A decade ago, operatives on the political right literally flooded the internet with lies and misinformation that people passed around in e-mail messages. Tragically, the Democratic National Committee ignored this, not giving the messages the dignity of a response. In the absence of a response, people came to believe that the misinformation was true.
When Democrats received one of these lying e-mail messages, they should have been able to go to the DNC website and copy a truthful rebuttal to the lies, so that they could do a “reply all” response. Instead, individual Democrats had to do their own research, usually though PolitiFact, to make a proper response.
Through the eight years of the Obama administration, the DNC never once called for a demonstration against the Republican obstructionists in Congress who robbed the American people of the “hope and change” promised by President Obama. There has been so much silent passion among Democrats, and the DNC has dramatically failed to take a leadership role in channeling that passion into constructive action.
What the DNC is now failing to do is to launch a campaign to garner funds for paid advertising on Fox News, advertising that blatantly and factually exposes the news information that Fox News is not showing to its viewers. To the DNC and Keith Ellison, “Can you hear us now?”
John Mattsen, New Brighton
• • •
In regard to the Dec. 6 front-page article “Trump security nominee tied to fake news”: The irony is scrumptious when the Washington Post calls out any media it disagrees with as “fake news.” Good one — been chuckling all day!
Elizabeth Anderson, Minnetonka
• • •
Donald Segretti will be remembered by some readers as the “Dirty Tricks” guy in the Nixon administration, who used often-juvenile stunts to cynically undermine the opposing campaign in the 1972 presidential election. Like most of the Watergate figures, Segretti had no real power in the campaign or the administration. He and others were overzealous and had poor judgment. The “grown-ups” in the administration did not do dirty tricks; their grievous error was to attempt to cover them up once discovered. It’s the coverup, not the dirty tricks, that drove President Richard Nixon from office.
In Gen. Michael T. Flynn’s promotion of fake news to undermine the opposing campaign in 2016, we have conduct every bit as vile as that which goes under the shorthand name of Watergate. The difference here is we learn of the conduct even before the new president is inaugurated. And it is perpetrated by supposedly mature, seasoned people like Flynn (Donald Trump’s designated national security adviser), people who will have significant power and the ear of the president.
Millions of Americans, Republican and Democrat, were disgusted by the antics of Segretti and the rest of the Watergate crowd. We should be even more upset now when senior people who should know much better are caught in the act of dishonestly manipulating the election, seemingly without remorse.
David J. Therkelsen, Minneapolis
Another sign of the times
It is no small coincidence that the federal lawsuit filed by Telescope Media Group against marriage equality coincides with the election of a strongman (“Same-sex marriage law spurs first suit,” Dec. 7). The populist rage that resulted in this national catastrophe will know no boundaries; every sector of humanity except “straight, Caucasian Christian” has become vulnerable to its shrill voice and careless action.
While I disagree with nearly every sentiment and rationale expressed in the lawsuit, I do agree with one aspect very strongly — the statement that marriage equality is “a method of achieving social status.” Our marriage has not been a ticket to fancy cocktail parties, but has been a ticket to legal and medical security. Our home, our family, our health care access, our finances and our well-being are all protected through marriage equality. I can think of no stronger conservative principle than the willingness to care for one another, through sickness and health, as opposed to being forced to become wards of the state in our elderly years. Marriage equality is eminently better for society than the alternative exclusionary vision espoused in this lawsuit. This lawsuit is yet one more signal of the tribalism, nepotism and xenophobia that have overcome this democracy.
Beth Ross Rausch, River Falls, Wis.
It’s called rectitude, sir
Memo to state Rep. Steve Drazkowski, R-Mazeppa, regarding his comment, “We have this thing that guides us in the United States called the rule of the law. When we have organizations defying the rule of law, it undermines our democracy and weakens our state”: When there are “bad” laws on the books, we as citizens need to do whatever is in our power to correct the situation (“Minnesota clergy pledge sanctuary for immigrants,” Dec. 7). We cannot stand helplessly by. Yay to the clergy members backing immigrant sanctuaries.
Kay Nelson, Richfield
‘COLD OUTSIDE’ LYRICS
Say, what’s in this PC drink?
Regarding “ ‘Cold Outside’ remake loses loutish lyrics” (Dec. 7), about rewriting the 1940s-era song because the words were “date rape-y.” This is political correctness going off the rails. Was this really necessary? Has anyone actually gone out and assaulted someone just because they listened to this song? Do victims of assault point to this song as a contributing factor to the topical problem? There are so many things from the past that aren’t in line with our values and belief system now. Do we need to rewrite history in general because we don’t like how it looks or sounds today? It’s just an old holiday song from a time in our country that no longer exists. Does everything have to have a finger shaken at it and a “tsk-tsk”?
Marie Larson, Edina
Supporters haven’t sufficiently addressed transparency concerns
The Star Tribune editorializes (Dec. 7) in favor of continued experimentation with ranked-choice voting (RCV), but remains silent about the need to maintain transparent, verifiable elections. This is a striking omission in a year with so much talk of recounts and audits.
Minneapolis and St. Paul, to their credit, include recount provisions in their RCV ordinances, although one can question the fairness of making narrowly losing candidates pay for recounts if they are eliminated before the final round. Maine, on the other hand, has passed an RCV referendum that leaves the existing recount law untouched, as if it were obvious how it ought to be applied to an RCV election.
Minnesotans know from experience in 2008 and 2010 that millions of ballots can be scrutinized by human eyes and the results totaled up without needing to trust any computer. I have yet to see any advocate explain how RCV processes can be similarly transparent with that many ballots. The Minneapolis method seems to strain the limits of transparency at its present scale.
The burden ought to lie on anyone advocating a new system of voting to accompany their proposal with a detailed discussion of transparency, audits and recounts. These aren’t details to work out later. They are the bedrock of democracy, allowing losers to accept their defeat.
Max Hailperin, St. Peter
The writer is an emeritus professor of mathematics, computer science and statistics.