I agree with the point that Bruce Peterson and William Doherty make in "November 2020 will test us" (Opinion Exchange, Oct. 25) that we all need to be "wary of our own partisan zeal" during these contentious times. One of the things I have been doing is to read the perspectives of people with whom I disagree with an open mind.
In that spirit, I read both "The case for Republicans" by Minnesota Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka and "The case for DFLers" by Minnesota House Speaker Melissa Hortman. As one would expect, they presented different perspectives on the issues facing our state and nation. What I did not expect, but perhaps should have, is that Gazelka wrote not one word about racial inequities or racial justice. Not one word. Yes, he worked in the idea that we should expect "every Minnesotan to be treated fairly by police," but the focus was an assertion that Democrats want to defund the police and, unlike Republicans, do not care about public safety.
I do believe that people of goodwill can disagree about the police reform and funding of police departments, but the discussions we have been having since the death of George Floyd are not rooted in concern of police maltreatment of people who look like me or Gazelka. The fear of crime has been used to support racially biased policies from the time of slavery through Jim Crow laws and right up to our president's focus on threat of fair housing policies to the safety of suburban women. Consequently, in my view, political use of the fear of crime without explicit acknowledgment of racial inequities as context is an old and pernicious dog whistle.
So, when I see Hortman's assertion that "too many Republicans have fanned the flames of hate and division because they think that benefits them politically," I conclude that Gazelka's omission proves her point. I know that people like me who tend to favor a larger government role in addressing social problems are not always right. I believe that there are people of kind heart across the political spectrum. But until the Republican Party can speak forthrightly and without ambiguity about issues of racial justice and racial equity, it does not deserve our support.
John McGuire, Rochester
NUCLEAR WEAPONS TREATY
Why isn't U.S. a signatory?
On Saturday, the 50th nation ratified a United Nations treaty to ban nuclear weapons, triggering its entry into international law in 90 days ("U.N. nuclear treaty to take effect," Oct. 26). The U.S. is not one of those countries. We should be.
Cathy Murphy, St. Louis Park
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Unfortunately, the treaty will add nothing to world peace initiatives, as nuclear powers maintain their stockpiles and rogue nations such as North Korea and Iran continue to enhance their nuclear capabilities. With opposing nations citing "verification and disarmament issues," nothing will really change from the status quo, so what's the point? Similar problems afflict the Paris accord on climate change, as India, China and other members remain major polluters. Furthermore, countries will continue to buy and employ every conventional weapon enhancement available, as war readiness remains their only option for survival.
God has stated that there will never be peace on earth, but a 12-year-old offers some hope for future generations ("I can't vote but you can," Readers Write, Oct. 26). Jaelyn Kline cites a statement from justiceandpeace.org: "True peace is of God so it involves the harmony of all people pursuing justice for all. In this way peace is, at its heart, a reflection of God's Kingdom." Wise words for future generations to save the world from potential nuclear, biochemical, pandemic and pollution devastation.
Michael Tillemans, Minneapolis
Regarding responsibility …
Per the front-page Oct. 24 article "Masks could easily save 100,000 lives," depending upon which of five strategies the U.S. adopts, we will experience between 400,000 and 1 million before February.
If Joe Biden is elected on Nov. 3, does he then become responsible for these additional deaths, since he claims President Donald Trump is responsible for the already dead 225,000?
Terry Larkin, Deephaven
U.S. SUPREME COURT
U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is obviously a hypocrite, but he is not stupid. To push the Amy Coney Barrett confirmation was not just inviting the possibility of court packing, it was asking for it. What did he gain by doing that? That part is less obvious but should be considered.
Michael Johnson, Brooklyn Center
Not all memories are fond
I am no fan of Sid Hartman. You may argue that at his passing I should keep my mouth shut. But as I've read one, after another, after another, ode to Hartman, I have begun to choke. His influence in Minnesota's sports media is unarguable. He was an unabashed promoter of Minnesota's male sports machine. He also systematically ignored and criticized female athletes. He did not criticize their performance; he criticized their very existence. He considered them to be a drain on the resources and attention rightfully intended for men's sports.
If he were a business reporter, only willing to interview male CEOs, or a government reporter who avoided all references to female legislators, he would have been sent packing. But somehow, in the sports world, the expectations are different. And they have been different for the more than 70 years of Hartman's career. One former Star Tribune sports editor, well-aware of Hartman's attitude toward women, noted, "At least he doesn't write negatively about them anymore. He just avoids them."
Not surprisingly, it is largely male friends, co-workers and readers who have shared fond comments about Hartman. Although to her credit, Lindsay Whalen graciously acknowledged a rare moment when Sid deigned to cover women's sports and asked to interview her after a Gopher game that drew 10,000 fans.
Forgive me if I am unwilling to quietly listen to the choruses sharing warm stories of Hartman's work. All I see is a man who brazenly slammed the door in the faces of women who cared about sports as athletes, fans and readers.
Sheri Brenden, Minnetonka
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I didn't know Sid had been beatified! This paper's extensive coverage — how many pages are we at, 25 or so? — is a prime and sobering example of the excessive and undue influence of sports in our society.
Julie Stenberg, Minneapolis
PEOPLE BEHAVING WELL
A young hero
As I dug canna bulbs from my boulevard garden recently, along came Vincent, my 9-year-old neighbor and friend. He was removing the leaves from the street to keep them from ending up in the lake: "I want to help the turtles." He discovered a rake didn't work — the leaves were too wet and heavy, so he fetched a shovel. Working more than an hour, he cleared our side of the street for half the block, piling the leaves in a bin on his wagon, a bin so heavy I couldn't lift it. He filled the bin at least four times.
"There are four things I enjoy doing," said Vincent cheerily. "The first is … I love to help my neighbors." Invincible Vincent, my kind and noble friend, doing a good deed in a time of turmoil, and lifting my spirit.
Jean Greenwood, Minneapolis