A few days ago it was an e-mail from Joe Biden wanting me to DONATE to the campaigns of Georgia Democratic candidates. The next day it was one from Gov. Tim Walz and Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan wanting me to DONATE to "demonstrate the strength," i.e. big war chest, of the One Minnesota campaign to all those Trump supporters in Minnesota.
Before the election, I responded generously to Democratic candidates at the national and state levels to support their campaigns. Now, I resent the constant, even daily, requests for "campaign contributions," or what used to be campaign contributions and used to end with the election. Whether a candidate won or lost, the requests for money ended. The elected candidate got on with the job s/he was elected to do. I don't feel we need to demonstrate we have more — or less — money than the Trumpers in Minnesota. I don't care whether they have more money. They lost the election. All the candidates, of both parties, now need to focus to governing, not fundraising.
Also, before the election, "huge contributions from out-of-state donors" — like the Koch Brothers — were seen as intrusive and almost undemocratic. Now we Minnesotans — and Democrats around the country, I'm sure — are being asked to pour money into the Georgia Senate runoffs. I know flipping the Senate is in all of our [Democratic] interests, but I still find these requests to out-of-state Democrats a little hypocritical in view of the condemnation of out-of-state Republican contributions in Minnesota. Just sayin'.
Betsy Cussler, Edina
Rural, urban discussions show an element missing in city: familiarity
There was an interesting juxtaposition of front-page articles Dec. 6. One was about policing in rural Minnesota and one was about the discussion in Minneapolis about what to do with the Police Department. The thing that struck me most was a comment made by a small-town officer who said he knew everybody he met during the day. It occurs to me that part of the answer in Minneapolis is to have every police officer get to know the people in their beat area. It is much easier to solve problems when you already have a relationship with the person with whom you are interacting. While the city cannot mandate that officers live in the city, it can certainly mandate that officers get out of their cars and get to know residents and shop owners. This won't solve all of the problems, but I do believe that it is a first and important step.
Bill Lerman, St. Paul
CHAPLAINS AND COVID
Gratitude for risky, rewarding work — and for photo and story
I would like to offer some words of thanks.
Thanks to the family of Chuck Schuh for allowing Chuck's story to be told, and for the photo of him to be used ("Chaplains adopt to new COVID calling," front page, Dec. 6).
Thanks to photographer Elizabeth Flores for capturing such a poignant moment in Mr. Schuh's life.
Thanks to reporters Jean Hopfensperger and Jim Walsh for their telling of the story, in words.
Thanks to the Rev. Andrew Jaspers for putting aside his fears, and engaging in such risky — but rewarding — work. Truly, he ministered not only to Mr. Schuh and his family, but to those of us who read the story and were affected by it.
Katie McCurry, St. Paul
• • •
Is nothing in our society kept dignified and private anymore?
I found the picture on the front page of Sunday's Star Tribune bothersome on many levels, in addition to what I consider a ridiculous quote from the priest.
"Chuck, you are good to go."
That's the best he could come up with?
Ursula Krawczyk, Roseville
THE RIGHT SPIRIT
You either have it or you don't
I recently finished reading "Looking on the bright side" (Variety, Dec. 5). I was looking forward to some positive thoughts on the pandemic when I saw this headline. Disappointingly, the article was anything but positive and far from the "bright side" of anything. My husband and I were able to come up with a list of 10 bright sides in less than a minute. Please share our list and brighten everyone's day and year!
1) Family dinners.
2) Game nights (or days) — and, I mean board games.
3) Reading a good book.
4) Reorganize the storage closet … finally.
5) Cook a new recipe.
6) Bake with your kids. (It's a math lesson, too!)
7) Write a letter (for real, think "snail mail") and truly brighten someone's day.
8) Explore a new hiking trail.
9) Rewatch your favorite movies.
10) Focus on gratitude — that is what the bright side is all about.
Thank you for inspiring me to focus on the real benefits of the pandemic.
Julie Rose, Champlin
• • •
The Rev. Charles Austin's gentle nudge toward weathering a sane holiday ("We need a 'little' Christmas," Opinion Exchange, Dec. 6) was a wise antidote to the dread that has loomed over the waning days of this wretched COVID year.
It also brought to mind another bittersweet song of the season that could also be an unexpected balm: "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas." Written in the depths of World War II, a time of far too much death, uncertainty and loneliness, it offers hope in small, measured doses:
"Let your heart be light/From now on/Our troubles will be out of sight … ." Not now, not right away, but eventually. No, this holiday won't be like all the others and to raise our expectations to the joys of years gone by will only invite heartbreak.
So hope remains, even in 2020: "Through the years/We all will be together/If the fates allow/Hang a shining star/Upon the highest bough/And have yourself a merry little Christmas now."
Maybe a little Christmas will be enough.
BOB VON STERNBERG, Minneapolis
• • •
The other day a guy yelled "Merry Christmas," to me and I answered, "Same to you," yet it felt rather hollow. I also nearly fell prey to the most often used phrase on everyone's lips about "getting back to normal." Really! First of all, normal wasn't always that hot, any more than the good old days were always that good. Those of you who have recently lost a loved one understand that some lives can never be back to "normal."
Lately our national pastime seems to be the blame game, and there are about 10 possibilities to pick. No. 1, of course, is the pandemic, but assuming COVID to be completely at fault is like at first denying there are sharks in the sea, then blaming them for existing, all the while insisting on our "right" to swim wherever we want in their waters. We seem to want to blame everything except our own attitude. For instance, we can either adopt the definition of what it is like to be old: "Being old is like you are serving out a sentence for a crime that you didn't commit and now we've been thrown into solitary confinement" — or you might revisit a little movie where a little Dutch girl sings a duet with Edmund Gwenn on 34th Street or catch one of the great versions of Dickens' magical tale of redemption and resurrection, or how about just throwing on some old yuletide tunes, sitting back and reminiscing? Not much, but at least you have a choice.
I acknowledge that I have been so lucky that my credibility is low on the subject of hardship. I won the pre-birth lottery and I woke up in America, plus I've been blessed with great role models. When my mom lay dying in hospital, she had only two options left. She could be on her left side and stare out into the hallway, or she could be on her right side and gaze out of the window. When I asked her how she was doing, she smiled and said, " You know, Red, it's so much nicer when you look towards the light."
Red Lyons, Bloomington
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