The two rulings by the Supreme Court regarding President Donald Trump's financial records will initiate the predictable series of responses ("Trump's taxes? A little less shrouded," editorial, July 10). Trump will rage-tweet that he again is being victimized. The district attorney in New York will claim victory in the affirmation that no person is above the law and anticipate eventually receiving the requested documents. Democrats in Congress now must re-establish the oversight role of Congress within the separation-of-powers principle. Pundits, of course, will have a field day in analyzing the details of both rulings and the short-term and long-term implications.
There is a fundamental issue that overrides all of these considerations: Why has Trump refused to fulfill his campaign promise to release his tax returns? How can any reasonable person not wonder what he is hiding? What is it that he does not want citizens to see? Speculation runs the entire gamut from unethical to illegal to traitorous behavior.
If Trump has nothing to hide, fulfill the promise and release the documents. Every citizen should expect their president to be transparent and truthful. If Trump expects our trust, he must earn it.
Phil George, Lakeville
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As we all know, the U.S. Constitution's First Amendment (part of the Bill of Rights) says, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof ... ." I would venture that the great majority of U.S. citizens heartily agree with this principle as a basic part of our civil rights. Surely the founders intended that this right applies to individuals: People are guaranteed the freedom to exercise their choice, a very personal choice.
However, it seems that a number of U.S. courts, including the Supreme Court, have construed it to allow some individuals — or even organizations — to control or impair other people's religious freedom. ("A religious boost," editorial, July 9.) This seems totally at odds with a civil right. This problem has come up in such cases as access to contraceptive care or health insurance or employment discrimination or abortion rights. Civil rights belong to individuals, not to people or groups in power wanting to restrict other peoples' freedom. This is a distressing undermining of the very principle of religious freedom.
John C. Green, Duluth, Minn.
BLACK LIVES MATTER
BLM can't address every problem
This letter is in response to the July 8 letter expressing the opinion that Black Lives Matter should change its name to "Some Black Lives Matter" because BLM focuses on the death of Black folks only when it involves police action and not when it is a result of criminal activity ("Where's the national uproar?").
Violence in our major cities is a significant problem. Does the writer express dismay when citizens march to find a cure for breast cancer that the marchers aren't concerned about those who are dealing with other forms of cancer or disease in general? While there is outcry and concern from community and city leaders in response to the violence, there is resistance to addressing and correcting the underlying root causes. I hope that the national discussion about race that has been fueled by videos of George Floyd, Christian Cooper and too many others will help fortify the ongoing discussion of racial inequities.
Intercity violence isn't a Black issue, just as opioid addiction isn't a white issue. They both are failures of our society and must be addressed by us coming together to have societal support, laws and ordinances that promote a healthy society. Perhaps the writer and all of us can join or learn from social justice groups about these issues and help support our advocating for laws, ordinances and societal supports that will lessen the root causes of societal violence.
Stephen Ziff, St. Louis Park
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In response to a letter writer's concern about gun violence, the problem is that we've lost our respect for life. We don't respect people of color; the elderly are seen as disposable (as well as unborn children). We allow people to live on the streets or in tents, we scorn those with disabilities, whether mental or physical, and even abuse the animals who are placed in our care. Too many people take a "lifeboat ethic" view of life — there's not enough room for everyone on this Earth, so who should we throw overboard? Consistent life ethic thinkers make room for all in their hearts and minds and seek positive, life-affirming solutions to life's problems.
Think of life as a chain with many links representing different stages and forms of life. All it takes is one broken or damaged link to place the entire chain in jeopardy. To solve old problems we need a new way of thinking!
Kay Kemper, Crystal
BACK TO SCHOOL
Risk is inherent — so minimize it
So U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos compares the risk of reopening schools in a pandemic to the risk of riding in a rocket ship. Generally speaking, the rocket ship adventure will be preceded by careful, strategic planning designed to optimize chances of success and minimize risk.
We must not allow the reopening of our public schools to become yet another wedge issue. Rather, it is an incredibly complex issue that is being grappled with throughout our state and nation by parents, school boards, teachers, administrators, governors and legislators. There are no easy answers, but there are clearly wrong answers — and a one-size-fits-all command to reopen without necessary safeguards in place for our students, teachers and school staff is a simplistic and wrong answer to a crucial and challenging issue.
John Malone, Long Lake
ICE policy is cruel and dangerous
I was discouraged to read about the University of Minnesota and ICE ("U to help international students comply with ICE directive," July 10). It is deeply disappointing that international students will not have the freedom to choose online courses without facing immigration consequences.
This ICE policy is cruel, and adding in-person class options offers insufficient protection. It will greatly disrupt the lives of international students, who are integral members of our communities. Forcing them to take in-person classes unnecessarily risks their safety. Forcing them to leave if they do not have in-person class options, and with only a month before the fall semester begins, will be an enormous stress and financial burden on students who have established their lives here. Forcing them to move will also isolate them from their communities and supports. Students may not have resources to move, and if they do, they may not have a safe place to relocate.
ICE's policy will endanger all students, because this policy will prevent universities from moving classes online, should that be the safest option. As a result, faculty will be forced to offer in-person classes, and international students will be forced to take them, even if they are in a high-risk category for COVID-19. This policy will cost people their lives.
ICE's policy threatens our academic communities financially, psychologically and physically. It is not enough for universities to offer in-person classes to make sure international students comply with the new guidance. I ask that Minnesotans contact our representatives and speak out against ICE's student ban so that real protection can be offered for our valuable international student population.
Adrienne VanZomeren, St. Paul
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