The March 6 front-page photo of a store drive-up transaction (accompanying an article about Target Corp. gaining market share by offering “at least seven ways to shop”) solidifies that which is physically inadequate in people. Better for those capable of doing so to get up off the glutei maximi and walk into the store, to the mailbox, to …
George Fruth, Baxter, Minn.
U.S. REP. ILHAN OMAR
What do you hear in her critics’ admonitions, and in hers?
It is a sign of our times that tolerance is in rapid decline. There is a rush to judgment on all fronts, no doubt fueled in part by social media and cable news. Case in point: U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar. I don’t know if Omar is an anti-Semite or not. How would I? Nothing in her comments that I’ve seen would lead me to conclude she is, yet others, including her colleagues in Congress, have concluded otherwise and now look for retribution. How preposterous. It appears they have taken a giant leap of faith going from her statements about Israeli influence to charges of anti-Semitism. Too much has been read into her statements that simply is not there.
Is it that her critics are too insecure or too cynical to understand that Omar has a legitimate right to call out undue influence by Israeli interests and those of other lobbying groups? And, lacking concrete evidence, isn’t it the case that her critics owe her an apology rather than a reprimand? If later it is shown that Omar does indeed harbor anti-Semitic views, then of course she should be held accountable. For now, however, there is no reason for any of us to continue these unwarranted accusations.
Robert Finley, Mankato
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I’ve lost count of the anti-Semitic smears coming from Omar since she took her congressional seat. Ironically, she was elected with the support of Jewish voters in the most heavily Jewish area of Minnesota. I’m certain many had hopes for her to be a unifying force. To say she’s failed in her first two months would be putting it mildly.
During her campaign, Omar assured local Jewish groups that her past egregious comments on Israel and Judaism wouldn’t be an issue or arise again, yet here we are.
In her initial apology, Omar said she’s “listening and learning,” yet she’s since quickly doubled down on anti-Semitic canards and insidious rhetoric.
She also has her facts wrong, which undermines our country’s long-standing support of Israel. Criticizing support for the only Jewish country in a region surrounded by substantially larger nations, many sworn to Israel’s destruction for generations, makes such criticism suspect.
While I was pleased to see Democratic leadership consider an anti-Semitism resolution earlier this week, it has now been postponed due to push back from progressive groups.
One easy step would be removal of Omar from the House Foreign Affairs Committee, where she currently sits. Eleven Jewish groups recently asked Speaker Nancy Pelosi to do this. When Rep. Steve King made racist remarks in January, the GOP removed him from committee assignments, yet no action has been taken against Omar.
I also hope for further condemnation from Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith and from others in Minnesota’s congressional delegation. Continuous denouncements of vile statements are vital.
AJ Kaufman, St. Cloud
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Jennifer Brooks’ March 6 column “Pride and Prejudice and Ilhan Omar” lays out the dilemma of Omar’s presence in the Congress for her party. Apparently those who voted for her found nothing objectionable when they went to the polls last November. Her support of the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel didn’t put them off. Her 2012 statement that Israel has “hypnotized the world” apparently wasn’t a problem, either. To her credit, she has been quite straightforward and honest about who she is and what her attitude is about Israel in particular and Jews in general. Maybe next time the voters will do their homework before they vote.
Jerry L. Nowlin, Minneapolis
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How many of the U.S. representatives calling for condemnation of Omar have taken the free trips to Israel paid for by Israeli lobbyists? They cloak themselves in outrage, painting her as anti-Semite. Their outrage is that she dares to speak the truth.
Mary Ann Crolley, Minneapolis
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It would be interesting to discover how many older politicians who are condemning Rep. Omar as an anti-Semite knowingly joined country clubs and organizations that blatantly excluded Jews and people of color.
Linda Benzinger, Minneapolis
THE VALUE OF COLLEGE
To focus only on earning power is to bow before free-market ideology
The March 6 commentary “What is college worth, and to whom?” is supposed to make readers question the value of subsidized college tuition, but just ends up revealing the bankruptcy of free-market-worshiping ideology.
The authors claim that the housing crash that led to the Great Recession was caused by government-pushed mortgages to high-risk lenders (as opposed to underregulated financial institutions creating arcane products whose risks they didn’t understand, but that’s another letter), and that subsidizing the education of subprime children will lead to a similar disaster. So how will we know if they’re a good bet? Simple: “When discussing whether society should subsidize a student’s education, what matters is the value to society of the student’s education. The best measure we have of that are the wages employers are willing to pay the graduates.” In your face, stay-at-home-moms!
The authors tell us that, over a career, a petroleum engineering major will earn about $5 million more than a high-school graduate, while “majors in photojournalism, musical theater, elementary education, conservation biology and piano performance leave the student up to $500,000 worse off than if the student hadn’t gone to college at all.” The market has spoken, people. Extractors of fossil fuels: the best. Journalists and schoolteachers: useless.
There may be a good argument against government-funded college, but this sure isn’t it. If anything, the fact that jobs most of us consider vital are grossly underpaid is a great case for subsidizing them. We need to think like citizens, not stockholders.
Paul Chillman, Richfield
THE AMERICAN HEMISPHERE
Thinking outside the border-wall box
Indisputably, crowds of South and Central Americans are flooding across our southern border, creating a crisis. Most are fleeing poverty and gang violence. Those two conditions, created largely by political incompetence and financial corruption even beyond government, are deplorable. This environment is pervasive. Clearly, Venezuela demonstrates that socialism is not the answer. Well, what is? Brace yourself.
Consider this: Juan Guaidó of Venezuela and Iván Duque Márquez of Columbia — places where corruption is the worst — and Pope Francis (of Argentina; after all, Catholicism is pervasive in South and Central America) agree to petition President Donald Trump to send the U.S. military to those two countries to assist their armed forces and police in putting down the violence in any way necessary, and send political advisers if requested. True, compulsive aginers, here and worldwide, would kick and scream, but nothing else has worked — or will.
Richard Doyle, Forest Lake