Supporters of Black Lives Matter should take a lesson from National Basketball Association players and pivot away from actions that only play into President Donald Trump’s game (“Wolves, Lynx join groups pushing voter registration,” Sept. 2). Rather than taking a knee during the national anthem after Jacob Blake’s shooting, which would have allowed President Donald Trump to again condemn them as not loving our country, players instead walked off the court completely for awhile and returned with a plan to massively support voter registration and new polling places at sports arenas. Trump had little visible response.
Learn from this. Rather than continue to do the same thing over and over and expect a different result, BLM protesters might do better to pivot away from street actions that devolve into images and situations that allow Trump to use them as a backdrop for his law-and-order rhetoric. Instead, consider devoting energy to bringing about overwhelming voter registration drives, and, as soon as early voting opens, ensuring that communities of color get out and vote now with participation levels the likes of which we’ve never seen. After the election, protests may continue as needed to keep pressure on those elected to ensure they follow through on bringing about change.
In my opinion, that game plan has a better chance of being successful than continued protests during four more long years under the current national leadership.
Bill Kaemmerer, Edina
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As a suburban woman, I guess I should be flattered by the concern for my safety expressed by Trump and other Republicans. But if they would listen to me, here’s what I would share: Yes, I’m anxious and upset about the chaos and violence I see in the news, but that makes me want a change of administration rather than four more years of Trump. I condemn both looting and other forms of violence, which puts me in line with Joe Biden’s position. On the other hand, Trump seems to believe that any police action is acceptable, white nationalists can carry guns and kill unarmed protesters (in self-defense), peaceful protesters are criminals and looting is the worst possible crime.
If Trump wants to end the violence and keep me safe, why isn’t he doing something productive now? Instead of bringing people together and calming the situation, he takes sides with his supporters and fans the flames of hate. I believe that ultimately my safety and well-being depends on the hard work of building communities where people of all races can live safely and trust the police.
Those who don’t live in the suburbs may be surprised to know that there were large peaceful protests in Plymouth, Shoreview and Edina following George Floyd’s death, as these protests didn’t get major news coverage. My position can be summed up in the sign that I wrote for the protest I attended in Plymouth on June 11: “This suburban mom wants Blacks to have the same safety and rights that I have.”
Susan Ranney, Plymouth
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A letter writer expressed that the leadership of Gov. Tim Walz and Mayor Jacob Frey has been a failure because of the damage that protesters inflicted on local businesses in the wake of Floyd’s death (“You don’t get it. The city could die,” Sept. 1). I would disagree. For the first time in my life, I witnessed our leaders respond to violence with compassion and understanding. I would argue that the local businesses would be in much worse shape had either Walz or Frey used strong-arm tactics immediately. Frey promptly repudiated the actions of the police officers involved with killing Floyd and fired them. His quick and decisive action no doubt helped take some steam off the pent-up pain and anger.
Frey instigated the curfew, and with Walz’s assistance, the police and the national guard began setting stiff boundaries. That was the time to expect protesters to back off. And the protesters did back off, and they even helped the police rein in those that were there to do damage. Minneapolis could have been a much bigger mess.
Do we believe that we should not suffer any bad consequences when we have turned deaf ears on years of complaints about systematic racial abuse? I congratulate Frey and Walz for doing an excellent job on handling this very difficult situation!
Roxann Snyder, Burnsville
Hope is nice, but let’s do more
Letters entreating us to approach this campaign and election with fairness and hope are uplifting in spirit and tone (“Look toward healing, not gloating,” Readers Write, Sept. 2). Unfortunately, hope is not a strategy, and forces at work to create an unfair voting system have been at work for years.
The partisan gerrymandering that has been in place for years will not go away. The voter-suppression tactics which have already been well demonstrated in the primary elections this year continue unabated in large part because of the Supreme Court abandonment of provisions in the Voting Rights Act.
In some states, Florida being a prime example, overwhelming support for expanding access to voting have been fought every step of the way.
Whatever the motivations or intent of the changes to the U.S. Postal Service, there is a real threat that they could have a detrimental effect on the election during a pandemic and record voting by mail.
There has already been talk by the president of deploying law enforcement at polling places to prevent fraud. This could cause undue anxiety for some voters and cause suppression of the vote.
We must do more than exhort leaders, politicians and voters to conduct themselves in a civil and pro-democratic fashion. We must all pay attention, loudly and persistently call out efforts to unfairly influence results and demand that those in power allow a fair and open process.
Gary Fifield, St. Paul
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The letter “Looking toward healing, not gloating” started with this paragraph:
“Everyone with strong feelings about the presidential election ought to frankly acknowledge this situation: Some 45 to 50% of us will be highly disappointed with the election results. ‘Highly disappointed’ might be too soft. We might be incredulous; we might be angry; we might talk about moving to another country; we might be depressed; we might refuse to acknowledge the victor. Another 45 to 50% will be ecstatic, maybe saying the other side got what it deserved, thumbing their noses at the disappointed voters.”
I wonder how many people should have read something like this and followed it in 2016. I think that the suggested attitude would have been beneficial then.
Keith Behnke, Eagan
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A Sept. 2 writer bemoans that “45 to 50% of Americans will be highly disappointed” with the election result and implores the losing side to accept the result “graciously.” In making this argument, the writer assumes a false equivalence between the two camps. While I acknowledge some degree of legitimacy of my “other” side’s policy positions, we have a president, nominee and party who are actively and daily attempting to subvert our democratic process through suppressing and disenfranchising voters, hobbling the U.S. Postal Service to set up a failure of mail-in balloting, inviting foreign adversaries to interfere in our election, and, even more, preemptively declaring he will not accept defeat. In short, you have one side that sees nothing wrong in cheating.
Evan Page, Minneapolis
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