Tom Horner rightly chides Texas for its lack of foresight and unwillingness to fund more weatherproof infrastructure ("Texas needs to learn to help itself," Opinion Exchange, Feb. 19). Good point. For all of us: Aren't most of us being shortsighted in our slow reaction to climate change? Shouldn't we be more willing to pay now to make life better for our children and future generations? How about increasing the gas tax to help fund transition to electric vehicles? Increasing utility rates to pay for more renewable energy sources? Paying more for food so land can be farmed in a way that stores carbon in the soil? Taxing carbon output in manufacturing that, yes, will raise the cost of things we buy — and could fund training of workers in a more green economy? Buying less, reusing and repairing more?
Costly and no fun, but surely the farsighted and responsible thing to do.
Paul Wehrwein, St. Paul
But government programs still help
Keith Burris' Feb. 22 call for a moral reawakening says we've "reached the limits of what government can do to mend individuals or society," saying we need "a mass return to churchgoing" and "a massive new wave of volunteerism" ("What America needs is a moral awakening," Opinion Exchange). It's hard to argue with those last two points, but it's important to remember that when churchgoing was more a part of the national habit, things were anything but rosy for many Americans, especially the poor and racial and ethnic minorities.
Government programs have fallen short of perfection in accomplishing what they hoped to accomplish, but it's too easy to ignore the improved quality of life many Americans have experienced because we've done things like provide government-funded meals at school, food aid for families and financial assistance in housing, health care, heating costs and many other aspects of life. Government programs don't provide enough help to heal all the nation's wounds, but for many people of all ages, those programs certainly make life less miserable than it would be if such programs didn't exist.
Steven Schild, Winona, Minn.
Same vague, unconvincing rhetoric
Erin Maye Quade's Feb. 20 commentary ("Senators pushing misinformation," Opinion Exchange) accuses state Sens. Julia Coleman and Michelle Benson of having "elevated dangerous, inflammatory rhetoric ... exploiting the circumstances of pregnant people who have abortions later in pregnancy." I submit it is Maye Quade who makes use of inflammatory rhetoric by resorting to the same old stereotypes that pro-abortionists have been resorting to for over 50 years.
Maye Quade refers to "anti-abortion lawmakers" using "the government to control the reproduction and private health decisions of Minnesotans." She chooses the negative identifier of "anti-abortion" to put pro-life people in a negative light. We are not trying to control women's ability to make decisions about their lives. We are trying to save another human being. We do not ask a woman to keep their child, only to let the child live. To kill another human being as a solution to one's difficulties is wrong. And, yes, we as a society need to do more to then help that child grow and develop all of their abilities.
Maye Quade accuses the lawmakers of lying and distorting the truth in a way that will encourage violence at clinics and against patients and providers. I could not find the comments of Coleman and Benson that Maye Quade is referring to, but I have known people active in the pro-life movement for over 40 years and have taken part at many rallies and prayer services. I have never heard anyone call for or support violence against clinics or another human being. Rather, I have heard calls to pray and offer help to people involved in an abortion.
Maye Quade fails to offer anything to back up her allegations. She fearmongers by referencing a "rise in extremism" and that anti-abortion violence is on the rise. She accuses but cites no facts. Instead she attempts to bolster her arguments with guilt by association. She infers racist intentions to pro-lifers by referencing "enslavers" forcing Black women to produce children and "white nationalists that led the Jan. 6 insurrection." If Maye Quade really cares about women's health, maybe she should join the pro-life advocates who work to insure that all clinics are inspected to ensure that they truly provide a safe environment for all women.
Leo Martin, Minneapolis
• • •
According to Maye Quade, "the only way anti-abortion lawmakers can gin up opposition to [the Protect Reproductive Options Act] is to lie about what it does." Again, they "resort to distortions and falsehoods in their desperate attempt to undermine our rights."
Maye Quade utterly fails to produce examples of such lying and distortions. The proponents and opponents of abortion have different views, honestly held, as to whether abortion is sometimes permissible and, if it is, just what limits (if any) should be imposed.
In a democracy, it is certainly relevant that 74% of Minnesotans condone abortion under some circumstances. It is equally relevant that the remaining 26% do not; in a democracy, they are entitled to their opinion and free to promote their cause. We do not "all agree" that the relevant decisions are beyond the purview of the government. These are life-or-death issues and, as with capital punishment, they are properly decided by courts, legislators and voters.
Peter Brown, St. Paul
Still sometimes the best option
I am a psychotherapist with over 40 years of experience as a marriage and family therapist and at one time was a therapist for children. I sincerely disagree with Sandra Howlett's article where she sites the negative impact of divorce on children ("For kids, there's no such thing as a good divorce," Opinion Exchange, Feb. 22). Yes, it is a very difficult time for a family with loss and grief for everyone. However, Howlett's article cites very old research and doesn't take into account the changing custody laws affecting many families and the recent availability of a wide range of literature and therapeutic services for these families.
What I have witnessed doing therapy for many years is the terrible toll on children, now adults, of growing up in a family with unhappily married parents who never get divorced. I am one of those people. I asked my mother to please consider divorce when I was 12 years old. The fighting and tension resulting from alcohol addiction and subsequent job instability created a very unstable environment. I was 17 when they finally separated, and I was so relieved when they divorced.
I tell my clients who are divorcing that it isn't the divorce that is hard on children, it is how my clients treat each other after the divorce. If parents can find a way to be respectful toward one another, not engage in power struggles and be sensitive to the needs of their children, their kids can recover and be well adjusted.
The silver lining for children of divorce is: We see the truth of the world — people don't always get along and the best-laid plans don't always come into fruition. These are lessons we all have to come to terms with at some time in our lives.
However, life goes on and two people still love you, even if they live in different homes. What really matters is helping our children develop resilience in this complicated world and reminding them that learning from their parents' mistakes is part of the life journey.
Interestingly, the divorce rate is decreasing, and I like to think, maybe, it is because us children of divorce have learned from our parents' mistakes. We wait till we are older to marry, and our eyes are wide open.
Carol F. Wichers, Minneapolis
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