The Republican presidential campaign has modeled hate, dishearteningly spewed from the mouths of those we’re looking to for statesmanship, but I don’t think hating Donald Trump voters has been the fallout (“Do you hate Trump voters? You’ve got a problem,” May 4).
Many voters are puzzled (not hateful) that a respectable political party lionizes the father of an inane “birther” theory manufactured simply to malign a legitimate sitting U.S. president, and believe it’s perfectly ethical for their candidate to smear his opponent’s father with a scuzzy conspiracy theory about being in cahoots with Lee Harvey Oswald. Is it an honorable man who calls Latinos “rapists,” albeit conceding that “some” might be good people, and who plans to ban all Muslims from the U. S.? Why would we choose such a man to lead, inspire and protect us — all of us?
It’s not Trump’s political views, per se, that alarm the country, indeed the world. It’s his arrogance, meanness of spirit and complete disregard for the limits of presidential authority. It’s the boorish derision he unleashes on those he deems foe. It’s hard to understand a constituency that welcomes a man who calls women “fat pigs,” “dogs,” “slobs” and “disgusting animals” who bleed from their “wherever[s].” It’s alarming to imagine how women world leaders will react when he jeers, “Look at that face!” It’s daunting to ponder Vladimir Putin’s reaction when Trump starts calling him “Little Pooty.”
We do not hate Trump voters; we puzzle. But now that he’s the presumptive Republican candidate, it’s incumbent upon us to do everything in our power to work toward electing an intelligent, experienced woman.
Or it’s incumbent upon Republicans to find a third-party candidate whom they can respect as an authentic Republican. Given how unprecedented most of this campaign has been, that third-party candidate might actually stand a good chance of election.
Shawn Gilbert, Bloomington
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I’m truly enjoying reading the letters and articles regarding the words of Shakespeare and today’s politics, but there is an even more pertinent quote from a more recent bard regarding the current presidential race. The foretold name of this tome: “Darkness on the Edge of Town.” The name of the specific piece: “Badlands.” The bard who wrote and sings it is Bruce Springsteen.
“Poor men wanna be rich, rich men wanna be king. And a king ain’t satisfied ’til he rules everything.”
Fare thee well …
Ginger Downing, Bloomington
Travel ban’s badness is already apparent in sports repercussions
In 1980, President Jimmy Carter responded to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan by having the U.S. boycott the Summer Olympics in Moscow. Never mind that the invasion was in part enabled by Carter’s feckless foreign policy at that time — Carter was going to show ’em. The only people he really punished were the hundreds of American athletes who had dreamed of and trained for the Olympics their whole lives, whose dreams were now destroyed by a president trying to meddle.
Now Gov. Mark Dayton and his cronies in the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system want to somehow express their displeasure with North Carolina’s policies on gender and bathroom use by punishing Minnesota state university athletes, saying they cannot participate in national tournaments to be held in North Carolina (“N.C. travel ban hits state teams,” May 4). At least in 1980, most Americans could agree that the Soviet invasion was a bad thing. Now, many of us even may agree with the North Carolina bathroom policies. But whether we agree or not, why should Minnesota be self-righteously meddling by banning Minnesota athletes from tournaments in North Carolina? For starters, I think North Carolina couldn’t care less if a community college from Minnesota does not come to its tournament, and it would not really affect its state policies. But more important, the only people who would be punished by such a nonsensical act would be the young athletes who worked hard to succeed and who, if you asked them, may have different views on the North Carolina bathroom policy.
In 2019, the NCAA Final Four Basketball Tournament will be held in Minneapolis. If the University of North Carolina makes the Final Four, as it often does, would the state of Minnesota attempt to bar the Tar Heels from participating? Or by that time will the equally politically correct NCAA have barred state-supported universities from participating in tournaments if the NCAA does not like the policies in the state?
Kevin Lindquist, Maple Grove
JAMAR CLARK CASE
‘Reasonable doubt’ standard probably needed emphasis
I have not yet seen anyone address the legal standard underlying Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman’s decision not to charge two Minneapolis police officers in the fatal shooting of Jamar Clark, nor did he make it crystal-clear. In order to charge the officers, Freeman had to be convinced that one of his strongest prosecutors could achieve a conviction beyond a reasonable doubt, because that is the standard a jury would be instructed to use. If Freeman had stressed this, citizens might be more accepting of his decision. In his presentation, he seemed to be explaining why the officers’ actions were justified, instead of how a jury might become hung up over reasonable doubt (“Races sharply split on Clark case,” Minnesota Poll, May 3). There is an ocean of difference.
Yes, I too find many actions of the officers alarming and damning, and I would have been tempted to charge them, but there are also elements that might create a reasonable doubt of the officer’s guilt (or would support a jury decision of not guilty). They are the DNA on the officer’s gun, the conflicting witnesses’ statements, Clark’s alleged statements that he was willing to die and, most of all, Clark’s failure to remove his hands from his pockets when told to do so. Add to that juries’ historical reluctance to convict police officers, and you see the problem Freeman faced. This standard of reasonable doubt is designed to protect the innocent, but occasionally it frees the guilty. It’s the system we have and revere.
Freeman is a decent, caring person, and I know this from personal contact with him many times over the years. Nevertheless, his decision not to charge has left a bad taste in many mouths, and there are (at least) two questions left unanswered: If the officer could get his gun up against Clark’s head, why couldn’t he shoot Clark in the shoulder or the arm instead? And was a lesser charge available to Freeman, such as manslaughter?
Mary McLeod, St. Paul