May the survivors of clergy abuse finally experience in their minds and hearts the peace they deserve (“$210M in atonement,” June 1).
I broke down in tears when I read the news. More than 25 years ago, clergy abuse victims told their heart-wrenching stories before the Senate Judiciary Committee at the State Capitol. They weren’t believed. Critics said they testified from “false memory.” The Catholic Church vicar general told legislators that abuse was all about a bad perpetrator and that the church would make sure it never happened again. An early version of today’s “false news.”
But survivors never gave up. Soon the Catholic faithful (and donors) started asking tough questions. Finally, in 2013, legislators listened. They came together and took a bipartisan, difficult stand against the powerful. They broke through the false news. And they opened a “window” that would allow survivors to speak their piece. That window led to Thursday’s result and will transform the lives of many Minnesotans forever. Sometimes legislators don’t realize their enormous power to create possibility.
When your legislative candidates of either party come knocking at your door this election year, ask them: Will they take a stand against the powerful? Will they cut through false news? Will they take the inherent political risks to open new windows to transform the lives of Minnesotans, whether children, elderly, addicted or those facing challenges?
If enough candidates say yes, we can create a powerful and productive Legislature once again.
Ember Reichgott Junge, Minneapolis
The writer is a former state senator and former chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
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The lawyers compensated with 33 percent of the clergy sexual abuse settlement may be perceived as the only real winners in this sad travesty of justice. The abused were forever scarred by the breech of trust and faith by the fallen perpetrators that no amount of money satisfies. Our Catholic Church not only lost financially, but there was a significant exodus of the former faithful disgusted with the whole sordid situation. Many now-former clergy members lost their jobs to live on with the scorn of all their evil misdeeds. Finally, we all lost through likely higher insurance premiums for the foreseeable future and a skepticism of the genuine credibility for leaders we used to blindly know and trust. Thankfully, aggressive reforms give hope for a better future.
Michael Tillemans, Minneapolis
SUPER BOWL ECONOMICS
In any case, someone was thinking several moves ahead
With all the back-and-forth in letters to the editor about the wonderful Super Bowl money, I thought I’d add this note from the online newsletter from the New York Times’ David Leonhardt quoting former Russian chess champion Garry Kasparov about the World Cup, which begins this month and to which Russia is host: “It’s a colorful distraction and a way to fulfill the kleptocratic mandate: privatize the profits, nationalize the costs.”
Phil Bolinder, Woodbury
Vertiginous investment cannot possibly be worth it. (Or can it?)
Never mind the past design and engineering budget; the construction investment in Southwest light-rail transit is now at more than $2 billion for 14.5 miles of track (“County Board OKs SWLRT funding boost,” June 1). Does anyone else think that roughly $138 million per mile is not sustainable? We will have a mini set of trunk routes. How can we think that it can be expanded to serve area transportation when the existing trunks are not self-supporting? I cannot believe that $929 million from the federal funds is worth the state and Hennepin County contribution of more than $1 billion. Who in the world thinks this is a good investment, and why is there no way to stop this spending?
Penny Saiki, Wayzata
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Those opposed to the Southwest light-rail line should be required to use only local roads and barred from Interstates 694, 494 and 394 and Hwys. 5, 212 and 169. Construction of these major routes required the acquisition of private land and affected fields, trails and lakes, changed neighborhoods and required millions of tax dollars. Current traffic congestion is just a blip compared with what it would have been without the investment in those freeways.
Eleanor Sampson, Edina
BARR AND BEE
Here’s the difference
To the June 1 letter writer who asks what the difference is between the fallout experienced by Roseanne Barr and Samantha Bee after recent comments they both made, I would offer this response.
Bee called Ivanka Trump “feckless” (thoughtless; careless; irresponsible) for posting a picture celebrating her 2-year-old infant while the Trump administration is forcibly separating parents and children through harsh immigration enforcement. Bee then made the poor choice of emphasizing her contempt with a vile slur. She apologized for the slur, but calling Ms. Trump feckless is not unreasonable and might be considered valid by many.
Barr chose to characterize Obama administration adviser Valerie Jarrett through a tweet with a vile, racist, bigoted, misstated xenophobic attack that she later explained away as a “bad joke.” As far as I know, there has been no explanation as to what prompted the tweet in the first place, although I surmise it may have been the fact that Ms. Jarrett was scheduled to appear on a program that evening discussing everyday racism in America.
In making commentary on White House advisers (past and present), both comedians chose their reasons and their words. I see the difference, and I believe the corporations that employ them did as well and acted accordingly in response.
Steve Bennett, Golden Valley
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It seems to me the important issue is that Barr could say what she said at all. It’s what is truly within her that matters, not its implications. You don’t say/tweet/write what she did unless it is a part of who you are, of how you think.
Lynn Bollman, Minneapolis
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The comments by Barr and Bee both were offensive, but I do see a difference. Barr’s comments were racist. That difference matters to me. The best equivalent I find to Bee’s comment are those of Donald Trump. Both of their comments debased women with vile slang for female genitalia. The difference in consequences? Bee apologized. Trump was elected president.
Angela Stehr, St. Paul
Here are my terms
When I can no longer knit, when I can no longer read or play piano, when I can no longer prepare my own meals, when I can no longer walk, when I am in constant and unrelenting pain, I want to be done. I don’t want to sit in a nursing home ($$$) waiting to have my diaper changed, be fed, be turned over in bed. Even if my mind is functioning, many of my “roommates” will be in the throes of some sort of dementia — not much stimulating conversation there. When I can no longer do the things I love — let me go. I would like to go, thank you.
Julie Torgerson, Eagan