One year ago, our first-grade granddaughter stayed with us for two days a week, learning online while her parents worked at home. While she normally watched "kids' editions" of current news events, that January she earned a spot in front of the adult version. Who would have imagined she would learn three new "I" words — insurrection, impeachment, inauguration — simply because they all happened on Wednesdays, in a row, when she was with us? We breathed a sigh of relief when the last "I" word proceeded without issue, and we said to her, "All's well that ends well," but we will leave it to her future civics classes to learn that it just never seemed to end. (Hopefully she will have civics classes.)
I am dismayed and embarrassed to learn that our Minnesota Republican representatives are trying to pretend that the first "I" word never happened.
Jane Dresser, Woodbury
The 12th Amendment to the Constitution reads in part, "The President of the Senate shall, in the presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the certificates and the votes shall then be counted; The person having the greatest number of votes for President, shall be the President ... ."
Not only were the self-described "patriots" trying to disrupt the constitutional process, but Minnesota Reps. Jim Hagedorn and Michelle Fischbach joined them in voting against certifying the election ("Party lines: Never forget vs. silence," front page, Jan. 5).
You can't call yourself a patriot and attempt to derail a very specific procedure from the Constitution you claim to believe in. How can Reps. Hagedorn and Fischbach expect voters to return them to Congress when they refused to follow the document they swore an oath to?
David Hansen, Faribault
Last year, many people warned that the planned Stop the Steal rally on Jan. 6 would be violent and unlawful. This prediction was not difficult, considering the rally was predicated on a Big Lie that Donald Trump somehow won the 2020 presidential election "in a landslide." This assertion was absurd on its face, since Trump had been a deeply divisive and unpopular president, never polling above 50% in Gallup polls and was far behind in every legitimate poll going into the election. This "big lie" propelled thousands of duped Americans into attacking police, destroying property and defacing our Capitol.
The fact that Trump still is threatening to run for president again should chill all Americans. Our ancestors who had to deal with a deeply divided country after the Civil War had the wisdom to insert Section 3 in the 14th Amendment, which bars anyone who participated in an insurrection from ever holding federal office again.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has told her constituents: Don't agonize — organize. One of the best way citizens can commemorate Jan. 6 and also help preserve American democracy is to call or write your federal elected officials and tell them that Donald Trump and elected officials who participated or encouraged the Jan. 6 insurrection should never be allowed in the halls of American government again. In my view, standing up to charlatans who would dishonor the people's will is the best way to ring in a new year for America.
Stephen Kriz, Maple Grove
In this country it is a crime under federal law for anyone who "incites, sets on foot, assists, or engages in any rebellion or insurrection against the authority of the United States or the laws thereof, or gives aid or comfort thereto ... ." The crime is called "insurrection." Wednesday's article "Party lines: Never forget vs. silence" points out that more than 700 people have been arrested in connection with the Jan. 6 riot at our Capitol, but fails to mention that not a single one has been charged with insurrection for their conduct on that terrible day. But this doesn't inhibit the reporter nor others from calling the event an insurrection and those that participated in it as "insurrectionists" who stormed the Capitol. The reporter's bias is plain, and he makes no attempt to hide it. While he gouges at some length the words of the state's four Democratic congressional representatives and both senators condemning the so-called "insurrection," he attacks the state's four GOP representatives for failing to comment on the anniversary of the event, although they strongly condemned it a year ago. Most people, Democrat and Republican, recognize that what happened at the Capitol a year ago was terrible and that those who participated in it should be punished. There is no need for this paper to overstate or misstate what occurred.
Ronald Haskvitz, Golden Valley
Jan. 6 is our new Dec. 7. The key difference between these two days of infamy is that the Jan. 6 attack originated from within, encouraged by a sitting Republican president intent on remaining in power by any means necessary. Adding to the shame, scores of Republican members of Congress, including two from Minnesota, voted not to certify the results of the 2020 presidential election, despite that there was no credible evidence of the decisive voter fraud alleged in the "big lie" by the defeated incumbent.
Predictably, revisionist history about the day has already begun in an attempt to downplay the seriousness of the event and minimize harmful effects on Republican prospects in coming elections. I commend my own congresswoman, Rep. Angie Craig, for recognizing the intent of the insurrection: "to put us into a constitutional crisis and somehow overturn the will of the voters." However, in the voting booth on Nov. 8, Craig will have only one vote — her own. The rest of us must vote to defend democracy itself by supporting only candidates who can call Jan. 6 for what it was.
Jim Kaufmann, Burnsville
Finally, a common-sense view
Regarding "Minnesota, in decline, needs a turnaround" (Opinion Exchange, Jan. 4): It was refreshing to see such common sense in a Star Tribune opinion piece. Andy Brehm's observations are spot-on correct. Hopefully, we can shake off our complacency before it's too late to reverse the trends.
Jean Gendron, St. Paul
Full disclosure: I'm going to cherry-pick one sentence in Brehm's opinion piece. The sentence to which I refer includes a shortsighted half-truth, in an essay full of half-truths, which often are more dangerous than outright lies.
Brehm writes, "While we are a compassionate people and should provide a safety net for those falling on hard times, entitlements need to be more limited and temporary — both for the benefit of the taxpayer and the independence and dignity of the recipient."
But what about those people — and their number is beyond counting — who have not fallen on hard times, but have been born into hard times? Whether or not we choose to see it, generational poverty is a reality that affects a broad swath of our population, people for whom escape from poverty is often more dream than reality.
Earlier in my 80+ years, I was deeply engaged in reaching out in a hands-on way to people in need of housing and food. These days I write checks, but I still have a clear memory of faces old and young waiting hopefully for a bed and a meal, and I still believe fervently that those of us blessed with better circumstances are called to reach out with whatever small thing we have to offer.
In all the years I was engaged in helping people find food and a safe place to sleep, I rarely, if ever, saw anyone lose dignity or independence through receiving an act of kindness. They were fed, cared for and deeply grateful. That was then, and still is, enough for me.
Jay Hornbacher, Hopkins
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