Hats off to the firefighter in the Albert Lea, Minn., parade, and to everyone else who waves the Confederate flag to rescue our nation from political correctness (“Rebel flag pops up at July 4 events,” July 6). I can’t help wondering if our peril to political correctness could reach such an alarming level that we’ll need to wave the Nazi flag to combat it. After all, if the Confederate battle flag has nothing to do with slavery, then the Nazi flag has nothing to do with the Holocaust, right?
Eric Jayne, Apple Valley
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The ignorance of the Hartland, Minn., firefighter is second only to his arrogance. Want to protest your dislike of our PC world? Wear a T-shirt. Just don’t wear it while riding in a publicly owned fire truck. Also, sir, please go to your local VFW and find out the rules for how the Stars and Stripes are displayed and flown. Your anti-PC stunt just demeaned everything that our flag stands for. What an embarrassment for our great state.
Tom Intihar, Brooklyn Park
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I was hoping, truly hoping, that somehow Minnesota could and would stop all this political correctness before it got out of hand. I was wrong. I had really hoped that a few people could rant and rave about such “serious issues” like the name of a lake in Minneapolis and we’d be done with it. I was wrong. In Sunday’s Opinion Exchange section, Lori Sturdevant informed us that a painting at the State Capitol should be considered for removal because it depicts the duping of the local Sioux Lakota tribes of their lands all those years ago. Wouldn’t it just be easier to add a plaque underneath the painting describing the undertones of that day and time? It’s history. It happened. It’s not going away because somebody hides it in the cellar.
TV Land is canceling “The Dukes of Hazzard” reruns because of a flag on the roof of the car called the “General Lee.” Gen. Robert E. Lee commanded the Southern armies. Should we just delete him from history as well, though he helped to defeat Mexico as an officer in the U.S. Army long before the Civil War?
We have changed the name of the Asian carp (dropping “Asian” for “invasive species”) because it may or may not make somebody feel bad. What’s next? “German potato salad” or “Italian sausage”?
West of Minnesota is a state called South Dakota. There’s a big mountain there with four past presidents carved into the mountainside: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt. Washington and Jefferson both owned slaves. Lincoln let stand the execution of 38 natives for basically trying not to starve to death for lack of promised sustenance items. Lincoln also was quoted as saying he “believed the Negro” to be inferior to white men. Roosevelt started a faux war in order to steal the land needed for the Panama Canal. Are we to believe that now Mount Rushmore should be blown up?
If you look hard enough, there are enough transgressions in this world of ours to ban everything and everyone throughout history. Read about it and learn from it. Then can we please move on and stop the whining?
Bill Corrigan Jr., Spring Lake Park
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I, for one, applaud TV Land for pulling “Dukes of Hazzard” reruns. I mean, ever since the Confederacy won the Civil War, we’ve had to live with the tyranny that battle flag represents. In fact, for me, anyway, this alone does not go far enough; I have been studying this issue closely for years, so I have some more shows I think should be banned.
1) “In the Heat of the Night”: In episode 67, the boys arrest Cleatis E. McWyum Jr. for robbing a liquor store. He is wearing a jean jacket with a Confederate flag stitched into the back. Unacceptable!
2) “Evening Shade”: In episode 87, Molly gets a tattoo of the Confederate battle flag on her left calf. Unacceptable!
3) “Designing Women”: Julia (played by Dixie Carter — a banning offense with a name like that right there!), in episode 82, creates a new nightie with the Stars and Bars crossing in the front. Obviously, a subtle representation of the Confederate battle flag. Unacceptable!
4) “Carter Country”: Episode 23, racist officer Jasper DeWitt has a Confederate flag coffee cup. Hello? Goodbye.
5) “The Andy Griffith Show”: This is where my keen eye and endless research really paid off. In Floyd’s barber shop, left of the main chair, there’s a photo of his great-grandfather’s Civil War regiment’s 25-year anniversary. At the far left? Confederate battle flag. Sneaky, but still unacceptable!
Now, who stands with me to rid our culture of everything else I don’t like?
Rob Godfrey, St. Louis Park
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Since there is a discussion to rename Lake Calhoun due to John’s C. Calhoun’s checkered past, Lake Phalen needs a new name, too, since a strong case has been made that Edward was a murderer (see “Minnesota’s Oldest Murder Mystery: The Case of Edward Phalen: St. Paul’s Unsaintly Pioneer,” by Gary Brueggemann). So does the Phalen golf course. No doubt numerous other landmarks need to be changed due to the flawed human nature of Minnesota’s pioneers. But are our public servants of today any less flawed? Or perhaps as August Larpenteur (of avenue fame) said: “It matters not what the present generation has to say about the fellows. They had their faults, but are we perfect today, that we can go back and criticize with impunity the lives of these old pioneers, who have been the forerunner’s and helped us on the way to the blessings we enjoy here? I say, no. Bury their imperfections with them … .”
Changing names on historical sites is idealistic and expensive, and I challenge you to find a spotless candidate we can all agree on.
Jim Ross, Savage
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Here’s another name for Lake Calhoun that recalls simple times, clean living, family values and good humor. We are talking Mom, apple pie and the flag here. Rename it “Lake Ozzie.” As a bonus, we could then refer to the two large southwest Minneapolis lakes as “the Nelsons.” Can we stop now?
Robert D. Sykes, Edina
SUGARY SOFT DRINKS
In a health care setting? But wait:
Banning only the sale of sugar-sweetened soft drinks in hospitals and clinics doesn’t make sense (“A logical place to limit sugary drinks,” editorial, July 3). Why not extend the ban to other vending-machine products, such as candy bars, that have both high sugar and fat content, and to salty snack foods? These products should not be eaten by people with Type 2 diabetes, either.
I have such diabetes and have been told by my doctor to also avoid diet soda. Certain artificial sweeteners are known to stimulate appetites. Patient education about controlling blood sugar — including proper diet, exercise and monitoring — is essential, but not the wholesale banning of sugared soft drinks in hospital vending machines. A small amount of a sugared soft drink can be used to treat low blood sugar, which happens now and then to those with Type 2 diabetes. That doesn’t mean drinking a 20-ounce glass.
Robert Keegan, Coon Rapids
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Recently, a close relative of mine had surgery at an Essentia facility in Duluth, and I was forced to spend a great deal of time there. There were times I wanted a regular (sugared) soft drink while waiting, but none were available anywhere on campus.
I agree that it’s laudable to offer sugar-free choices, but to eliminate regular soft drinks for a largely captive group? The merits of the juices and artificially sweetened sodas are also arguable.
In any case, I had to walk by the soda vending machines as well as the adjoining machines packed with candy bars to leave the campus and walk two blocks (exercise! yay!) to get what I wanted.
This is nannyism. Please get off your high horse.
Alan Dahline, Denver