stone Age. And the Editorial Board thinks none of those pragmatic ends is worth the potential for favoritism.
Maybe the Editorial Board could sell some of the arrogance that is certainly taking up a lot of space in that ivory tower.
Jeremy Powers, Minneapolis
SOUTHWEST LIGHT RAIL
Perhaps a court case over equal protection would be in order
Do we have the makings of a lawsuit over Southwest light rail? It seems to me that throwing hundreds of millions at roads, year after year, and denying $144 million for light rail mean that people who can afford cars (whites) are being lavishly attended to, while minorities who lack their own transportation to get to new job vacancies are not. This is so discriminatory and “irrational” (a legal distinction) that a case should be made for the court ordering light rail to happen. How can the state segregate minorities largely into one area of Minneapolis, then deny them the means to leave that segregated area to get to needed employment? This is what disparities are made of.
The Legislature can’t argue that light rail doesn’t pay when ridership exceeds expectations. And it can’t fairly grouse about costs when cars cost so much more per rider-mile, even though we pay little or no attention to the latter. It’s simply not fair, and that’s what equal protection lawsuits are made of.
Mary McLeod, St. Paul
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The Aug. 27 editorial “Southwest LRT is well worth salvaging” continues to perpetuate the myth that the line will dramatically improve access for residents of north Minneapolis to jobs in the southwestern suburbs. While Southwest has been described as “a train to equity,” that doesn’t make it so. Here are the equity-related facts:
• Predictions (based on Metropolitan Council numbers) estimate that ridership at the three stations “near” north Minneapolis (Penn, Van White and Royalston) would be fewer than 2,000 per day, or 9 percent of daily ridership. These stations at best skirt the heart of north Minneapolis
• Most of these riders will be required to transfer from buses, because the stations are not within walking distance of their homes. A key to transit convenience (speaking as an almost-daily user) is walkability and, wherever possible, a one-seat ride.
• Easy access to the 175,000 jobs near the proposed line could be made available starting next week (or next month) if there were the will to do so. How? SouthWest Transit operates express buses to downtown Minneapolis on weekdays, and it could use the return trips to pick up riders at one or two key locations in north Minneapolis and drop them at two or three key employment hubs in the southwestern suburbs.
Transit that increases access to transit-dependent riders, such as residents of north Minneapolis, would be worth supporting. The Southwest line is not it — so please stop perpetuating the myth that it is a “train to equity.”
Patty Schmitz, Minneapolis
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The problem with plans for additional light-rail and transit funding is that everyone but the user is asked to pay more. The members of the Met Council (very few with private-sector backgrounds) seem to never consider reasonable and periodic fare increases that adjust with inflation. As long as I can remember, the fare has been from $1.75 to $2.25. During this period, the system has expanded, allowing riders to go farther for the same low and heavily subsidized price (84 percent when capital recovery costs are properly included). Great news if you are a rider, but not so much for the rest of us 90-plus percent who do not use the system regularly. There are many ways to increase user funding that you do see in other metro-area systems, including fares that adjust with inflation, airport surcharges and charging for parking. Our transit leaders seem to have a deaf ear to all of these.
I do see and support the overall vision and realize that it requires a substantial public subsidy of the transit system, but plans that do not seek additional participation from the user are grossly unfair to the rest of us and will further jeopardize a system that can work for all of us.
Steve Lyon, Minnetonka
Room for improvement
It has always been a joy to visit the Agriculture-Horticulture building at the Minnesota State Fair. The apple display, floral arrangements, seed art and bee exhibit are excellent. However, during the past few years, the displays have been crowded out due to the addition of craft beer sales. The integrity of the building has been lost! Perhaps there needs to be a new location for this popular activity.
Mary Johnson, Delano
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This is the first year in 50 that I haven’t been able to enjoy our wonderful fair. In fact, I worked there as a young student for the Star Tribune in its information booth. I remember many politicians visiting us. Now we have the party headquarters where the Republicans have again overstepped the boundaries of decency by exhibiting former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in a black-and-white prison jumpsuit. But what would we expect now of what was at one time called the Grand Old Party? A party that would deliver to us Donald Trump and all his insults.
Judy Crawford, Wayzata