As I walked down Nicollet Mall the morning of Election Day, buildings on both sides of the street were being boarded up: Stores, restaurants and entryways were covered with inch-thick plywood as nonscalable fencing was standing around the White House.
I have voted for president in every election since 1964, including periods of significant social unrest — the height of the civil rights movement, the Vietnam War — but never did my city or my country expect anything but a peaceful election.
No candidate predicted chaos if they lost, accused the other side of trying to steal the election, or said that the election must be decided by the evening of Election Day, while asserting that there was widespread voter fraud, saying, “The ballots are out of control. You know it.”
Never were our cities boarded up because of an election.
As always, I hope my candidate wins, but more than that I want our democracy to survive, and it won’t unless we trust in the systems that have served us well the last 244 years and accept the inevitable complications of processing millions of votes. It is said that elections have consequences, and one of the consequences is that somebody wins and somebody loses. I hope that we all love our country enough to respect the peaceful democratic process that defines the United States of America and accept the results of this election today, or next week, or next month, whenever the accurate count is completed and certified.
Kathleen Coskran, Minneapolis
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I write this not knowing what the outcome of the election will be. I’m praying for a healing and a unified country.
What have we become? What has happened to respect, decency and honor?
Why is the decency shown in Grand Marais (“In Grand Marais, Minnesota Nice defines mayoral race,” front page, Nov. 2) such an anomaly that’s it’s front-page news? What happened to the respect shown by Ronald Reagan, Walter Mondale, both George Bushes, John McCain and Barack Obama during their campaigns and debates?
Are we going to have to endure these horrible, horrible ads every election? Are quotes going to continue to be taken out of context or altered to misrepresent views? Minnesota even had one candidate shooting a gun in his ad.
If others are as tired and worried about how our elections are being carried out, please let your candidate and party know we can and must do better. We are better than this.
Ray Pulles, Sun Lakes, Ariz.
Its genius is in balancing power
Letters published in the Readers Write section of this paper show that some writers may have a misunderstanding of our form of government as well as our Constitution. The United States of America is not a pure democracy but a constitutional republic. The founding fathers feared the excesses of democracy. They understood democracy to mean mob rule. They had witnessed numerous insurrections and wars.
After the Revolutionary War, the founders had fresh clay with which to mold a government. On the one hand, they wanted a strong central government, but they also wanted the individual states to be incubators of democracy. When it came to choosing a president, they wanted a strong leader, but they did not want a king or emperor. They were also afraid of electing a president who won the vote of a simple majority of citizens in a direct vote but who did not have broad support throughout the country. They wanted as president a man who represented the majority of the people but one who also represented people of varied areas, interests and desires. The founders understood the vastness of this land, and they foresaw that it would be settled by diverse groups of people with varied interests. And, so it was.
Today, the Democratic Party has total political control of several states that have relatively huge populations as compared to the size of their land mass, while some very large states have relatively small populations. In order to recognize that America is more than five or six huge cities, there has to be some balance between the absolute population count and the distribution of the population among the various states.
This is exactly the situation that the founding fathers foresaw, and it is the reason for the institution of the Electoral College. It was genius! It is remarkable that this system has worked so well for so long. This is not the time to fix something that is not broken.
Ronald Stolpman, Lakeville
An issue wrongly understood
If the situation weren’t so serious, the plaintive words of Brian Peters, executive director of the Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association (“Book on racial justice criticized,” Oct. 31), might be amusing. Peters is quoted as writing, “You’re programming people at a young age to fear police. How can this not be concerning?”
Peters is apparently not concerned that many citizens in this state and country have real reason to fear the police as an ongoing and serious threat to their lives. Or that other citizens, seeing things like “Cops for Trump” T-shirts at Trump rallies, start to fear that the police are armed allies of a man who dog-whistles for violence at his rallies and in his tweets. Or that others, seeing the Star Tribune report that “the Minneapolis police union put out a call ... for retired officers to help serve as ‘eyes and ears’ at polling sites ... on Election Day, at the request of an attorney for President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign,” wonder what “law” our “law enforcement” community is enforcing.
I am an elderly, middle-class, straight white woman who always thought of police officers as “good apples” — honorable men and women doing their incredibly difficult job with integrity and respect for all of the citizens whom they are sworn to “protect and serve.” But the representatives of the Minneapolis and Minnesota police officers’ “barrel,” such as Lt. Bob Kroll and Peters, are doing their best to convince me that I am wrong.
Miriam Segall, Minneapolis
The complications of wolf hunting
Prof. Adrian Treves’ commentary, “The bloody consequences of delisting the gray wolf” (Opinion Exchange, Nov. 2) is so, so correct. While culling an excess wolf population may be necessary (which is highly doubtful), for wolves especially it must be done only by commissioned, uniformed officers or otherwise contracted professional of the Department of Natural Resources or the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Culling wolves is not like reducing deer herds or even other predators like bears. Wolves are disciplined pack animals. The pack is led by the alpha pair, a male and a female. These are first seen as the pack is on the move searching for a meal that will feed the whole pack. The natural discipline of wolves is that the pack is repopulated only by the alpha male and the alpha female. If either of those are killed, there are no new pups that whole year, perhaps into the next. If both are killed, pack foraging (hunting) discipline breaks down and individuals scramble to scrounge whatever protein source they can get — hence, cattle and sheep depredation, as Prof. Treves points out. In addition, wolves are needed to keep the deer, or moose or elk, populations in check. Witness the need to reintroduce wolves into Yellowstone and to Isle Royale National Parks.
Unknowing, general-population hunters are not the ones to “hunt” wolves, period. (P.S. I am a hunter and strongly discourage trophy hunting.)
Tim Hunt, Fergus Falls, Minn.
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