MARRIAGE AMENDMENT

It can be a good thing if it gets us talking

 

Could the marriage amendment be a blessing in disguise? Emotions are being stirred from one end of our state to the other. It is compelling us to have respectful conversations with friends, relatives, neighbors and coworkers. It is only through dialogue that myths and fears can be dispelled and beliefs shared.

Courageous companies are stepping up and taking a stand. We are noticing more newspaper articles and letters, along with bumper stickers and yard signs. Many communities from neighborhoods to churches and businesses are finding that they can no longer ignore this issue.

Even if this amendment is defeated, Minnesota already has a law in place that prohibits same-gender marriages. This will not change. However, conversations can and should continue. I will vote "no" in November.

SHARYN HOLCOMB, MAHTOMEDI

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The Editorial Board of the Star Tribune continues to champion for the defeat of the marriage amendment by regular publication of who will "vote no." How about some balance by citing supporters of the amendment? Or, how about simply noting that similar amendments have passed in more than 20 other states and have never been defeated at the ballot box?

There are many citizens of Minnesota, like me, who, contrary to General Mills and some local law firms (Short Takes, July 13), believe the amendment is good for our state and business climate. By providing special protection to marriage, it recognizes the societal importance of families headed by a mother and father. These families in turn provide the majority of workers Minnesota businesses depend on.

DAN MILLER, EDINA

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SOCIALISM

Take time, learn about the genuine article

 

I agree with Milos Forman that the word "socialism" is almost invariably misused ("Americans shouldn't fling the 'socialist' label so casually," July 13). President Obama is far from being a genuine socialist, and Obamacare is the furthest thing from socialism. However, Forman's portrayal is also off-base. He was a victim of Stalinism in his native Czechoslovakia, so one can understand his rancor. However, to equate the regimes that existed in the USSR and Eastern Europe with genuine socialism is a travesty.

Genuine socialism -- as espoused by Marx, Engels, Lenin and Trotsky -- is about genuine political and economic freedom and democracy. It is about full employment; universal health care and education; a shorter workweek; safe, affordable housing, and infrastructure. The only thing standing between a world of plenty and the world of misery and inequality we live in today are the enormous profits of the billionaires -- the 1 percent.

People are increasingly dissatisfied with the status quo and long for a more rational way of organizing society. This explains the growing interest in the ideas of socialism and Marxism. As a supporter of the Workers International League, based right here in Minneapolis, I invite my friends and neighbors to learn more about what these ideas truly represent, and to make up their own minds at www.socialistappeal.org. After all, if socialism is "dead and buried," why expend so much energy "disproving" and misrepresenting it?

JOHN PETERSON, MINNEAPOLIS

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VOTING

Americans, bring back the statesmen

 

Spain announced that it will raise its sales tax to more than 20 percent, on top of budget cuts to get deficits under control. Here in the United States, we flirt with a $16 trillion national debt fueled by war, bailouts and entitlement spending. Our elected officials are stuck in two camps, with little interaction. They do this because they fear not being re-elected. That is our fault, America.

We -- I'm not sure exactly when -- stopped voting for statesmen and started voting for ideology. The bitter truth, America, is that we cannot continue to spend money we don't have. Taxing the rich is not the silver bullet. What we need is a statesman to come forth and rally both camps to make the tough choices even if it means not getting re-elected. Or we face measures like Spain just took.

CHRIS LUND, HAMBURG, MINN.

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Regarding the July 2 commentary "It could be ranked-choice voting to the rescue": I can attest that one household with opinionated combative personalities has used RCV with great success for years. Ranked-choice voting works well when picking movies and restaurants ... why not political candidates?

Picking a political candidate is kind of like dating in a snowstorm -- you have to go through a few flakes before you find the right one.

BENJAMIN CHERRYHOMES, HASTINGS

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THE NEWSPAPER

Bias seems evident in coverage choices

 

Bias is in the eyes of the beholder, but ... recently, the Basilica Block Party took place. Thousands came, listened, mingled and drank their way through the two-day event. The Star Tribune covered it like a blanket -- music reviews, features and photos.

Why? It's a big deal, with lots of folks and for a good cause. Fixing and maintaining old buildings is worthwhile -- but the Basilica Block Party is not a Christian event (there are no Christian bands performing). It is a big party with a fancy name attached to it.

Just one short month ago in Blaine, KTIS-FM hosted Joyful Noise -- a family music festival. Did you read about in the Strib? Most likely not. Joyful Noise was attended by nearly 19,000 people. They did things like raise money for orphans and food shelves and listened to great Christian music and speakers.

Maybe it's just that it was those crazy Christians, but we are out there -- by the thousands. Don't feel bad, Strib; none of the local channels covered the event, either.

By the way, as I write, 25,000 people are at the Sonshine Festival in Willmar, but you probably won't find coverage of that, either. I guess they need beer and a building.

KIM HENRICKSON, NORTH MANKATO, MINN.