How to be civil in an election year:

Do not criticize entire groups, as in, “Democrats/Republicans are evil.” You are still free to criticize individual Democrats/Republicans. Do not tell others what they think: “Democrats/Republicans just want to burn cities and institute communism/have a dictatorship.” You are still free to criticize the actual policies in the parties’ platforms and/or voting records. Do not attribute the qualities of a few to an entire group: “All Democrats are looters/all Republicans are racist.”

Recognize that internet posts and stories are designed to raise your ire and divide us. Try to use your own words and ideas if you choose to post a political statement. If you feel you must post a meme, at least fact-check it, and fact-check your fact-checker. Check the original source.

Ignore the old saw regarding talking about politics and religion. It is OK to have a nice civil discourse about what you believe with someone who believes otherwise. Perhaps one of you will change your mind. If the other person refuses to be civil, just let it go. You are still both humans, and both fellow countrymen. If you do these things, you will feel less stressed and not resentful toward your neighbors.

John A. Hocker, Truman, Minn.

• • •

I notice a report about the three former Republican leaders’ endorsements of Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden (“Three former GOP leaders back Biden,” Aug. 25). Since I am so long-forgotten (Republican-endorsed candidate for governor, 1982) on the Minnesota scene it might be of little to no interest, but just for the record, I, too, am a passionate advocate for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. Long, long ago I started out as an “Eisenhower Republican.” I have no idea what happened to that party, but it faded away and the remnants are so repulsive and disgusting that it turns my stomach.

I have now lived in Florida for 35 years, and here we must register by party. I have been a registered Democrat for a very long time now. I will always be somewhat of a fiscal conservative, but I am without a doubt a social liberal. It is absolutely in the interest of my home state that Biden and Kamala Harris are chosen to lead us into the future.

Lou Wangberg, Oakland Park, Fla.

The writer is a former lieutenant governor of Minnesota.

• • •

It’s extremely interesting to watch the quadrennial propaganda shows of the two major political parties here in the United States. This year’s efforts make me wonder if we live in the Twilight Zone, since each party describes two completely different views of the same country. The first two nights of this week’s extravaganza were masterful demonstrations of irony.

The first night featured a truly inspirational story of the success achieved by U.S. Sen. Tim Scott. As he stated, his family’s going during one lifetime from picking cotton to having one of its members in the Senate is truly remarkable. Ironically, it’s clear that his journey would not have been possible without the inspired efforts of the civil rights movement in the 1960s, a movement that was often violently confronted. More than likely, the current president would have opposed that movement, as demonstrated by the vitriol he throws at members of the current social justice movements.

The second night allowed us to witness the citizenship vows made by five very proud individuals. Ironically, several of these new citizens likely entered the country during the Obama administration, and it’s clear that none would have been admitted under the current president’s immigration policies.

Finally, who could miss the first lady proudly stating that she, too, is an immigrant who became a citizen during the second Bush administration? Ironically, her family was subsequently admitted under a policy of chain migration, a policy strongly opposed by the current president.

What irony awaits us in the remaining nights of the Republican National Convention?

Kenneth Thielman, Woodbury

• • •

I started drafting a long reply to the recent letter “This isn’t the GOP I knew” (Aug. 26).

The writer is on the same path I was on when my former party (the GOP) left me 20 years ago.

Rather than detail my journey, I’ll just say to the writer: “Ditto.”

Neil Robinson, Plymouth


A preview of America’s next chapter

Currently I have the fun privilege of being a census enumerator knocking on doors and meeting new people in my Selby-Dale neighborhood. One day I met someone who was born 100 years after my father and who likely was the child of a recent immigrant, as was my dad.

A couple days later, I completed a survey for a household of 10 people who didn’t look like me, speak like me or, in all certainty, pray like me. Lots of people in a small place, I thought.

That night, I thought again of my father’s immigrant household: A two-, maybe three-bedroom house in northern Minnesota sheltering his parents, his eight siblings and him — 11 in all. They weren’t speaking English in that house, and their faith — Catholicism — was new to that area.

Those nine immigrant children grew up and became business owners, teachers, nurses and miners, and several helped win World War II. One died too young, but her son graduated from West Point. The rest of their children, 26 including me, have assimilated into and hopefully strengthened the fabric of our fine country and now have kids and grandkids of their own.

I hope I live long enough to see how today’s first-generation Americans continue to weave, strengthen and contribute to the great American experiment. What a wonderful time to be alive in the U.S.A.!

Steve Cerkvenik, St. Paul


Emphasizing prevention is overdue

As a Black woman who lives in a city by north Minneapolis, I would like to ask that Mayor Jacob Frey take seriously the people’s call to move funds from the traditional system of policing to the community-­based public safety solution, the Office of Violence Prevention. We have given the Police Department so much funding and power to serve and protect us, but it has demonstrated countless times that it can’t maintain public safety for everyone — not just the brutality and racial injustice that happened to George Floyd, for example, but the recent brutality in Wisconsin that happened to Jacob Blake, who was shot multiple times for breaking up a fight.

It is time to turn to solutions that are proven to actually stop crime in an equitable way for everyone, no matter our skin color or income level. We as a community are so very drained from the continuous fight that we have to bear. It’s stressful to live in a community knowing that we have inadequate resources. The funding of those resources ought to be put toward mental health, rehabilitation services and housing programs we need so everyone can thrive. We need our leaders to make the decision to fund our lives now.

Tiffany Bridges, Brooklyn Center



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