Opinion editor's note: Star Tribune Opinion publishes letters from readers online and in print each day. To contribute, click here.


The fraught discussion among the University of Minnesota hospital, Fairview and various related health organizations is emblematic of deeper problems in our health care system ("As U, Fairview consider future, deadline looms," Aug. 4).

To illustrate, let me recount my recent medical adventure. Two weeks ago, I underwent routine surgery at M Health Fairview's Surgery Center on the east bank. Before the surgery, I received a pre-op exam from my wonderful family physician at M Physicians. The surgical staff were exemplary but, once home, I had a bad reaction. St. Paul's terrific EMTs gave me a timely ambulance ride to the U's emergency room, where I was admitted overnight.

At the hospital, there were signs of stress on available staff and facilities but, again, my providers were great. I was released the next day and have been in recovery since, under the supervision of the supportive surgical staff.

My first conclusion is thankfulness for the wonderful, dedicated and highly trained medical providers and support staff some of us have available.

My second conclusion is dismay at the unfathomable bureaucratic tangle within which these great providers must work. If you line up M Health Fairview, M Physicians, St. Paul's emergency services, the hospital, Medicare and Blue Cross/Blue Shield, how many accounting and billing departments are we looking at? How much overhead just in terms of processing does it add up to? How much time is taken by the inevitable glitches and misunderstandings in such a complex system?

It is often said that the U.S. has great health care for those who can afford it, but we pay almost twice as much as comparable countries. Now I know why.

Joel Clemmer, St. Paul


The way out is right in front of you

Before the Republican Party chose Donald Trump as its leader and nominee for president, I can honestly say I never voted for a Democratic presidential candidate. However, when my party chose a new leader who, from my perspective, had no redeeming values — a leader who had a long history of cheating people, of adultery and telling fibs — I simply could not go there. I had always been a Republican because I believe in family values, limited government, fiscal responsibility and honesty — none of which are even remotely associated with Trump.

Now, for the past year or so, I have been reading about how the Department of Justice has been weaponized against Republicans and, in particular, Trump. At first, I was confused as to how charging someone who, according to an indictment, knowingly kept and showed people national defense information was a weaponization of the criminal justice system. Surely anyone who did this would be charged. However, with the unsealing of the latest indictment, I now realize why Republicans are making the claim that the DOJ is weaponized against them. Everyone who has testified against Trump in this latest indictment is believed to have been a Republican who supported, voted and/or worked for Trump. The DOJ is weaponizing the criminal justice process by putting these Republicans under oath and forcing them to tell the truth. How scary is that? But, if Republicans would only let it, the truth could set them free.

Gary Shelton, Prior Lake


Anyone who believes what they see and has seen footage of the violent attack on the Capitol should not be surprised that Trump has been indicted on charges of what was an attempted coup. The fact that there is a segment of the country that does not is evidence of a cancer eating at our democracy. After the Constitutional Convention concluded, Benjamin Franklin was asked: "Well, doctor, what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?" Franklin replied sagely, "A republic, if you can keep it." Through 235 years, we have kept it, despite a brutal civil war and periods of great change and civil unrest. This is because we have always prized our identity as Americans and valued our democratic ideals more than personal political opinions. The attempted coup on Jan. 6 and particularly the reaction of Republican officeholders and Trump supporters has shaken my faith in that belief. It is easy to consider Trump and his quisling followers to be the culprits in our current situation, but there is another group that deserves blame: the uninformed and unengaged American who can tell you the price of a Taylor Swift ticket but cannot tell you who represents them in governing their lives.

As President Ronald Reagan once said, "Democracy is worth dying for, because it's the most deeply honorable form of government ever devised by man." All it takes for tyranny to take hold is for people of good conscience to be silent and indifferent to public affairs. America is in peril and it will take all of us to be good stewards of democracy to save her.

Kelly Dahl, Linden Grove Township, Minn.


After reading Thursday's letters to the editor, I see that there seems to be a lot of concern about voters voting for Trump. Well, let me remind all of those writers that the last time a Republican vote for president counted in Minnesota was for Richard Nixon in 1972. The electoral votes from Minnesota have gone to the Democratic candidate ever since then. It could change this time, but I wouldn't hold my breath.

Richard Trickel, Crosslake, Minn.


The Star Tribune Editorial Board suggested that we should let the legal process against Trump play out ("Let the process unfold on Jan. 6 charges," Aug. 3). And it advises citizens to educate themselves by reading the 45-page indictment. Those are two contradictory thoughts. Letting the process play out requires us to assume that Trump is innocent until his case is proven beyond a reasonable doubt. That is probably the best approach. Reading the indictment is the opposite of letting the process play out. If you want to prejudge the case before hearing any facts, as suggested by the board, and you feel the need to educate yourself, remember that the indictment is not a trial; it was three years of selective fact-gathering. What we all should want, even the Star Tribune editorial writers, should be a fair trial for all Americans, including Trump.

David Lawrence Ludescher, Northfield


Streets are unsafe, but not like that

I started reading Tim Keane's opinion piece anticipating a discussion of driving infractions. ("Mpls. streets are becoming unsafe, undriveable," Opinion Exchange, Aug. 4). Instead, Keane serves up a hysterical diatribe including a call for license suspension of (wait for it ...) engineers instead of the arrogant, clueless drivers who blow through red lights, careen in and out of traffic lanes and drive at excessive speeds. I would suggest that the author and other car-centric zealots spend a week using bus, bike and pedestrian transportation systems and report back on their experiences. Perhaps walking a mile in their shoes might offer some perspective and incidentally increase public safety in the process.

George Hutchinson, Minneapolis


Minneapolis in general is a competently run city. Sure, we've had some tough times as of late, as have most places due to the pandemic and social unrest. That said, I agree with the commentary "Mpls. streets are becoming unsafe, undriveable." The changes to our roadways are silly and impractical. Narrowing roads makes traffic and pollution worse, the white plastic bollards at intersections — many of them crushed by buses and snowplows — are hideous and there are potholes everywhere. I love living here, but please fix the roads.

Scott McGlasson, Minneapolis