Republican U.S. senators: I am writing to make a simple request. Please be objective and fair in the weeks ahead with your decisions. They will deeply affect the welfare of the United States and the world.
In 1998, a Republican House impeached former President Bill Clinton for lying about sex with an intern. This did not endanger the welfare of our nation and the world.
In contrast, we are now investigating our current president for illegally withholding vital aid to our ally, Ukraine, which is under attack by Russia. It was threatened that the reinstatement of the aid would only occur when the president of Ukraine publicly announced an investigation into the Bidens, thus helping President Donald Trump's re-election. Trump admits to this conversation.
This aid to Ukraine started years ago and has helped Ukraine resist Russian aggression. This was a bipartisan, congressionally approved policy designed to help Ukraine into the western family of democracies.
Trump's actions here were clearly against our nation's interests, endangering our country and the world.
If conviction and removal of Trump is defeated, it will set the dangerous precedent that a president may interfere with the implementation of anything Congress approves in bargaining for personal gain. This will reduce the power of Congress, the power of each citizen and constituent and give that power, instead, to the president.
I implore the senators to remember their patriotic and sworn duty to uphold the Constitution of the United States. The Constitution has survived for more than 200 years through many presidents, and it will continue to be this nation's guidance in the years to come. Senators' reputations in history will be made on the basis of where they stand in the weeks ahead.
It is time for nonpartisan, objective courage in doing what is best for our country.
Cindy M. Boes, St. Paul
REFUGEES IN BELTRAMI
The truth is getting muddled
Criticism is continuing in letters to the Bemidji Pioneer newspaper and calls to the city of Bemidji regarding Beltrami County's recent decision not to accept refugees ("Behind Beltrami's 'no,' " Jan. 12). I have to agree with Bemidji Mayor Rita Albrecht when she said that social media is fueling a lot of misinformation. Many of those critics do not have all the facts.
I believe that at least two of the commissioners who voted that Beltrami County not accept refugees did so not because of racism or xenophobia but truly because of the economics. As recently as last spring, the financial situation of Beltrami County was extremely serious. The commissioners signed a letter that was sent to the Gov. Tim Walz asking for some help or they would face not being able to meet payroll. Some help did arrive — $3 million from the Legislature — but that was to cover a shortfall of funding for foster care placements. (Where the majority of these placements originate and why Beltrami County has been funding them is another entire topic.) The funding of these placements is a significant portion of the budget and what was driving the county toward the fiscal cliff.
That being said, the crowd at the County Board meeting did appear largely to represent a part of Beltrami County that reinforces the idea that we are all a bunch of narrow-minded, xenophobic racists.
As far as the argument that unless one is Native American, one is descended from immigrants — this is used to justify all immigration and is misleading. There is a difference between immigrants and refugees, and from previous centuries and now. Immigrants could be denied entry if it was thought they would become what was called "a public charge." My great-grandfather came over, established himself and saved money for my great grandmother and their children to come over — a year and a half later. This was the norm back then.
I also noticed letters criticizing Beltrami County that were coming from Minneapolis. I have to wonder how many of those people are supporting refugees in their neighborhoods and how many of those writing live in suburban neighborhoods that lack diversity. It's very easy to be an armchair quarterback from 200 miles away. Certainly Minneapolis has major problems these people could address before advising Beltrami County.
Nancy Wasik, Bemidji, Minn.
We are abusing human rights
The right to seek asylum from persecution is guaranteed by Article 14 of the United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
I suggest a one-way ticket to a "safe third country" for everyone in the administration responsible for depositing asylum-seekers in a random country ("Asylum-seekers sent to Guatemala without knowing their destination," Jan. 14) without telling them where they're going or even where they are when they land. We are denying asylum-seekers the basic human rights we provide for our worst criminals. These abused and impoverished people are not criminals and did not enter our country illegally.
It takes particularly venomous minds to conceive of these increasingly devious schemes. Is the human suffering our policies inflict really an even trade for our lush life?
Kathleen Wedl, Edina
Low wages? Blame weak unions
The Star Tribune's Jan. 13 editorial "Why aren't wages rising more quickly?" cites several reasons for this worrisome trend, including slower economic expansion. However, it fails to mention a significant reason cited by most economists; namely, the waning influence of labor unions. Throughout our history, a strong labor movement has proven most effective at lifting wages of underpaid workers. How is it that no one on the Editorial Board is aware of this history? It appears that the Star Tribune's longstanding animosity toward unions has been replaced by indifference.
Roger B. Day, Duluth, Minn.
This is news to no one but you
Do we now have a new category of "mansplaining"? The Star Tribune published the article "The cold truth about loving winter" (Jan. 13) explaining how we can learn to love winter. All hearty Minnesotans have now been lectured on how to do something most of us grew up doing by the same writer who did the laziest piece of fluff reporting in modern times when he described Red Lake Falls, Minn., as "the absolute worst place to live in America" after never even setting foot there or doing actual research. The generous people of that city then invited him to visit and live with them to learn the truth, and he has now rewarded them by explaining to the world how to enjoy winter. Should we categorize this as "oldmanwintersplaining"?
Cheryl Quinn, Minneapolis
• • •
I could not agree more with Monday's piece about loving winter! The author referred to Norwegian explorer Fridtjof Nansen's experience in the Arctic. The Norwegians have an apt expression that means: "There is no bad weather, only bad clothes." I add to that: "You keep meat fresh in the freezer. In the hot sun it just turns rotten!"
Enjoy! Just do it!
Robert C. Tengdin, Edina
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