“Has the President committed offenses, and planned, and directed, and acquiesced in a course of conduct which the Constitution will not tolerate? That’s the question. We know that. We know the question. We should now forthwith proceed to answer the question. It is reason, and not passion, which must guide our deliberations, guide our debate, and guide our decision” (from a 1974 speech by U.S. Rep. Barbara Jordan, DFL-Texas).
I remember the first time I heard Barbara Jordan speak. I was a teenager, watching the Watergate proceedings on television. I had never heard a voice like hers. So powerful. Her enunciation crisp, in a way that made you lean in. Her passion came through in the conviction of her words. I was awe-struck by this person, this woman standing on the House Judiciary committee with her electric delivery of why the country must proceed on articles of impeachment against President Richard Nixon.
It is these words, spoken by Jordan 45 years ago, that I have been thinking about lately. And this time, on the issue of Ukraine, the process of impeachment must go forward. It is at the heart of our Constitution that these deliberations be had.
Our country was founded on the very principle of being free from and unfettered by a foreign power and foreign interference. We fought a war in 1776 over this very matter. Each and every one of us — left, right, center, rich, poor, middle class — stands on the shoulders of those who believed in a new government without foreign influence.
I do believe the basic question of what has, or has not, happened in regard to Ukraine is not about the Bidens. It is not about the 2016 election. I believe the central question should be, “Do we, as Americans, accept that a sitting president sought to have a shadow foreign policy, led by a civilian, for his own benefit?”
This is not a partisan question. Our Constitution is not a partisan document.
I close with another part of Jordan’s speech:
“My faith in the Constitution is whole; it is complete; it is total. And I am not going to sit here and be an idle spectator to the diminution, the subversion, the destruction, of the Constitution.”
Erika Christensen, Lake Elmo
On economics, the divide between the Twin Cities and outstate blurs
I read on Tuesday the commentary titled “The Twin Cities don’t speak for the state” (Opinion Exchange, Nov. 12) and I have to say to the author: Guess what, they do. At least economically. Now don’t get me wrong, I am not saying this to be political, to favor one party or candidate over another, or even to prefer one culture over another.
No, I am saying this from firsthand experience, having grown up in Chicago in the ’70s and ’80s and having worked as an attorney for the federal government in Detroit in the early ’90s. In both cases, Chicago and Detroit are large metropolitan areas in large states with plenty of outstate rural/small-town areas and no other significant economic engines. In both cases, I witnessed firsthand the outright hostility that outstate interests had toward their metro cousins and, to be fair, how the metro cousin was sometimes tone-deaf to those outstate. But, one thing was always clear and present: As those metro areas went economically, so did the rest of the state — for good and for bad. Particularly in Detroit’s case, as that city went down into the economic abyss, so eventually did the state.
My point? Let’s respect each other here in Minnesota for what we bring to the table — both economically and culturally. Outstate provides beauty, respite, down-home cooking, great outdoor adventure and even better hockey. Minneapolis, St. Paul and the metro provide 400-plus horsepower to the state’s economic engine, as well unique cultures, great food experiences and the occasional eagle flying over my urban house next to Bde Maka Ska (that’s right, I didn’t say “Lake Calhoun”). Instead of harping on how we are separate, let’s revel in the fact that we are all Minnesotans — otherwise we just might become North or South Dakota.
Jim Rowader, Minneapolis
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Wow! Three cheers for Ari Kaufman’s thoughtful, insightful and completely accurate article about the urban-rural divide in Minnesota. He pulled no punches, and everything he wrote is backed up by what so many of us in Minnesota are thinking. We see two city councils that are ignorant of ever-approaching reality, with mayors who are in way over their heads. It’s no wonder so many of us think “Minneapolis [and St. Paul] are out of touch.”
I only wish Mr. Kaufman was running for a statewide office. He’d sure get my vote!
Thomas Johnson, Bloomington
Billions of fatalities vs. 111 — which should we be more worried about?
I love to watch birds at our feeders. A $300,000 study (“Glass retrofit pushed to protect birds,” Nov. 12) revealed 111 (that’s all!) birds died at U.S. Bank Stadium in a year.
Don’t waste $1 million to fix such a minor problem.
Feral and pet cats kill billions of birds each year, according to the American Bird Conservancy. Save the birds? Kill the cats!
Robert Bonine, Mendota Heights
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Now that the Minnesota Sports Facility Commission has spent $300,000, one-third the initial cost of installing bird-safe glass or film on U.S. Bank Stadium, the fact that birds are killed when they fly into glass-covered buildings has been verified. Bird conservationists knew this without spending $300,000 because they have been walking the streets of Minneapolis, St. Paul and other cities picking up dead birds for years. Many citizens have had birds collide with windows on their homes. I am one, and I immediately installed bird-safe tape — and I have had no bird collisions since.
According to the American Bird Conservancy, up to 1 billion birds die each year due to collisions with glass windows and other structures. The National Audubon Society recently noted the populations of North American birds have fallen more than 25%, by over 3 billion birds, in the past 40 years. The 111 dead birds at the stadium may not sound like much, but it’s important to note that along with those deaths, the reproductive capacity of those birds was lost as well. We are, as the Audubon Society has stated, in a worldwide “bird emergency.”
The astronomical loss of birds is the proverbial canary in the coal mine. We must act immediately and concertedly to protect these feathered jewels that help contain insect populations, pollinate plants and add joy and beauty to our lives, not to mention the tens of billions of dollars the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service estimates bird watchers add to the U.S. economy.
Jane Schuler, St. Paul
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