The June 18 lead commentary — “Our half-century of derangement,” penned by Stephen B. Young — was shockingly provocative. To claim, as Young does, that the Vietnam War was winnable and only lost because of antiwar hippies; to claim that Agent Orange and the post-traumatic stress disorder of our soldiers was a result of “Vietnam Derangement Syndrome” is outrageous. To claim that the present citizen “fed-up” mentality against policies, domestic and foreign, is a result of citizens of the 1960s and the ’70s protesting an insane war is obscene.

According to Robert Caro in his LBJ biography: Fifty-eight thousand dead. Three hundred thousand wounded. More than 2 million Vietnamese killed and wounded. It’s hard to grasp numbers like that, knowing now that it was a war based on lies.

Mr. Young is attempting to rewrite history — it’s the lefties’ fault! — and if history is any guide, he will likely succeed.

Grace Heitkamp, Lonsdale, Minn.

• • •

Thank you to Young for a well-thought-out cultural correction piece. His analysis identifies wrong turns in the cultural narrative that, while well-intended, have not contributed positively to the roads forward. The “victimization” narratives too often play deeply to cynicism while offering no real paths forward, or allowing for any honest conversation among the body politic. And these false narratives have become part of what has led us to the trains of thought that now dominate our cultural voices from both ends of the political spectrum. The truth is that our democratic experiment (only a couple of hundred years old, really) relies on the ability of people to genuinely engage in debate and conversation about “reality” narratives. I suspect that it is no accident that Pope Francis’ voice is one that comes across to Young as authentic and “quietly, calmly purposeful.” Perhaps it has something to do with his reality narrative.

Leonard Freeman, Long Lake

• • •

Young has persuaded me of one thing. I do not doubt that his soul is filled “with unhappiness and resentment.” If I were as sensitive as he seems, I would be unhappy if he had persuaded me that my belief that racists, sexists, homophobes, xenophobes, etc., should be stigmatized as such is a “social cancer.” I would be doubly unhappy and remorseful (not resentful) if I was persuaded by his assertion that “contemporary racists” (as opposed to the old-fashioned kind who were evidently eradicated by passage of the Civil Rights and Voting Rights acts) are those who deplore the continued endemic racism in our society. However, I do not find his arguments persuasive. On the contrary, I find his condemnation of those who support equal rights for all deplorable.

William R. Page, Eden Prairie

• • •

I gagged on the white, pasty pablum served up on the front page of Opinion Exchange last Sunday. Young just can’t understand why we can’t all just be as peaceful as the pope! Why can’t we all get along as well as he did with two fellow classmates who represented their minority race on the manicured grounds and in the rarefied air of Harvard? “Just two more guys”! “I don’t see white,” as Stephen Colbert might say. Young opines that Southern racism is just a manufactured concept, conjured up by those who wanted to make us whites feel guilty, for the purpose of trashing traditional values. Why, don’t they know racism was abolished “for good and forever” by the civil rights law? He uses the word “derangement” like Hillary Clinton used “deplorables.”

Piling on, D.J. Tice (“Jury has done its duty; now we must do ours”) urges “kindness, caution, acceptance and peaceful respect” for the Jeronimo Yanez verdict. He equivocates Philando Castile’s death with “whenever innocents die … citizens or police.”

These two authors are the type who reply to Black Lives Matter with “all lives matter.” They just don’t get it. Star Tribune, you need more black writers!

Deborah Svanoe, Mounds View


Divisions harden — except when they come face-to-face

The June 18 article about President Donald Trump’s stalwart supporters (“Rough start doesn’t deter Trump stalwarts”) clearly shows that they’re exactly like Trump himself. They are unwilling or incapable of admitting to making a mistake.

Doug Williams, Robbinsdale

• • •

The latest installment in the “Trump Country” series was quite disheartening. Name-calling (“dumbocrat”) and innuendo were very evident.

While at last weekend’s motorcycle show, I sat and talked with a 71-year-old gentleman from Omaha. He asked if I was a liberal, and I said yes. He said, well, “I’m a conservative.” We then talked about our cross-country motorcycle trips. We both were in unions for more than 30 years, and we both are gun owners. We agreed that work should pay a livable wage. We parted ways with a handshake and well-wishes, and I was left to ponder how much we were alike despite the labels. As long as we function in a way that someone has to win and someone has to lose, we all lose.

Charles Justice, Woodbury


Lashing out against trends

The June Business section ran two articles on opposite pages, both illuminating the major shift currently taking place with Main Street Americans and how they save for retirement.

One article (“How new investing rule may affect you”) highlighted what the newly enacted fiduciary standard means for Main Streeters who rely on financial advisers’ advice on how to invest in their retirement accounts. The fiduciary rule takeaways (“your adviser will now have to act in your best interest; it will bring transparency to fees”) are a slam dunk for Main Street and pose a big threat to Wall Street.

No wonder then, look to the opposite page’s “Passive investors are put on notice,” and you have more Wall Street shenanigans, trying to inject confusion and fear into the conversation with talk of a potential “passive investing bubble” whereby Main Streeters stop paying Wall Street to actively invest their retirement savings. So let me get this straight: Those on Wall Street totally missed the warning signs of the Great Recession, but now they can spot a bubble?

Luckily, there is a rebuttal of this bubblespeak in the article, as well as consumer advocates like Warren Buffett extolling the virtues of passive investing in recent Berkshire Hathaway annual reports.

Wall Street has been put on notice by passive investors, not the other way around. Slowly but surely, Main Street is taking back the money and power from Wall Street. I only hope that the shift from active to passive investing accelerates.

Jake Stow, Champlin


X marks a terrible spot

The number of older Minnesotans will double between 2010 and 2030; picture a steeply climbing trend line. Under the U.S. Senate health care bill’s federal Medicaid caps, our capacity to keep pace with the costs of health and long-term care for older people in need will decline, and precipitously so in 2025 and beyond; picture a trend line in the opposite direction. I imagine these two trends overlapping in a big, foreboding X. It’s an X that crosses out essential services and support for older adults and the family caregivers who are at the heart of their day-to-day care. It’s an X that marks the spot where Minnesota faces awful decisions about whether and how to fill the gap caused by federal cuts. It’s an X that multiplies our long-term care workforce shortages as inevitable service limitations and provider rate cuts erode jobs and wages. It’s an X that slices a gaping hole in the safety net for the most economically and medically vulnerable people in our midst. And it’s an X that brands our policymaking as mean-spirited, ignorant and counterproductive.

Stay strong and fight hard, Minnesota senators!

Beth Wiggins, Minneapolis