I am grateful for Ruth Marcus’s confrontation of Donald Trump’s xenophobia “Our biggest threat: Trumpism not terrorism” (Opinion Exchange, Dec. 10). We must not make excuses for Trump’s demagoguery. He is feeding his followers hate and fear for selfish reasons — to garner their votes.
People of conscience must speak up against Trump’s use of fear to manipulate his base. I must admit I was afraid to write this letter, because the last letter I submitted to the Star Tribune concerning climate change garnered hate mail. But if I allow my fear of speaking out publicly to stop me, I am complicit in Trump’s use of bigotry for his personal gain.
There is a legend about a Cherokee elder teaching his grandson about life. “A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy. “It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil — he is anger, fear, envy, greed, arrogance, self-pity, resentment, lies, false pride, superiority and ego. The other is good — he is peace, love, hope, joy, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith. The same fight is going on inside you — and inside every other person, too.”
The grandson thought about it for a minute, then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?”
The old Cherokee replied, “The one you feed.”
It is absolutely clear which wolf Trump is feeding.
Kathleen R. Sevig, Eden Prairie
Why aren’t the facts speaking for themselves?
Our country is riddled with violence, so it isn’t difficult to find data. USA Today, in an investigative report, analyzed more than 200 such events (four or more victims).
Of those events, about a quarter were public killings. Other killings were family-related. Of the public killings, most were the result of shootings; two were from blunt force (including the Boston Marathon bombing), and two were from smoke inhalation or burning.
Of the public killings, two (about 5 percent) were related to Islamic extremist views — the shootings in San Bernardino, Calif., and the Boston Marathon bombing. About 5 percent of the victims died at the hands of extremists. The other 95 percent of the deaths were unrelated to ethnicity — whether the perpetrators were mentally ill, racist, angry or had, as of yet, undetermined motives. As a U.S. citizen, I ache for every life lost due to violence, regardless of motive.
Of the public killings, nearly half were committed by men under age 30. If we want to apply our concerns about extremists to our policies of immigration and admittance of refugees, maybe we should temporarily institutionalize all men under age 30 until “Obama figures out how he is going to handle this problem,” as one letter writer recently said about immigration policy.
When we expand the numbers beyond the public killings to the more than 200 that were analyzed, we are left with fewer than 1 percent committed by Islamic extremists. We know that only about 1 percent of all killings are mass killings. And we know that the majority of killings are committed with guns.
Why are we worried about allowing Muslims into our country, rather than focusing our efforts on reducing gun violence? Is it because it is easier to challenge refugees and immigrants than the NRA and its legions perpetuating this aura of violence under the argument of Second Amendment rights?
Peg Mitchell, Minneapolis
DONALD TRUMP’S PROPOSAL
Supporters of Muslim ban are making false comparisons
I found it hard to believe that a Dec. 10 letter writer tried to excuse Donald Trump’s hateful plan to exclude Muslims from the U.S. by citing Jimmy Carter’s exclusion of Iranians during the hostage crisis. How is it possible that anyone is unable to distinguish imposing restrictions on citizens of a country we’ve broken diplomatic ties with (a very common practice) with doing the same to adherents of a particular religion, or those of a specific race for that matter? It appears that Trump’s bigotry isn’t nearly as unique as I would hope.
Paul Oman, Brooklyn Center
HATE SPEECH AT VIKINGS GAME
Not to minimize, but here’s another thing that happened
The racist encounter that Deepinder Mayell experienced (“My run-in with hate speech at a Minnesota Vikings game,” Dec. 9) was inexcusable and reprehensible. What’s more, it is a bad rap for otherwise decent, well-mannered fans.
Let me share another story that occurred at the same game. My family was there, including my 8-year-old great-grandson. He had been walking on air since learning he would be at the game. After finding their seats, they discovered they were right near one of the entry tunnels. Two neighboring ticket holders asked: Could they switch tickets? In a Minnesota Nice way, my family agreed.
Later, they discovered it was where the Seahawks would enter. When the team made its entry, the two seat-switchers leaned over the railing and started to heckle the Seahawks in a loud and offensive way. A tall ticket holder nearby who had witnessed the whole scene rose from his seat and asked, “Are those your seats?” (Pause from hecklers.) “Of course, we’re sitting here.” (Pause.) “Did you pay for them?” the Tall Man persisted. (Pause.) “Ah, no.” The Tall Man continued: “Then give them back to the people who bought them — now!” The hecklers left the seats and disappeared into the crowd. At halftime, my great-grandson was thrilled when he leaned over the railing at eye level with Russell Wilson and the rest of the Seahawks.
The lesson the boy learned was that a nearby stranger stood up for what he stood for. I don’t know who you were, Tall Man, but you made a strong impression on a young boy and his family. The boy’s team didn’t win the game, but he learned a bigger lesson.
Don Osell, Cohasset, Minn.
• • •
I was deeply disturbed to read the commentary written by my friend and neighbor Deepinder Mayell. When Deep and his family moved into the neighborhood, they immediately set to getting involved in the community and making a difference. We are truly graced by their presence.
I was positively horrified by the online comments about the article, the vast majority of which dismissed his experience outright, essentially calling my friend a liar. Of course, this is simply the default response of many whites to the stories people of color tell us: We do not believe them.
People of color have known for decades that Minnesota harbors a thinly veiled sickness of bigotry, prejudice and racism. Mostly it has existed in hushed conversations behind closed doors and coded language among friends. Now it is laid bare for all to plainly see.
My fellow white people, it is our duty to confront this hate and denounce it in all of its forms. As a first step, talk to your friends, family members and neighbors of color about their experiences. Do not critique or offer advice. Simply listen and sit with the pain. Let it penetrate you. It will change your life.
My brothers and sisters of color: Know that you are loved and cherished. We will fight with you for equity and justice. We will follow where you lead us.
David Greene, Minneapolis