When I first heard the slogan “drain the swamp” during the election season, I was disappointed that as U.S. citizens we could so easily color our government system as a body of stagnant water. Why would we allow for such disdain for the government we elected and trust has our best interest at heart?

Meanwhile, my daughter and son-in-law have been attempting to bring their adopted son (my first grandchild) home since a Sept. 7 meeting with the U.S. Embassy in Kampala, Uganda. We all assumed the process to get a visa would be the simple part of getting everyone home, since the Uganda high court had granted guardianship for my new grandson in August. After 12 full weeks, we are still waiting for our embassy to complete the review of the adoption file. Our two U.S. senators’ offices have responded to requests for updates, but the updates provided are embassy jargon at best. After waiting so long, my excitement turned to anger and utter disrespect for the U.S. government. I wanted to see all elected officials who had obviously lost touch with their constituents and mission removed from office so positive change could take place.

After stewing for several days, I realized that joining the legion of anger and disgust was not adding value. I now understood that there had to be a lot of people who are feeling personally betrayed by our government officials to fuel this negativity, but I also realized that we will not make things better by embracing negativity and slogans like “drain the swamp,” and that I need to be involved in issues I care about long before an election or personal need.

I want nothing more than my family to come home, but I also want my grandson to grow up in a country that has prospered under God’s watchful eye due to our priorities. I will cling to the pledge that has served us well throughout our short history: “One nation under God.” It makes for a better night’s sleep.

John Hunter, Lakeville

TRUMP AND THE ECONOMY

The Carrier deal is an example of a better leadership quality

While campaigning, Donald Trump used Carrier Corp. as an example of U.S. jobs moving overseas. When Trump said he’d fix it, President Obama mocked him, saying, “How are you gonna do it? What magic wand do you have?” Yet Trump brought the parties together and negotiated a solution whereby Carrier receives state incentives to keep more than 1,000 jobs in Indiana. As “Larry the Cable Guy” would say, “he got ’er done!”

Democrats are attacking Trump for overstepping his bounds, not because he’s just president-elect, but even if he were in office. He was accused of gaining the deal just based on threats and bribery. Democrats should recall Obama’s sharp elbows during the Chrysler bankruptcy. Obama wanted to avoid the results bankruptcy law would have yielded, so he intimidated and bullied the parties and steered the Chrysler reorganization in the direction he wanted. Legitimate secured lenders lost, and labor unions won. That’s far more intrusive than Trump’s minor “dance” with Carrier.

I do agree this isn’t the way Trump should get things done when president, but it’s symbolic of what he can accomplish. He wants to lower corporate tax rates and eliminate loopholes. Combine that with tax incentives to repatriate foreign earnings, regulatory reform, and smart bilateral trade agreements, and we will see American business and employment rebound — without, I believe, punitive measures.

I want “the art of the deal,” not “sharp elbows.”

Steve Bakke, Edina

• • •

I was retired from many decades of running my remodeling company, but in light of recent events, I have decided to fire up the old company — with one twist. I am going to do all my production work in Mexico unless President-elect Donald Trump comes to St. Paul and gives me some big tax breaks to stay in Minnesota. This way, the high-paying jobs I will be offering will stay in town, and I’ll get a nice tax break, compliments of the U.S. taxpayers. We’re all winners!

Thanks a million, President-elect Trump. We’re gonna get along great!

Bob Brereton, St. Paul

TRUMP’S DIPLOMACY

Worry less about protocol and more about U.S. interests

Exactly how important to the interests of the U.S. is protocol, and how important should it be? The left is apoplectic over Donald Trump’s acceptance of a phone call from the president of Taiwan congratulating him over his election success. The basis for its criticism is that in accepting the call, Trump violated the fiction of a single China, even though the U.S. treats Taiwan as an independent country by its economic alliances with that country, including the sale of weaponry. Protocol was also the reason given when the left chastised the Israeli prime minister’s visit to Congress to express his fear that the Iran deal would present a danger to both Israel and the U.S. Nothing was said about the substance of his remarks, which were clearly motivated by concern over the dangers presented by a nuclear Iran. He was simply wrong in coming, and the Republicans were wrong in inviting him, because it violated protocol.

I suggest it is time we concern ourselves more with what is in the best interests of our country, and less to diplomatic niceties.

Ronald Haskvitz, St. Louis Park

PIPELINE PROTEST

There’s hope now, but history’s lessons remain worrisome

This all sounds too familiar.

A District of Columbia federal judge denied the Standing Rock Sioux tribe’s injunction to halt the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers permit because the tribe “largely refused to engage in consultations” (“Long road led to Standing Rock,” Dec. 3). Really? Would you participate in a process whose very existence was premised on one outcome — you giving up something you cherish and believe has been stolen?

The president of the North Dakota petroleum trade group describes the pipeline that the tribe has been protesting as “the interstate highway for Bakken oil.” Any longtime St. Paul resident might see the parallel to the destructive march toward progress of Interstate 94 through the Rondo neighborhood more than 50 years ago. The city is still dealing with community scars from that project, largely because it did not give sufficient voice to less enfranchised residents.

The Corp of Engineers, a command of the U.S. Army that has a long, ugly history of being used to impose injustices on First Nations, is wisely considering input from the tribe now (“Feds push pause on final pipeline link,” Dec. 5). Let’s hope this leads to a solution that won’t leave an unhealable wound.

Charlie Anhut, Minneapolis

ISLAM’S HISTORY

There were admirable victories of reason — but they came early

With regard to the Nov. 5 commentary by Omar Alansari-Kreger on Islamic contributions to civilization, what readers should know is that the itemized contributions all occurred during the early (pre-12th century), uneasy coexistence within Islam of thought based on reason (philosophy) and Qur’anic-based thought (revelation). Al-Ghazali’s early-12th-century treatise “The Incoherence of the Philosophers” led to substantial elimination of Islamic application of reason despite the attempted refutation of Al-Ghazali via “The Incoherence of the Incoherence” by the later-12th-century polymath Ibn Rushd (Averroes).

David Bergerson, Wayzata