The headline for an article inside the Jan. 17 Minnesota section was "Trump flag creates a stir at prep basketball game." I was intrigued. In the article, the coach from Minneapolis Roosevelt High School is cited as suggesting, in response to the kids from Jordan High School displaying a Trump flag and an American flag, that it was somehow not "appropriate" at a high school basketball game to do this. The players from Roosevelt stay in the locker room during the national anthem and the kids from Jordan display a flag. Are not both actions an expression of free speech?

Aaron J. Kubasch, Winsted, Minn.
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When Minneapolis Roosevelt's basketball team plays at Jordan and four white kids drape a Trump 2020 banner over their knees, how is this different from if they'd waved a Confederate flag? At best it's insulting; at worst it's intimidation; but either way, it's disgusting, and must be called out as such.

Timothy Hennum, Minneapolis
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It's a good thing Roosevelt High athletes had a chance to come to the rural area to see what patriotism is all about. They have had the disadvantage of having a coach who promotes anti-American sentiment by keeping the team in the locker room during the national anthem. The coach was screaming racism, but you wonder who is the real racist.

Larry Sorenson, Arlington, Minn.
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I wonder if the Jordan students will display an obvious political flag at games with all of their opponents — or was it just in their game with Minneapolis Roosevelt? The weak attempts to justify allowing this flag's appearance cause legitimate concerns about the thinking of those involved. One wonders if the school will allow a flag for Trump's opponent in 2020 to be displayed as well? After all, as one parent expressed, " it's actually pretty cool [that young people] are paying attention to things going on in our country." That works both ways! As for me, let's keep such obvious politics out of school-sponsored athletic events.

M.G. Pearson, Golden Valley
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As a resident of the city of Jordan, I first of all want to offer my apologies to the players, students and fans of Roosevelt High School. Unfortunately, you had to experience in a very personal way the obvious small-minded mentality that some people in this town have. I'm literally embarrassed to admit I live here and that my children go to school in a culture like that.

I fully expect, and call on, the superintendent of the Jordan schools to suspend every student involved with this. Further, I hope every parent who had a child captured in that photo experiences some level of embarrassment and asks themselves some hard questions about the type of thinking they are instilling in their kids.

I would say this incident is literally unbelievable, except that it isn't. I've seen it in this community before, and I'm sure we will see it again. We can do much better than this. We have to do much better than this.

Scott Brazil, Jordan

'Total equality' was a letter writer's straw man. It's nobody's stated aim.

This is in answer to a Jan. 17 letter writer's specious argument with the platform of eliminating inequality ("An issue for the altruistic: Total equality, liberty are incompatible").

Nobody is asking for equal income across the board. Nobody is arguing certain jobs don't deserve higher incomes. The problems in income disparity arise when the minimum wage is not a living wage, when jobs like teaching our children or growing our food are not valued, when college is priced out of reach for most families, when executives are given bonuses as the pension funds are raided, when companies who can afford it refuse to pay for health care for their employees, when tax cuts benefit only the highest earners, when labor unions are crushed, when there are regressive taxes, when the rich or whites get let off the hook for crimes the poor and people of color get severely punished for, and on and on.

These liberties he speaks of cannot be enjoyed by people living under the boot of other people determined to keep them down by writing and using loopholes in laws designed to enrich themselves and cushion their lives at others' expense.

Becky Huebner, Inver Grove Heights
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The Jan. 17 letter writer seems to misconstrue the progressive agenda of equity with one of equality. Although analogies are poor forms of comparison, this seems to me to be the best way to explain the difference:

Assume you are in a race. Equality is not there. After all, every racer has different abilities. You would have to start the race at different times for each competitor to create equality. Equity, however, would look at equipment. Do all competitors have the same access to appropriate shoes and training? If so, the race is equitable and all have the chance to succeed to the best of their abilities. In America and Minnesota, we do not yet have equity. Everybody does not have the same access to quality education, money in the form of loans or grants, quality housing, jobs, etc. Until that happens, people cannot succeed to the best of their abilities. That is the progressive agenda.

Bill Lerman, St. Paul

Is this not a historic opportunity to shift the balance of power?

Now that unemployment is at historic lows, thanks to we baby boomers retiring to the tune of 10,000 a day, workers have a great opportunity. With the minimum wage half of what it should be when adjusted for inflation, it's time to look at using unemployment numbers to your advantage. You have bargaining power with your numbers. Dare I say: Time to unionize. We boomers had pensions, 401(k)s and minimum-wage increases. Now it's time to get yours.

Jim Barbeau, Champlin

Minnesota-based retailer shows its true stripes, and wears them well

Thank you, Target, for contracting with and supporting Thor Cos., our state's largest minority-owned company ("Financial crisis hits Thor after HQ move: Target has paid millions to help minority-owned contractor dig out of crisis," Jan. 17). And thank you to everyone who prioritizes spending their shopping dollars at Target vs. its outstate competitors. Supporting local businesses both big and small makes a big difference in the well-being of our state and our local communities. When explaining to my daughter why I was writing to the newspaper, she said it best: "Awww, that's why Target is the best!"

Sonja Elias, Minneapolis

Not all in White Bear Lake are opposed to the Rush Line

In response to the Jan. 11 article "White Bear Lake residents put brakes on BRT station": While recent coverage in this and other papers focuses primarily on fear of potential negative impacts, we are White Bear Lake residents who fully support the Rush Line and associated benefits to our community.

We White Bear Lakers pride ourselves on our vibrant downtown and our many social, cultural and recreational opportunities; we were recently recognized as the "Best Minnesota Town" due to these and other factors. Visitors and residents alike are key to keeping our town — and local businesses — strong. However, our popularity also brings many challenges, including insufficient parking, traffic congestion and dangers to pedestrians.

Reliable, frequent bus service via the Rush Line would help address these challenges as well as relieve traffic congestion on Hwy. 61 during morning and evening commutes. Other benefits include providing residents and business with more employment opportunities, and our seniors with expanded freedom and mobility, especially after they've lost full driving capability. Currently, the limited schedule of buses serving Maplewood and White Bear Lake makes it nearly impossible for most people to use mass transit effectively.

We encourage people to consider the many benefits the Rush Line would provide our community: fostering economic growth while reducing pollution and reliance on fossil fuels, easing traffic and parking congestion, providing increased mobility options for teens and seniors, and increasing the vibrancy of our community, helping ensure we remain a "Best Minnesota Town."

Tracey Dutcher and Lisa Brock, White Bear Lake