It was with great dismay that I read the Washington Post editorial (reprinted in the Star Tribune Nov. 8) claiming that the Standing Rock protests against an oil pipeline on their land are “misplaced” and that any change should be a result of “orderly and predictable” actions. What would have happened if our founding fathers (and mothers) or Elizabeth Cady Stanton or the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. or Vietnam War protesters (to name but a few) had kept only to “orderly and predictable” actions? All of these activists brought their grievances first to their local communities. But their actions and devotion to their causes eventually rippled through their states and the nation and change, though hard-won and long-fought, began to happen. We must take a hard look at, heed and spread the larger story the Standing Rock protesters are trying to tell us. Then we can all take action and effect change.
Cynthia Wetzell, Minneapolis
• • •
I find it hard to believe that anyone from the Post was anywhere near Standing Rock or has any idea of what is really going on there. The editorial called it “anti-pipeline activism,” stating “piecemeal activism accomplishes little.” I beg to differ! First of all, piecemeal is how the pipeline has escaped more scrutiny, forcing those along each section to act accordingly. However, Standing Rock is not just about the pipeline and oil, it’s about a stand for the well-being of a nation and care of our Earth. I could not believe that the suggested solution for the North American indigenous gathering was to “adopt fuel efficiency standards to cut gasoline demand” and “enacting a carbon tax that would make alternatives to coal and oil steadily more competitive.” Really? The unaddressed part was why are we “sucking it from underground shale formations and transporting it” anyway. We are all ready for an alternative! The oil industry is not.
Patricia Jakobsen, Delano
• • •
Much thanks to Toni Easterson for the defense of people at Standing Rock and her own once-hidden indigenous heritage (“Standoff is about so much more than a pipeline; it’s about us all,” Nov. 5). It’s long past time to acknowledge the dignity and rights inherent in 19th-century treaties so long ignored by states and the federal government, as well as that all of us Europeans are colonial invaders, not natives.
Lou Schoen, St. Louis Park
LINGERING ELECTION THOUGHTS
Teacher properly teaches students how to think, not what
The essay “My election take? Not telling my students” by Katie Vagnino (Variety, Nov. 8) exemplified, in my view, the highest-quality education that one could hope to see an educator implement. Vagnino outlined an objective, fact-based curriculum that models the best of problem-solving instruction. It is not her job, nor is it any teacher’s job, to influence her students to her personal viewpoint. As she pointed out, it is her job to train critical thinkers who are capable of analyzing information to better understand the complex issues of our times. Kudos from a former teacher/school administrator.
Constance L. Finnern, Edina
• • •
By far the best part of voting on Tuesday was seeing all the children. Whole families stopped on their way to work and school so that children could witness what their parents did and could witness, too, the pride with which they did it.
As we left, a young mother posed outside by the polling-place sign with her three small children. All four wore “I Voted” stickers — not evidence of voter fraud, but evidence for a day in the future that on this day she had voted for her entire family. It was evidence also that, at least in this place and for these people, cynicism had not penetrated.
John Schmit, St. Paul
• • •
As of Wednesday, the country will be united. We will all be shedding tears of some sort.
Tracey Noyes, St. Anthony
• • •
I hope to long recall the sun on my back and the colorful leaf-carpets of maple, oak, aspen, gingko, and birch in the bright days leading up to this election. Am I naïve to think that spell can last? Whatever the outcome, we will be in a mood on Wednesday. How do we collectively move through the next four years, and the next? Will lingering suspicions of one another follow the rancor? Can we mend ourselves? Will I put my trust in you? Will you believe in me?
Marie Ward, West St Paul
• • •
I thank you, Donald Trump, for running for president.
You were successful at inspiring millions of Americans to get involved with the political process. You were successful at getting people to pay attention to the serious issues before our country. You were successful at getting millions of people energized, excited and passionate, both good and bad, about the presidential race this time around. You were successful at getting millions of people to buy into your simple message of wanting to make America great again. And you did not need any Hollywood celebrity, singer, corporate bigshot or GOP politician to help to sell your vision, just you.
And I thank you for putting a small dent in the political-correctness madness in our country. But don’t worry — I am still planning on saying “Merry Christmas” this year.
Neil F. Anderson, Richfield
That includes making the effort to say names correctly
Every student deserves to feel culturally affirmed by his or her school (“What’s in a student’s name? Family, culture, identity, stories,” Nov. 4). As a teacher in Minneapolis public schools, I’m privileged to work with some incredibly astute students who understand how names are tied so closely to identity. In fact, it was a group of students who alerted me when a substitute teacher refused to pronounce a Somali girl’s name correctly even after repeated reminders.
So I was disappointed to hear Katherine Kersten from the Center of the American Experiment speak so flippantly about correct pronunciation of students’ names. (“You are encouraging them to think of themselves as victims, as people who are being wronged, and therefore, people who should be angry,” she was quoted as saying.) I admit that learning names from so many cultural heritages and languages can be a challenge, but it’s worth it to create the climate our students deserve. If a teacher doesn’t make the effort to say a student’s name correctly, will that student feel comfortable advocating for religious accommodations?
Casting these students as playing the victim, rather than acknowledging the marginalization they feel when their cultural differences are ignored, is incredibly irresponsible. Our students deserve better. Positive and affirmative school environments are foundational to improving student achievement for all our students.
Casey Metcalfe, Minneapolis
Thanks for improved Hwy. 100. One thing I’m curious about …
From time to time I have been heard to say that the reason the beltway is named Hwy. 100 is because it has been under construction for that many years. But now that the section I travel most days between Golden Valley and St. Louis Park is finished, I have to say hats off and thank you to the Minnesota Department of Transportation and the many people who had a hand in the reconstruction. It is very much appreciated.
My one other question is: Where do all the orange traffic cones live in the winter?
Patricia Hoyt, Golden Valley