While U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson says the Democratic Party doesn’t “get it” (“Collin Peterson: ‘Our party is in denial’,” Nov. 26), I don’t get Collin Peterson.
He has a point with gerrymandering and its impact on the election. He is correct that many segments of our country did not adequately appreciate the economic distress, anger and frustration of rural white Americans — and that attention must be paid.
But when he says “we have become a party of assembling all these different groups, the women’s caucus and the black caucus and the Hispanic caucus and the lesbian-gay-transgender caucus and so forth,” what’s his point? That we should back away from efforts to achieve equity and inclusivity? That these groups don’t have legitimate issues? That we should further divide our society into yet another dichotomy: rural vs. urban? His response is that his constituents have “a different lifestyle, and they don’t want to change it. They’re happy with the way things are.” Really? Unfortunately we all have to change — and we need leaders who can help us bridge the gaps among all groups.
Joanne Disch, Minneapolis
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With “Democrats” such as Peterson, Republicans are redundant.
That much is obvious. More interesting is that while he says that urban people don’t care about farm policy — some of us do, actually — and implies that we should back whatever rural America wants, nowhere does he suggest that his constituents should have the slightest interest in urban problems or try to understand them.
As one who spends some time every year in farm country, among the good rural people, I am very aware that many rural folks know almost nothing about urban life other than what they see on television crime and cop shows, which they tend to take as accurate depictions of city life. (No, there has never been a shooting in my neighborhood in the 32 years I have lived in my city home.)
The interest and the concern should go both ways. Oh. And rural American should recognize the fact that the flow of tax money is very much from urban to rural areas, not the other way around.
James Clay Fuller, Minneapolis
THE TRUMP TRANSITION
U.N., education appointments are being oversold as ‘diversity’
The Nov. 24 front-page headline “Trump adds diversity to Cabinet” was so deceiving. Sure, President-elect Donald Trump’s nominees for ambassador to the United Nations and education secretary are women, but to what expense to our nation are these women chosen?
South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley is choosing to accept the U.N. nomination to work with the man she so vilified just weeks ago. Is she hoping to create a positive influence on her “boss,” or is it for power and prestige?
Activist Betsy DeVos promises a better education for all students, yet vouchers will apply only toward private school tuition. After those families who have financial means withdraw their children from public schools, the families who have less means and/or less influence in their communities will be left in schools with less financial support — fewer funds for hiring excellent teachers and for the necessary materials to support an excellent curriculum.
Judith Garrison, Brooklyn Park
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Two Washington lawyers tell us “Trump doesn’t need to create a blind trust” (Opinion Exchange, Nov. 28) and proceed to use legalese to explain. There is much that is “legal” but much more to be ethical. I expect our presidents to rise above the minimum of the law. The writers assure us that all Trump has to do is create a “firewall” of promises, that his children, as business partners, could agree to not share business information and Trump could “consult the White House Counsel’s Office.” Since when does Trump consult with anyone? And we know from the past year’s campaign how good Trump’s word is. One month he says one thing and the next another. Truth for Trump is a malleable thing. If any president needs a blind trust to ensure that he serves America’s interests above his own, it is Trump.
The Rev. Christopher Hagen, Plymouth
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Why was the story about how Trump owns stock in the company building the Dakota Access Pipeline (Nov. 27) buried on page A8? This is an important intersection of current events that deserves more in-depth coverage — Trump’s potential conflicts of interest and the Dakota Access Pipeline. As citizens, we need to be informed about the conflicts of interest and their implications. As humans, we need to understand what people are fighting for in North Dakota.
Emily Parker, Minneapolis
Sweet seats for public servants: Yet another abuse of the taxpayer
When I discovered that the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority is giving away hundreds of free luxury Vikings tickets to bureaucrats and local politicians, I was not surprised (“Suite deal: Stadium leaders get free seats, secret guest list,” Nov. 27). I was even less taken aback when the MSFA’s response to this newly uncovered slice of corruption missed wide to the left. These people simply do not believe that they have done anything wrong. After all, spending $500 million in taxpayer money is hard work, and in the minds of MSFA members, they deserve to be showered with tickets worth a staggering $200. Eleven politicians promptly reimbursed the MSFA when the Star Tribune started poking around the government suite on game day. Perhaps these distinguished public servants will adopt a similar strategy for holiday shopping season and walk out of a store with the items that they desire, pausing to remunerate only if accosted by mall security.
Cameron Ubel, St. Paul
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It is ironic that the majority of white-shaming and the attached label of white privilege come from the same white, liberal elitists in this town who we now have learned are enjoying the privilege of taxpayer-funded, primo-suite privileges in the new Vikings stadium. I do not believe that the word “hypocrisy” is in these people’s vocabulary. The list as we saw it (certainly not complete) is a who’s who of white liberal elitists. There is shame to be had, but it is not by us little people.
Mary McIntosh Linnihan, Minneapolis
Stressful annual test of screeners is neither fair nor cost-effective
As a frequent flier, I respect the men and women who professionally screen us before boarding a plane (“TSA test brings turmoil, turnover,” Nov. 26). Transportation Security Administration screeners shouldn’t be subject to high-stakes tests that aren’t representative of their work. Why not use testing to promote continuous improvement rather than throwing experienced screeners out the door when TSA is already shorthanded? It’s much more expensive to hire and train new employees.
State Sen. Sandy Pappas, DFL-St. Paul
It inspires some participants to enlist. Imagine that.
In a Nov. 28 commentary, co-authors Scott Harding and Seth Kershner express great concern over Junior Reserve Officer Training classes being installed at Highland Park High School in St. Paul (“ ‘Not’ military recruitment, but quite like it”). Their stated concern is that students who attend this excellent education program tend to join the military in higher numbers than their classmates who do not. So! What!
I assume technology clubs produce a higher number of graduates interested in technology. I assume the same about STEM classes or history clubs or geography clubs. I also assume that a military career is an honorable career.
Maybe Harding and Kershner should remember what President Obama said about American citizens who join the military:
“Why, in an age when so many have acted only in pursuit of narrowest self-interest, have the soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines of this generation volunteered all that they have on behalf of others? Why have they been willing to bear the heaviest burden?
“Whatever it is, they felt some tug. They answered a call. They said ‘I’ll go.’ That is why they are the best of America. That is what separates them from those who have not served in uniform — their extraordinary willingness to risk their lives for people they never met.”
Terry Larkin, Minnetonka
The writer is a veteran of the Vietnam War.