Not long ago there was a group now known as the Greatest Generation. This group featured men who lied about their age to go to war. Let that sink in: They lied for the opportunity to live in foxholes, get shot at and bombed and potentially die, to go across the sea to fight for strangers half a world away.
The women of that group were no less heroic. While the men were gone, they rolled up their sleeves and did the dirty work back home, working in the factories to produce the materiel the men would need to defeat fascism. That is, if they weren't overseas in some sort of war capacity themselves.
Now? A mere generation or two later we've evolved from a nation of heroes who volunteer to die to one of selfish cowards who won't put up with minor inconveniences to help their at-risk family, friends, neighbors and co-workers, a me-first nation, where the greater good of society takes a back seat to the self. One where doing the right thing requires bribes and incentives. Wear a mask? Pffft. It infringes on their "freedom," they cry, an irony that's lost on them — and a slap in the face to the Greatest Generation, those who are still alive now being most at risk from COVID. Get a vaccine? Hardly.
Have you ever noticed the legalese, the fine print at the end of drug ads? Where the list of side effects is longer than the ad itself? Where one of the potential side effects is often death? Does that deter you from taking drugs that cure you, make your life better? If not, why not? Do you really think the folks who came up with the vaccine had just been sitting around the lab all these years, playing cards and watching TV, waiting for a pandemic to break out? Or do you think they might have been working on various vaccines and other drugs all these years? That maybe their life's work had them prepared for such a time? That just maybe they knew what they were doing?
As the son of a World War II pilot and an Air Force veteran myself, I'm embarrassed for our society. You anti-vax COVID deniers should all be ashamed. Truly pathetic.
John Morgan, Burnsville
The administration's on it
Absurdly, the GOP claims the current administration is failing to press for the source of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that has caused the pandemic, when the Trump administration disbanded the federal team that oversaw potential viral hot spots, removed scientists collaborating with the Chinese on these issues and denied the reality of the pandemic for months allowing the virus to spread ("Biden focuses on origin of virus," May 27). It is crucial to find the source of the virus, and I applaud the Biden administration for working to do so. The source is likely wildlife and human exposure and transmission is due to wildlife markets and the pet trade where billions of animals, including fish and birds, are wrested from their habitats leading to the decimation of many species. These activities must end to prevent future pandemics and extinctions. GOP hypocrisy and duplicity also must end. Is there a vaccine for that?
Catherine Zimmer, St. Paul
Remember when Democrats and the mainstream media went after then-President Donald Trump for suggesting that COVID-19 may have possibly been released from a lab in China? Remember when they labeled him a racist for the mere suggestion? Oh my, how the worm has turned.
And isn't it a bit late for Democrats and the mainstream media to now investigate this likely scenario after evidence had been lost or probably destroyed by Communist China?
Tens of millions of us Americans are waiting for the dishonest left to apologize to President Trump, but we know that day will never come.
Corby Pelto, Plymouth
Could've cleared their good names
As I read all the various reporting regarding the obstacles to establishing a commission to investigate the events that took place in the Capitol on Jan. 6, I found myself confounded by the apparent reticence of so many Republican members of Congress.
I struggled to understand why it proved so hard for Senate Republicans to vote in support of the bill ("GOP blocks bipartisan probe of deadly Jan. 6 riot at Capitol," May 28). Wouldn't you think a reasonable government official, a defender of our democracy and justice, would leap at the chance to prove to the world that all those peaceful, stanchion-respecting tourists had their beautiful day ruined by antifa and Black Lives Matter anarchists disguising themselves in "Make America Great Again" military gear and posing as a pro-Trump mob in order to taint the good intentions of all those patriots who had gathered for a "Save America" march?
Steve Bennett, Golden Valley
Don't just punish the drivers
I generally agree with the newest development plans for St. Paul, particularly the need for more affordable housing. However, one area in which I strongly disagree is the desire to eliminate off-street parking requirements. While I do agree that minimizing automobile traffic is a desirable goal, I also believe that we must have a viable alternative first. This is especially necessary for our handicapped community. My wife is one of many handicapped people who cannot walk the distance from our home to the nearest bus or light rail stop. So public transportation is not an option for her. Our neighborhood "walk score" on Zillow is 24 — most errands require a car. Taxis, Uber and Lyft are potential options but they have their own set of problems. Metro mobility is the primary option, but its requirements are so restrictive that she would not qualify.
If we want to decrease automobile traffic in our cities, let's not just make it harder to use a car, but easier to use an alternative mode of transportation. A 2019 analysis of mass transportation in American cities rated the Twin Cities as the 11th-best metropolitan area for transit in the nation. Unfortunately, I believe that this says less about how good our local mass transportation capabilities are and more about how poor they are throughout the U.S., except in very few areas such as New York City and the San Francisco Bay area.
Richard Howey, St. Paul
I lived on Hennepin Avenue in the 1970s (at Summit) and as a non-driver, I took the bus whenever I wanted to travel to Uptown. I wouldn't have dreamed of riding my bike on Hennepin due to the extraordinary volume of cars along the rather narrow corridor. I rode Colfax, Bryant or Dupont. There's a huge amount of apartment buildings between the Interstate 94 off-ramp and Lake Street, as well as tons of shops, making each and every parking spot precious. It would be ridiculous and outrageous to remove any of those parking spaces along the avenue. What would be the alternative? Knocking down a few buildings to create off-street parking? I don't think so. The only obvious remedy is to leave Hennepin as it is and put any bike lanes on side streets (or none at all). I'm also not in favor of creating a bus lane for the upcoming rapid transit bus.
This also goes for the upcoming rapid transit bus planned for Lake Street. At best, you only have two lanes in both directions and there's no place for a bike lane or a dedicated bus lane (especially since the designers of Lake Street made the looney decision to create those concrete bump-outs). The widths of Lake Street and Hennepin and the congestion of cars and buses limits what you can add to those corridors.
Barry Margolis, Minneapolis
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