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Thursday night I was hoping for some encouraging words from our commander in chief, but instead learned that because of some of my beliefs, I am destroying American democracy, I don't respect the Constitution or the rule of law, I embrace anger, thrive on chaos and have the potential to fan the flame of political violence ("Biden: Trump, allies threat to U.S.," front page, Sept. 2).

He went on to say, "I want to say this plain and simple: There is no place for political violence in America. Period. None. Ever." Better tell that to former Attorney General Eric Holder ("When they go low, we kick them. That's what this new Democratic Party is about"), Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer ("I want to tell you, [Supreme Court Justice Brett] Kavanaugh: You have released the whirlwind, and you will pay the price. You won't know what hit you if you go forward ...") and Rep. Maxine Waters ("And if you see anybody from that [Trump] Cabinet in a restaurant, in a department store, at a gasoline station, you get out and you create a crowd. And you push back on them. And you tell them they're not welcome anymore, anywhere").

As a conservative, I am not an insurrectionist; I love my country. I am also not a thug, fascist, white supremacist or outlaw. I lean right, but I didn't storm the Capitol and I would never do so. I am not an extremist nor a terrorist.

The divisions in America today (left vs. right, any skin color vs. white, rich vs. poor, etc.) are tearing our nation apart. In Luke 11:17, it says: "Any kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and a house divided against itself will fall." This may be the goal of some who hate America and have certain agendas.

As a result, we must examine sources of information to see who is behind the messaging we rely on and not be influenced by those with agendas that only benefit themselves while posing danger and destruction to the rest of us.

Shelley Klaessy, Minnetonka


President Joe Biden is no radical. He campaigned on unity and restoring the soul of the "United" States of America. His administration worked hard to pass bipartisan legislation — and did.

And on Thursday, he said enough is enough. He condemned Trump and the MAGA Republicans — the dominant force in the party — for being a threat to democracy. This is no minor statement. Just think about it: A U.S. president — a former vice president and longtime senator known for his centrism — addressed the nation to warn of peril to our country's institutions, including further violence.

This isn't just "politics," or something to check the polls about, or fodder for pundits to pick apart. This is history, live, testing us. How did we reach the place where this speech was ignored by the major TV networks? Where Trumpism and the threat of authoritarianism is normalized?

So enjoy the long weekend, the State Fair, the freedom we take for granted. And then take a hard look at what we need to do to save our democracy and our way of life. Listen to Biden.

Pamela J. Snopl, Minneapolis


About those vaccination concerns

Thank you to the Star Tribune editorial staff for featuring the letter "This can't go on" on Sept. 2. Without the prominent placement, I wouldn't have been aware there are voters who actually hold these beliefs. Throughout the piece, the writer blames the migrants for numerous social ills, but the most baffling is their presumed unvaccinated status. When millions of "legal" American citizens can't be moved (including the Republican candidate for governor) to get a free shot, how are we supposed to safeguard ourselves from COVID-19?

This sad, dog-whistle, "look over there" attempt to divert attention from not only the overwhelming failures of the previous administration but apparent criminal activity accomplishes one thing very well. It points out the hypocrisy of not only the writer but of those who share these views. The sudden interest in vaccination status of supposedly improperly vetted people, when many of the endorsed candidates and prospective leaders of the GOP are mixing with the public as unvaccinated individuals, seems incredibly lame.

Colleen Burns Durda, Eden Prairie


Government, down the drain

According to the mayor of Jackson, Miss., the cause of the water problems in the city (the state's largest and its capital city) is that the Republican-controlled state has failed to fund "decades of deferred maintenance" ("Too much water and not enough," Aug. 31).

"The city of 150,000 had already been under a boil-water notice for a month" before the deluge. The article states that the city is 80% Black, and that "its tax base has eroded the past few decades as the population decreased — the result of mostly white flight to suburbs that began after public schools integrated in 1970."

But Republicans revulsion of using or raising state funds to help its largest city provide the most basic government service tells you all you need to know about the incessant drive for lower taxes.

The article says a restaurant owner is paying $300 a day to buy ice and water to keep his business running. I wonder what the daily cost of a statewide tax to maintain the water system would be.

Republicans said long ago their aim was to shrink government to a size that you could "drown it in a bathtub." Perhaps that day is at hand. Eliminating wasteful government spending is a laudable goal, but cutting too far jeopardizes economic growth and domestic tranquility. Voters should recognize the high cost of low taxes. Mississippi is often rated worst or next to worst on many measures. Is the aversion to taxes part of the problem?

Keith Bogut, Lake Elmo


On Sept. 2, a reprinted editorial from the Mankato Free Press ("America is drying up") suggested a wonderful idea to share water where it is needed. "Rather than a monstrous, multibillion-dollar viaduct that would drain the Midwest to keep desert golf courses green, it would be wiser to design and build thousands of smaller systems — both in the West and in the Midwest — to retain and conserve the excess rain from our increasingly severe downpours. That is the more practical approach."

Yes, we can solve our problems. Let's start thinking practically and following through.

Linda Peterson, Plymouth


Wary of focus on test results

Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment scores are not an indicator of educational success or of teacher quality ("More bad news on student test scores," editorial, Sept. 2). The scores do not even compare the same student from year to year. When you categorize students as "Black," that is a skin color and includes immigrants (new arrivals) who don't even speak English or are still learning how to read. I'm speaking as a former principal who had a mobility rate of incoming and outgoing students of 60% (that means 60% of the students who started in September were not the same students being tested in March or May) mostly due to poverty.

Economics and parenting are the largest predictors of academic success. Teachers should not be blamed for things they do not control or influence.

Politicians should focus on the real issues: costs for special education services, jobs and stable/affordable housing.

COVID demonstrated that teachers really are important, that teaching is not easy and that many parents are not equipped to teach math and reading.

Patty Murphy, Hopkins