I read with dismay that Twin Cities Pride organizers are asking police officers not to march in the Pride parade on Sunday (“Twin Cities Pride parade snubs cops,” June 22). This is the wrong way to express sympathy for the St. Anthony incident. Pride is an organization that seeks to be inclusive and welcoming. Excluding entire police departments with collectively thousands of officers, including some who are LGBT and almost all of whom had nothing to do with the shooting of Philando Castile, is unhelpful.
The police saved the lives of our brothers and sisters, most of whom were people of color, during the attack at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando. When police upped their presence as a result at the Pride festival last year, many felt relief. To shun all of them because of the actions of a few is not only discriminatory, which is the antithesis of what Pride is all about, but also shortsighted and a rebuke of much of what the police have done for our community. If the Pride committee feels the desire to act on the concerns of LGBT people of color, perhaps allowing a contingent of people to march in support of Castile while continuing to allow police to march might be a more inclusive solution.
The Pride committee and this festival are particularly representative of local LGBT people, and this alienating policy will only antagonize police officers, thus harming relations between them and the LGBT community without solving any of the issues that ultimately need addressing. It’s also troubling that some in the LGBT community, which for so many decades was sidelined by the larger society because they made people feel unsafe or uneasy, are now trying to sideline an entire police community using these same feelings. I urge the Pride committee to come up with a better way to address their concerns.
Brent Younkin, Minneapolis
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That act of censorship and discrimination guarantees that the police officer booth at the Pride festival in Loring Park on Saturday and Sunday will be mobbed with people who support our sisters and brothers wherever they serve our community. The LGBT communities are so diverse that no single organization can or should represent us.
John Mehring, Minneapolis
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The police officers are upset and hurt that they don’t get to participate in the Pride parade. You know who else is hurt? Philando Castile’s family and the 500 children he served in the school lunchroom. I can’t imagine the hurt they are going through, and I’d like police officers to try to think about how those people feel right now. How Jamar Clark’s family feels right now. It’s not about those individual police officers’ being hurt that they can’t participate, because they are still alive to do so. Make changes. Commit to nonviolent actions as your first steps. Think about your fellow beings as fellow people instead of criminals. Hold yourselves to a standard where we can trust you not to kill innocent people, and we’ll invite you back to our events.
S.J. Spitzer, Minneapolis
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Lt. Bob Kroll, president of the Minneapolis Police Federation, thinks its “shameful” and “disturbing” for Twin Cities Pride organizers to forgo police participation in this year’s parade. I agree that it’s a step in the wrong direction.
But less than a year ago, when four of his members walked off their off-duty jobs in protest of some Minnesota Lynx players showing support for Black Lives Matter, he found their actions praiseworthy, and said, “I commend them for it.” In his opinion, when it comes to protest, it’s bad for an organization to discourage police participation in their event, but good for police officers to not do their jobs.
To quote Kroll, I think that for the leader of an organization that prides itself on being accepting and inclusive — which I believe the police union to be — “the hypocrisy amazes me.”
Tim Wirth, Lakeland
Is repeal of Obamacare justified with a simple Senate majority?
While there have been numerous articles comparing the politics behind the original passage of Obamacare in 2010 and the proposed Obamacare repeal (“Trumpcare”) unveiled in the Senate on Thursday, one additional point warrants attention: the population represented by each Senate vote. To look at this, I apportioned the representation behind each Senate vote (2010 and likely 2017) for each state as follows: If one senator from a state voted for passage, I attributed one-half of the state’s population to the passage; if both senators voted for passage, the entire state’s population was represented; and if neither senator voted for passage, zero percent of the population was attributed to passage. Using this algorithm, the 62 votes that passed Obamacare in 2010 represented 64 percent of the 2010 population. Using the same reasoning, assuming that all 52 Republican senators vote for Trumpcare, they would represent only 45 percent of the 2017 U.S. population, yet the bill would pass.
Is the Senate really justified in drastically altering health care, which comprises 18 percent of our GDP and affects many tens of million of people, with anything less than a solid majority of the population behind it? My observation, over many years, is that major policy innovations that “stick” generally require the support of at least 60 percent of the population, and more commonly more than 70 percent. Passing Trumpcare with a mere 45 percent representation in the Senate would almost certainly result in a major realignment within a few years — another shock to the health care system.
Our scorched-earth approach to policymaking is very detrimental and further weakens our health care system, which is the most expensive in the world and has one of the poorest outcomes among industrialized countries. If we keep going in this direction, life expectancy in Costa Rica (now 78.6 years) might soon exceed that of the U.S. (79.8 years).
Larry Baker, St. Paul
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Are the current congressional health care bills good or bad for our country? A good health care policy and system would (1) ensure equitable access, (2) deliver efficacious, high-quality care, (3) provide cost-efficient care, (4) finance health care fairly, (5) generate and sustain relevant resources, (6) protect participants’ rights and encourage shared responsibility, (7) ensure representation of all participants in the system, and (8) provide health care responsive to the population’s expectations and health care needs. These criteria indicate that health care policy is fundamentally a moral issue, not merely a political, economic, medical or legal issue.
R. Paul Olson, Bloomington
UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA
Budget did get public comment, more helpfully welcomed online
A June 22 letter to the editor claiming University of Minnesota leaders did not allow for, or receive, public comments regarding our budget is simply not true. In fact, more public comments were provided this year than ever before. Using an online form, open for 11 days earlier this month, nearly 40 people weighed in. Comments came from university students, faculty, staff, alumni and community members. They can each be viewed on the regents website (http://bit.ly/2sGgWzx, starting at page 152).
In the past, the public budget forum was limited to only 20 speakers, who had to be present at a specific day and time to share their comments. The online comment period provides the opportunity for input and feedback at a time and location convenient for our community.
As the letter writer stated, as a public land-grant university, we have a responsibility to the people of Minnesota. This new approach better serves Minnesotans, as well as our guiding principles, promoting an even greater free exchange of ideas.
Matt Kramer, Shoreview
The writer is vice president of university relations at the University of Minnesota.