Is it even honest to say that women secured the right to vote 100 years ago? (“Prohibition and women’s suffrage: A 100-year review,” Opinion Exchange, Oct. 6.) My great-grandmother, Hilda Brungot, was a suffragist — indeed, after (white) women were granted the right to vote, she served 19 terms as a state legislator in New Hampshire — and this fact fills me with inspiration and a profound sense of responsibility. Yet, I cannot help but wonder why we do not more openly acknowledge that this is the anniversary of white women’s right to vote. How, after all, can we say with a straight face that all women gained the right to vote when black women were prevented from doing so and Native American women were not even yet recognized as citizens (never mind that they were here before us)?
The 19th Amendment reads: “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.” An appropriate addendum could be: “but may be denied or abridged on account of other differences.” It was not until 1965, due in part to racist and cumbersome voting taxes and literacy tests, that African-American women could vote. American Indians were granted citizenship four years after the 19th Amendment was ratified. There is a reason that young people today discuss issues of intersectionality: It’s because issues of race, gender, class and other forms of discrimination overlap with real-life consequences.
There is still reason to celebrate, of course. For my part, I will be raising my glass to my great-grandmother and her colleagues in 2020, but I will save the fireworks for 2065. If we continue to celebrate the 19th Amendment as a conclusive amendment, then there is no reason to be surprised by our current state of polarization.
Kristi Rendahl, Minneapolis
Don’t overuse, but it’s justified here
The column by D.J. Tice (“Impulse to impeach is becoming a habit,” Oct. 6) does an admirable job of lamenting the increased use of impeachment in recent years, but his piece errs in targeting polarization or the “Sixties generation.” Yes, more presidents have been impeached in the past 50 years. And yes, Tice notes that, “Through impeachment a decision made by many millions of voters is repudiated.” Exactly. Impeachment was necessary for President Richard Nixon and is for Donald Trump, for the same reason. The former was caught cheating to win an election. The second has said that he’s entitled to work with foreign powers to cheat.
Tice is right that the republic cannot stand if impeachment is used for partisan purposes to simply remove rivals. But will it stand any better if elections are made into farces by the party or person trying to retain power?
Kristin Farrell, Minneapolis
• • •
D.J. Tice’s piece, like all of his articles, has many thought-provoking ideas. As usual, I agree in general but must quibble about some aspects. First, I agree that Trump has no business being president. Enough said. It is also very difficult to disagree that Congress has almost totally abdicated many of the powers given to it in Article I of the Constitution. Is it any wonder that the president has stepped in to become an almost constitutional dictator? Most of the rest of his opinion is about the many dysfunctional aspects of our governing system — and American hypocrisy about our values. All true. Which leads, I guess, to his conclusion that somehow three impeachment proceedings in the last 45 years is somehow an aberration and says something important about our times. And it does, but what?
Looking at them, Nixon, although not impeached, almost certainly would have been, and justifiably so. The second, Bill Clinton, was certainly less obviously justifiable, but who knows. The current investigation to impeach would seem to be totally justified given the known evidence.
So at least 2½ of three are reasonable uses of impeachment. Yup. Are there other avenues? Of course, but as noted, our current political system is diametrically opposed to any compromise so that leaves ... impeachment.
Tice’s article tells me we’re doing a crappy job of picking our presidents. If so then perhaps the impeachment process is working exactly as it is supposed to.
Douglas R. Pederson, Minneapolis
Leaving allies to die is not ‘tough’
President Donald Trump likes to portray himself as a “tough guy,” but how much “toughness” does it take to pull our troops out and leave Kurdish civilians fleeing for their lives in northern Syria? We see so many photos and videos of terrified women running while shielding their small children (“Turkish offensive prompts one more exodus of frightened Syrian refugees,” Oct. 11).
This president clearly doesn’t have a clue about being Commander-in-chief, because he doesn’t seem to know the basic tenet of combat that you never leave your comrades behind. This is one of the reasons so many U.S. military officials have expressed anger and anguish at Trump’s shameless withdrawal of American troops, making way for Turkey’s offensive. The Kurdish forces “did the heavy lifting against ISIS” and are considered “friends” and even “brothers in arms” (“Last betrayal by U.S. of ally in the Mideast helped spark Iraq war,” Oct. 11).
Trump thinks he can win Minnesota in 2020, but Minnesota is a land where people regularly pitch in to help each other. We don’t vote for a weak man who betrays our loyal allies.
Louis Asher, Vadnais Heights
Another way we harm the Earth
How should we connect the dots between two seemingly unrelated articles in the Oct. 9 Star Tribune? The first, “U researcher finds issue with tiny particles,” reports that tiny engineered nanoparticles used in more than 1,000 commercial products such as dental implants, sunscreen, scratch-proof glasses, sunproof fabrics, and lithium ion batteries, as well as an alternative to traditional antibiotics and conventional chemical pesticides such as glyphosate (Roundup) may have unintended negative consequences for the environment and human health. The lead author of the study states, “My greatest concern is that we are putting things out in the environment without any data.”
The second article, “The new old age,” lauds the multitude of ways that humans are able to improve and extend their lives as they age. And here is where the dots get connected: Many of the innovations that confer the ability to feel and look younger make use of nanotechnology. The researchers warn that nanoparticles not only escape into the environment through industrial processes, landfills and waste water treatment, they also degrade into contaminants that impact human health.
It is grievous that for at least the past 100 years, we human beings have sought our own comfort and the avoidance of death, all the while endorsing the endless growth economic model (more and more humans consuming more and more resources) as an unquestioned good apart from any effects on the Earth and other living creatures. Albert Einstein cautioned that “our task must be to free ourselves ... by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.” If we connect the dots, we may conclude that the unintended consequences of seeking longer and better lives at any cost will make the stories of plummeting numbers of mammals, fish, birds and insects our own human story as well.
Laura Raedeke, Nisswa, Minn.